Thursday, July 25, 2013

And We're Back...I Guess

Personal life and side project things have settled down (or even stopped in some cases I guess lol) and I have spent the last three days grinding away at Commerce.  And you know what?  Boy is it fun when you're on a heater.  My last 5 or 6 40/80 sessions I have won 150 bets (during that stretch I have torched off a fair bit in the 1/2 and 60 though so the actual bottom line isn't that great) and I mean I literally just can do no wrong whatsoever.  Draws come in.  Single top pair hands hold up.  I flop quads.  Set over set people and have a third player actually showdown the bronze medalist somehow.  I mean, it's been pretty unreal.  DosEquis got to witness the tail end of a bludgeoning I put on some fools today and I'm sure he can attest it was almost painful to watch (I think he may have won for once, though, so maybe not too painful? Who lost the 8k in that game cause I mean Ms. LD was in there crushing souls too).  Actually, here is a fun hand:

LD opens in MP, Dos three bets like the CO or HJ, I cap the big blind with jacks, they call.

887 or 778 I don't remember it doesn't matter.  And rainbow.  The both call.  Dos is good enough that I do not automatically have the best hand here, so I have a tough thing to do on the turn but it doesn't matter since LD is the hand we all know what is going to happen

887-3 putting two spades

I bet and she raises.  Dos goes into the tank for a bit and then eventually calls two cold.  I call, not liking it but not really considering folding the jacks at 12.5 : 1 closing the action.

Ace.  Of.  Spades.

Long story short LD has the KJss and just somehow manages to find the absolute worst possible spot to raise the turn with a flush draw and yet somehow not only have a magical 3 bonus outs with her kings that she almost never ever ever has, but also bink it and win.  Silly.

Anyway things are going OK.  Commerce hasn't been awful, but I mean I am winning every pot so we'll see how I feel when I lose 10k straight next week.  As an aside an amazing 200/400 game has been running for like 2 days straight and I mean jeeze I should probably be playing but I just don't have it in me it seems.

Friday, July 19, 2013


11 days without a post.  And not just without a post, without even a thought of considering making a post.  I dunno, I just haven't felt up to it lately.  I played a good bit this week, and had a stretch where I did this:

Hours:  38
Bets Won: 3
Dollars Lost:  8000

Today I capped it off by snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in the commerce 40, winning 2k in 3 hours then losing 2200 in the last 90 minutes of the session.  I did however get to play against the woman who must be the greatest LHE player in all of the universe.  Her board initials are LD (if you play at commerce she has crushed you in the 60) and she literally runs better than anyone else in the history of me.  Every single time I sit with her she has 5, 6, 8 racks of chips in front of her.  Today it was just 40 because there was no 60, which I guess cost her something like 3k in her 5 hour session because she'd have won 8 or 9 instead of just 5 or 6.  She does things like this:

Open K5hh UTG in an average 60 game.

Cold call first in with A2hh after a winning professional raises.

Call three bets with A4ss after a winning professional raises and a loose passive player makes it three bets.  In this case she will also flop the nut flush against a made straight (with open ended straight flush draw) and top set and her hand will hold up.

I mean, I guess I just need to accept the fact that she is better than me, because she won another 50 bets today no problem.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Your Thought Process

I posted a hand from the Vegas Trip on 2p2, and it actually generated some good discussion.  I realize a large class of readers can access my blog but not that site, so here is the hand:

Preflop maniac (loose passive post) opens CO hank 3! KTcc in sb nit bb 4 bets both call (5 bet cap)


Check nit bets CO raises and hank.....

The reason I posted the hand is that while Hank and I initially thought this was a hulk smash situation, a player I respect quite a bit said not only that we should call, but also that it was not close and that most excellent players would agree with him.  We talked it out and I half came around to his point of view mainly because I realized he was right about the crushers calling.  We decided to post the hand and get feedback from OnTheRail, John Locke, and DosEquis, postulated that most of small stakes would say raise while the three of them would all say just call.  And you know what?  That is exactly what happened.

This got me thinking a lot about my thought processes, or what I have previously referred to as my decision making machinery, as I wanted to understand why I was sure this was a raise (initially) while four players I consider slightly to substantially "better" (meaning "able to post a positive win rate in tougher games") were very confident it was a call.  The exact details of this spot are not super important, but I'll walk through a couple ways you could make the decision

1.  I have massive equity, so I raise!  A lot of people think this way and frankly doing so very accurately can get you pretty far.

2.  I have a massive draw and need to have some semi-bluffs in my range so I raise!  This is where I was at, and it's fundamentally flawed because of the range that hero has.  This game was played with a 5 bet cap AND capping preflop would have made no sense with any hand, and therefore Hank doesn't really get to have QQ+ in his range, meaning his value raising range for this flop is like exactly 999 (and MAYBE AQ but that's probably not a good idea).

3.  I am not winning this pot without showdown;  why would I jam a draw when doing so could isolate me against the best hand and put me in a tougher spot on later streets?  I call.  And you know what?  This is correct.

