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Silly Geese

Hey hey hey. Wednesday, I'm off to Colorado, but I'm already there in my mind. I've been playing my fair share of online poker to break even results. I'm just trying to enjoy the process after the first part of the year.

The first four months were abysmal, poker-wise. I wasn't losing a lot, but I was losing a little fairly often. And then I chop one tourney in AC and I'm back in the black and then some, with a whole new momentum behind me. Sometimes, poker can be a whole lotta nothing followed by a quick something, so I'm trying to just enjoy the game for its gamery and let time take care of the rest.

With that attitude has come a new curiousness about poker. I'm looking at hands in a whole new light, considering different elements of the game and hopefully whittling down my game in the process.

I saw some good press for my gambling home away from home, Atlantic City. According to some schlocky article on Yahoo (sometimes it seems like any dumb-ass can get a gig writing on the Internet...[pause for irony]...), Atlantic City has the BEST BOARDWALK in the whole United States.* That should bring in the real tourist money from all those Boardwalk aficionados who never heard of Vegas' little developmentally disabled brother.

Still, it's nice to see AC getting some positive press. It really has come a long way in just a few years.

Meanwhile, I played some poker against a bunch of silly gooses. That's the only way I can explain these players after the following hand.

We're playing the $9,500 KO Guarantee, with blinds of 50/100. We are table chip leader (6885) and in the BB when we are dealt 95s. UTG, the second chipleader with 6860, limps. UTG+1 with 5735 limps as well. Two players fold and the CO (2775) limps. The Button (4960) limps too. The SB (1630) flat calls. I mean, Jesus H. Christmas. Maybe this doesn't seem odd to you, but I don't think I've seen this many limpers online in a tournament well over a year. I must not be playing enough.

When the hand was first dealt, I assumed my hand was going nowhere. Suddenly, it's a freaking 600 pot and I'm freerolling.

Of course, the flop comes down AKQ, all spades, flopping me the third-nut flush. The likelihood of another player having JXs or TXs is really slim, considering that I have two flush cards and three are on the board. However, with this many limpers, anything is possible and a player could even draw out with a single Js or Ts.

The SB checks to me, so I raise pot (600). I don't necessarily expect to get any callers, unless I get someone calling with two-pair or a set. I really just don't want to give any free cards for the spade flush draws with Ts or Js. The UTG folds, and UTG+1 raises to 2400. At first, I'm kinda excited, but then I start to worry. Why re-raise here unless you have an extremely strong hand? That still includes sets and whatnot, though, so I feel calm until the Button re-raises all-in for 4860! WHAT?! How could he NOT have a monster hand to re-re-raise all-in like that with sizeable stacks and small blinds. He must have the JXs or TXs, and if he doesn't then in all likelihood the UTG+1 has it. I grumble, but decide that maybe, just maybe, the Button has a lower flush and the UTG+1 will fold his weaker hand. To protect myself from the possibility that UTG+1 actually has a superior flush draw, I push all-in. UTG+1 takes his time before calling 3235 all-in. At showdown, UTG+1 shows KQd for two pair and the Button shows JTh for a flopped straight. They are both drawing dead and I take the tourney chip lead, only to lose it later and bust out around 100 out of 680 or so players. At least it was a KO tourney.

Call me crazy, but I just don't get these two players' over excitement of their hands. The guy with a straight may have rationalized that no one flopped the flush, but with so many players seeing the flop and the action ahead of him (raise from a BB who could have any two cards, and a re-raise from an EP limper who could easily have limped with suited cards), I don't see why he pushed all-in there. He was probably trying to protect against a flush draw, but really, he should have called and saw what the turn brought before pushing a flush draw off of his/her hand. After all, by pushing he is offering a set price to see two cards, which can be tempting to someone who already bet 2400 and may have a pair or whatnot. By calling and re-evaluating on the turn, you can instead offer that all-in price when your opponent has only one card to go OR alternatively, check it down if the next card is another spade.

The guy who flopped bottom two pair is even more stupid. AK, AQ, JT, any two spades, the list of hands that have him beat is pretty wide. Add in the fact that he, too, is vulnerable to draws, and I wonder why he didn't just flat call the flop if he was hoping to turn/river a full house. He must have also thought he was ahead when he raised and wanted to force out the flush draws, which is a better strategy for him than it was for the Button, since UTG+1's raise to 2,400 with chips behind may have been a deterent to anyone hoping to see two cards for cheap. But once he faces a re-raise push and a re-re-raise push, he has to know that his two pair is woefully behind.
Hence, silly gooses. It's the freakin' epitome of players who cannot see past their own hands.

In a whole other category of silly goosiness is the player who builds a pot and then gives it away. Simply put, you cannot just give up a hand like the one I am about to discuss.

