Archive Oct 2007: Bond18

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Poker News Cup TR part 2, ME, The Spew-Out at the Crown Casino

For two weeks I’ve been telling my girlfriend “I’m going to win the Poker News Cup ME.” She normally just rolls her eyes at me and tells me to stop being a wise ass. Normally I go into events with a mentality of “well, a lot of play to be had here and things will have to go my way, we’ll see what happens.” Not this time. I’m not sure why, but I just feel like I’m going to win. I guess I’ve just learned so much in the last few months since the last time I’ve played live, I just feel so ready. Ninety minutes before the tournament begins I sign on AIM and tell Timex I’m going to win. He tells me I’d better since he found my family’s address and has the name of some very quality hired goons.
My friend Darren picks me up 45 minutes before start time and we arrive with plenty of time to register. I settle into my table and look over the table. I recognize two players, one, Leo Boxell in seat 5. Leo is a fairly legendary old school player in Australia who has been around the poker scene way before there actually was a poker scene. He’s also known for being really tight. The other familiar face is Ben Savage on my right, a 30ish semi pro who’s better than most but still has some weak-tight tendencies and gets lost post flop sometimes. He was the player that open limped JJ UTG in the previous trip report. The tournament structure is absolutely phenomenal, 20k start bank at 50/100, with hour levels and antes coming in at the 3rd level, 100/200 25.
Things start off pretty smooth for me. I open quite a few pots without doing anything really out of line. Leo Boxell is open limping a fair bit, and I’m five seats behind him. I keep raising his open limps in position, then C betting and taking it down post. Sometimes I hit and sometimes I whiff, but so far he hasn’t beat me out of a pot. Finally I find a spot to slow down:
Effective stacks: ~20k, blinds 50/100
Preflop: Leo limps in EP, folds to me on HJ, I raise 6h9h to 400, folds to BB, BB calls, Leo calls.
Flop: K T 9 rainbow
Wow I can’t think of a flop that crushes his limp call range more than that. It checks to me and I check back.
Turn: 4
It checks around.
River: J
BB checks, Leo bets 500, I fold. BB decides to pay off and Leo flips up QJ. The BB starts complaining about how he had KK and can’t make it win.

The BB in that hand is a 55-60ish guy named Jimmy. He’s extremely talkative and likes discussing every hand after it happens. He looks over at me and the guy on my left and says we’re wearing Paris Hilton sunglasses, despite us both wearing fairly normal sized aviators. He continues on about Hilton.
Jimmy: Man I’d like to rail her all night.
Bond: I guess if you really want herpes that bad.
Jimmy: I’d take it!

I continue opening a lot of hands for the first 20ish minutes without much problem, often taking the pots off Leo Boxell. I’m basically an unknown to him so I think he perceives me as just some young spew tard. With this established image the following hand comes up:
Effective stacks: ~20k, blinds 50/100. I hold 22 in MP2
Pre flop: Leo limps UTG, folds to me, I limp, folds to button, button limps, SB completes, Jimmy checks the BB.
Flop: J 2 J rainbow
SB/BB check. Leo bets 300. I raise to 1200. 3 folds. Leo very quickly 3 bets to 4300. I sit back and think this over. I think vs any other player at the table I should call and let them keep going on the turn but there’s a few other factors here. First of all, my image and the way I’ve been playing with Leo. Second, I’m almost positive he has AJ to limp in there, I’m pretty certain he’d probably just fold QJ there and maybe even KJ. If I jam this flop I really don’t think there’s anyway he folds AJ with my image, and I don’t really need a T/Q/K peeling the turn and him slowing down because he gets scared. I elect to shove in. Leo looks disgusted and starts grumbling to himself.
“All in? It’s a 3 day tournament and you’re all in now!?”
I sit motionless, leaning back in my chair trying to look as spew tard as possible.
“Must be pocket two’s to go all in here.”
I say nothing. Leo deliberates then slides his stack into the middle and tables KJo. I flip up my 22 with pride and mentally pray to dodge a K or J. The guy on my left goes “I folded J6o!”
Turn: 6
Nice fold sir.
River: 9
I tell Leo it was nice playing with him today (my standard line these days for anyone I bust to keep things friendly) and collect the massive pot.

