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Bubbly Shame-Pain

I wrote a week ago about the Shame component of poker, namely that terrible shame I feel after fucking up a play or losing a tournament. In the past, it was enough to get me to rethink online poker. I'm not at that point, but after bubbling the Hoy yesterday, I'm pretty damn close.

This, of course, is my own personal battle. In the past, I've prattled on about why blaming others is no good for your game, but this sort of self-shame is useless energy too. After all, there should be no shame in failure, but rather a lesson to be learned. If there was one lesson yesterday, it was...well, I'm not sure. Truthfully, I had some luckbox moments earlier in the tournament, usually when I was so short that I had to push and my opponent was priced in. It was less donkey-play than situational, so I do count my blessings that I made it to the bubble. But still, once there, I would've prefered at least cashing. It was really between Columbo and I for the bubble, and he was kinda passive (I mean that in a constructive criticism sorta way, but for all I know, he was getting terrible cards). In the end, I was pushing pretty much whenever I was in the SB and Columbo was in the BB, but he eventually called my all-in when I had KT and he had A5 or A6. I don't know what took him so long, either. After all, I was pushing every freaking time in that spot, regardless of my two cards, so he must've realized my range was wide.

So, I guess if there is anything to learn it is (a) be cognizant that you cannot keep going aggro when you get to the bubble because eventually, your opponent will either wake up with a hand or make a call that he would've otherwise folded because you've ruined your image, and (b) enough with the shame already. Truthfully, I don't know if (a) would've helped me make the money, so I guess this may be one of those times when the lesson is really hard to find.

At least I won a $26 token while I played the Hoy.

Oh, and lest you think that the Short Stack Specialist line was a load of crap, I entered the final table in a distant 9th place. I was able to chip up slowly, but usually remained near the bottom of the standings. Ironically, I was in first place for the first half or three-quarters of the tournament, due in large part to Fluxer. Fluxed pushed all-in on the first hand after two limpers, then raised big the second hand to take down the uncontested pot. A hand or three later, I was dealt AT, and when Fluxed led out with a bet, I called, figuring him to be loose. The flop was JQK for a flopped Broadway Straight, and I bet pot, about 600, a lot for the early goings. Hoy, who was also in the hand, folded, and Fluxer raised all-in. It was an easy call, and he showed AQ, gifting me his 3k stack. Fluxer and I chatted about the hand afterward, and he was admittedly donking around. He pointed out that only 3 players paid, and I joked that I wanted to be one of those three, since the payouts would obviously be juicier without more spots paying. I guess it just wasn't meant to be.

Even so, I love my post-flop play there. It would've been easy to check the nuts, but with Hoy and Flux, both smart players, I thought a straightforward bet-the-nuts would work, since one of them likely hit a piece of the board and would think that my pot-sized bet was weak. I guess it worked.

While I played yesterday, I also copied and pasted a random hand history and then accidentally hit "Publish" on Blogger. If you are reading this through the RSS feed, you've probably seen the hand history already. If not, I'm about to discuss it here, even though I don't remember the hand at all. For all of you, though, I will include the full hand history below. I HIGHLY recommend other bloggers to write narratives when they keep hand histories. I can read a hand history, but its is just so much easier to read and comprehend when its in a narrative form. But that's just my two cents. So, here goes:

We are at 40/80 blinds in the Hoy, and I've got 6670 chips, a complete lock as chipleader. The nearest competition has 4230. In the SB, I'm dealt AJo. It folds to AcesKing (2605), who raises to 280 in the Hijack (one spot off of the cutoff). It folds to me and I call 240, mostly because I can afford to call with this potentially dominated hand. I have enough chips where I can afford to figure out where I am post-flop.

The flop comes down AK9, with two clubs. I check my top-pair. He bets 640, which is probably pot. I raise to 2480. Why? Because I can afford to lose that amount if I'm wrong (I'll still have about 4k), and the only cards I fear are a set, AQ or AK. This is really an exercise in big-stack poker. I put the pressure on AcesKing because my bet puts him all-in. He folds and I take down the pot.

In hindsight, I wonder if this is a foolish play. I only get called if I'm behind. If I'm ahead, he folds. But overall, I think its okay, since I'll have enough to survive if I'm behind, and I got him to commit an extra 640 by inducing the bet.

Inducing the bet is crucial here. I could've bet out. After all, I thought I was ahead. However, the pot was still relatively small, and it didn't make sense to try to take it down right away. Also, if I'm raised, I'd be hard-pressed to lay it down. By checking and letting him bet, I've given myself a good chance of profiting. Sure, a superior hand might bet out here, putting me in the same spot as if I had bet out myself, got re-raised and called. HOWEVER, I now add the possibility that he is going to bet out with a weaker hand like 99-JJ or even KQ or KJ. I basically change the dynamics. If I bet out, the choices are (a) win the 640 pot outright, (b) face a re-raise and have a tough decision, or (c) get called and have a tough decision on the turn. By checking, I now face (a) a freecard for him AND me which would in any event indicate that my Ace is good for the time being, (b) a bet from a dominating hand who is trying to milk some action [likely a smaller bet, so I get info too by checking] and (c) a bet from a weaker hand that I can exploit in any number of ways.

I'm not sure what the end-all-be-all is from this hand. I just liked the pressure and the timing of the pressure I laid on AcesKing. The fact that I had him outchipped is crucial. This allowed me to 'gamble' a bit more by check-raising. He could've had a better hand and I could've been gifting him my stack, but I had enough chips to give that gift and still survive.

Wow! After typing that out, I feel a little bit better about yesterday. After all, there is no doubt in my mind that the blogger tournaments have some of the toughest fields. There is a lot of skill out there, and on top of it, we all have our "its just a fucking blogger game" moment, so you never know what mood a particular player is going to be in. I also am happy to say that I still enjoy hand analysis and game analysis in general. To me, this separates the weekend players and the serious players. If you are willing to analyze plays and figure out what works and what doesn't, and almost more importantly, why something works or doesn't, you MUST have an advantage over the masses. And therein is the reason why poker bloggers are better poker players. We actively think about the game on a daily or semi-daily basis.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 4:21 PM,


At 6:05 PM, Blogger meanhappyguy said...

I also really like the pot-bet with the nuts there. Those pot bets look so fishy at times, especially when you are first to enter a pot. If I am Hoy or Fluxer there, I'm probably putting you on a bluff with an underpair, catching a weak part of the flop, or hitting the flop hard. I'd say roughly 20%, 60%, 20%, respectively.

Fluxer might have been thinking the same thing, and could have been trying to push you off your weakish holding. Unfortunately for him, he guessed wrong.

By check/raising or check/calling, your hand becomes much more defined and easy to get away from for both Hoy and Fluxer.

At 6:28 PM, Blogger bayne_s said...

Betting pot on flopped straight is a fine choice against the aggros.

You want to build the pot so they will eventually commit all their chips(or at least double you up) drawing slim

At 6:44 PM, Blogger DP said...

Insightful post here; maybe when I have time to thoroughly read it I'll make a more useful comment.

At 11:47 PM, Blogger RaisingCayne said...

Nice post. And GG at the Hoy... tough bubble loss. I had the same read on Columbo, considering his play a bit excessively tight. (BUT, he did finish 2nd...) I sure was thankful my stack was healthy enough to sit back and let the bubble burst, as your aggression was uncomfortable for me. (I credit my win to just running incredibly card hot all tourney long.)

In the hand you reference... I really like the pot bet of the nuts on the flop, especially in a blogger game. The move disguises a monster holding while building a nice pot.

See you at the Mookie...


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