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You Decide #48 & Odd Omens

Let's get this beyotch crackalackin' with the return of You Decide after months of hiatus. And if you are interested in past You Decide posts, check out the You Decide Index. Feel free to leave new comments on old hands. I get email notification of all comments along with the name of the post that is the subject of the comment, and I'm always interested in new analyses of old hands. This one is a bit odd for a You Decide, mostly because it was a very quick hand. To direct you a bit, let me add that I won the hand with a bluff check-raise, but whether I won or not, was it a smart play when you consider all of the information? I'm on the fence, so here we go:

We are playing in CC's Thursday Bash, 15/30 blinds (level 2), and we are sitting on 1635 chips, a little more than the 1500 starting stack. There are a couple of juicy super LAG players at the table, along with a spattering of strong players and a generally jovial crowd. In the BB, we are dealt JdTh. In early position (UTG+2), one of those juicy LAGs, Alexe (T1,795, raises from 30 to 90. I don't know him/her (let's go with her), but I've watched her loose action, making calls on raises with crappy cards preflop and making a play earlier in the evening that just seemed to be a bluff raise (she did take down that hand, so she may have had the goods). In general, though, she seems like a player who will try to make a play for a pot at any opportunity. It folds to me in the BB, and I decide to flat call, hoping that I hit and get paid off.

The flop is an ugly 3c 4c 2h. I have nada. I check. Alexe bets 120 into the 195 pot. I think for a moment and decide to re-raise to 450. Alexe folds. There are a few reasons why I made this play, and the amount I bet, 450, was chosen with particularity. I'd give the explanation here, but then I wouldn't get to hear your thoughts, so let's just sit on this for a while and I'll come back later and post my full analysis.

ADDENDUM: It's later now. Roose has left to pick me up for AC, so let me just get to this and analyze my play. The two responses I received were positive, and winning the hand often makes me look at a hand with rose-colored glasses, but in this case, something was nagging me. Yes, it was a good play, but I think it was too early in the tournament for me to try to start stealing pots. First, let's look at the play, ignoring the level of play we are in.

In the first place, I had a decent read on the LAG (loose aggressive) player, so calling with JTo is not such a bad play. If I hit big, like AKQ, I'm going to get paid off big, and the call was not large compared to our stacks.

After the flop, I like the check, because I can expect him to bet here, no matter what. He has likely missed the flop, and my tight image and the fact that I'm playing out of the blinds for a call should make Alexe wary of my check, but after the check-raise, she has no choice but to fold unless she has an overpair. Any other combination is folding, providing that the bet is enough. The thing is, she might have a hand, or because she is LAG, she might call with a flush draw. So, I needed a bet that would leave me with enough chips to come back if I had to fold on the turn or to a re-raise. I don't like to min-raise unless I have a monster, so I had to raise more than 120. Normally, I'd bump it to 3x, or 360, but since her initial bet was low (120 into a 195 pot), a raise of 240 would be small compared to the pot. Plus, she is a LAG. So, I raised it to a higher amount. I started the hand with 1635, put 120 in the pot preflop (1515 left), and by betting 450, it does two things: (1) it says, "this is a third of my stack, and I'm ready to play, beyotch" and (2) allows me to actually fold and have over 1k in my stack. In other words, I had the hand planned out no matter what happened. I must add, I went through all of this analysis before I raised.

So, great play. But here is the thing. The pot was only 320 or so when I decided to put in 450 to bluff it. That is my problem, if there was one. The pot was still small, and if I had just folded preflop, I would've lost 30 and been onto the next hand with minimal risk. Instead, early in a tournament, I got fancy and put myself in a position to lose more than 1/3 of my chips on a hand I didn't really need to win. If there is a saving grace, it was the fact that I chose my opponent with particularity and wanted to win her money before someone else got it from her.

So, any more thoughts? I'd be glad to hear them. Back to the rest of this post, as written earlier today.

I suffered a bad omen last night. After busting in CC's Heads-Up tournament, I went about preparing my bag for my AC trip today. While getting my things together, admittedly in a headache medicine-induced haze, I grabbed my iPod and prepared to turn it on in order to check my reserve of podcasts. As I held down the power button, nothing happened. Okay, I thought, the battery is dead. I walked over to the computer, plugged in the USB charger and waited. Nothing. Hmm, I thought, let's see if it is a problem with my crappy ole desktop. I walked over to the kitchen, set up the outlet charger and plugged in the iPod. Nothing. Okay, don't panic. I held down the power button again. Nothing. Damn. I started looking for solutions. I had my AM/FM "walkman" (just AM/FM folks, no cassette tape player, cause I ain't that old school) and satisfied myself with the thought that I could at least listen to some of the great local radio in NY while walking to and from the train.

As I continued to pack, I realized the greater implication. No iPod meant no music during the $300+40 tournament. I don't listen to my iPod the entire time I play, but I like it there to cut out the noise or help me relax in particular situations. You probably know from my poker uniform and OCD-ish array of poker paraphenelia I carry to the table, that I like to have everything set up a particular way when I play. The iPod was a key component to that setup. Reality being what it was, though, I knew I had to shake that feeling of anxiety before I brought it to the table. The loss of the iPod felt like a bad omen, but I had to turn that around.