The table goes berserk with chatter about the hand. Everyone is saying they would have folded his KJ in a heartbeat, that “it’s a 3 day tournament!” as Jimmy puts it. Jimmy is especially adamant and keeps going on and on about the hand for the next 30 minutes. “I just can’t believe he called, why risk your stack there!? It’s a three day tournament!”

With my new massive stack I of course continue to accelerate and force the action. Things go well at first since the table is basically all recreational players, many of whom qualified on one of the Poker News freerolls (about 25-30% of the field was made up of freeroll winners.) Things go well for a while with little problem, until the following hand comes up:
My stack: 42k, SB: ~20k, Jimmy is the BB with ~20k. The SB is almost certainly a freeroll winner and appears very nervous and unsure of himself. He seems very weak. I hold KhJd in MP. Blinds 100/200.

Preflop: Folds to me, I raise to 600, folds to SB, SB calls, BB calls.
Flop: 3c 4c 5h
Both players check. Online I’d always check this flop back, but so far my C bets have met zero resistance and I think a lot of their calling range is over cards. I decide to fire once and shoot out 1200. The SB calls and Jimmy folds the BB.
Turn: 6d
The SB checks. In a live tournament, I think this is a great bluff card. The villain normally doesn’t have a 7, and even though I often shouldn’t have one most players are too scared of the board to stop me. I bet 2200. SB thinks it over a minute and calls very meekly. I think he’s most likely on a flush draw, has a mid pair, or is slow playing a straight. As the river comes out I point my head (while wearing sunglasses) at the board but watch his face intently with my eyes.
River: 8s
SB’s face flashes with disappointment. He sets his cards in his hand like he’s ready to fold them, then checks. Even though the pot is pretty large I’m pretty sure I’m mostly trying to bluff out missed draws, sometimes A high, so I fire a small 3500. SB takes his hand off his cards, then goes to his chips and check min raises me to 7000. Very [censored] amusing. It turns out with this particular player he feigns weak actions when’s strong, classic Mike Caro’s book of tells style. I fold my hand and he flips up his 7 7 for all to see. I have no idea why he bothered to show, he’s clearly not the type to set up a check min raise bluff later on. I think he just didn’t want to anger the LAG tard chip leader.

“Haha! Got your hand caught in the cookie jar there eh Tony?” quips Jimmy.
“I guess so Jimmy, I couldn’t beat his straight.”
“You know, you are like a male Paris Hilton.”
“Um okay? Should I be complimented or offended?”
”Complimented of course, I reckon she’s gorgeous!”
The table cracks up and play continues.

The next hand I play requires a little history. The villain involved had raised two limpers a small amount in position with AJo. On a Kxx flop he fired into 3 players and got called by one. On a J turn he fired weak again and the guy called. The river went check check and he tabled AJo which lost to KQo. He wasn’t quite as agro as that hand might suggest, but he was still somewhat active and capable of firing when he didn’t have it.

My stack: ~34k, his stack: ~18k, Blinds 100/200
Preflop: Folds to MP1, MP1 limps, MP2 raises to 700, HJ folds, I call with QTo on the CO, button folds, blinds fold.
Flop: Q 9 5 rainbow
MP1 checks, MP2 bets 2000, I call, MP1 folds.
Turn: J
MP1 checks, I check.
River: 7
MP1 bets 2700 and I call. He flips up AA. Fair enough.

I continue playing pretty aggressive and opening a lot of pots, sometimes C betting and sometimes checking back if the flop is really awful and villain in the hand is a huge station (such as the HUGE station 2 on my left who has trouble seeing the board and what my bets are so has to stand up and lean over the table putting his face close to the felt.) I lose a couple thousand to raising hands pre flop and whiffing the board but still nobody seems to want to step up and 3 bet pre flop. With his half hour speech about how Leo should have never risked his tournament life this early, the following hand comes up vs Jimmy. At this point Jimmy had been kind of spewy and sometimes aggressive post flop, and had sucked out a couple times in medium pots to get chips.
My stack: ~28k, Jimmy: ~25k, Blinds 100/200. I hold 6s9s on the CO.

