Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I'm Breaking Babar's Rule

But just this time, and really only sort of because I just want to make some other points and am not going to be able to avoid discussing hands in which I get destroyed, but I'll try not to present them as bad beats (which is what he thinks I should not be doing) and more as focus for some strategic discussion.

I think I am cursed at Hawaiian Gardens. I really am coming to believe this, and I think it's starting to affect my ability to play well there. Objectively looking at the opposition I manage to sit with there, day in and day out, it is unfathomable to me that I could be anything but a huge winner in the game. But the numbers seem to say otherwise; in over 600 hours of play in the casino I am literally a net ~$7K loser. Now yes, a ton of that was the great prop week debacle, during which I lost a ton of money, most of it playing 40/80. But even leaving that aside, my win rate in the 20/40 hours I have logged on my own time is simply pathetic compared to what I have achieved at every other casino where I've played yellow (red) chip games.

For a while I could just sort of laugh it off, then it got bad and I decided not to play there anymore. But today I was up early and they had a game, which is something that didn't exist at Commerce once at 9am last week and well to make a long story short I played 9 hours of 20/40 there today and just got lit up; again (for the record I knew I was a little off around hour 7, but it was 5pm and the freeways were in the midst of their daily closures so what was I to do but shoot 40 bets into space over the next 2 hours). Completely objectively though, the players are making big mistakes. I forced myself to watch closely today to pick see if I could figure out what's going on, and here is some of the great stuff I saw:

I opened the CO and a player defended his big blind. The board on the turn was something like T64-5 and he check/raised me. I instantly (which is bad of me) called his turn raise, and ditto for the river barrel, and he showed me A7o which was exactly that; ace high. So what's his plan here? That I'm going to fold ace high? Cause I mean, on that board against him taking that line, it's just not happening. Honestly I'd probably have to have a long talk with myself before folding something like KQ. So he turned a bluff catcher into a bluff. Nice hand sir, nice hand (for the record I had a pair of tens here so I am the champion). A while later this same guy opened in like the highjack with 86s, which I guess is fine, but I think he's just kind of going aggro spew monkey because...well, it's fun? I dunno.

I opened UTG 8 handed and a prop who has probably logged literally 20,000 hours of live poker in LA 3 bet me two seats later; with QJo. The prop is literally 3 betting me with a hand thats not in my opening range. I ran a quick stove after this hand and found that QJo had 31% equity against my default raising range in that position. But it gets better. The flop is T88 with two diamonds, and I check/raise because I have ATs. The prop 3 bets me and checks behind the baby diamond turn. Really? You too? I swear it's just like MikeL says, if they 3 bet the flop you should just always 4 bet, and if they just call you should check the turn dark.

I wasn't in the next gem, but basically a guy raises with ATo and gets two calls behind him, and of course the blinds call because "pot odds big pot coming no gamble no future" etc. The flop comes off KJ5 or something like that (I'm sure of the KJ) and there was probably even a flush draw, and the big blind just donks into 4 people. No worries, no problems, that's the flop he's betting what he's got. Our friend with ATo TURBO raises. He does not pause, he does not think, he just raises because that's what he does. Seriously? The flop is KJ5. You have a gut shot. This guy just bet into HALF THE TABLE (and I guess I should not that this guy was pretty straightforward...like, he has a big hand here almost always) and you want to raise to...protect your hand? Which is ace high? What's your plan here? I mean I guess this one isn't terrible, but the thing that makes it close is that I know he'd NEVER raise a set here. Of course he just binked the queen on the turn and because as I mentioned the big blind has a freaking monster got to 3 bet it.

I managed to 3 bet AQcc and get the pot whittled down to like 4 handed. The board came JJ7 and they all checked and I fired a bet cause I mean you can't really check back here when you miss all the time and 4 handed paired boards are good ones to fire at especially when you have 3 cards to a royal flush (which I did). The big blind called, and I was instantly done with the hand. Instantly. He has a jack 100% of the time. The PFR raised, which didn't even concern me, and I folded getting about 16:1. The turn came an Ace and the BB just donked, no problem, no worries. River 7 and he checked and called. The PFR triumphantly rolls A7 which is of course no good; the big blind has JT. Seriously, I can't even make this one up, and was so proud of myself for getting out before I successfully drew dead it was just awesome.

