Monday, November 28, 2005

The Min-raise

Big MO took this picture on his honeymoon. After getting railed for my worst loss ever, all in the span of 90 minutes just now, I think I know how the lioness feels... but let me rewind...

This morning, Mrs. Dynamite wakes me up 40 minutes early: "You might want to get up now, we have to go to the gym to shower." What the fuck? FUCK. The shower knob broke when she tried to turn it on, and it was stuck "on," with no control of the temperature. Fuck that - I threw on some deodorant and went to work. Mrs. Dynamite, on the other hand, waited another 30 minutes until the gym opened at 6am, walked the 1/2 mile to the gym, and found that there was no hot water in the gym! AIYAHH! Holy fucking TILT. Man am I glad I didn't take that beat. Anyway, I get home, and the fucking plumber is in my apartment, tearing the tile wall down. So now, even if he fixes the fucking shower, I need to have someone else come in and patch up the wall. I figure I'll escape to the serenity of Monday night poker at the club.

I sit down, and on the first hand, this shit happens:

1-2NL, $500 stacks. I find Friday in Vegas: pocket jacks in the cutoff. Habib, a capable player who has just returned from a top 3 finish in the $1k NLHE event at Foxwoods WPF straddles for $5 UTG. I've played a lot with Habib - he's tricky and aggressive - he's competent, but not as good as he thinks he is. I don't fear him like I fear the Vortex (to the fucking FELT Vortex!). So, Habib straddles, and there are 2 limpers. I make it $30 to go, Habib calls, and the limper in the ten seat calls. I'm in the one seat.

Flop: 2-4-Q rainbow. Check-check to me. I bet $75. Habib check-raises to $150. Now, I know Habib expected me to bet here. I don't put him on a small set: I put him on AQ or KQ. He's a solid player, and I think he's disciplined enough to lay it down easily, especially since he's played with me some, and knows I'm not a maniac. His min-raise is his way of asking me "Do you have A-K? TT maybe? If so you should lay it down." I look around the dealer and verify that the ten seat has folded before quickly and confidently coming over the top all-in, for Habib's last $300. My bet says: "No, Habib, I have AA or KK. Believe it Bitch." It's a slightly smaller than pot sized raise, and he shakes his head in disbelief. I've just come over the top of his check-raise - I clearly have a very big hand. I really like the story I've told in this hand - consistent and reasonable... And then Habib makes a crying call. Fuck. I tap the table and tell him he's good. He shows A-Q, and it holds up. I actually feel ok about my play on this hand: I could have checked the flop and folded to a turn bet, and I certainly could have lost $300 less on the hand, but my play makes sense, and against an aggressive opponent, I can't laydown my hand to a min-raise there. It's either fold or re-raise, and I chose the latter.

However, after losing another $500 pot, and a $200 pot, I made this play, which could go down as "the worst hand I ever played." I write about it because I keep trying to defend the play in my head, but it's like Alcoholics Anonymous... or Gamblers Anonymous: the first step is admitting I have a problem. So, without further ado, my name is Kid Dynamite, and I played this hand like shit:

Habib straddles UTG. I'm next with A-Q offsuit, and I limp with the possibility of limp-reraising in my mind. I'm stuck 1 1/2 buyins at this point, which is completely irrelevant, but I did have a sense of "get even" in my head. It's funny, because I have a very vivid recollection of myself earlier this afternoon as I left work thinking to myself as I recalled hands: I am untiltable. So, Joe raises to $15 after one player folds. Joe is a tight, solid, but perhaps too passive player. He's a very good player, but tends to quickly temper his aggression if he meets resistance. 5 players call Joe's raise and it's back to me.

Now, a few weeks ago, I wrote about a hand I played with Joe where he min-raised me out of position, and I absolutely KNEW he had a medium hand, instead of a big hand. Here, I had the same read: the game has been playing very loose. If Joe made it $25, he could expect to be called a few times, so he KNEW he'd be called multiple times with a $15 raise. Joe is not the kind of player who wants to play AA or KK in early position in a 6-way pot. He cannot have a big hand.

I re-raise to $115. Joe makes it $215 to go: min-re-raising me. Joe has $200 left after the raise, I have him covered. All fold back to me. I'm shaking my head, "This doesn't make sense Joe," I don't get it. Joe must know I'm tiltable here, and he's trying to defend against what he views as a steal from me. Fuck you Joe - I'm not letting your medium pair off the hook. I call.

flop: K-J-6 rainbow. I bet $225, putting Joe all-in. He shakes his head. He can't believe it, but he calls after 45 seconds. The Q on the turn and Ace on the river are no help, as Joe turns over AA. Wow. What the fuck am I doing?

I took a shot preflop with my raise - I could have called $10 more, closed the action, and seen a cheap flop, but I went the aggressive route instead. This isn't a huge blunder, but once Joe re-raises me again, I must lay this hand down. I was so keen on my read: that he would not make it $15 after a $5 straddle and my call of the straddle with a big hand; I let it blind me to the possibility that he could indeed have a big hand, and I lost at least $300 too much on this hand.

My flop push was a desperation play, which I'd probably only make against very specific players, but even then is almost unjustifiable, especially considering how my session had gone: Unlike the earlier hand against Habib, I couldn't reasonably expect Joe to give me credit for a monster hand.

