Thursday, December 08, 2005

So with this recent bad run, I dropped down a bit and played at the Party 20/40 games last night. And I did very, very well. In fact, I had my biggest day in terms of BBs since August. It was nice to again play a game where I pretty much always knew where I stood.

There definitely seems to be pretty decent skill jump between the 20/40 and the 30/60 games, and another very big jump between 30/60 and 50/100. I guess that really shouldn't come as a surprise. But the skill jump does seem much more drastic at those levels than the jump was between, say, 3/6 and 5/10, or 10/20 and 15/30.

I guess at a certain point, really bad players just become quite endangered. I know when I play the 20 game, the table generally has about four "known" opponents, that is, regular, usually pretty tough players that I've played hundreds or thousands of hands against. At the 30 game, suddenly that number of known players is more like six. At the 50 game it was eight. Eight tough players, lil' ol' me, and one revolving door of a seat. Game selection, anyone?

So yeah, as much as I'd like to keep rocketing through the limits, I think the time has come to slow down a bit. As much as pride and skill development might matter, what matters most as a professional is the bottom line and so I need to play whatever game adds to the bottom line the most. And that ain't 50/100.

So for the forseeable future it'll be online 20/40 and 30/60 for me, with more emphasis on game selection. I'm not above playing 20/40 if the 30 game doesn't look good. Certainly I can make plenty at those games. There's no reason to take the much added stress and swings that come with larger limits just for what might (or might not) be a few extra dollars at the end of the week.

I haven't posted a hand in a while, so I'll post one here. I think this hand shows how one can have a perfect read to the point of having his opponents' cards face up, and yet still make a poor decision. Also, I might have been a bit afflicted with fancy-play syndrome, but I do have a defense for my actions, if necessary.

Bellagio 80/160, nine-handed. The game has been playing pretty tight, and UTG+1 has been taking some advantage by opening fairly loosely from all positions. He has shown a little bit of trickiness when heads-up, but in multi-way pots he's about as honest and straight-forward as they come. MP is probably the loosest player in the game (probably 30-35% VP$IP for those internet players) and is quite unskilled and passive relative to the game, although his preflop raising and reraising standards have been surprisingly light. Everyone else is squeaky-tight.

UTG+1 open-raises. Two positions later I look down to see 9h9c. I'm about to three-bet, when MP, acting out of turn, declares raise and throws out three bets. The dealer corrects him and he pulls back. I decide to only call. MP seems a bit hesitant now about raising, but does indeed three-bet, mumbling something to the effect of "well, I already said I would." When he talks he's honest. Folds back around to UTG+1 who calls. I four-bet. MP calls, UTG+1 calls.

Flop (13.5 SB): 9s 7d 5d. UTG+1 checks. I bet. MP calls. UTG+1 calls.

Turn (7.5 BB): (9s 7d 5d) 4d. UTG+1 checks. I bet. MP calls. UTG+1 check-raises. I three-bet. MP shakes his head a bit and folds. UTG+1 four-bets. I call.

River (16.5 BB): (9s 7d 5d 4d) Ks. UTG+1 bets. I fold.

So yeah, three very questionable plays all in one hand.

If only that were a record for me.


Blogger DrewOnTilt said...

Your turn 4-bet is inconsistent with your read on UTG+1. I'm not scared to 4-bet with a set versus a possible flush, but you said that this guy was as honest as they come postflop.

That being said, why did you fold the river? You built a huge pot and now you should be showing down. You're getting over 16.5:1 and only have to be right a very small percentage of the time to make this a profitable call.

7:35 AM  
Blogger EstonB said...

Your read on UtG+1 is over one live session, right? That's like if on PokerAce HUD it shows up with like 50 hands on a guy. In other words, not good enough to fold getting those river odds. This is akin to that other post where you said you would have folded to a 5 bet (which from what we can deduce from the villain's actions would have been a disaster), only it's worse because here you close the action entirely, no more BBs being put in on future streets. Obviously you choose these hands, because they are the most interesting/difficult hands of the session, but this looks like - EV.

8:50 AM  
Anonymous ec said...

About the hand. I'm not sure why you didn't three-bet initially preflop. This may alter MP's decision to enter the pot altogether, and if he still four-bets (which I think is the more likely option, given an accurate read), UTG+1 may drop. I also think your four-bet when it comes back to you is a marginal play, perhaps even a negative value bet.

I agree with the above posters regarding the fold on the river. Did you really think that there was less than ~6% chance you were good? How did you convince yourself that there was a such a miniscule chance he didn't have 77 or 55?

And the turn. Did you consider capping it here? You've got 10 outs to improve (and if you're behind, I think they are all still in the deck), and if you don't improve, there's a chance he checks it to you on the river, costing you the same as it would to call him down. I think your expected losses are slightly less in the capping scenario (assuming you call him down if you don't cap it, which you didn't).

