Monday, January 02, 2006

Not How I Wanted to Start the New Year

I played 5 hours today, and was up $450+ through careful, solid play before this hand, which is already haunting me.

As you read this, try to answer what you'd do on each street before reading ahead.

I'm on the button with 4-4. 1-2NL, deep stacks ($800)

UTG makes it $15 to go - fairly standard. 4 callers to me. I call. SB re-raises to $41 total: he's a somewhat tight, relatively unimaginative player. UTG calls, 1 fold, and 2 calls back to me. I call.

FLOP: 3-4-6 all clubs. I have middle set.

Preflop raiser (SB) bets out $75 into a 5 way field. Folded to me.

WHAT'S YOUR ACTION? SB has about $100 less than I do ($800)


I think for a while. I put SB on AA with the ace of clubs. Alternatively, KK or QQ with a club, or AK of clubs, or A-K offsuit with a club. How can he bet into this field without a big pair or a big club?

I finally decide to smooth call. Now, those of you who know me know that I'll probably smooth call here about 5% of the time: I'm gonna raise this almost all the time. So, why smooth call?
I think I'll get called or re-raised if I put a raise in here.. Is there anything wrong with that? well, basically, I was trying to make my opponent make a BIG mistake on the turn, by betting with his big pair or big pair + club when no club came. Alternatively, if I raise, and he comes over the top all-in, which is a sensible play with AA + Ace of clubs, I'm calling HOPING I'm a 2-1 favorite against a flush draw, and praying I'm not a 2-1 dog against a flopped flush: I'm giving him additional fold equity, even if the chances of me folding are slim. In position, I thought I'd garner more information based on the turn card and his subsequent action.

Does this make any sense? Can anyone justify just calling the flop given my read?

So, the turn is an offsuit nine, and now my opponent says "all-in.." $615... Holy Cow: wait a second - HE THINKS I HAVE THE BIG CLUB! I took a long time before calling the flop, and he thinks I have the draw. He's trying to protect something.. but what? Maybe an overpair without a club? Maybe an overpair less than aces with a club?

oy vey... I can't make sense of this bet - I think I'm best.



I give it a lot of thought. "Scott - do you have a big hand?" he shrugs.. "It's looking pretty good," he tells me. (Scott, not Scotty, for those of you who know Black Scotty - this is his friend - a different player) Could he have nines? Why would he make it $41 preflop out of position with nines? Finally I call: there's only about $350 in the pot before his bet, so I don't have much in terms of pot odds.

River: King of Clubs. uh oh...

He doesn't react, so I turn my set faceup.

he tables.... ?????

pocket nines.

Holy fuck. What did I just do?

It's not my turn call that bothers me: even though THAT is where I got all my money in drawing to one out. It's my flop call that's haunting me. Can anyone make sense of my flop call?

How about my turn call: given my read, my logic, and what I thought that my OPPONENT thought that I had? Which play is worse? Are they both completely inexcusable?

On the one hand, I'm furious about my flop play, because I could have raised and taken the pot down. On the other hand, ASSUMING I COULD SEE MY OPPONENT'S CARDS, my flop play is not the problem: I had him dead to rights.

Richie pours salt in the wound by saying "I mucked 9-7: he hit the case nine."

11 days 'til Vegas.


Anonymous said...

do i have this action right preflop?:

seat 1 - $15 + $26 = $41
seat 2 - $15 - FOLD
seat 3 - $15 + $26 = $41
seat 4 - $15 + $26 = $41
seat 5 - $15 - FOLD
seat 6 - FOLD
seat 7 - FOLD
Button - $15 + $26 = $41
Small Blind - $4 + $37 = $41
Big Blind - $4 - FOLD

POT Pre-call Pre-flop = $176

Asking for addtional $26 to win $202 [$26/$202 = 1/7.7 (or $26/$202 = .1287%)]

hitting a set is 1/8 = .125%

with position, i don't see how you could not make the pre-flop call - your call ended the action!

the hindsight on your action after the flop is of course 20/20. the consideration of raising and having to get it all-in with middle set facing the flush draw is daunting. even if on the nut flush draw, he is still a 65/35 dog according to Poker Stove (with AA). but losing your hard worked for stack won't make you feel any better if he had flipped the Ac.

i think the real question is: looking back, if you knew you were willing to get it all in, then applying the pressure earlier is better than later, esp since a healthy re-raise on the flop ($150 to $225) might let you know if you are screwed. anyone calling that re-raise would not be getting proper odds (i assume, i haven't run the math) to chase the flush.

one of the hardest things for me to come to grips with is the ability to play a hand for a whole buy-in. i play a lot of $6/$6 live and $2/$4 or $3/$6 6-handed online. the prospect of tossing $400 to $1K out in a single hand can be hard to swallow. i think it was Amir Vahedi that said, "In order to live, you must be willing to die." tough words to heed, but in today's hyper-aggressive NLHE environment, words that resonate pretty well.

tough break, but they can't always get lucky on you!


Kid Dynamite said...

I didn't check your math on the preflop call: it's close enough, but even if it's off: the implied odds more than make up for any possible shortfall in pot odds.

As for the flop: the funny thing is that I've never really been afraid to play for my stack with a big hand. At worst here on the flop i'm likely a 2-1 dog if my opponent flopped a flush, and I expect that i'm almost a 2-1 favorite if he has a big pair + flush draw.

THAT is what's bothering me: I swayed from my normal course of action: a sizable raise - and I paid dearly for it.

That being said, my opponent did do exactly what I wanted him to do on the turn: but I wanted him to do it WITHOUT a higher set obviously :-)

thanks for the comment,