Friday, July 08, 2005

"How would ~you~ play it?"

Well, after the Vegas trip, I feel a lot more comfortable playing in mid-stakes games, so I have moved back to $20/$40 limit hold'em.

I am generally making fewer mistakes. However, that being said, here is a hand with a wide variety of mistakes made by yours truly. I think I need to study this hand some more. I am quite ashamed of the way I played this hand; there is no doubt who the donkey is here.

This hand is an exception to the norm, but boy does it stink!

hand #1
8 handed live $20/$40 limit hold'em game. My opponents are 2 solid props, 3 loose players, 1 good and sneaky player (who very freq limps preflop), and 1 straightforward player.
- preflop: A loose player in early pos limps, folded to Mr. Sneaky in mid pos who limps, Ms. LooseyGoosey limps on my right, I limp in the CO with QhJh, button folds, Mr. Prop in SB completes, and loose player in BB checks. (5 players, pot size 5 small bets)
- flop 4d8h9h: Mr. Prop bets out from SB, BB folds, Mr. Sneaky folds, Ms. LooseyGoosey raises, I cold call, Mr. Prop calls (3 players, pot size 11 small bets)
- turn 4d8h9h2c: Mr. Prop bets, Ms. LG calls, I call (3 players, pot size 8.5 small bets)
- river 4d8h9h2cQc: SB checks, Ms. LG checks, I think for a couple of seconds and Ms. LG impatiently says to me "checked to you...". I check. SB shows J9, Ms. LG mucks, I take the pot.

So could I have played this hand any worse? I think I made the wrong decision on almost every street. I essentially only put money in the pot whenever I did not have the best hand (with the possible exception of preflop).

preflop: 3 loose players have limped in front of me. I have good position, and a hand that plays well multiway. It is a definite raising situation because of my relatively decent pot equity. I should have raised preflop, and only made a continuation bet on the flop if I hit the flop - pair or draw (and otherwise check or fold). To be honest, I was a bit scared to raise because I was afraid of how to play a flop against Mr. Sneaky if I only partially hit.
flop: it was bet and raised in front of me. I strongly have to think that SB has a single pair (since he will definitely check a set and possibly 2 pair), I don't know what Ms. LG has at this point (I believe she would raise with TPTK, 2 pair, set, flush draw, straight draw). I should reraise here for a few reasons - i) strong drawing hand gives me good pot equity, ii) I want to put pressure on hands like T9, T8, J8, J9 (if SB folds a pair or 8s or 9s with a J or Q kicker, it is a major coup since I would have bought 2 more outs - and I believe Mr. Prop is capable of making such a laydown if not on the flop, possibly on the turn - my guess is that he folds on the flop 20% of the time, and 25% of the time on the turn), iii) possibly buys a free card, iv) I do not fear a reraise. I probably felt a bit rushed to act. I could have called time for 5 seconds, and then made a confident raise. It could easily sell as 2 pair or a set, and even if Ms. LG has a set, I will still outdraw 33% of the time. Again, my good position matters greatly in this situation.
Gosh, how good would it have felt if I had 3 bet the flop and bet the turn causing SB to fold, and then won the pot on the river with Q high (if a brick had come on the river)!??!
Note: the flop anaylsis here is completely dependant on my ~not~ raising preflop. The logic would be very different otherwise.
turn: given the choices made preflop and on the flop, calling is reasonable. If I had 3 bet the flop, I would have made a continuation bet hoping not to be check raised.
river: when it is checked to me, how likely is it that I have the best hand? Did I miss a value bet? My play up until the river was extremely indicative of a draw. The Q on the river complete the JT open ended str, but will SB check a hand that beats me? I can't tell if I missed a value bet. I'm reasonable sure that Ms. LG would not have checked the nuts to me on the river. I guess a better way for me to think about it is what range of hands will SB call me with?

In order of importance, the mistakes are:
- missing 3 bet on the flop
- not raising preflop
- possible missing value bet on the river

Given that Ms. LG mucked to SB's pair of 9s, does this definitely means she was on the flush draw as well? I would say almost certainly yes, with 50/50 chance of a better/worse flush draw. She certainly didn't have JT. I can't comprehend her raising the flop w a worse pair than SB.

This was one of those hands where it was right to have been much more aggressive, and I would have made at least 1.5BB and possibly substantially more by being aggressive. And I wouldn't have had to show my hand.


In general, my primary mistakes are 1) calling a bit too much on the river when I am almost certainly beaten (but don't get the wrong idea, I reach a showdown on the river less than 3% of the hands) and 2) checking too much when I am likely (~55%-75% sure) to have the best hand on the river. On average I may be making each of these mistakes close to once every 2 hours. That is way too often.

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