Tuesday, January 17, 2006

So my "NL-only" week went well. Except, of course, it wasn't "NL-only." I managed to play nothing but NL cash games online (400NL 6-max on Party) and I did well there, but playing live was a different story, as the Bellagio had one 5/10NL game going with a lengthy list every night while the 80/160 game always had an open seat. This led to the peculiar result of my being called from the 80/160 game to go play at a 5/10NL game--peculiar because people usually get called from a smaller game where they kill time to go play in a bigger game.

My results were pretty good, although my handful of hours at the 80 game were by far the most profitable playing time I had this week. 400NL has gone well online, despite getting stacked a couple times with KK against AA, and another time when my nut flush ran into a very well-disguised straight flush. I was actually on the phone with a friend at that exact moment, and I think my exact words were, "hey, someone just went all-in while I have the nuts! Woohoo!......What the fuck!?!?!"

Live NL has been a somewhat harrowing experience, however. I've just been running badly, though, so I imagine it should turn around at some point. Lots of guys play it like others play limit--flop a pair, and call bets to the river hoping to hit two-pair, assuming you'll be good if you hit. At some point, they won't (either hit, or be good when they do), dammit. But besides a mistake here and there, I think I'm playing the game pretty good and, in fact, better than most at the table. I'm making good laydowns, good raises.

The only drawback to online NL is that it kills my Party points accumulation for their VIP offers (and, ahem, MGR for that matter). My points total over any given number of hands is tiny compared to playing, say, 20/40 or 30/60 limit. But oh well; I'll gladly give up a few bucks an hour if it keeps life all the more interesting.

I'm going to try to do for NL what I did for limit: play many tens of thousands of hands at a given level and move up. I already put in plenty of time at the 25, 50, 100 and 200NL levels--spread out over the last 2+ years--and so I'm at 400NL now. Maybe in a few months I'll be at 600NL and by mid-year, 1000NL. The 2000NL seems daunting just because that's where a lot of the super hardcore NL players play. Of course at one point live 6/12 limit seemed daunting, so I imagine by the time I get there it'll just be another step in the ladder.

Overall, I think NL is going to become at least 50% of my game now, meaning 50% of my playing time. The variety is great. Perhaps I'll be comfortable and confident enough in my NL game by mid-year to spend the rest of the year building up my other games so I can start jumping into some of the big mixed games around. 100/200 mix is pretty popular at the Bellagio, and if some of the players are as "good" at the other games as they are at limit hold'em then I should make out pretty well.

I'll end with an interesting NL hand from the other night--at least interesting to a NL newbie like myself.

Bellagio 5/10NL. Five-handed. I have about $900 behind, everyone else has me covered. Cutoff and I have been playing for a while, and he's rather weak-tight, although he's not oblivious to the benefits of position. He respects my bets and raises. SB is a brand new player playing his second hand.

UTG limps, CO limps, I limp on the button with K8o. I've been making a real effort to play more hands in NL when it's both shorthanded and I have the button--but I freely admit K8o might be stretching it. I dunno. SB completes, BB checks.

Flop ($50, 5 players): Js 8d 7h, rainbow. Checks to the CO who bets $40. I can narrow his holdings pretty easily here to most likely one pair, JT or better, and since he's able to get away from one-pair hands to big bets, I call planning on raising most turn cards, depending, of course, on my read. SB calls, the others both fold.

Turn ($170, 3 players): (Js 8d 7h) 7s, now two spades. SB checks, CO bets $80. I raise to $200. I expect to take the pot right there. But the SB now agonizes. "How can I lay this down?" He thinks and thinks and thinks. And thinks. Finally, he calls. The CO now agonizes as well, saying finally, "I have two outs" and calls. Yikes. My interpretation of CO is that a big river bet will get him to fold almost definitely. I felt the SB would either fold the turn or not fold at all, but he was too new to tell for sure.

River ($770, 3 players): (Js 8d 7h 7s) 2s. Both check pretty quickly to me. I have about $650. All-in or give up and check?


Anonymous outdraw macgraw said...

check, don't go broke in an unraised pot.

5:56 AM  
Blogger niv said...

