Archive Nov 2006: Poker Talk

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Full Tilt -- no bad beat stories

I've continued to receive some bad beats, but I've also began to suck-out just as much -- a few QQ and KK beating AA, my two pair getting all in on the turn against a made flush and hitting a full house, etc., etc. Of course i also have had my share of bad beats, but it all evens out in the end. That's poker as they say.

Here are two hands I would like to share:

Hand 1:

Full Tilt Poker
No Limit Holdem Ring game
Blinds: $1/$2
6 players

Stack sizes:
Hero: $266.30
UTG+1: $186.75
CO: $329.55
Button: $340.40
SB: $329.85
BB: $207.25

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is UTG with A J
Hero raises to $7, UTG+1 calls $7 (pot was $10), CO calls $7 (pot was $17), Button folds, SB calls $6 (pot was $24), BB folds.

Flop: A J 4 ($30, 4 players)
SB checks, Hero bets $20, UTG+1 folds, CO calls $20 (pot was $50), SB folds.

Turn: J ($70, 2 players)
Hero bets $44, CO raises to $104, Hero calls $60 (pot was $218).

River: 5 ($278, 2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $150, Hero calls all-in $135.3.
Uncalled bets: $14.7 returned to CO.

Final pot: $548.6
Hero showed As Jh
CO showed 4s 6s

In the above hand I had a very aggressive rep at this table having been raising lots of hands. I figured the raise on the turn meant that the opponent thought I was weak. The pot was fairly large and I was hoping he had nothing and felt that he needed to bluff me off of a medium strength hand on the river. It turned out that I was correct.

Hand 2:

Full Tilt Poker
No Limit Holdem Ring game
Blinds: $1/$2
6 players

Stack sizes:
UTG: $199.05
Hero: $294.90
CO: $170.25
Button: $363.75
SB: $381
BB: $200.65

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is UTG+1 with 6 6
UTG raises to $6, Hero calls $6 (pot was $9), CO calls $6 (pot was $15), 3 folds.

Flop: Q Q 4 ($21, 3 players)
UTG checks, Hero bets $14, CO calls $14 (pot was $35), UTG folds.

Turn: 5 ($49, 2 players)
Hero bets $32, CO calls $32 (pot was $81).

River: K ($113, 2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $90, Hero calls $90 (pot was $203).

Final pot: $293
Hero showed 6d 6h
CO showed Td Ac

This was an interesting hand. I was pretty sure I was ahead leading up to the river. I felt that if I bet the river I could not stand a re-raise if the guy had a King so I checked. I expected him to bet, but not quite that big. At first I wasn't going to call, but it was a really large bet and if he wanted a call I don't think he would have bet that much. One other thing influenced my call which was pretty funny. At the exact same time this hand went down I had QQ on a second table and just got all in against AA on a rag flop. I rivered a Q and won just before my time to act was up in this hand. I decided that I was playing with someone else's money so it made the call much easier.

Second experience with Full Tilt -- One Outer Anyone?

Hey, I don't mean this blog to be filled with bad beats. But this one was classic. I guess the 5 out-er on river that I wrote about last night was not too bad. I'm getting good about not tilting though. I need to be proud of myself for that.

$1/2 game on Full Tilt, I have $170, opponent has 150.

I'm dealt 6 6 in BB. UTG limps, button limps, I check.

Flop comes:

6 2 2


I bet 7, UTG raises to 14, I call.

Turn: Q

I check, UTG bets 22, I riase to 60, UTG raises to 98 (weird), I push, UTG calls.

UTG turns over K 2

Nice little double-up, but then:

River: 2


* I guess he could have turned over QQ and it would have been just a normal bad beat.

First experience with Full Tilt -- a little Suck-out

I decided to try my hand at Full Tilt for the first time - and play like the pros as they say on the commercials. Or do they say 'Play with the pros?' Hmmm. Not sure. Anyway, I load for $500 at a 3/6 NL 6-handed table. The table starts off fairly weak. I raise from the button quite a bit and rarely meet resistence. I also 3 bet from the blinds when I suspect a steal from the button or CO and take down a few pots. I get JJ from MP, raise, see two callers, bet at a low flop and take it down.