Preflop: Jimmy limps in EP, folds to me, I raise to 800, a very weak/straight forward SB calls, BB folds, Jimmy calls.
Flop: 3c 4c Kh
Not a bad C bet board. Both players check to me. I bet 1200 and the SB folds. Jimmy check raises to 2500. He had been using a lot of these small check raises, having done it to me once already. I reraise to 6500. No way he doesn’t fold a K here. Jimmy INSTA shoves, smashing his chips in the middle. “Well, I guess you have a set, I fold.” The dealer THINKS I SAY CALL and announces call to the table, then takes my cards and flips them face up. Jimmy goes “YEA LETS DO IT!” and flips up his KQo. What the [censored]? KQo? I immediately correct the dealer and turn my hand back over.
“NO! I said fold. I absolutely said fold.”
“I thought you said call?”
“No, ask the players next to me.”
The players around me all confirm that I clearly said fold and my hand is mucked. Unfortunately most of the table saw my hand and my image is completely ruined. I’ll be forced to play tight now. I still can’t believe Jimmy insta shoved around 120 BB’s with one pair Q kicker after rambling on and on for so long about how he would insta fold the KJ. God live players are so weird.

With my stack beaten back to around 21k I sit pretty tight. Jimmy now appears to be full throttle and has completely reversed his tight weak mentality, playing absolutely spewtastic poker, especially versus me. I open a couple decent hands but whiff the flop and give up, and my stack slips to 18k. At the break I find Darren.
“Jesus man you would not believe this insane table. I had 43k, now I have 18k. If I can just get like top pair vs this Jimmy guy I will stack him, I swear to God.”

When we get back from the break the blinds have increased to 100/200 with a 25 ante. A few hands in I peek down at AdAs on the button. I like where this is going:
My stack: ~18k, Jimmy: ~35k, MP2: ~25k
Preflop: Folds to Jimmy in MP1, Jimmy raises to 800, MP2 goes into the tank, seems to consider raising, and calls. Folds to me on the button and I make it 2800. The blinds fold and Jimmy calls. Again MP2 seems to consider reraising, looks over and eyes me suspiciously, but elects to call.
Flop: Tc 6c 4s
Jimmy checks, MP1 checks, I bet 5500. Jimmy instantly check shoves. MP2 now tanks forever. This is going to be really gross if MP2 reshoves, but the longer he tanks the longer I think I’m ahead. I know I’m ahead of Jimmy. MP2 lets out a sigh, then reluctantly folds his hand. I insta call and Jimmy goes “well, ya got me kid” then flips up his 88 no club. I table AA. MP2 says he folded KK.
Turn: 5
River: K
MP2 winces while I have I have a big [censored] smile on my face. The pot is passed over to me and I restore my 40k stack.

I turn the heat on again on the table but this time start using my aggressive image post flop to value town people very hardcore and check back a ton when I whiff. I slightly increase my stack without any real event. Jimmy goes on full tilt and starts calling with a lot of hands pre. He then gets sucked out in a huge pot by the table calling station, who called him down with AK high when Jimmy clearly had an over pair and managed to runner runner a flush on him. Jimmy is noticeably pissed by this, having only a few thousand left.

The blinds increase to 150/300 and near the end of the level Jimmy has blinded down to 3700. He open shoves in LP and I peek down at AJs in the BB and quickly call. He tables A5o and a J on the flop finishes his day as my stack climbs to mid the 40’s. I shake his hand and tell him “nice playing with you today.”

The last hand before the break the button raises, and knowing this trick I quickly 3 bet K9o to about 3.4 times his raise in the SB. The BB folds and he passes. Thank god, I really need to piss.

