Sunday, July 27, 2008

Week 31: MADNESS!

So my last entry I yammered a bit about how cruel July was to me, and all sorts of completely insignificant nonsense like that, but it seems July is actually coming close to becoming quite as hot as all the strippers that borrow her name.

Sadly, before I spoil the results, this entry to my blog is only about the current week, so I have to stick to the plan and focus on that, instead of strippers.

I made an incredibly smart move this week, which is to purchase Holdem Manager. Now before you go thinking this entry will be just one giant Holdem Manager review, you are dead wrong. Considering the sick amounts of hits this blog gets because of people looking for information about Poker EV (and after today, strippers), I will not be responsible for getting one of the two companies bankrupt yet.

At least not tonight.

The reason for not doing so tonight should be quite cliché. I have better things to do this evening. Like watching Nicholas Cage movies.

Now before an observant reader scrolls down and sees the time of this post and thinks out loud (poker players think out loud, blame Techsmith) 'WTF are you doing blogging on a sunday evening? Don't you have better things to do than post a lousy blog?!?), the answer to that question should be pretty easy to answer: Yep, as answered above which you have not read if you scrolled down to the bottom already, but I'll be glad to clarify: Nicholas Cage movies have the same quality as movies which involve Sean Connery: They are never bad enough to not be worth watching.

The real reason for watching movies and posting on my blog on a sunday is actually quite simple: 1 sixpack. My stop-loss is set at 4 Heineken. So I won't let myself play today anymore...

To get back on track, July is not as bad as I made her sound. She's just been teasing me a bit. So next time I meet a stripper named July, I'll just think about this week's graph:

Or this week's table:

Even while I have not put in that many hours this week, I think the few I put in were those when I felt I was able to play my A game. Which means not being drunk, distracted, horny, tired or hungry.

The most interesting and incredibly well played pots were some of the dozen of situations where I check-folded some bad flop textures, but posting those in this entry would just bore people, so instead, I'll post some random other hands from this week to keep the readers happy:

Hand 1:

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

UTG ($103.65)
UTG+1 ($145.90)
CO ($261.95)
BTN ($34.55)
Hero ($105.60)
BB ($146.40)

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

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

Villain in question is a regular at these limits who likes to own the regulars with relentless aggression. I'm a regular too, but dislike to get owned, which changes the metagame between the two of us quite a bit.
His VPIP is 40, PFR 31, attempt to steal 45%. Which are stats that Holdem Manager(TM) shows in the hand replayer without me even asking about them. And when I hold my mouse over his stats in the replayer, it shows that he folds to 3bets 19% of the time, out of 349 hands in july, or rather, out of the 19 times he got 3 bet, which was generally by me.

These are my notes on him:

Does not fold to any of my 3bets, 4bets often
Will check-call flushdraws in 3bet pots
representing hands when IP
OOP will make some large bluffs but won't do anything crazy on rivers without the goods.
leads oesd and continues on turn

So knowing this, I know I will not get him to fold often, but TT is way ahead of his range here, and this screams for a value 3bet.

Even I heard it, so I did.

($26, 2 players)
Hero bets $16, UTG+1 raises to $34, Hero calls $18

Villain raises me slightly over a minraise here, but this board is not that bad for my range vs his range. There's one overcard, and if he hit that overcard, would he really be stupid enough to raise a hand like AJ here vs my range? Definitely not, so the range I put him on is AJ (like never), air (lots), marginal mid-pair (often) and set (sometimes). Which means that vs his range I'm still ahead, but I cannot get value out of any of his range which I beat here by raising.

($94, 2 players)
Hero checks, UTG+1 checks

River: ($94, 2 players)
Hero checks, UTG+1 goes all-in $99.40, Hero calls $59.10

He checked a blank turn, and bets a second J on the river? I do not think he will be raising a J on the dry flop, not even AJ, which translates into the second J being a blank. Yet what does my hand look like? A marginal pair or perhaps an overpair looking to get to showdown cheap, but definitely not a J. Villain is good enough to realize that, and he'll be 100% correct in this case. So when he shoves this river, he got air or a set. But would he check a set on that turn if he likes money?

Final Pot:
UTG+1 shows:
Hero shows:

UTG+1 wins $40.30 ( lost -$105.60 )
Hero wins $209.20 ( won +$103.60 )

Hand 2: Same Villain:

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

UTG ($138.90)
UTG+1 ($254.25)
CO ($39.55)
Hero ($104.10)
SB ($142.10)
BB ($100.00)

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

UTG raises to $3.50, 2 folds, Hero calls $3.50, 2 folds

Flop: ($8.50, 2 players)
UTG bets $6, Hero calls $6

I absolutely hate raising with a double-gutshot vs a thinking lag. I think hes capable of 3betting AQ etc on these boards should I raise, and my hand is well disguised.