I am not under the control of my things, I thought to myself. The only thing to do was to change everything up to prove to myself that I didn't need the iPod or any of the security blankets that I carry to the table with me. I packed my $uperman shirt, but decided not to wear it. I would change everything up and I would see it as a chance to free myself. I also grabbed my old mp3 player and fit in as much techno/trance songs as I could that were not from iTunes directly (they don't play on the crappy 20-song mp3 player). I tossed it in my bag, got the rest of my stuff together and put it all behind me...after trying two more times to turn on the iPod.

This morning, I went about my usual business preparing for the workday. Right before leaving, I decided to just take one more look. I walked over to the short supply cabinet near wifey Kim and my computer desk and pulled out the iPod. I hit the power button...Nothing. I got ready to put it back, and then I saw it, that charcoal gray Apple that appears during startup. My eyes widened like a starry-eyed hooker seeing my very own Richard Gere. It was back, ole jPod.

So, all in all not a bad omen, but an odd one. I'm glad that ole jPod is back, and I can rest easy knowing that I can shed my neuroses any time I want (I swear! I just don't want to right now). Meanwhile, I'm going to wait out this day, anxious for 3pm when Roose rolls up in our AC shuttle and we are on the road.

On that note, if you are going to be in AC this weekend and would like to get drunk and gamble with a bunch of degenerates, the I Had Outs girls have scheduled a happy hour at Showboats (!!) House of Blues Restaurant Bar for 10pm on Saturday. Hopefully, I'll still be in the WSOP Circuit event starting that day at noon, but if not, expect me there, until around 10:55, when I'll be running upstairs to register for the 11pm $100+20 tournament (they allow late registration).

Until next time, make mine AC poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:50 PM,


At 10:37 AM, Blogger Pokerwolf said...

*Puts Grammar Nazi hat on*

In general, though, she seems like a player who will try to make a play for a pot at aIt folds to me in the BB, and I decide to flat call, hoping that I hit and get paid off.

If you're going to keep these posts around, then fix that sentence!

*Takes off Grammar Nazi hat*

Well, let's see:

You have the player tagged as a LAG, You have a decent read that puts the player on bluff-raise steals and I'm guessing you have a pretty strong table image (you didn't say so and you might want to add that info to the post). I don't mind the call with JTo, especially when the blinds are low. That also puts the idea that you have a strong hand in the LAG's mind. The pot is 315 when the action hits us.

Personally, I'd come over the top of her(?) myself to see where I was at as well as to take down the pot. A min-re-raise doesn't show enough stregnth, so I'd go with an overbet as well, somewhere in the realm of 400-420. The re-raise to 450 screams "I think you're full of shit and I have a big hand. Bring it, bitch!" which is exactly what I'd want to do in that situation too. It's a great move, because of the scary board and the pre-flop action. Nice job.

Here's a question that you can put in another post or just answer in the comments:

What would you have done if she(?) called? I'm guessing you would have folded, but is there any reason to continue the hand after that action? I don't see any, but maybe someone else will.

At 11:01 AM, Blogger WillWonka said...

Sitting at a table with a LAG... nice.

Getting a good read on said LAG... very nice.

Acting on that read and bluff check raising... priceless.

nh sir.

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

The edits were made, grammar nazi. Actually, thanks for pointing that out, Wolf. Sometimes my fingers type faster than my brain.

In general, my table image was definitely solid, and probably tighter than usual, at least as far as Alexe was concerned. Other players might have thought me looser because of past experience, but Alexe and I never played together before, and I was mostly folding away.

Let me throw out a little hint at one of the things that bothered me about this hand. Check out the level of the game we were in. Was this too early for a move like this?

At 1:00 PM, Blogger Pokerwolf said...

Check out the level of the game we were in. Was this too early for a move like this?

Personally, I like making moves like this one in the early stages because if I lose chips I have time to get them back before the blinds start crimping my style.

You had a read, you went with it, and it worked. Even if it didn't work, you'd still have enough of a stack to be effective based on the size of the blinds.

At 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WillWonka said...

Sitting at a table with a LAG... nice.

Getting a good read on said LAG... very nice.

Acting on that read and bluff check raising... priceless.

nh sir.


Actually, that's one big reason why the LAG style works. In that particular hand, the LAG invested very little and would play a big hand the same way, while Jordan invested a lot with nothing.

I suppose there are many ways to look at it.

At 9:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are you trying to represent with your raise here?

At 2:08 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Great question, Tom. The truth is, I didn't really think of it. I just figured him for a steal and figured that he did not hit the board. A5 (straight), 34 (two of a kind), or something like 33 (flopped set) would do. Basically, I was just trying to represent that I had a marginal hand that hit the flop hard against his two unpaired over cards.

At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fair enough. Often times you can simply go with that.

I was analyzing from the LAG players perspective.

I wouldn't put you on a set because a set might choose to slowplay that board, even with a flush draw. Same goes for a flopped wheel.

I guess I'd be putting you on a smallish overpair like 55-88, maybe 99 and 10-10 as well.

I think the bet was pretty good because unless LAGgy has the club draw or an overpair, he/she is going to fold in most cases.

Plus, it establishes your image as someone who defends their blinds to anyone paying attention.


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