We come back from the break at 200/400 with a 50 ante. A few hands in the following hand comes up:
My stack: ~44k, BB (the table station with bad eyesight) has about 55k. I hold AQo on the button.
Preflop: EP limps, folds to me, I raise to 1600, SB folds, BB calls, EP folds.
Flop: Ad 5d 4h
BB checks, I bet 2600. BB calls.
Turn: Qh
BB checks, I bet 4900, BB calls.
River: 2c
Not a great card since he really could have a 3, but still not bad. BB checks and I bet 7600. He calls and tables A9o. Ship me the monies please. My stack climbs over 60k and things are running smooth.

I continue my highly aggressive game and play a few small pots with Axo in position. The first I take down with a C bet, but the 2nd the guy limp calls AJs in EP, then calls my flop bet on a T high board. I check back after that and his AJ high is good. *Sigh* Nice hand sir. Our table is broken up and I’m moved into the center of poker room by the rail with about 55k in my stack. There’s nobody I recognize here. A few hands into my new table I witness a truly insane hand.
CO is a young Estonian kid in a red ‘Duplicate Poker’ shirt. The BB is a middle aged well dressed Indian guy.
CO stack: ~40k, Indian guys: ~100k
Preflop: Folds to CO, CO raises to 1800, 2 folds, BB calls.
Flop: As Js 9d
Check, check.
Turn: 3h
Check, check.
River: 9s
BB checks a third time. CO thinks it over and fires 2600, Indian guy goes for chips and makes it 7600, CO goes for more chips and just throws a mess of 5k’s out there, like 26k of his 40k. Indian guy taps the table and folds, CO flips up 7h6h and rakes the pot with a smirk.

(Authors note: I paused in my writing to go play the rest of the event. I'll finish it within the next day or so.)

Poker News Cup Trip Report Part 1, Octopointless

Last night was the $230 NL event at Crown last night. After looking over the structure sheet, I had no intention of being a masochist and playing, but unfortunately for me, my girlfriend wanted to play it. I warned her that it would be entirely pointless and frustrating, but she wanted to play some live and I didn’t mind the chance to socialize and laugh at donks. Yet again Crown's system of not randomizing seat selection and instead just putting people who sign up together at the same table ends up seating me with friends. We started with a 3k stack, at 25/50 blinds with half hour levels and doubling blinds. An hour later (about 30 hands) and the average stack is down to about 15 BB’s. I had raised a few hands at the 25/50 level where there was room to play, then went card dead through 50/100 and 100/200.

One interesting hand went down as follows:

UTG (a player selling %’s of himself in the main event online and singing his praises) open limps for 200 with about a 5k stack. 2 folds and one of Australia's better limit players limps behind. It folds to me and I limp 9Ts on the CO. The SB completes and my friend Daren shoves 2200 in the BB with JJ. UTG thinks it over and calls. Then UTG+3 reshoves for about 1200 more. It folds back to UTG who thinks for a long ass time and reluctantly calls. The cards are shown:

Daren in the BB has JJ, UTG has JJ, UTG+3 has AKcc. I struggle to stop myself from blurting “What the [censored] is this spastic [censored]?!” The board comes A high and Daren is busted.

A little while later at 150/300 I open shove A7o in MP with 2525 and the BB thinks for a long ass time and calls with AJ. It holds and I bust in a totally uneventful tournament.

Later at dinner Daren begins discussing the hand...

Daren: Ben Savage (UTG in the hand) totally should have reshoved there. I reckon Dusan (UTG+3) would have folded.
Bond: What?! Are you [censored] serious? Dujan will never fold there in a billion years.
D: Don’t you think he ought to?
B: Holy jesus god no. No no no no no no.
D: Well I definitely didn’t do anything wrong.
B: No, of course not. The whole hand was entirely retarded. The action should go: UTG raises, Dusan shoves, and you have to think about it and reshove slash hate life because it’s live and everyone is such a god damn nit but you’ve got JJ with 11 BB’s.
D: You don’t reckon Dusan should fold if Savage reshoves instead of calling?
B: Oh my god no. He probably shouldn’t even fold AQ. We’re talking like 15 BB’s deep here. AKs is the absolute stone cold [censored] nuts there. I can’t believe we’re talking about this. I can’t believe he limped it. I can’t believe JJ limped. Live poker is going to give me a seizure.

