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Any Angle Will Do

I had a fun time at poker last night. My early evening was spent with a handful of my buddies from high school. We met up at Hill Country, an odd BBQ in the City. For you Southerners, the BBQ in NY isn't exactly what you might be used to. Certainly, the BBQs in NY try to be like their Southern origins, but due to laws against open smokers, its tricky for NY BBQs to get the right effect. Still, there are some decent options in the city. Hill Country, unfortunately, was just borderline.

Basically, the restaurant is "Market Style" which means you get seated at a table, where a server gets you your drinks. You then go up to different counters for meat, sides, dessert, etc. The counters put a mark or sticker on your card, and when you leave, you hand your card to a cashier and he tallies up your meal. I went with a mix of beef and pork ribs, and split three sides with my compadres: mac & cheese, corn pudding and cornbread. I'm a pork ribs kinda guy, but the pork was over-seasoned with too much peppercorn and salt in certain bites. The beef ribs were definitely better, with a lessened amount of peppercorn, although the salt was still fairly heavy. The sides were adequate. The cornbread was probably the best of the bunch. I'm also an avid mac & cheese fan, and theirs was too heavy on the sharp cheddar. In mac & cheese, the cheddar is supposed to give the dish a nice subtle bite to it as an accent. This was all cheddar, so what would be a nice touch became overbearing.

Still, the beer was cold...and free. The waitresses are supposed to charge you for your drinks. I suppose they bring a check or something as you order them. All I know is that we waited around for twenty minutes and asked three times for our drink check and each time they told us, "Just pay at the register." I was still fairly certain that drinks were paid for at the table, but who was I to argue. After we left, I asked the guys, "Did we pay for our beers?" Jon and Dan nodded no. Then Josh walked out of the restaurant, "I told them about my beer at the register." SUCKA!

After another drink at a local Swiss-themed bar, I headed home to play in the Mookie. I was home at about 9pm, and fought the temptation to play. After a while of watching television, I fired up the comp and saw a 4-person HU SNG for $20 ready to go on Full Tilt. I jumped in and was seated with my first competitor.

After about ten hands, I noticed that my opponent was taking his time on every decision. I love to play HU, and this is generally a rare thing. In situations like this, I highly recommend that you do the due diligence to determine what your opponent is up to. In this case, I checked to see if my opponent was sitting at any other tables. He was. In fact, he was two-tabling with a $5 HORSE HU SNG.

So, while he was taking his dear, sweet time before calling or folding or whatnot, I was studying his play at the other table. HORSE and NLHE are not interchangeable, and he might very well play one differently than the other. But I could take advantage of his general demeanor during play, and exploit any opportunities that arose from this peculiar situation. For instance, if I saw him raise in the HORSE SNG, I'd raise in my SNG. I figured that if he was raising at HORSE, he would want to focus on that hand, since it likely had potential. Hopefully, this would get him to fold marginal hands at my table. And it worked. In fact, I began raising with ATC, once I got the timing right. I also knew to fold right away if I faced some opposition, since my opponent would only play back at me if he had a hand. After all, it's not easy playing two HU games simultaneously. It's also not easy to play two SNGs of different games at the same time. It's also not easy to play a HORSE SNG with any other game, since HORSE's game keeps changing. Add these things together and you got yourself a player who is too distracted for his own good.

Eventually, my opponent busted in his HORSE SNG. After watching him the entire time, I saw that my little secret advantage was out the window, so I switched to Phase 2 of the plan. "Bad luck in that HORSE SNG," I typed into the chat box. It wasn't really bad luck. He just played poorly. Still, this was my way of telling him that I was watching him. Many people think that you should hide such facts. I'm in agreement that you shouldn't announce your secret advantage while in play; but once that advantage is neutralized, outting yourself can be a useful tool. In this instance, it did a few things. First, it rubbed some salt in his wound. I knew he just lost. Most HU players are egotistical. I was hoping to tilt him by pointing out his failure. Second, I was letting him know that I was playing attention to his play and that I was working angles against him. Perception-control is a huge advantage in this game. I was announcing to him that I knew his moves, had studied him even. Once again, my goal was to tilt my opponent. If he thinks I know his moves, he may leave his standard game, which so far was fairly tight. I needed to loosen him up for some of my last stage aggression. I wanted him to bite on my raise bait once I had the goods.

Eventually, everything fell into place and I took out my opponent when he called me with a King-high hand preflop against my Ace-high hand. He was not even that short, but I had been betting and raising fairly hard. My Ace held up, and I was onto the next competitor. Nothing too exciting about this one. We played a long game, but I eventually won; easy enough.

Then I played the Mookie. Nothing to see here. Basically, I just played poorly and got all-in with AQ and a Q-high board against someone's QQ. Lemon!

So goes poker. Ironically, even though I won $60 profit from the HU game, I still felt like it was a losing session after busting from the Mook. I guess money isn't everything.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 8:52 AM,


At 11:19 AM, Blogger BWoP said...


Great insight on getting "information" about your opponent. It's sometimes hard to adjust to online when you rely a lot on physical demeanor at the table, but this certainly can help.

At 12:02 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

An outstanding point that not many people do. You have to know the enviornment that the other player is going through. Once I had a player that was raising with ATC and I noticed he was bad beated in another table $33 HU. Once I pointed it out that he was sucked out on, he relaxed, the aggressiv behavior went away and he knew that I wasn't going to be a push over. I started to raise with ATC and took him out winning a coinflip with ducks beating AQ.

These lessons that we learn and sometimes get away from are the ones we have to return to for us to gain profitability.

Recently I moved away from playing this way. And you have trout slapped me to realize that I am just throwing money away if I don't look at all the "free information" that a player gives me.

Good Post Jordan!


At 4:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

good post

At 11:14 PM, Blogger KajaPoker said...

If you really love mac & cheese you have to try the Hudson Cafeteria at the Hudson Hotel. Their's is the best I have ever eaten.

As for good BBQ - you have to go to Virgil's BBQ near times square.


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