11:08 AM  
Anonymous bil said...

Can't cap the turn, as it's heads up at that point.

I assume the three bet on the turn was your way of saying, "If you have 77 or 55, I'm ahead," and you read his four bet to mean, "That's okay, you're not ahead."

So with ten outs, you pay for the river, miss, and believe him when he bets out.

I'd pay him off, but you're better than I am, so...

I guess the really questionable decision is why no three bet pre-flop? Is it because you knew MP would do it for you? You tell us.

1:14 PM  
Blogger eric said...

Yeah, preflop was my fancy-play syndrome play. I considered three-betting anyways, of course, but I figured my nines were a slight dog to MP's three-betting range, which pretty much includes any big cards, over which I'm a slight favorite, and any pair bigger than mine, against which I'm a pretty serious dog.

So my options, as I saw them, were to three-bet, and have him either four-bet if he's a huge favorite, or just call three bets if he has any of the other hands, like AJo or KQs or whatever (since there's almost no chance he'd actually just change his mind and fold).

So, I'm putting in four bets when I'm behind, and three bets when I'm ahead, and I don't even yet know what UTG+1 is doing--yes he raises light but he could very well have us killed anyways.

But I didn't feel comfortable mucking my nine just yet, so I called to see how things would play out, knowing fully well there's a pretty good chance I was going to four-bet.

MP's unsure three-bet and UTG+1's call showed my hand was still the best and so I four-bet strictly for value. I don't think that's a -EV bet at all, especially since I felt I had a very good read on my two opponents and would be able to punish them with the best hand or get out quick were they to outflop me.

That's not to say I shouldn't have just gone ahead and three-bet anyways, but just saying there was reasonable logic behind my play there.

The flop, of course, I loved. The two calls on the drawy board, I didn't like so much, and of course the turn check-raise made me puke.

I also have reasons for my turn play, but those I think are much weaker.

My initial read on UTG+1 was that he must have made his flush. I can't see him check-raising the field without a super strong hand--that's not his style one bit. But then it's also pretty obvious that neither MP nor I have a flush. I've represented a big pair up to this point, and MP is raising a flush there the vast majority of the time. So UTG+1 could easily have something like 77 or 55 feeling his hand is best.

So I three-bet thinking that,

1) UTG+1 could only four-bet if he has a flush. This I felt 99% confident on.

2) I could drive out MP in case he's drawing to a non-nut diamond--AJ with the Jd or TTd, or whatever.

I would hate myself if I call, MP calls, river is a diamond and UTG+1 shows 77 and MP shows his BS diamond.

MP of course dropped and UTG+1 four-bet and there's no way he doesn't have a flush.

River bricks, UTG+1 bets out still, not scared one bit, and so I muck.

Now, that all might sound okay, but I think there was a clearly superior way to play it.

What I did was I let the worse-case scenario dictate my play. What if UTG+1 has 77 and what if MP has a medium diamond, and what if I only call and a diamond comes?

Far more likely, of course, is that UTG+1 has his made flush, and so it doesn't matter one bit to me whether MP has a diamond or not. I'm still drawing and I need to get there as cheaply as possible. So examining the two plays, it looks like this:

Assuming UTG+1 most likely has a flush (80%+ sure) if I call then MP almost definitely calls, then I can raise a board-pair or just call any other river. It costs me two bets when behind, but I win two or three bets when ahead (MP call, UTG+1 bet river, and I raise a board pair and he pays off, or I call and MP calls as well).

Raising costs me at least three bets when behind just on the turn, and four if I want to see showdown. When I'm ahead, it nets me two since MP drops, and UTG+1 merely calls the turn raise and turn bet.

So clearly, I have to be almost certain UTG+1 has a set in order to three-bet, and that's only because of the presence of MP who might hold a diamond. Otherwise, calling is clearly superior, because in doing so I win more when ahead and lose less while behind.

So yeah I really screwed that turn up. As for the river, I was more than 95% sure I was beat. I'm not making that fold otherwise. Folding sets on the river for one bet heads-up is not something I recommend by any means, but here I think it was right.

Although, in the future I think I'm going to start paying off bets like that for two reasons:

1) I think I might be falling in love with making the "tough laydown."

2) I'm sure at least some of my opponents have identified me and read this blog, so I'd rather not have them think I'll lay down sets when all they have to do is keep raising me.

8:46 PM  
Blogger April said...

Was great seeing you this weekend, although was too brief. Never did make it over to the Bellagio unfortunately.

11:39 PM  
Blogger eric said...

Good seeing you, too. The blogger dinner was a lot of fun, and very good, even if it was at a steakhouse.

I didn't make it out to the Bellagio after Friday night, either, instead choosing to play online and sleep. You know you're lazy when getting dressed and a 10 minute drive are too much for you.

5:47 AM  
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