Yea, I was a little harsh. However, I think if people are going to learn it’s probably necessary. I didn’t really get any good until A_Junglen started telling me how terrible I play. It was the kind of honesty I really needed and most people should learn to adapt to it if they want to learn how to play. Daren has since been staked in the 3k main event and I told him he is to report to my house for a couple days proceeding so I can teach him there’s no such thing as a "tournament life."

After playing a few online tournaments today with no real results, I get a quick work out in before tonight’s tournament, a $500 NL with a single rebuy that I expect to be vastly better. The structure starts you with 2500 in chips which you can rebuy up to 5000 immediately, or hold on to your singular rebuy card. The blinds start at 25/50 with half hour levels. However, the increases, to 50/100, 100/200, and 150/300 will again get things somewhat short stacked soon.

I get to the casino with plenty of time to buy in and stand around chatting for a bit. As I settle into my table I immediately set my $500 on the table and request the rebuy. I nod at the only other guy sitting at the table at the moment. He looks up at me and says “Hey, you're Bond18 aren’t you?”
“What the hell? You know me?”
“Yea, I’m 2+2.”
Damn it, I need to change my avatar.

The table gets seated and play begins. A few hands in my first interesting hand comes up:

I hold QQ in MP1. CO is the 2+2 player who tells me he plays MSNL so I give him credit for being thinking/good. The SB is an unknown who looks in his late 20s and has yet to use his rebuy card. Since he hasn’t, I imagine he’s not very good.

Blinds 25/50
Stacks: Me: ~5200, CO: ~3500 SB: ~2700
Preflop: Folds to me I raise to 150. Folds to CO who calls, button folds, SB calls, BB folds.

Flop: J87 (pot 500)

SB checks, I bet 350, CO calls. I’m pretty sure he’s not flat calling any hand that beats me here except maybe 9T, anything like two pair or a set would raise. The SB makes it 1000. [censored], this is legitimately hard. Live players don’t check raise without what they perceive to be the nuts. The problem is a lot of them think QJ/KJ/AJ is the stone nuts in this spot here. There’s also a bunch of draws out that he MIGHT CR with, and that he hasn’t shoved isn’t that scary since live players never seem to shove. I think it over and move in. The CO folds and the SB insta calls with his 9T. I brick out and am down to around 2300 immediately.

I win a small pot or two before the next hand of interest comes up:

Blinds 25/50
My stack: 2800
HJ: 3500
I hold 22 in MP1

Preflop: UTG folds, UTG+1 calls, I call, 2 folds, HJ calls, folds to SB, SB calls, BB checks.
Flop: 234 (Pot 250)

Blinds check, I bet 175, HJ calls, 3 folds.
Turn: 7 (600)
I bet 425, HJ reluctantly calls.
River: 9 (pot 1450)
I bet 750, HJ calls. I flip up my set without concern for what his is. HJ mucks.

I continue to drag small pots and build my stack back over the start bank to around ~5500. Beating bad players out of small pots is incredibly easy but the blinds increase to the point that I’m not allowed any room to see flops. With the blinds increased to 100/200 the following hand develops:

UTG is the player who beat my QQ with 9T. He’s now sunk down to 3100 chips. I have ~5500. MP1 has ~6000. I hold KK on the HJ.

Preflop: UTG raises to 600, folds to MP1, MP1 calls, folds to me, I raise to 2000 (which is always the right play in live poker instead of shoving) folds back to UTG who shoves, MP1 folds. I call and he flips up AK.

Flop: 8 A Q
Turn: X
River: X

Fine, whatever. Down to about 2200 or something. I fold for a little while trying to find a spot to shove. On the hand before the break the BB gets up and leaves thinking we’re done, and there’s two players between me and the blind with a dead small and about 1600 in my stack. I decide if it folds to me I’ll shove any two. It folds to me and I peek down at J6o and jam it in. The two players behind me fold and I survive to the break with 1800.

