Thursday, June 05, 2008

Tilty Business

The last few days I've again managed to run quite bad. I do not like to post bad beats much, since I do not believe in them (every hand which has some equity no matter how small is supposed to suck out now and then) but the last days were again quite bad in this order. I lost over 10 buyins just in June (though I did manage to put around 10k hands in so far).

Examples are getting AA vs KK/QQ cracked a few times all in preflop for large amounts, or having a possibly tilting image at the table (losing 2 huge pots in a single orbit) and managing to get AK vs AQ in preflop and again get sucked out.

But the problem is even after quitting a bit and playing a bit later, I often made some very high variance plays. For instance, check-raising a gutshot vs a regular who I see around quite often in a 4 bet pot 150BB deep and getting called by top set. These plays are not that terrible in themselves, since I want regulars to know I can do some crazy stuff so they put their money in lighter, but the frequency of doing total donkey moves was a bit to high. Check-raising total air or a gutshot allin like 0.5% of the time in a certain spot is fine for your image and in the long run is probably +EV, but when running bad I make such moves way too often.

One bad psychological disadvantage of running bad is the effect on your bankroll. When you manage to get AA allin preflop vs KK for $250, even while you lost 250BB's, the difference for your bankroll is $500 compared to when your hand would have held up. Get AK AI vs AQ 3 times in a row for 100BB and lose all 3, the losses are $300, but it seems mentally as if you are $600 down compared to hands 'holding up'.

Today I decided to 6-table a bit to keep myself from overthinking situations and playing a bit tighter than usual, and I noticed a well kept secret which the best winning players in poker try to keep for themselves:

People suck at poker.

Seriously, I was playing on 6 tables while the loosest table was somewhere about 32% vpip, and while most players had somewhat decent stats, most players at NL100 just play terrible. So why should I bother to spew chips around making fancy moves too often when people just lack fundamental preflop and postflop skills?

My profit does not come from large multistreet bluffs or great hero calls/folds. My profit comes mostly because I do not forget to make that 18BB valuebet on the river in a 43BB pot with middle pair when I think villain holds an underpair most of the time or second pair worse kicker while many other players fail to extract value vs me in that same spot. It comes from inducing tons of bluffs from other people by taking a bit more passive line with marginal TP hands or marginal overpairs, instead of overplaying them, while when the situation is reversed, many people deny me the mandatory river bluff in some situations because they try to protect their marginal hands too much.

Same counts for overplaying hands, which I do quite often as well when tilting, and the general reason for completely misplaying a hand in such a situation is probably because of the mindset tilt gives. Look at the following hand for instance, villain ran pretty bad, and probably was thinking 'My hand must be good this time. Finally a board without overcards, let's get it in!' instead of 'How do I extract most value from villain's overcard holdings or bluffs and keeping my losses vs overpairs small?'

$0.5/$1 No Limit Holdem
5 players
Converted at

UTG ($129.15)
CO ($115.40)
BTN ($104.00)
SB ($38.00)
Hero ($101.65)

Pre-flop: ($1.50, 5 players) Hero is BB

2 folds, BTN raises to $3.50, 1 fold, Hero raises to $12.50, BTN calls $9

Flop: ($25.50, 2 players)
Hero bets $17, BTN goes all-in $91.50, Hero calls $72.15

Turn: ($206.15, 2 players)

River: ($206.15, 2 players)

Final Pot: $203.80
BTN shows:
Hero shows:

BTN wins $2.35 ( lost -$101.65 )
Hero wins $200.80 ( won +$99.15 )

Villain held a strong hand here, but shoving this flop only causes overcard holdings to fold and only gets called by better. Villain complained for 5 minutes about what a cooler that flop was, instead of realizing he misplayed his hand here.

Another hand from yesterday was also quite interesting. It was a spot where I could be vs a fullhouse, but I expected villain to never fold a J here if I made a somewhat silly play. I also expected a J to be much more likely for villain to hold than a fullhouse, because of the flop play. I cbet there because people without a J or fullhouse could simply not continue when I bet into a million callers, which pretty much locks down villain's hand as a single set or a J. So I raised to 444 on the river, which kinda means I represent a fullhouse 4's full of jacks, and villain is smart enough to give me absolutely no credit for a fullhouse here and call me with weak trips:

$0.5/$1 No Limit Holdem
6 players
Converted at

UTG AO1715 ($133.70)
UTG+1 inyoung ($56.50)
CO BRONCOAA ($37.75)
BTN Hero ($612.35)
SB coimbra83 ($159.10)
BB Schefflowski ($100.00)

Pre-flop: ($1.50, 6 players) Hero is BTN

1 fold, inyoung calls $1, 1 fold, Hero raises to $4.50, coimbra83 calls $4, Schefflowski calls $3.50, inyoung calls $3.50

Flop: ($18, 4 players)
coimbra83 checks, Schefflowski checks, inyoung checks, Hero bets $10, coimbra83 calls $10, Schefflowski folds, inyoung folds

Turn: ($38, 2 players)
coimbra83 checks, Hero checks

River: ($38, 2 players)
coimbra83 bets $17, Hero raises to $444, coimbra83 calls $127.60

Final Pot: $327.20
coimbra83 shows:
Hero shows:

Hero wins $623.60 ( won +$165.10 )
coimbra83 lost -$159.10
Schefflowski lost -$4.50
inyoung lost -$4.50

If other people make bad plays like shoving or calling in these spots, why should I bother?


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