This one takes the cake. Two amazingly awful players limp and I have a friend on sweat patrol on the button and take a flier with Q9dd. I'd raise QTdd, so why not, right? I have the button, they are terrible, and I'm about to prove it. The flop comes Q32dd. I'm not even kidding, I flop the world. The blinds check and the one horrible player (who I shit you not plays in this game, and the 30, every single day) bets. The other horrible player folds and I raizitup because as I said I have everything. The blinds fold, and our hapless villain calls. The turn is either a 4 or a 5 of not diamonds and he checks and calls again. The river is the other option and he....donks. I call (which is probably bad honestly but I have seen him donk bluff) and he shows me A70, with no diamond, for the wheel. Seriously, this happened. 5 way pot I have A7 high? Bet! You raise, well I guess I better call. Look, a gutshot! I got there, I bet!

All of these awful awful plays (only a very few of which actually caused me to lose pots) really must have gotten me off my game, and that's the point of the problem. I played a few bad hands against Chessmaster:

1. I barreled a turn I maybe shouldn't have with ace high (against a non combative player like him, you really can just check the turn and fold the river, which is what I used to do a long time ago...the problem is that he peels the flop so wide that ace high really can be a pretty solid value bet candidate).

2. I called a river donk with AK on a AQ8-T-T board where he showed up with I'm not even kidding T7. Yes I bet the flop; yes he called. This is a terrible river call by me; he simply doesn't bluff the river. Ever.

3. I went limp with AA on a Q42 flop after he just check/raised the flop. Literally I left $20 or even $40 on the table not putting in another raise because I thought his flop check/raise range was THAT strong (and that he was capable of calling 2 more bets cold in the small blind with Q4, 42, or Q2). He had AQ, and well it's weird cause against a sane player I do win more but against chessmaster...well, I suck.

4. He somehow manages to raise/cap me on the flop of 984 with just a pair of nines, and I let the turn T check through because when he raise/caps he has two pair just always. Nope, and I lose the pot to 74 (which admittedly was never folding once it called the first 2 bets cold on the flop). The point is that this marked a second time I gave him too much credit for a hand; my read was just off.

5. And finally, the deathblow...I open KQ, he 3 bets, two players call 3 cold, I call, we're 4 ways. The flop is T93tt and I check, he checks, then they bet and raise. I call, he calls, the other guy calls, and we're still 4 ways with 10 big bets in the pot. T93-9 and it...checks around. LOL OK, and at this point my decision making machinery just breaks down. What to do what to do? Chessmaster has AK or AQ, the other guys have draws, OK, well shit I guess you just lose whatever. The river pairs the 3 and I check, chessemaster checks and the next guy...bets. The other guy folds and I tank and realize suddenly that maybe I have a call because this guy has airball a lot (where airball is a straight or flush draw that I can beat) and I think and think and then just call, trusting chessmaster to fold Ace high behind me because I am stupid and he of course does no such thing and OVERCALLS with AQ to drag the whole pot (the bettor had QJ).

My point here is that I think it's finally gotten to me. When I play at HG I just seem to play bad; I make bad calls, I don't have my reads locked in, I don't focus, I don't go through my decision making process, I just make mistakes. And it has to stop; playing in that casino has literally cost me something like $25K or something ridiculous, and I just can't go there anymore. Even if they are terrible, even if the game is the only one going and they have the best food and it's the shortest drive. I just can't go there anymore because it's in my head and causing me to fuck things up and I'm running out of time to be fucking things up.

1 comment:

rhythmofvision said...

My take is that your hg opponents open, bet, cr range is so wide that it makes your reads very difficult. The key to a good game is predictability, which that game lacks.

I don't mind a game with 4 or 5 weak tags and 2 awful lags as the game will be much easier decision wise.