I waste 15 minutes during the break chatting with whomever’s around in preparation of the Bad Boys of Poker event, a 10k buy in 10 player tournament that features some of the best in Australian MTT players. There’s quite a bit of media and cameras in preparation of the event. I consider Mark Vos the favorite but it’s a pretty capable field all around.

The first hand back from the break the blinds have increased to 150/300. The BB fails to show up and there’s 3 players behind me. It folds to me with K7o and I have a very easy jam. The first two players fold and the SB who has a pretty big stack sits back in his chair.

“Hmm, I know I should call you really fast but I want to think this over. Hmmm yea I want to think about this.”
”That’s fine by me.”

He turns to the dealer “Am I allowed to tell him what my hand is?”
“Nope” replies the dealer.

“Huh well I guess I ought to call.” He leans back and thinks a moment longer. “Yep, I call” and flips up AQ. Woooow, I knew live players had no clue about calling ranges but holy [censored] that was a bigger waste of time than ‘Basic Instinct 2’.

In the meantime, I’ve booked my flights to Macau. Word has it the 15k event will be 30-40 players and only five of them any good. Since it’s also televised I’m considering contacting the poker sites and seeing what their willing to offer me for wearing a T-shirt or something, anything to get a relationship going that moves towards a sponsorship. Hopefully I can make something happen in the Poker News main event and get some momentum going into more live. I feel like my play has improved a lot since the last time I did serious live polay in August, much thanks to A_Junglen, LuckyChewy, Grafyx, NoahSD, Gobboboy, and Randallin, the guys I’ve spent the most time talking strategy lately with. I feel like I’ve stopped spewing in a lot of spots I used to and found a pretty good balance for my aggression. Now I just need to run like God.

Things it took me a while to learn part 5, 3 betting/4 betting

It’s hard to find a good balance between to much pre flop reraising and not enough. For quite a long time I was just 3 betting non stop, if only to make peoples lives hard and image purposes. Over the last few months through a lot of review I feel like I’ve pulled it back a little bit and found a pretty good balance.

I kind of lump 3 betting/4 betting into two categories, for value and as a resteal bluff. Most of this article will focus on 3 betting since it’s way more common than 4 betting. It’s likely that you could go months without 4 betting pre as a bluff and it wouldn’t be a serious leak, especially at lower limits. So lets get in depth talking 3 betting first:

The first important factor in regards to 3 betting is stack size. If you have under 27 BB’s I’d say just about any 3 bet should be an all in. There is however an exception for players who take all-ins very seriously but will foolishly call off a ton of effective stacks to a nominal reraise. In these kind of situations if button raises 3X and you’re sitting with a big hand in the BB you should reraise to 9X and then jam or check/jam most flops, depending on how good they are for you. If you put this amount of your stack in pre you should never check fold the flop.

This move is basically known as the go and go. The more normal execution of the go and go 3 bet occurs with around 28-36 BB’s. The basic idea is this: Simply shoving pre tends to be a bit of an over bet. However your hand is way too good to flat call. So you reraise an amount that will make your flop shove (or occasional check shove) very natural.

Example: Your stack: 35 BB’s. CO’s stack: 40 BB’s. You hold AsQs in the BB.
Preflop: Folds to CO, CO raises to 3 BB’s.
Alright, now the mistake some players make here is reraising to small. At 28 BB’s going to 9 BB’s would be fine but in a spot like this you need to bloat the pot, so I recommend making it about 11 BB’s. Assuming there are antes, if CO elects to call there’s going to be about 24 BB’s in the middle and you’ll have 24 BB’s left in your stack. On the vast majority of flops you need to be open shoving. THE ONLY TIMES YOU SHOULD BE CHECKING IS WHEN YOU HIT A CRUSHING FLOP. If you hit Ad 7s 2s (or something similar) you should be check shoving that flop. So after I make this post if I see anyone do this and fold a flop because their scared to shove I’m going to get medieval on their ass.