($20.50, 2 players)
UTG bets $14, Hero raises to $42, UTG folds

Now here I have a mathematical dilemma. My draw is huge, but this player will still be betting unimproved overcards here quite often or marginal pairs, and some draws himself, because he thinks I could be holding a marginal hand/draw myself.

Now vs almost any taggish or standard player I would almost always just call here, because most of the time all my flush and straight outs will be good, and I have a diamond flushdraw on the board I can do something with as well should it hit.

But what vs a player who will not bluff the river should I call here, still does not have a made hand here that often, and will just check-call the river with the best of his range and check-fold all his air on any river unless the board does not change like an extra 3?

Calling here vs a player like that is directly immense EV, but I expect his range to hold so much air still that I actually decided to make a committing raise on this turn thinking it would probably be even more EV because his range would still hold so much air still.

Final Pot:

Hero wins $74.10 ( won +$22.60 )
UTG lost -$23.50

Hand 3: Another TT:

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

UTG ($82.95)
UTG+1 ($101.00)
CO ($111.20)
BTN ($113.60)
SB ($138.55)
Hero ($100.00)

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

UTG calls $1, 2 folds, BTN raises to $4.50, SB calls $4, Hero raises to $18, UTG folds, BTN folds, SB calls $13.50

A fish limped, someone with 18/14 yet 40% steal iso raised and a 27/15 coldcalled. The correct decision is about as tough here as choosing between spareribs and tofu.

Rest of the hand does not matter since it was pretty standard for both sides, but I stacked some fish atleast.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Size Matters

I've been silent since my last update. I vaguely remember me describing in the last entry how good July was for me and how juicy the tables were.

My thoughts about the juiciness of July changed a bit because of a downswing peaking at about 15 buyins. Some of the downswing could be credited because of bad luck. Earlier during the month I checked some PokerEV data and it showed I ran about 10 buyins below equity in allin situations, which had a probability of about 16%. So I did run somewhat bad.

PokerEV calculates Sklansky Bucks, but it does a lousy job at calculating Galfond Bucks. Galfond Bucks, G-bucks for short, are about the expected value based on villain's hand range and tendencies. For instance, on the deepstack tables I managed to get KK in vs AA about 3 times. Getting the money in 3 times with kings vs aces will have an expected value of -$384, I ran at -$600 (slightly more losses even since generally I had a larger than 200BB effective stack), so I lost $216 worth of sklansky bucks on those tables.

G-bucks on the other hand were immensely good in those spots, especially vs people who still jam AK and JJ preflop, so those spots were just coolers.

Other than that, I'm really disappointed about my play this month. It's not that I played bad at all, I think I played pretty decent, but I got one huge leak to work on which is the consistency of my plays. I do try to adjust my ranges based on player tendencies well enough, but my bet sizing is way too consistent.

For instance, when playing vs a calling station and I got a strong hand I may bet slightly more than vs a more solid player. This may be fine on the flop, but on the turn and river I noticed after some session reviews my bet sizes are just too consistent vs most kind of players.

When I am playing vs a solid player who check/calls my cbet on an ace-rag-rag board and I hold AK or a set, it's pretty obvious villain is in a check-call mode vs me. Why not bet pot for all 3 streets in spots where I never will be bluffing anyways? But this counts even more vs fish. When I got a decent idea about their hand range, and want to make a value bet, fish won't be paying attention to my bet sizing. Whether I bet $31 in a $39 pot on the river or bet $39 will have absolutely no difference on whether they call or not with a TP-strength hand. So why do I lose value there?

Filtering july's results shows something interesting. If I filter it on the hands where I went to showdown, bet the river, those winnings total at $1,5k worth of winnings in 108 different situations. In the situations where I reach the showdowns and bet the river, I won 73% of the time. I reviewed each of those 108 hands today and realize I probably missed close to $500 worth of value in those spots. Now THAT is a huge leak in my eyes.

On the bright side, even while July has been pretty bad for me, it's not as bad as it sounds. I won only $215 in normal winnings, but when I include the ironman bonus and rakeback, it has been good for about $1100 so far, which is not totally hopeless.

I just realized this entry was completely without any hand histories, so I will make up for it by posting the most interesting hand of the day. It's not the largest pot I won/lost by far, but I think I could have lost a lot of value here by cbetting (and getting called by the fish and bluffed on river) or doing a delayed cbet which would just lead to a fold:

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

UTG ($46.30)
CO ($100.00)
BTN ($98.50)
Hero ($237.55)
BB ($88.90)

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

3 folds, Hero raises to $3, BB calls $2

Villain will not fold his BB often at all, he's a 43% 0.7% aggression fish, folds 23% of the time to cbets, which explains my smaller open from small blind.