The thread went on for a long time, with some players actually advocating call, and eventually a very good question was asked.

Originally Posted by Zeke Ferrari View Post
I think this is interesting. I definitely didn't think about that until I read your post.

Back to the flop decision point: for those of us that really want to dig into this kind of situation, is the next step to try and make an EV tree to examine different lines? We've got guys saying to call the flop for various reasons, and guys saying 3bet the flop because we have a ton of equity. We should be able to find which line has the higher EV (I know the tree has many branches and we'll have to make loads of assumptions). Are we all actually just concerned about which line has the highest EV, or is there more to this discussion?

My question is more about how to think through situations like this. To those of you who are levels above the rest of us, what types of analyses are you doing to help determine your actions? Obviously a stove isn't enough to fully analyze this situation.

This got me thinking about my decision making machinery at another level, one on which I have dabbled previously but never actually set up base camp and put in work.  Specifically, it's really important that you understand how the study and effort you put in away from the table is going to translate to your in game decision making.  I can sit here and analyze this hand to death (and I have) and while I have learned something it's important to make sure what I've learned translates to play at the tables.  In college this was never really a problem;  you learn the material, you likely solve the problems on the test, you probably get a good grade.  At work I found I had holes in my swing, so to speak.  When presented with a new technology I had a harder time learning what made it tick than other people of similar education and experience did.  My lady friend is literally leaps and bounds ahead of me in this regard, and I believe it is that skill (learning about new systems, reading their documentation, making them do what you want) that has moved her from being a very good engineer to a potentially (I am no expert but I am also no layman) world class one.  Anyway...

What is it that you do when you are presented with a problem at the poker table?  I gather most people use pattern recognition to solve 90% of the problems they face, and while this works for a while, if you rely on it exclusively you're going to have a very, very low ceiling.  At the other end I know players who literally keep track of their entire range (and an estimate of their opponent's) as the hand progresses, and do things like "make sure they have enough equity in their check back range vs his range" or "add bluffs that will remain bluffs when obvious scare cards come so as to not run out of bluffs on various boards" and "count up my value bet combos, then pick which hands I need to use as bluffs on that river card."  Obviously there is a vast, vast difference in the processes that are being used to make the very same decisions here, and obviously you kind of have to know yourself and what is going to work best for you.  In practice I try to meld the two basic theories of beating poker games, which are roughly:

1.  GTO soul crushing

2.  Figure out what hand (or hands) he has and what he intends to do with it (or them) and act accordingly.  

In the hand above, both schools of thought should yield roughly the same answer if applied correctly.  I have almost zero value hands because my opponent's range is so strong on the perflop, so I don't need to have any semi bluff raises in my range.  Or, my opponent has a monster, he will never fold it, I have a strong draw, I should attempt to bink him.  

If you meld these theories you should do quite well, but you're going to have a hard time making decisions at game speed.  I mean, think about it...what do you actually think about when you're forced with a tough decision on the turn?  What goes through your head?  How could you make it better, or what kind of study could you do away from the table to make it easier?  These are important questions for which I don't even have answers for myself, let alone everyone else.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Vegas? Still There

I checked it out these past 2 nights and can confirm that they haven't pulled up the stakes and left town or anything.  At least not yet.  Human beings really were not intended to survive in that sort of environment;  it was 113 degrees each of the days I was there, there is zero moisture in the air, all the casinos have smoke, it's really just not for me.  I can't imagine how I used to do it when I actually drank and then didn't sleep at all.  Those were...younger times.

I have played a lot of mixed games lately, actually.  We messed around playing 8/16 at the Venetian both days of the trip (Stud Eight, O8, and triple draw mostly), and I actually played 1/2 HT (hold 'em and triple draw) at commerce with Eagle recently.  I don't really have the knack for remembering hands from other games that I do for hold 'em, but here are some fun ones.

Eagle opens OTB, SB calls, I 3-bet an 8542 they call, and I proceed to make an 8 perfect on the first draw.  Eagle, on the other hand, draws 5, then 3, then 2, then raises me on the river and shows me 76542.  Whoopsie.  Next hand he limps in and I get to draw 3 from the SB with like 73 and bink number one on the first draw and destroy him.  Deuce is pretty fun.

From the mix at venetian, well...I got beat up pretty badly and honestly was probably one of the worst stud players in the game.  I kept getting into stud 8 hands, bricking out 4th street, then picking up JUST enough help (typically a 4th low card) to get to 7th then quietly fold or call with one pair and hope for the other half.  It was kind of a mess.  And Captain R showed me how to play rolled up 5s pretty well,  namely make sure your opponent makes Aces and Jacks and punish him.  A couple of guys showed me how to get dealt 7s.  I ran AK into KK on the K93.  Just all kinds of shitty stuff happened, but it's cool, it was only 8/16 and I had a great time with my friends.  We also did some borderline foodie things, eating at Pasta Mia and Lotus of Siam, both of which I can obviously endorse.  And that's really about it;  I'm back home, dogs are fine, fourth of july is tomorrow, things are good.