One common theme in these hands is the min-raise: I'm clearly having a problem reacting to min-raises and deciphering their meaning. I need to get it through my head that it can be ok to fold to a min-raise.

until next time,


SoxLover said...

Brutal dude.

If you're still up for it, I'm gonna go back to my old club for the first time in a month on Wednesday evening, happy to make the intro if you'd like.

Anonymous said...

You are falling victim to FPS! Go back to playing solid aggressive poker and not constantly trying to outplay everyone with inferior hands.

Anonymous said...

I like your thought process in the JJ hand, provided that you rarely make this move, it's ok.

The AQ hand is confusing. One thing that killed me for a while in limit was feeling that my opponents always knew when I was on a steal, and thus might resteal. I had to beat it into my head that they don't know my cards, only my actions.

So when you make it $115 in a 6-way pot, limp-reraising, he's not likely to put you on a steal. YOU know you're stealing, but he doesn't. Just like the other four guys in the pot don't. When he comes back over the top, he's saying he can beat a legitimate hand you would play this way. That's bad news, since you don't even have a legitimate hand.


brett said...

this works:

You are falling victim to FPS! Go back to playing solid aggressive poker and not constantly trying to outplay everyone with inferior hands

Anonymous said...

If we can assume that you opponent on the JJ hand is good enough to land in the ballpark when doing the math (where if I'm not mistaken, he's about 9:1 against vs. AA on the flop, and 4:1 against vs. KK) - and I'm assuming he is - then he knows it would be a terrible terrible play to call in that spot for $300 if he put you on either of those two hands.

The fact that he called anyways tells me that he really put you on a wide range of hands (necessarily including ones where he was dominating you, given the action and the board), as he was only getting just over 2:1 on his money (3:7). Considering how bad a spot he'd be in against the two hands above (especially AA), he must really think you are capable of shoving in with... well, what you shoved in with.. to make the call correct.

So if there is a mistake that I can see it's not in your thinking once you've arrived at your conclusions about where you stand in the hand - after all if you could make him believe that you have AA or KK it's absolutely a really great poker play.

Rather there appears to be a divide between your understanding of how this opponent percieves what you will do as a player, and yours (which seems rather obvious in retrospect)

Then again, I have this all wrong if he's clueless to the maths.

Kid Dynamite said...

I think Eric's comment is dead on, and AltonEvil's comment is also very insightful.

I don't think either of these hands are really cases of FPS: my JJ hand is an interesting/agressive/non-essential play, not really FPS though. My A-Q hand is just stupid - not fancy.

One thing I keep thinking about the JJ hand: If Habib and I were reversed, and I told my friends that I called a re-raise all-in with A-Q there after I'd cr'd the flop, I am almost certain they'd call me a donkey.

I think Eric's comment is something i'll revisit in a future post - thanks to all for the comments

Anonymous said...

BTW - it's worth mentioning that I made the exact same play against Mergie in your home game as Joe made against you here.

You min raise pre-flop after several people are already comitted for a small figure, just in the hopes that someone has a hand strong enough (or on a steal) to come back over the top of your min-raise pre-flop - vitually comitting themselves to the pot from that point forward.

I think it's a great way to play an AA or KK, especially in a loose pot limit game where people will call with anything for cheap pre-flop to hit their 27 and destack you. You risk a small amount with a premium hand pre-flop in order to win a great sum relatively risk free from the point of your raise on.

Takes the skill and discipline to play it properly from the flop on if no-one bites on your pre-flop min raise.

Anonymous said...

To a nail, lost a war.(wow gold) In a particular press to see(wow power leveling) such a foreign Minyan: In order to (wow gold)receive a nail, we have lost a Mati Tie In order to(wow power leveling) get a piece of Mati Tie, we have lost a Pi Junma In order to get(wow gold) a Pijun Ma, we (wow power leveling)have lost a(wow gold) jockey; To be a jockey, we lost a war victory. This is the first (Rolex)under general Minyan At(World of Warcraft gold) first glance, but careful consideration, you(wow power leveling) will find that it contains a layer of the important essence of life: learn to give up, have a maturity. To a Mati Tie and eventually lead to (wow gold)lose a war, this is not know how early to give up the consequences.
Wise said: two disadvantages of the value comes light, the right to( World of Warcraft gold)
choose the two-phase benefit. A folder to be the tail of the gecko already know how to give up the tail, the preservation of(wow power leveling) life, let alone we are full of (power leveling)the wisdom of mankind? » ! In everyone's life, always (powerleveling)have in the face of choice, a choice, there is bound to give up, we have to learn is to( power leveling)pay a painful price, to give up local interests and preserve the overall interests. In chess, there are not "abandoning single-car" this trick? » As the saying goes: not old, not new. Sometimes, even (power leveling)the most precious things to know in good time to give up. When you( powerleveling)graduated from junior high school, in the face of a sincere friendship, you(powerleveling )will Yiyibushe. But think back, and only bid farewell to middle school, high school usher in a(rs gold )new life, can meet new friends. The recent shift is not on this? » Finally, a celebrity's life motto In( gold wow)conclusion:
Life is like theater, everyone is their own lives in the only director. Only Institute of choice, people will know how to give up the Chewu life, Xiaokan life, the life Habitat has Seasky.