The next important factor in 3 bet sizing is not trying to keep your sizes consistent. The most obvious thing you see people doing is min 3 betting or tiny 3 betting with their huge hands in order not to lose the original raiser. VS non thinking villains who just see a good price and click the call button this is okay, but vs anyone capable of thinking about a hand this is pretty bad since you’re tipping them off to your strength. You see this kind of thing very often even at the high levels and from the good players, and every time I see one good player trying to tiny reraise another good player with AA / KK I just laugh at how transparently foolish they are. The defining factor in your reraise size should be effective stacks NOT hand strength, in most situations.

Now lets talk about 3 betting as a resteal opposed to value. Executing this properly requires an understanding of meta game factors. Have you been 3 betting much recently? Have your 3 bets been shown down as very strong hands? Are you near a bubble? What are positions? Is villain opening a lot of pots? Are you in a bubble situation villain cares about? Is villain paying any attention at all to the table?

There’s two kinds of resteals, restealing all in and restealing with chips behind intending to fold to an all in. Let’s talk about proper execution of both:

All in: The proper stack size for this is about 13-21 BB’s. Less than 13 BB’s and you don’t really have any fold equity and if you shove 22 BB’s or more on a sub par hand it tends to be a bit of a spew. Most reraises all in should be over the top of a hijack, CO, button or SB raise. Most people aren’t loose enough in positions before that to get enough folds, though players do come along where you can profitably execute this. I prefer to do this with hands that have some equity when called, suited aces, suited connectors/one/two gapers, low broadway cards. However, sometimes you’ll find a spot where restealing all in with ATC is +EV (especially around bubbles) so if you recognize that situation don’t be afraid to exploit it with whatever you have.

With chips behind: Of course we start with stack sizes. Because I hate putting 30%+ of my stack in pre and folding post I’m not pulling this move unless effective stacks are 35 BB’s or more. Every now and then you’ll see a rare spot you can do this with the low 30 BB’s but it’s not too often. There’s a big difference between doing this in and out of position. I tend to go 2-3 BB’s more when OOP to try and prevent playing a bloated OOP pot with a weak hand.

Example: Effective stacks 40 BB’s. I hold 57s in a spot I think is really good to resteal.
A. Raiser is CO I’m button. Co raises to 3 BB’s, I tend to make it 8.5-9.5 BB’s here. If villain calls and I flop a big draw I try to get it in whether he bets or checks. If I flop a weak draw and he checks I tend to check behind. If I flop a pair and he leads I likely fold, if I flop a pair and he checks my decision will depend on board texture and villain.
B. Raiser is CO I’m BB. Co raises to 3 BB’s. I tend to make it 10.5-11.5 BB’s here.
If villain calls and I flop a big draw I likely lead close to full pot to let him know he has no FE. If I flop a pair I make a game time decision based on villains expected calling range and board texture. Anything else I probably check with the intention of folding to most bets.

Alright, now let’s go over 4 betting. Obviously everyone knows how to 4 bet all in with a strong hand after they get someone to 3 bet them. So lets talk about how to 4 bet with a wide range hoping to get a fold out of villain. First of all this is a very rare move to use, and it is extremely meta-game dependant.

I think optimal effective stacks for this are about 37-43 BB’s. Even optimal effective stacks depends on villain, as some villains will 3 bet you with 32 BB effective stacks with the intention of folding to a shove. In this spot, knowing your villain is everything. At low stakes there are very few players with a high restealing frequency, so if you attempt this move you’re basically trying to bluff out some guy who 3 bet you with TT/AQ and now doesn’t know what to do because he didn’t think ahead. It’s a rare enough thing to do that even at my volume I probably only use it around 1-3 times a week. However, if you can find a villain who seems to be 3 betting you or a lot of villains often, and you raise up a hand and again he 3 bets you (this gets a little easier if he has a betting size tell, like raising smaller with resteals or etc) every now and then you need to take control back by 4 betting all in.

Alright guys that’s it for this time. As always, if there’s any questions just ask.

They all come crawling back

This weekend kicked off the Poker News Cup at Crown with a $175 NL event. I didn’t end up playing it because I wanted to maintain my dignity but unfortunately I’ll be going into Crown later tonight to return to the humiliating process that is live poker. Tonight’s event has a structure that can only be described as horrific for the skilled player: 3000 start bank, 25/50 blinds, 30 minute levels, no antes.