One hand that I could have played a bit differently was when I'm in the BB with KTo and there are 3 limpers to me. I check and I flop the nut straight with a flop of QJ9. There is a flush draw on the board and I'm first to act. I bet about 2/3rds of the pot and everyone folds. I considered a check-raise but was a bit concerned about giving a free card to a flush draw. Oh, well.

I get dealt AKs. A MP player makes it 18 and there is one caller. I three bet to 40 and both call. The flop comes 568 rainbow. I decide to lead out for about 2/3rds of pot. In hind sight, I'm not sure if that made sense. Of course I could get AK to fold, but one of these players is likely to have hit a set or have either an overpair like QQ/JJ which in this limit is not likely to fold, or had a mid pair and either hit a set or now has an overpair and a straight draw and again, is not likely to fold. Anyway, they both call and get their money in on the turn. One had 7 for the set, but the other only had A9 (straight draw!). Anyway, I'm fine with the 3 bet, but not crazy about the contuation bet with 2 people in the pot. Your thoughts?

I lose a few small hands and am down to about $380 when this beauty comes up. I get QQ in the blinds and a LAG limps. I bet 20 and he calls. Flop comes J72 rainbow. I bet just under the pot and he calls. The turn is a 6 and he now bets about 3/4 of pot. I push, (another 200 or so) thinking he has a hand like AJ. Can he have a set? Sure, but I have decided that his range plus his bluffing potential is such that I need to play this hand to the end against this opponent. If he had a set, why not check-raise, why lead out after I have shown my willingness to bet for him. He had a big stack at about $1,200 and I had seen him throw chips around on several hands with very speculative holdings. Anyway, he turns over j8 and hit the J on the river and I'm done.

Oh, well!

Poker on the Radio

I really enjoy listening to the Circuit radio broadcast. I listen to it via podcasts. You go to the itunes music store and download the broadcasts to your PC and then sync with your ipod. They are free. The show is hosted by a young guy named Scott Huff and two poker pros -- Gavin Smith and Joe Sebok. Joe is Barry Greenstein's son. These guys have really good chemistry and it's a lot of fun to listen to them discuss hands, tournament strategy, the latest poker news and basically have a good time while talking poker.

Gavin and Joe are very loose aggressive players and they have both had good tournament success. Gavin was the WPT player of the year last year and Joe is fairly new to tournament poker but has had some really impressive results in the short time he's played. Listening to them discuss their aggressive style is pretty interesting and has helped open my eyes to the benefits of playing a more aggressive style. Gavin is a big advocate of playing small pots. He likes to call raises in position with both good and so-so hands and then put people to the test with raises and even calls PF. His thought process is that he can freeze the pf raiser by calling post flop and then moving in for the kill with a raise if the PF raiser blinks and slows down. It makes a lot of sense and has worked well for him. Give the broadcasts a try. I think you'll really enjoy them.

Poker on TV

Today is Monday, and I really miss my weekly fix of High Stakes Poker. Not only is this my favorite televised poker show, it's probably my favorite TV show. Period. The show is just so entertaining and fun to watch. Much more so than the typical poker show. The tournament shows are just not that entertaining to me any more. They always turn into all-in fests because of the fast structures and the TV editing. Most of these shows do too many interviews and other features -- I guess to appeal to the non-poker players.

Contrast this to High Stakes Poker where we get to see how poker is really played. We see both pre and post flop play. Most of the players are really good and we can learn what these professionals do and don't do. I guess it's also fun to see how some of them players goof up and don't necessarily play as well as we believe they should. There is real money on the line; sometimes hundred of thousands of dollars, which makes for some interesting 'train wreck' moments as there is true pain in the big freefalls.

A close second to High Stakes Poker would be the Heads Up Championship on NBC. It also features mostly professional players and to a large extent we get to see many interesting hands.

Season 3 of High Stakes Poker will be on in January. It looks like Phil Ivey, Jamie Gold and a few other new players will be joining the mix. Even Gabe Kaplan will be playing this time. It should be fun.
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