16 January 2006

The Price for Fish

After a great day of +$1200, a quick return to $100 NLHE at Party demonstrates a few cardinal rules of play: play within the bankroll so that you can deal with the variance that you want to be there when folks chase. I made my $84 buy-in at the $100 max table. Fluctuated between $100 and $160 by exploiting some sets, etc. Was then knocked cold by two hands in a span of five minutes. First hand: I call $3.50 with the raiser on my right (blinds fold), with a pot of $8.50. I hold AKo, and flop comes AJ9 rainbow. Raiser bets $4, I raise another $8.64, and he calls. Turn comes 8, raiser checks, I bet $25, and again a call (he has $20 left). Q comes on the river, he bets his last twenty, and I'm assuming I'm now beaten with AQ or AJ, only to see KTo after my call.

Second hand I have 98o in the big blind. There is a caller then a raise to $4, the button calls, the small blind and I call, and the first limper folds (so $17 in the pot). Flop comes Q98 with two spades. SB checks, I bet $15, raiser folds, button calls, and the other guy folds (pot is now $47, I have $59.25 left). Turn is 5h, and I go all-in for $59.25. She cold calls with KsJs, then catches 6s on the river to make the flush, saying she had alot of outs. She's 27% to win after the turn, although she said that the two non-spade kings were outs which improved it a bit (if I only have a queen).

A few key learnings from these two hands. The first hand is a much worse play, 17% to win after the flop and 18% after the turn. I'm not quite sure how you keep chasing a gutshot twice (or at least I could never pay the above price to do it). The second hand was at first blush not as bad a play with the flush draw screaming at you as well as the gutshot. Of course, we want players to chase these things, but I think the key learning is that you play at stakes where losing these two hands in a row doesn't deplete your bankroll. Of course, I was alot more fortunate with this than I could have been. I could have been covered by the first guy and had to re-buy. I could have had more money with the second guy than I did, although I had plenty. The real aha is in NLHE, you have to play at stakes or at a buy-in that you're totally willing to lose. I see this differently than limit, which has as a significant advantage the mitigation of risk, the limit of loss when you get chased down. Especially at these lower stakes, in NLHE I specifically play gapped suited connectors and call the $3 raise focused more on the implied odds of the monster, hidden hand rather than the lost bet.

Not too tough a work day, leaving for breakfast at 7:30 and returning to my room at 3:45 this afternoon. All other days will be tough, so I need to enjoy this while I can. I slept eleven hours last night after getting a massage. Not that I'm homophobic, but I insisted on a female masseuse as the one time I've had a guy provide a massage it was a bit creepy. You have to be a bit careful with a request for a massage in Asia as you never know what services may be provided. I almost fell asleep toward the end of the massage, the hot stone massage. Of course, I smelled like oil all night, but I'll take it.

To bed now.

POSTSCRIPT: I can moderate comments but I can't respond to them while I'm here in Shanghai. It is very nice to of course have folks visiting this blog, but when I'm away from home this long, it is especially a treat to read your thoughts and comments (even flames are fine). Thanks for any comments, and keep them coming.


Blogger Scott Cunningham said...

1. Hand One with Board AJ9 and you're holding AKo. He raises, you raise, he calls. Turn, he checks you bet pot, he calls. River he raises. Your mistake here is calling the $20 river. You've got to be wondering if your TPTK is any good after he calls the pot sized turn bet. No doubt that he was chasing, but people do chase, especially when you're slumming at the lower limits, and I think you could've saved a bet by folding the river.

A reason to have called his river bet, though, was if you suspected he was tricky. His check on the turn said he wanted a free card, signalling a draw. But if he's tricky, then that check is a slow play. Did you have enough info to know whether he was tricky, though? If he was not tricky, then his all-in on the river, was not a slowplay, but a made hand, and any two pair beats your TPTK. So, I think while it's clear he got lucky, you could've saved a bet had you thought through before calling the river. And don't say "pot committed" because there's no such thing. ;)

2. Hand Two where the girl drew out the flush. She does have a point, I think. It's hard to put your opponent on bottom two pair, so she is thinking I have 9 outs for the flush, 4 for the straight, and possibly 2 if the guy has a queen, and 4 if he's got a mid-pair. So that's anywhere from 15-17 outs, and with two cards to come, that's positive EV. She should call that all day, because with that many outs, you're going to win more than you lose (I think - I don't have my calculator with me, but I think 15+ outs on the flop, and you're in the world where more than half the time you're going to win).

10:48 AM  

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