Lucky Straights

The ramblings and mumblings of a wannabe poker pro

A Few Key Hands

Okay, I admit it, my last session wasn’t actually my last session, I did one more. Two tabling the $1 Sit-N-Go’s again.

Here’s a few key hands :

Here I held AQ on the button and raised it up to 5xBB. I get two callers, and I totally miss the flop, but both players check, so I check behind, and its checked all the way to showdown. Theres a few draws out there, and either one of them could hit a pair by the river, should I have made a c-bet on the flop, its a move I rarely do with an un-paired hand this early. Assuming I do, and the turn doesn’t seem to complete any obvious draws, do I fire again or look to check it down?

In the Big Blind, I’m allowed to see a free flop with J3 and hit two pair. Being an un-raised pot someone could be drawing to a straight with the 23, so I lead out with a bet of around 2/3’s the pot. I get re-raised a little more, and feel he’s raising me with TP and a decent kicker, thinking I’m trying to buy the pot, as opposed him making a set with 22 or 33, so I double his re-raise, hoping he’ll call.

The turn brings a scary card, adding a flush draw to the mix, so I go all-in and villain calls to show an over pair,two kings. I was surprised at how strong he was, and felt a little sorry for him at first, but then realized he’ tried to get cute by limping in with his monster, so it was his own undoing here.

This hand affected me more then it should have done, and left me annoyed for the next two or three hands, despite that fact I was only a slight favorite anyway.

The tables 5 handed, and I’m on the button with TT. I raise to 4xBB and get instantly re-raised all-in by one of the bigger stacks. My first thought was to push and roll the dice, and in the hands that followed I wish I did, but instead I took my time and reasoned that he has never made a play like this before, each time he had a hand he would open with a standard raise or re-raise, not push all-in, it could have been a bluff, but it felt more likely he was strong. I pictured aces and fold, for him to show AJ.

With the blinds worth fighting for, and having folded most of my recent hands, I decided to open with a raise with 88 rather then limp in. The short stack quickly re-raised all-in, and there was a call behind. Initially I was tempted to fold, but then realize its only a little more to call and getting a great prize to call and flop my set, so I call.

Here, its 4 handed and I have AQ in the big blind. The small blind raises to around half my stack and I decide to push. I’ve seen him make several big raises pre-flop like this, but only one went to showdown where he held AJ, I reason theres enough hands I’m ahead of to push back, and I was guaranteed 3rd place money (I think?) as a fall back.

Whats your views on this, was I too hasty to push, I don’t like flat calling for 1/2 my stack, so I guess the question is, should I have folded, let the short stack get knocked out and wait for a better spot?

January 23, 2008 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More Hands

Sit-N-Go – 1

I’m being lazy and skipping to my final hand in this tournament, but everything else was pretty normal.

Anyways, its heads-up, and despite taking down a few pots, the chip leader has still got a huge lead over me. I find 96 and call the BB who checks behind.

On the flop I make an open ended straight draw, but my opponent rather quickly makes a large bet, this was unussual for this player, up to now, he had bet around 300 to pick up the pot, and he’s not likely to make a reckless bluff in this spot, so I know he’s got it at this point.

I quickly rule calling out, because if I miss my outs on the turn and face a large bet, which I almost certainly would I’ll have a difficult decision, so I push all-in to make sure I see both cards and to try and double up. I miss my outs and I’m out in 2nd.

Sit-N-Go -2

Picked up a pretty hand hand here with QJs, and its the type of hand I rarley get an opportunity to play, so was pleased to be able to see a flop for half price against only one opponent. The flop gave me nothing, but my opponent checked behind so I got to see the turn for free.

The turn gave me the nut straight, but also may have completed a flush, I opt to lead out and maybe take down the pot there, my opponent calls. The river was a safe card for me, putting me at a loss to only a flush made on the turn, but I check anyway, which I think was a mistake, my opponent leads out for $150 and I call, which may have been another mistake, but he would likely beat here with many hands, and I was only beaten by the flush.

What I feel I should have done was lead out on the river with a bet of $90, which I thought about, and he may have called behind saving me a bet, but I think what changed my mind was the size of the pot, where a bet of $90 would look very weak, and I may have gotten re-raised.

This was easily my favorite hand of the match. I held pocket queens, and raised to 4xBB and get one caller. The flop brought a dreaded over card, a King, and to make matters worse my opponent puts me all-in. My first instinct is to fold and accept I’m beat by a King, my 2nd thought then says push all-in and hope for the best, as I’ll only have 4.5 orbits (ish) if I fold here before I’m blinded out.

