Thursday, August 09, 2007

I dropped 2 buy-in's at the baby game at Majestic last night because I played weak sauce. Weak, weak friggin sauce.

One hand is bugging the piss out of me, which is good because by the time I get over it, I will have thought about it so much that hopefully it will enter my mind every time I find myself in a similar situation - and I * will not * repeat it.

Back story: I'd been watching the guy to my left for about 4 hours. He mixed his game up really well and was unpredictable. I wanted to ask if he had a blog after watching him raise the hammer preflop under the gun, and then bet it all the way to the river with no pair/no draw. His opponent folded on the river, and he showed the hammer for a whole lotta red chips. Nice. I saw him raise preflop with anything from the hammer to suited connectors to AK to monster pairs. I also saw him limp with all manner of playable starting hands, and I saw him make good laydowns. He wasn't a maniac; he was just unpredictable - which, note to self, is something I need to work on.

The Hand: I've got AJ suited UTG. I hate AJ. It's my nemesis hand, and offsuit I'm pretty likely to pitch it to any heat, particularly in early position. Suited, I'd like to see if I can hit a flush draw. I limp for $2, and the guy to my left raises to $10. In a lot of situations, I'd lay this hand down to a raise. (More on this later). When 3 people called the raise ahead of me, though, I decided to see a flop in hopes of snatching some diamonds.

The flop came J-8-x rainbow. Here comes my play, drenched in all the foul goodness of weak sauce you could possibly imagine.

I checked. He bet. Everyone else folded.

Wait for it....

I flat called. (WTF? Dunk #1 in the weak sauce).

Turn came a blank, no diamond.

Check. Bet. Call. (Dunk #2).

River: Blank. I checked again. He bet $35. There is easily over $130 in the pot. I agonized for a moment, and because the bet was so small compared to the pot, I called.

He flopped 2nd pair, 8's, and rivered 2 pair, 8's and 7's.

Let's look at my thought process during that hand. It is spattered with the flavor of weak sauce all over the place.

Initially, I'm thinking, AJ is my nemesis and is very easily dominated by hands that people typically raise preflop with (AQ, AK, not to mention the big pairs). I'm not happy to play it aside from the flush draw possibilities to begin with.

On the flop, I'm thinking, if he's got AK, my hand could be good. But what if he has a big pocket pair?

Wiping Off the Weak Sauce: Lesson #1: Bet out on the flop with TPTK, or check raise. FIND OUT WHERE YOU ARE AT!!!! The check-call not only gave me zero information about where I stood with my pair, but it gave me no chance to take the pot right then and there.

Wiping Off the Weak Sauce: Lesson #2: Fear not monsters under the bed. Wanna know if there's a monster under the bed? See Lesson #1. Aside from the fact that I was check-calling weakly out of a fear of a monster hand, I was also ignoring the information I already had about the guy. Not once did I think about the fact that I had seen him raise preflop with all manners of hands, and that this particular raise was no different. It did not mean he had a monster. Sure, he could have - but I could have found that out on the flop instead of paying it off to the river.

As it turns out, my check-calling allowed him to catch up and beat my hand, which was good until the river.

I am very certain that a check-raise would have gotten him out of the hand, and if not, he'd have departed on the turn to any aggression from me. He was not a chaser, and he was capable of laying down hands. I'd seen him do it.

And that's why I'm so irritated at myself for this hand. This sort of play is much less a sin in low level limit holdem, but it's suicide in no limit - even at the baby limits. My play in this hand went against rules that I know to be true and effective (bet and raise to find out where you are, and for a chance to take the pot right there). It flew in the face of all of the mental notes I'd collected on this guy, as I ignored every one of them. It was chicken shit, monsters-under-the-bed weakness, the type of play I should be preying on and not exhibiting myself. I have no right to even sit at a no-limit table if that's how I plan to play.

And it's not how I plan to play. This hand has been naggingly haunting me for the last 24 hours. I won't do it again.

That hand cost about the equivalent of a buy-in. The other big loss I can recall was again a mis-play on my part, but more of a poor choice of plays and a little bit of un-luck.

I flopped a straight from the big blind in an unraised pot with 2-4 on a board of 3-5-6, two spades (I had hearts). 7 players in the pot. On such an ugly flop, I figured that betting out in early position wouldn't get me much action. With that many players in, I figured I could count on a bet from a late position player, at least, at which point I could throw in a raise. Most flop raises were getting called (then ditched on the turn, unless a monster developed). I planned to go for the check-min-raise.