This is a tough situation, but I think representing a backdoor flush is good for both your table image (you will get more action) and should help you take down this pot.

However, 5/10 NL is well above what I play, and the main reason I am leaving this comment is because I think your posts are easily some of the best on the entire net. Just wanted to thank you.

7:07 AM  
Blogger ScottMcM said...

That is a tough one. I truly feel just be reading this that you can get them to lay down to that raise. I dont think i could pull the trigger on that one however

7:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not worried about the cut-off folding. The way you described the SB, it sounds like he could be "over acting" with a monster (7,8 or 9,10).

I would give up AND show my cards for later value, ie: they will now call you when you have a monster.

I think the value of showing your cards here is worth way more than the pot IF you don't get called.

btw: I do enjoy your posts (I live in LV and play at the Bellagio, (15-30 & 30-60.

9:09 AM  
Blogger EstonB said...

Push it all-in, and if called, scream, "YEEHAW! STRAIGHT FLUSH!" and see if you can get one of those nits to fold a winner, true Vegas style. The implied odds of ill-will will be astronomical.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Evan said...

Sounds like you checked and weren't very happy about it at the time (or afterward when you saw the results)

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Evan said...

Let me reword what I said:

Sounds like you checked and weren't very happy about it at the time and were even less happy about it when you saw the results.

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you check. If the small blind commits and calls with his straight on the turn, he's mentally comitted himself to calling the river on the 2s, as he won't be putting you on a flush draw with your re-raise.

2:13 PM  
Blogger 787Style said...

The third bullet iss key here - fire away. You can't win this is a showdown.

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so, what happened?

10:16 AM  
Blogger eric said...

So here was my thinking.

I clearly don't have the best hand and am most likely in third place.

CO probably really does have an overpair and really will fold it to a big bet. He was just calling hoping to spike his set. I'm 95+% sure he'll fold to an all-in.

What does SB have? Well, he could have a lot of things. A straight. a 7. He could have backdoored a flush, but still be worried about a full house. But really the last thing I could put him on that I beat on the turn--a flush draw--just got there.

So he's almost definitely ahead of me and definitely does not seem to be the folding type. In my experience, no one is folding a straight or a flush there (this is a good thing, overall, of course) so I would basically be hoping that he both a) has a 7 and b) is willing to fold his 7.

What's the hallmark of bad players? Not folding enough. They pay off when they're beat time and time again.

So I checked and was shown 73o by the SB and QQ by the CO. I mucked without showing.

Seeing what he had, I think there's probably a 50% chance he would have folded, which is all it would take for moving all-in to be profitable, but really there are a lot of hands there he could have had that he'd be afraid to bet, but be perfectly willing to call all-in with. Once again, this is a good thing overall, but not a good thing if one is trying to bluff.

So I do think I probably made the right choice, but it is still bugging me a bit, I have to admit. FWIW, my one friend was watching the hand (not in the game) and he told me an all-in would "definitely" have won that pot.

Perhaps the overall moral of the story is to not play frickin K8o until I'm more comfortable in these tricky situations.

7:34 PM  
Blogger GamblinSteve said...

Good fold. SB was going to call you.

7:22 AM  
Blogger GamblinSteve said...

Sorry, I meant good check.

Hey Eric, do you every play any of the 40/80 Omaha/8, or mixed games?

7:23 AM  
Blogger eric said...

Steve! How's it going?

I haven't yet played the 40/80 mix yet because it has 7CS hi-lo regular and 2-7 TD both of which I shouldn't be playing above 1/2.

I've played the 40/80 O8, but I'm more comfortable staying at the 20/40 for now, which I hit up on occasion. The 20/40 is super juicy for anyone who's even slightly competent at O8.

8:00 AM  
Anonymous Evan said...

My prediction was right!

3:19 PM  
Blogger eric said...

prediction? What, that I'd be moving to NL?

7:59 AM  
Anonymous Evan said...

No. my prediction was that you'd checked and wasn't happy with the results.

I don't know if I've ever told you that I thought you'd play NL, although I've thought it. The games are usually so soft.

2:39 PM  
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