I instead take my time to evaluate the situation. The time button pops up and I click it, to give my 60 seconds on my decision. What stood out immediately was how quickly he acted on the flop, it was almost instant, and his bet was unusually large, even if he had AK, I wouldn’t expect him to bet so much, so after 20 seconds or so of thought, I decide he could be trying to buy the pot and call, to see AJ, I’m aware he has outs, but I avoid them and I double up.

Lucky enough to find kings here against an all-in push from a short stack, I fully expect to be way ahead of the short stack, but know I’m vulnerable if I call and get callers behind me so I push all-in to isolate the short stack, and take down another nice pot. action is now down to 4, and I have become critically low on chips. I would ussually have made a few moves, but there was always a shorter guy beneth me, but close enough to me that I didn’t want to make plays with marginal hands only to loose my chip advantage other the shorter stack, so in this respect I was forced to hang on awhile, though naturally if he had doubled up I would have become very aggressive.

In the final hand I hold T5s, and the short stack is all-in for just under my stack, so I throw my chips in as well, not so much hoping that I win, but more hoping the short stack losses which will give me 3rd place money, which is good enough if I don’t get lucky and double up.

January 8, 2008 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , | 2 Comments

Some Key Hands

Sit-N-Go – 1

Got excellent value for my pocket aces here against a calling station, and I made note to not c-bet at him without the goods, my other opponents lacking this restraint soon add him back up to a healthy stack.

4 handed, with relatively high blinds I found AJs, and I wanted to play it aggressively and hopefully take down the pot pre-flop, but I made a stupid min-raise allowing him to take back control with a push holding a medium pocket pair, I called and missed to have my stack decimated.

I had noted this player make several raises in quick success, and the table was reluctant to tangle with him, I judged my hand was likely the winner or against a pair as I was, but I didn’t want to just call and I needed to take down pots to ensure I had a shot at winning the tournament. I think my mistake was not re-raising him all-in.

After loosing the coin toss with my AJs my cards no longer mattered, I needed to get lucky, so I pushed all-in with my next hand 95 off suite and was very surprised to get a fold from the BB.

Because of the very high blinds compared to stack sizes each of us had dropped low on chips sooner or later, and we where in turn keeping ourselves afloat by aggressive pre-flop action. I had taken several pots with folds pre-flop, as had everyone else so wasn’t surprised that I got a call, though was a little surprised by the hand that I was called by.

Overall heads-up I felt I was out played, but I could be being too hard on myself, sometimes your opponent just has the goods and you don’t, I’m not going to dwell on it.

Anyway, I fould J7s, not a good hand by any stretch of the imagination, but I had folded several hands recently and didn’t want to let my stack dwindle further, so I made my standard raise, where each previous time I either showed a good hand or it went to showdown with me leading. I was re-raised by my opponent going all-in, I knew I could easilly be behind, but my opponent had also come over the top and stolen several pots recently so he could be just as weak as me and trying to apply the pressure.

Needing to take down a key pot to give me a clear shot at 1st place I called, hoping to get lucky. We both paired, his was higher and I was out in 2nd, the hand played close to how I expected it would, I just didn’t come out on top this time, but that’s okay, after loosing the race with AJs against a pair I was very lucky to finish in the money at all, so I’m pleased to take 2nd place money here.

Sit-N-Go – 2

I feel this hand although early on, cost me at least a cash finish, although I also feel I lost the minimum and played it well. I woke up with pocket jacks in middle position, and being so early and having limper’s in front I decided to limp along and see a cheap flop.

On the flop I made an over pair, but the flop held a pair of deuces. Someone leads out, and I re-raise them expecting them to hold the 9’s, but they quickly push all-in against me, and I fold.

Actually just going through the hand, they lead out when the blinds where only small, so my opponent actually opened with a 5x raise, which is large enough on this spot for me to have assumed they where trying to get value with trips as opposed to betting out with the 9’s,  the correct play probably should have been to fold to the bet instead of re-raise taking the size of her bet into account, ah well.

After checking my option on the BB I was lucky enough to make two pair on the river. I folded though, and here’s why, one of my opponents took an ussually long time to act on the turn when the board paired, and I felt on the turn that he was trying to work out how to play the trips he had just made, so when he lead out on the river, for a bet that was a large portion of my stack, I had an easy fold.

