Visited the Hustler on Thursday night for a little $2/5 NL. I'm not crazy about their structure because they have a $300 max buyin ($100 min). I believe this attracts very tight players and many short-stacks. In fact, for the 4-5 hours I played I don't believe there were ever more than 50% of the players with max or better stacks. There were always 3-4 people with no more than $100 and often only $25-50. This makes it tough to get the correct implied odds to make plays with small suited connectors and even small to medium pairs.
I buy in for the max of $300. Things started off well. On the second hand I'm delt JJ. I raise to $15, get one caller from the blinds and flop top set. The small blind bets $25 and I decide to just call with the intention of raising on the turn. My decision is made for me when the blind pushes his remaining $150 on the turn when a blank hits. I call and take the pot. He had flopped bottom set. Good start.
For the next hour or two my stack goes back and forth between $200 and $400. I was rivered about 4 times when I had the winning hand. One time I flopped the nut straight and bet it strong all the way through only to have my opponent hit the 4th straight card on the river to tie me (he had TP with flush draw, it could have been worse). Another time I flopped a low flush, bet the pot, was called and the 4th flush card came on the turn and I had to give it up.
After the second hour or so I won a few key hands – KK vs. TT, nut straight on turn vs. set, etc., etc., and managed to get my stack up to $900. My table was playing very tight post flop, but preflop it was very, very limpy. The vast majority of pots (if I didn’t lead out!) were limped. I did join in some times, but I almost always raised if I was going to come in. In fact, 70-80% of the time from the CO or button I would raise blind and take down the pot with a continuation bet (also blind) on the flop if it was checked to me. I also cold called raises a few times when I had position with any two cards and would raise when checked to me to take down several pots. Of course, I would mix in some checks and folds so it wasn’t too obvious.
Towards the end of the night I did lose about $400 of my profit with two key hands.
Hand 1: I’m in the BB and the SB calls, I raise with Q9. He calls and we see a flop of 48Q. He checks, I bet about 2/3rds of the pot. The turn pairs the four, he checks, I bet 2/3rds of the pot again and he pushes another $90. I felt I had to call – there was a flush draw, plus I felt that he felt that I was being aggressive and could have been making a move. He had K4!
Hand 2: My last hand. A weak player 2 to my right raises and I call, again with Q9. Flop comes 669 high. He bets $20 into a $35 pot and I call. Turn is a 2, he bets $35 which seemed really weak to me so I raise another $100 trying to represent the 6 or a big pair. He took quite a bit of time, but called. River was a 3 (no flush or straight). I felt I was beat for sure given his call on the turn so I either give it up or continue to represent a strong hand. I decide to bet $150. He takes a lot of time. During his deliberations he says something like ‘could you have been slowplaying a big hand?’. I’m thinking to myself ‘Slowplaying?’. How much more strength could I have shown? I call his bet preflop, call on the flop, raise on the turn and make a large bet on the river. Anyway, I knew at this point that he wasn’t really capable of understanding what I was trying to convey and that he would call. I put him on TT-QQ or maybe A9. Sure enough he calls and turns over QQ.
Oh, well! I did leave with $450 so it wasn’t terrible.