To my dismay, play checked all the way around. BAH! The turn brought the third spade. Damn it anyhow. Sprinkling of weak sauce here - I probably could have bet out here to find out where I was, but with another card still to come, 3 spades onboard, and 7 people still holding live cards, I decided to take the conservative route. I checked. IT CHECKED AROUND AGAIN! Well, that was sick. The river was a blank, and as anxious as this table had been to bet even their flush draws (let alone made flushes), I figured I was probably good. I bet out, hoping someone with an odd pair would call.

Any-two-cards guy at the far left end of the table raised me, just over the min raise. Everybody else folded. I shook my head and looked at the guy and said, "You're slowplaying that flush on me, aren't you?" He was so drunk that his blank stare said absolutely nothing. Damn it anyhow. This guy was the kind of guy to call down with any two cards. As soon as he hit a pair (ANY pair - not just top pair), he'd come out betting. Any time he hit a draw (ANY draw, not just nut draws), he'd come out raising. He'd call river bets with absolutely nothing and show down Jack high. Was this guy raising the fact that he hit a pair of 4's on the river? Very possibly. Did he hit some lame ass two pair? Also possible, as he was hitting a LOT of two-pair's. Did he have the flush? I knew that was absolutely possible too, but because I could not definitively put this guy on a hand, I felt I had to call.

He had the flush. Straight no good.

I'm not sure the plan to check-raise was awful, and I can envision situations where I'd go that route again. It didn't work out this time.

Side note on the flush guy: he was 6 buy-in's deep by the time I ran into his flush, though he had won back $500 or so of it with ridiculously bad cards. By the time he left a few hours later, he had given all of it back, plus bought in for another $200 and lost that. He's the reason why I stayed on an extra buy-in... to try and grab some of that. 'Twas not my time.

After this yo-yo few weeks of poker, I'm up about $130. I go back to work in a few days. My debate now is: do I keep that bit of money in the poker box - aka, in my poker bankroll (which leaves me, again, one buy in from bust)? Or do I take that money, stick it in the bank. Pay a bill. Buy something for my camera. And chill on the poker for a while, knowing I'm going to be pretty busy with work for the next month or so.

I haven't yet decided.


  1. ChicagoJason said...
    Shelly - Nice post. I cracked a smile when the first hand was an AJ hand, we've spilled some digital ink on that lately, eh? I really don't mind the way you played pre-flop and the flop in the AJ hand.

    A check-raise on the flop would be good in many situations, but you may also opt to control pot size with two cards to come. This is a recent discussion that I think Blaz initiated. You are looking for some answers about your opponents hand. Was the 87 within his typical range for an EP raise? Of course if it was a little out of character, I'd assume he had a good pair or big Ax, and you want to know that he doesn't have an over pair before committing a bunch of chips to the pot. This might still be an argument for keeping the pot small.

    If you check-call the flop then you've kept the pot relatively small when the turn blank comes. Now you can price him out for any draws (Q or 8 for straight, K, Q for over cards) somewhat cheaply. If you reraise on the flop and he smooth calls, then what do you do on the turn? How much do you need to reraise to price him out with two pulls of the deck to come?

    On the turn, you can bet out $70-80 to see what he does. If he does anything but fold, you're done with the hand. In this particular case, you would've taken it down. And where he had a bigger hand (or sucked out), you would lose less in most circumstances.

    ChicagoJason said...
    Another benefit... If he does have QQ or KK, you see more streets for the same price. Maybe YOU suck out. :)

    On the straight hand, you flop a pretty big, but very vulnerable hand. If your opponents are weak-passive, and its sounds like they were, why not bet right out? You might get a raise from two-pair, or a pair and open-ender, hoping to protect his/her hand. If you get a smooth call or two, at least you know who you're up against and how they play. If a habitual flush-caller makes the call, you're probably done with the hand on the turn, but that's only 20% of the time.

    If the turn blanks, take it down now.

    If someone flopped the big straight, they'll let you know because they need to protect against the flush too. Depending on the opponent, you may call the reraise, speculating that they have two pair or even a set. The third flush card will slow you both down, and you may get a cheap showdown out of your little straight, or win a good pot with the hand that was ahead the whole time.

Post a Comment