My final hand, I found Q9s, and usually it will go in the muck and I’ll await a better spot to try and double up, but after considering a few important points I decided this could be my best time to make a stand, so I pushed all-in.

Firstly there was only one limper, whereas up to this point, up to this point there had ussually been multiple limper’s in the pot, this gave my weak hand more chance of holding up, and if I folded I would have less of a stack to reduce the field when I have to push, with a hand that is likely to be only marginally stronger then my Q9s.

Most importantly though, I had noticed the BB had raised frequently against me since I had become short stacked, and seemed to do this out of routine, if it had folded to the two of us. I looked over the instant hand history, and he had opened with a raise frequently, at least half of his last ten hands, so I thought about it, and decided to push all-in, looking for a fold.

He took some time, but eventually called and turned over pocket deuces, I was right he was weak, but held the lead, and a deuce on the flop sealed the deal, I needed runners and didn’t get them this time.

Trying to keep up with my new “zen like” focus I just made a note of his actions for next time and let it be, but this wasn’t a very nice game for me.

January 5, 2008 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , | 2 Comments

More Sit-N-Go Hands

Sit-N-Go – 1

I wasn’t concentrating here, was playing bored and browsing the web at the same time, and re-raised with queens when it was too early, I missed the flop and had to drop it, he could have easily made a c-bet with JJ or even KQ but it was too early to put him to the test. My mistake was re-raising pre-flop.

Here I was still not concentrating and was busy browsing the web, when I came back to the game I called by mistake with my few remaining chips and got very lucky to hang on in. After getting so lucky, I closed Firefox and paid attention, determined to make something out of my good fortune.

I was painfully aware that AJ is not a great holding here, but I was at the bottom of the chip pile and the blinds where high, so I decided to push all-in and hope I wasn’t dominated by AQ or AK, as the cards where turned I saw the worst, my opponent had an easy call with AK, but I got lucky to stay alive.

This was the final hand, and is a hand I hardly ever play, unless its heads-up, but after a blind increase I didn’t even have enough chips for two more orbits, so I pushed all-in and hoped for the best. I was lucky enough to be a slight favorite over QT but my opponent hit the flop like a sledgehammer to send me out in 4th.

I didn’t mind, I had to try and get lucky, and on the final hand I didn’t get there, I was pleased to last so long after getting lucky when I was critically low earlier, and I feel I caused my own downfall by not paying attention earlier on.

I’m going to busy myself with something else for awhile now and get back to some games when I’ve got my head screwed on. I actually feel quite good though, perhaps the ‘zen and the art of poker’ book is doing me good, I got bubbled and still feel good :p

Sit-N-Go – 2 (multi-tabling, 1 of 2)

I decided to run two Sit-N-Go’s at the same time, as I’ve realized that I shouldn’t need detailed notes on my opponents in the $1 Sit-N-Go’s and if I can manage it, it will be much more efficient doing two at once and will earn me my bonus much sooner. I found it a little distracting focusing on the two tables, but I was a little distracted through other factors mid way through anyway. I’m going to stick to mostly doing them one at a time for now, but plan to gradually increase the frequency that I multi-table them, until I am solely doing two at a time.

I made it to heads-up, but my opponent had a commanding chip lead over me, and after folding for a few hands I needed to take down or pot, and preferably double up to be within a fighting chance of taking 1st place.

For my final hand I found A8 and opened with a 4xBB raise, I miss the flop, but particularly heads-up theres a good chance it missed my opponent too so I lead out with a strong continuation bet hoping for a fold, he calls. The turn brought some relief by giving me an A high flush draw and I move all-in, expecting to win with either a flush card or an ace, but again hoping for a fold, my opponent calls, I miss my outs on the river and I finish 2nd.

Now I know this was an aggressive play, but I needed chips and felt that shoving all-in on the turn gave me the best chance to win the hand right there and I still had out if I got a call. I was a little distracted by external events though, so perhaps I was wrong, how do you feel about it?

Sit-N-Go – 3 (multi-tabling, 2 of 2)

In MP I woke up with kings and opened the pot with a 4xBB raise, I got one caller. The flop looked safe, but there where flush and straight potential so I lead out with nearly a pot size bet, my opponent calls. The turn brings an A and I decide to lead out to see whether it helped my opponent he comes over the top and I fold. He could have sensed weakness in my turn bet, and semi-bluffed with a flush draw, but I figured it was more likely he hit the ace or it made him the nut straight with KT.

