Feel the Flow
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
During my lunch hour, I went home (a short 5 min walk) to save some money. After enjoying my PB&J while finishing the last 15 minutes of Deadwood (highly recommended), I sat down for a quick $5 NLHE heads-up tournament.
While playing, I realized that the flow of the game is key to heads-up play. During the game, you start by getting a feel for your opponent. Hopefully, you can call him down on a few hands, so that you can see what he is willing to play. In this specific game, my opponent was raising doubling the blinds on a slew of hands including KTo, and even J4o. So, I knew to call his minor raises more often than not. By doing this, I was able to interrupt his flow of a small raise followed by my fold, repeated over and over.
In addition, I spent the time feeling out my opponent's willingness to call raises. Pre-flop, I generally made a pot-sized raise (ex. from 20 to 60; from 30 to 90) with any decent hand from Ax, to KQ, and even 89s. He folded a lot. But when he didn't fold, I'd raise the pot again after the flop regardless of whether or not I hit it. I did this because I realized, more often than not, that he would fold when he called my pre-flop bet and did not hit anything on the flop.
So, I was starting to feel the flow. All the while, I was up and down. Starting with 1500 chips each, I was at 1800 or so at my highest, and 800 or so at my lowest. But I was not concerned one bit. I knew that all I needed to do was hit that one hand.
During the game, amongst all of this, there is a flow. He wins a bunch of hands in a row, and then we start going back and forth, and then I am winning a bunch of hands. He's aggressive for a while, then I'm aggressive. Its this ebb and flow that I really started noticing. Its not something as clear-cut as I just described. Its sort of like a feeling.
I decided to use the flow to my advantage. I began making pot-sized raises on a series of hands. It may've started with A3s. If I'm not mistaken, then came KQ, QT, TT, and finally 66. All the while, if my opponent called the pre-flop bet, I bet out on the flop. My opponent folded to the A3s. On the KQ, I didn't hit the flop, but I did bet out and my opponent folded. With my QT, the flop came out QKK, so I bet the pot. My opponent folded again. Now he must've been frustrated, which is the point. When I saw TT, I knew what to do. I didn't want to slow-play. That would mess up the flow. I bet pot-sized, pre-flop. He called. The flop was A33. Uh oh. If he hit the A, I was in trouble. I bet anyway. Feel the flow. He folded. My next hand was the 66. I raised pot-sized and got a call. I could feel that the flow was built up to the point where something was going to happen big. The flop was 6JQ. I made a pot-sized bet...and he...raised. He raised the minimum back at me, but at this point, that was a decent chunk of change. I had him covered by about 100 chips. I re-raised the minimum back at him. If he called he would have about 600 left. I was hoping he'd make a move. He did, and went all in. My trips 6s crushed his pair of J4, for a pair of Js...the middle pair. He did not go all in because he had the nuts. He went all in because the flow was on my side. He was frustrated by my constant raising. He was probably thinking that he was getting pushed around by someone who had nothing over and over again. He had a small piece of the board. There was no stopping the flow. He was going to give me his money.
My Full Tilt bankroll is now at $23.50. Slow and steady wins the race.
posted by Jordan @ 1:59 PM,