I imagine most of the interesting writing that will result from the first couple events will likely be stories of the various degenerates that inhabit Crown and the god awful play of my opponents. Though I must admit, I’m pretty giddy for some of the upcoming quality tournaments. The Poker News Cup main event has an absolutely gorgeous structure that starts us with 20,000 in chips at 50/100 and brings antes in at the THIRD level. More good news in the live poker department is that the tournaments in Macau have been officially announced and set up, as the Asian Poker Open, information can be found here:

Most exciting about that trip is the $15,000 event which according to Jonno of Poker News is going to be 5 good players and 25 degen gamblers with little idea of how to play. Even more interesting is that apparently both that and the $2500 main event there are to be televised, though god knows where. I’ve learned in the past that people will say just about anything to have their tournament turned into a big deal, especially in regards to advertising it as televised, so we’ll see. I’m not per say excited to go to Macau itself, as it’s basically a dirtier, more mob (or in this case, Triad) infested version of Las Vegas that the large developers are trying to into Vegas. As if Vegas isn’t insane enough now imagine a place where the gamblers are so intense and feverous that some urinate on the floor under their seat instead of risk giving it up and having to wait at the back of the crowd.

I have enough trouble hanging out in the casino floor of Crown already, where most of the degens mind their own business and the gangsters are all in the Mahogany, Teak, and poker room. When I was much younger I thought casinos were glamorous and interesting places like in the Bond movies, and gangsters were subtle and well dressed like the Godfather. Now I know casinos are depressing shit holes packed with angle shooters and gangsters are mostly annoying fucking drug peddlers in stained pants who spend all their time either gambling or whoring. Then again I hear many of the casinos in Europe still have a dress code so maybe EPT Monte Carlo will change my mind, but I doubt it.

If I was a teacher these are the kinds of places I’d take my students. “Okay class I know we’re supposed to go to the Natural Sciences museum today but we’re taking a little detour….to the casino! Here’s your assignments:
1. Attempt the martingale system on blackjack. First one to prove to me mathematically how it inevitably results in gamblers ruin gets an A.
2. Loan a broke and gambling friend money. Make sure to get his drivers license and copy down his address so you know where to find him when he stops returning your calls. Bonus points if you make vague threats against his family.
3. Go to the baccarat pit and observe how everyone takes notes on the previous action despite inanimate objects having no memory. When everyone is on a streak and has a bunch of money on either player or banker, sit down and bet the minimum on the opposite and wink at the biggest bettor.
4. Go to the poker room and ask everyone you meet if they’re winning. Then write me an equation of how it’s possible that 95% of players are up.
5. First one to get their teacher comped at the casinos best restaurant doesn’t have to take the final.”

I imagine kids would learn way more from a day like this than observing the process by which a jet engine works. Unless of course you need to hold the head of that friend you lent money to next to one.

Things it took me a while to learn part 4, Bankroll management

If there’s only one thing I could teach or imprint upon another poker player it’s how important bankroll management is. There are a ton of talented poker players who are extremely capable in the games they play, but due to poor bankroll management stay stuck around broke for years.

What seems to be the standard rule for MTT bankroll management is as follows: Always have at least 100 times your average buy in. I say average buy in because this allows for a player to ‘take shots’ without over extending.

As far as the maximum amount of your roll you should put on one event, that mostly comes down to your preference, but I personally (and these days I’m a pretty big BR nit) can’t imagine putting down much more than 5% of my roll on one event.

The largest problem with playing outside of your bankroll is that for most players it tends to force up emotional involvement. Building a bankroll and then blowing it due to mismanagement is mentally crippling to almost everyone and often results in going even higher and faster.

I encourage people to not try to move up to fast and when they do to do so in moderation. Creating a bankroll so big that the stakes you play makes it nearly impossible to busto but gives you room to take a shot now and then is truly the ideal.

As always, if anyone has a question or needs me to elaborate, just ask.
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