January 4, 2008 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , | Leave a comment

Today’s Hands

I’m going to try really hard over these next few days to get my ROI from the Sit-N-Go’s back to where it should be. The target I’m aiming for is 25%. So I am going to post some key hands from the days Sit-N-Go’s so that my readers can point out any flaws in my thinking or offer comments, etc.

Sit-N-Go – 1

Here I found AJs, and was in a pretty good chip position for the table, I considered raising pre-flop with them being suited, but decided against it because a player behind me had started to push all-in frequently and I didn’t want open with a raise only to have to fold to a push.

The flop gave me 2nd pair with top kicker, its bet for the minimum and I fold without much thought, as there was a flush draw out there, and with plenty of players behind me, if the limper didn’t have a king someone else probably does.

I’m sure this was a good fold, but it was the only hand of note that I was involved.

I wasn’t involved in this hand, but it stood out to me.

I felt the short stacks pain here, he lead out, and got called all the way, by a very weak draw from the chip leader, that came good.

Sit-N-Go – 2

In my 2nd game, I got lucky where I needed to and took 1st place. I’ve just gone over the major hands and was surprised how many times my pair held up against over cards, but I’ve been on the other end of it many times, so I’m not feeling bad for the other guy, not for one second.

This was my first major hand, where I flopped a set with 44, at the time I thought of this as a bit of a loose call, because the table has seen a lot of crazy action and I wouldn’t have been surprised if the short stack moved all-in pre-flop, but I felt good about the hand and my limp paid off.

I bet smaller then I normally do with a set, as there where no clear draws out there and I wanted to keep them both in with me.

This was my first coin flip, where I held 99 against AJ. I was well aware that the raise from the chip leader, going by his previous actions and my previous experience of similar players could be with almost anything, either an under pair such as 77 or 88, or two over cards, so being the short stack and in the money I decided it was worth it to call his all-in.

Luckily my pair held up and I doubled up.

Here I checked my option from the BB with Q5 and hit two pair. I raised for value here, but not too much as I wanted to keep my opponent in with me hoping he had KQ, JQ, or AQ. The turn brought a scare card, which made straight more likely and made a made a flush draw possible, so I took my chance that he didn’t hit a straight and raised more aggressively to charge any draws.

It was unlikely he hung on with just a 4, but I played it safe on the river when the board paired and just called his small bet.

Here I raise pre-flop heads-up with a pocket 7’s and flop an over pair and an inside straight draw. My opponent puts me to the test on the flop, but again going by his previous actions I call and my hand improves to a straight giving me a huge pot.

Here my opponent held the chip lead, after taking a few pots previously, and he pushed all-in against my pocket 8′, it looked like he was trying to take the pot down there, so I call and my hand holds up, giving me a huge chip lead.

The final hand he pushes all-in, which I knew he would with anything after loosing that huge pot previously, and I have an easy call with AJ, which holds up to give me the win.

Sit-N-Go – 3

Not a good result here, I only made 5th place. I’m trying to avoid the expression “card dead” now, so I won’t use it, but I didn’t get much to work with. The game seemed really passive with lots of folds to minimum raises, but I never found hands suitable to make a move with, such as QJ, or even JTs, and when I had a mediocre hand like QT, someone would open in front. I think I did my best though, lost the minimum, picked up a few pots to stay a float and just didn’t make the money this time.

On the final hand I find pocket J’s and I’m very low on chips so I have an easy decision and push all-in. This time my pair doesn’t hold up against the overs when AQ flops a queen, so I just sit back and hope to flop a set, didn’t happen this time, but again I’m happy with how I played.

Sit-N-Go – 4

Another loss here I’m afraid, had some cards though, and built up a nice stack before my queens ran into kings, sending me out in 6th.

Here I find AT not a hand I usually play this early but there was only one limper in front and I got in for half price from the small blind. I flop top pair, but theres 3 cards to a straight so I lead out to see where I’m at and get quickly re-raised the minimum, I fold without giving it a thought, he could have easily been semi-bluffing with a J, but I judged it wasn’t worth it, was I correct to fold so readily?

In the CO I find AK, someone has already opened the pot for 4xBB, but he’s raised plenty of pots in short order and could have made the raise with JT so I call. I miss the flop and have an easy fold.

I was begging to think this lunatic had flopped a set or something the way he called me so readily, I couldn’t believe the garbage he turned over.