I was playing a $8.70 turbo 2-table token SNG, with 1875 at a now 6-person table, with blinds of 30/60. I was in the BB when I was dealt 46h. UTG+1 limps and the button raises to 150, which is a mere 90 more than the BB. When it folds to me, I opt to call. Normally, I just fold here in a Token tourney, but I was feeling like mixing it up and the price was dirt cheap. I also had a hand that could make a lot of money if it hit, but could be easily folded if it missed. The limper folds, which, frankly, is another really weak play. But, whatever.

The flop was 872, rainbow. It's not a terrible flop for me if he has two high cards, but I try not to bluff in these token tourneys. I check and the Button checks too.

The turn in a King of Clubs, creating a club flush draw. This is a scare card, since the button could be playing just about any King, and especially AK and KQ. I check, and he checks too.

The river is an offsuit 4. I have to assume I'm ahead here. I bet out 180, and he folds.

I don't care what this guy has. Facing my check-down behavior, he should have at least sent out a probe bet on the turn. Arguably, I could be slowplaying. HOWEVER, why build a pot in position if you are just going to lie down and play dead once the flop misses you. You are in position, mofo! Use it! If he truly feared being called down or re-raised, he should have bet out a small amount. Frankly, my river bet of 180 is a small enough amount, but even a simple 2x the BB 120 would have been enough to push me off of the pot OR trigger a re-raise if I somehow had a hand and was slowplaying.

I just don't get some of these people. I don't mind them either. But looking at the hands I discussed, its clear that some people just refuse to play smart poker. I like to refer to those people as my bread and butter.

I may be quiet for the rest of the week while I am in Colorado. I'm semi-tempted to bring my laptop, but I don't know if I'll have use for it. All I know is that I will be making at least one trip to the local casino for some 2/5 Limit poker, the only games they spread.

Until next time, make mine poker!

*Continental United States only.

posted by Jordan @ 4:03 AM,


At 2:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Long time reader, first time post.

I always enjoy reading the hand analysis in your blog. It's very insightful, and has the right amount of commentary, wit and objectivity.

re the AKQ flop (with 3rd nut flush, vs bottom-2 vs broadway) - that hand was probably "destined"? the nature of short-stack tourneys is that there's little room to get away from a strong, but vulnerable hand.

The Button reraise was correct. He, too, probably wanted to move any flush draws off a hand. And declare to the table that he hit that board hard - time to end the hand by raising big! Maybe with a little bit of table talk, try to even represent the nut flush (JsTs is a playable hand for a limp in any position!). The act was correct, but the outcome was unfortunate. The Button all-in call was a bad one, but since the stacks are short, he might have felt that he was pot committed at that point, and has to make a crying call - in truth, it's really just a bad call.

The same can be said about the SB play. The bet sizing and stack sizes are such that he HAS to go all in with broadway, and try to get his me money in while (he thinks) his hand is good. With nearly 3600 in the pot, and faced with a raise of 1800, he has two choices: raise all-in or fold. Is he or anyone really that good to lay down broadway at that point?

In any case, I found this one rather interesting because I ran across a similar hand in my rounds (a long time ago): flopping middle-set on a co-ordinated board. But managed to get away from it because it was an extremely deep-stack $2-$5 NLH game.

At 2:38 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

FIRST, let me just clarify that I edited the post once I realized that I confused who the two action players were in the first hand. Originally, I wrote the UTG+1 as the button and the button as the SB. Well, I was wrong. I fixed it, so keep that in mind when reading Anon's comment.

That's some strong analysis, Anon, but I'm not so sure you could call this a short-stack tourney. Now, as a cash player, you may see it differently, since cash can play a lot deeper, but the starting stacks were larger than usual (2000 instead of 1500) and the blinds were still low at 50/100. In fact, the two guys in the hand each had almost 50x the BB. There was no need for them to fall on the sword here. I agree that players tend to make looser calls in these tourneys, but that doesn't make it right. If you want to win consistently at tournament poker, you have to see beyond your strong hands to consider when your opponents' hands are stronger.

I don't mind getting all-in with Broadway that bad, but I hate calling two re-raises all-in with bottom two pair on a straight flush dream board. The UTG+1 could've folded with 25x the BB, which is a decent amount of room.

Still, your points are valid and thanks for the kind words.

At 2:50 PM, Blogger Dave said...

Enjoy your stay out here in Colorado. It's been dayum hot out here the last week or so - so be prepared for the heat. Hope you are headed up to the mountains where it's cooler. If the poker bug hits you while you're out here then head up to Black Hawk and Central City and enter into a poker tournament or two. Avoid the $5 limit yocal no-foldem holdem and pick a tourney where the rules are favorable.

At 3:35 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Have fun with the donkeys up in Black Hawk. I expect a post. I can't wait for you to play that 2/5 limit game. He he he ha ha ha ha ha HA HA HA HAHA (this laugh gets more evil as it goes on and on and on)

At 4:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Peaker have fun with the donks in Black Hawk. The 5/5 O8 games get pretty wild and just downright stupid sometimes. Nice to see you coming to the state, hope you enjoy it!


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