($6, 2 players)
Hero checks, BB checks

I do not like to cbet here. Villain will call with as much as 1 overcard probably, but I could be drawing dead at times aswell. Do I want to check-call the river? No. Will villain check the river down without showdown value should I cbet here and check both turn and river? No. Do I want to bet here and check-call any river? No. Will villain bet this flop without anything? This is the good part: No. So no need to bet for value here and get myself in trouble later on in the hand.

($6, 2 players)
Hero checks, BB checks

Read flop explanation. A 7 arrived. Will villain bet air/overcards here? Nope. Will he bet a 7? Yep. So this is an easy check again.

($6, 2 players)
Hero checks, BB bets $6, Hero calls $6

Did the board change? Nope. Can villain call with worse here? Nope. So no value in betting. Calling stations however do like to try to take pot downs when they suddenly realize their hand is probably no good, but me checking thrice gives them the impression I do not have anything.

Final Pot:
Hero shows:
BB shows:

Hero wins $17.10 ( won +$8.10 )
BB lost -$9.00

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Back into Action: July

After leaving June behind me, which is something I do not really mind with the bad start I had starting it on a tilty downswing followed by proceeding the rest of the month putting in way too few hands, June has only been good for a few buyins profit for me.

July on the other hand has started off quite well for me, and the tables seem quite juicy compared to normal, which may be because of everyone trying to earn enough FPP's this month to clear their Ironman bonus.

The most fun hand was vs a Cardrunner's member, who asked me to post the reasoning behind the hand on the CR forums. Atleast, that is my interpretation from his chat, his exact words being "go put thaT ON THE FORUM FISH". Because of that, I were kind enough to oblige, and also decided to post the hand here just in case he happens to miss the specific topic about it:

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

Profiles and Stacks:
CO ($131.65)14.5/8.2/7.0 (110)
BTN ($100.00)17.0/15.0/1.3 (100)
Hero ($248.45)34.9/30.2/3.8 (106)
BB ($50.25)22.6/12.9/7.0 (62)

Sitting to my direct left is another CR member, and a very solid one. Hes not part of this hand since he was sitting out this hand, and my intentions were to leave the table as soon as he showed some interest in my stack (meaning making my life hell).

($1.50, 4 players) Hero is SB

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

Villain in question has taggish stats, has high attempt to steal (atleast over 30%) seems solid but I do not know him that well. I have not 3bet him light that often, and want to see how he responds. With a hand like A6s I generally fold, but because the other CR member was sitting out, all 3 options were available (since I do not fear getting squeezed by the remaining player). I chose to 3bet here though since A6s is a bit too weak to flat with OOP.

($26, 2 players)
Hero checks, BTN checks

I do not know what kind of hands he'll call me with, but I expect it to be wider than normal because of my own stats (35/30/3.8 with 52% attempt to steal). So here I am somewhat worried about AQ/AJ, but on the other hand, I did hit TP in a 3bet pot. OOP I do not want to bet/fold or bet/call with this hand, so I decide to check. Villain checks behind, which makes it quite unlikely for me that he holds a strong ace here. I do not know if he's capable of checking AQ behind here, but it seems very unlikely to me.

($26, 2 players)
Hero checks, BTN bets $15, Hero calls $15

Because of his flop check, I expect to be ahead here most of the time unless he holds 99. I still see very little value in betting, and am not certain what to do if I get raised here.

($56, 2 players)
Hero bets $12, BTN goes all-in $72.50, Hero calls $60.50

Here I assume I have the best hand, unless he has 99 or hit his flush. I think check-calling is best vs his bluffs, but I am not certain if he'll bluff again in this spot. I also do not like to bet/fold here.

So I decided to make the head-exploding bet here to at least allow him to do something stupid, since my play makes no sense. When I try to induce a bluff, I obviously have to call here.

Final Pot:
BTN shows:
Hero shows:

Hero wins $199 ( won +$99 )
BTN lost -$100.00

So, I think my reasoning and play was quite fine in this hand. Because I gave the villain in question some respect I used a bit less straightforward line to keep the pot small and protect myself from bluffs early in the hand, and increased his bluffing range on later streets.

But was this respect for villain justified?

- What was villain representing here?
- What was villain doing at this table with two CR members sitting to his direct left (other CR member is not in HH because he's sitting out)? Obviously this must mean he is quite sure about his ability to outplay both me and the other CR member even while he will be OOP except when he holds the button.
- Why did villain call a 3bet preflop with 79s while only 100BB deep? Again, he must be a great player if he thinks he can play that hand profitably IP in a 3bet pot.

Sure buddy, I'll post it and explain my thought process. Now I dare villain in question to explain his.