I was lucky enough to get pocket aces here, but I think I should have got more value from it, do you think I was too aggressive on the flop? Problem is I’ve been sucked out on so much during my bad run not long ago, sometimes I find myself ending the action too early, rather then taking a small risk for a greater return.

This was my final had, I found pocket queens, and re-raised pre-flop just like I did with  my kings earlier on.

My opponent made a large bet on the flop, I just figured he had made top pair with something like AT or was trying to represent he had flopped trips, I didn’t buy him for the trips, so re-raised the minimum, a sign of doubt, maybe should I have just pushed all-in there?

I  lead out weakly on the  turn, not wanting to push all-in, but I know I’m committed so call his all-in on the river. I’m just wondering if I played this too fast, if he had the flush on the river, well I was willing to pay him off, I  had put too much in to fold there, but should I have seen the kings coming?

January 3, 2008 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , | Leave a comment

Handsome Hands

I’m going to make an effort to post a few hands, which don’t involve all-in decisions or bad beats, which have been the majority of my posted hands in recent weeks so to kick things off, I’ll post a few hands from today :

First Game of the day, 2/4c NL cash game

I’m in early position, and raise to 4xBB with AQs. The flop is harmless enough, anyone who called a 4x raise should not hold a 2 or a 3 here, I may have been up against a small over pair though, I lead out with a bet of 2/3 the pot. I thought that might have ended it there, but I get two callers.

The turn brings only an inside straight and it checked around. The river brings a jack, which is a scary card for me, as the better could have easily called my pre-flop raise with AJ, KJ, QJ or even JT.

A few things go through my mind. I don’t want to get bluffed out of the first pot I have built up, and I was about to leave the table, if I fold here, I wouldn’t be happy until I regained my loss so considering the pot odds, I opted to make the call in case he was bluffing. It wasn’t an easy call, I came very close to folding, so actually think he made a good stab at it on the river, the downfall was his weak bet, against a stronger player I might interpret this as a value bet or trying to sell a call, etc but here it just looked too weak, if he had the jack he would be better much more, 40c at the lest, even with me checking down the turn. I was obviously dead to a pair, but would have expected a pair to wake up on the turn, and check on the river when the jack hit.

$1 + $0.20 Sit-N-Go – 1

Here’s a hand I was very proud of, an aggressive and tricky opponent was representing trips. I had made numerous notes on him throughout the match, and went over every little detail I had on him, and eventually happy with my read, pushed all-in with A high. He fold and I take down the pot.

A poor read in a similar situation against the same player, lead to my exit in 4th however, so I guess he got his revenge.

Here’s a thread I’ve opened on the above hand, as I have doubts that I was committed to it, even against an aggressive player.

Kicker Trouble

$1 + $0.20 Sit-N-Go – 2

I was excited to see this flop, as you’d expect, but as is usual when I hit trips, theres a draw or two out there so I lead out. I’m less happy when I see 4 calls behind me, but I try and remain optimistic I’ll still be ahead at showdown, and take down a nice pot. Then the worst possible card comes which could complete a straight or the flush, I check and a player behind me makes a large bet, an all-in follows for only 75 more, and two callers call behind, I’m done with this hand.

Do you ever get a feeling where you should play that total trash you pick up, well I had that feeling this time, I was tempted to see a flop with this actually, but having a short stack who had started to push all-in on acting behind me put me off, I didn’t want to threw on 100, only to have to drop it when the little guy moves in, I can’t call with this trash.

However, now and then its a good idea to see a flop with that trash you felt good about pre-flop, this is a prime example lol

I play well up to this point, really well compared to how I feel I’ve been playing lately, and then I play this hand so fucking stupidly, that it puts my tournament on a knife edge, which of course stabbed me in the fucking chest when I push, and my opponent flops trips. I’m sick of loosing with the lead hand when I’m all-in, but its stupid play like this that put me in that position in the first place, so I have only myself to blame.

I played that hand so stupidly, I new he would raise like that with any two cards and had beeing doing, as I couldn’t defend myself with a very short stack still hanging around at bubble time. On the flop I was sure I was way ahead, so instead of leading out an or coming over the top, I slow play it and let him bluff at it. The play on the turn was even worse, he could have easily been pushing the action with 78 and then re-raised with a straight.

I’m so angry with myself for blowing all my good work early on. I need a cup of tea!

Thats poker baby :p

December 14, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment