Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bad Limit Hold'em decisions

In my last live $20/$40 LHE session, I made the worst possible mistake that can be made in Limit Hold'em....twice in the same orbit. I'll list them both here because I need a reminder to stop being such a weak-tight-passive retard. My preflop decisions are debatable, but the substantially dominating factor in both hands is that the cost of seeing the showdown is well defined.

First I should try to define my mental state prior to these two hands. In the only 3 hands I had been involved in during the previous 30 minutes I missed a very good opportunity to bluff at a 4.5 big bet pot on the river in a 3 way hand (Hero was in 1st pos, pfr was on my left: protected pot) and was outdrawn twice in ~5BB pots by the Donk on my immediate right. My confidence level was somewhat deflated at the start of these hands, and significantly impacted after hand #1.

hand #1
8 seated $20/$40 LHE
Villain #1: very large preflop limping range, plays draws very aggressively on the flop, very often slow plays the flop with hands like a set even on coordinated boards
Villain #2: fairly aggressive postflop, but slows down in the face of extreme aggression even with hands as good as bottom set
- preflop: Hero limps UTG w AcJs, fold, fold, Villain #1 calls, Villain #2 calls in CO, button calls, SB completes, BB checks (6 players, 6 small bets)
- flop: 2c5cJd, blinds check, Hero bets, V#1 raises, V#2 3-bets, folded back to Hero, Hero calls, V#1 caps, both call. (3 players, 18 small bets)
- turn: 2c5cJd6s, Hero checks, V#1 bets, V#2 quickly calls, Hero calls (3 players, 12 big bets)
- river: 2c5cJd6s3d, Hero checks, V#1 bets, V#2 very reluctantly calls, Hero mucks (final pot 14 big bets) V#1 shows QJo, V#2 takes the pot with KJo

hand #2
9 seated $20/$40 LHE (4 hands after hand #1)
Villain #3: appears to be a LAG, but I have yet to seen him get too out of line
Villain #4: has a very large preflop calling range, but generally has a good sense of where he stands in the hand postflop. Capable of tricky plays, but may be on a mild case of tilt from a couple of bad beats
- preflop: fold, fold, V#3 raises, fold, big Donk calls in the hi-jack, Hero 3 bets in CO w AsJs, button and SB fold, V#4 calls in BB, V#3 and Donk just call. (4 players, 12.5 small bets)
- flop: 3c9dJd, check, V#3 bets, Donk folds, Hero raises, V#4 calls, V#3 calls (3 players, 18.5 small bets)
- turn:3c9dJd7s, V#4 bets (and has 0.75BB remaining), V#3 raises (both V#3 and Hero are very deep), Hero mucks, V#4 calls all in. (2 players, 12.5 big bets)
- river: 3c9dJd7s? (brick). V#4 shows QJo, V#3 mucks.

The first hand wouldn't have been so bad if I had mucked on the turn (although I'd still be pretty sick). The player on my left is taking the lead, so probably 80+% of the time I will only need to call 1 bet on the river closing the action to showdown in a big pot. Additionally, I've played enough with Villain #2 to know that he calls much faster on the river with any hand that beats me.

I honestly think that given the information available at the time it was possible to deduce that a very significant % of the time I am at worst chopping the pot with one or both Villains.

To make matters worse, I foolishly admitted to mucking the best hand, yet another -EV decision. A terrible, terrible metagame slip up.

The second hand is slightly less bad than the first, although still incredibly weak. I was too flustered to comprehend the reasoning of Villain #4's turn bet. My current thoughts are that he had a hand like JT and was conscious that he had less than 2 big bets remaining that were going to put in the pot no matter what, and he bet on the possibility that I raised the flop on a flush draw.
At any rate, it is very straightforward that I will be paying exactly 3 big bets to see the showdown on a 12.5+1=13.5 big bet pot. Given the uncertainty of Villain #2's range and the pot odds, this is a simple calldown.


ScurvyDog said...

I'm the last monkey to be chiming in, given my fleeing mid limits after running poorly for what seems like forever, but...

Hand #1 surprises me, as I think you have to call one more bet on the river 100% of the time. I'm not sure you're winning there a huge percentage of the time but you're winning enough (and chopping with AJ enough) to clutch your junk and call there.

Hand #2 doesn't seem that bad to me, and I think you're putting too much weight on it because of it's close proximity and similarity to Hand #1. If you don't have a decent read on V#3 it's hard to not give him credit, as he's shown decent strength. Yeah, sometimes he can't beat QJo, but I think that's pretty rare, and this seems the sort of hand that at best is break even for you in the long run. The fact that V#4 is short stacked does add weight to the call down argument, though, as he could be betting out there on the turn out of frustration as much as anything else.

More and more I feel like AJ and A10 just get me in trouble, more than anything else. Well, and AQ. And AK. And pretty much any pocket pair 99 and below. And 1010 and up.

cc said...

Along with scurv, I'm no 2+2 guru hand guy. Having said that:

Hand #1: I like to raise pre-flop here; otherwise, I think (as you) that it is an insta-call on the river as you've played it, not even a clutch-your-junk call as scurv says. I mean, this is limit, we call down and pay this off.

Hand #2: I probably 50/50 muck and call down in your situation. I can't think about all of the logic for everything most of the time, but I more and more just call it down as I think I win more than I lose most of the time in similar situations. The similar situation for me is QQ with undercards and scary cards (gapped straight, flush possibilities), reluctantly calling or just shrug-jamming and getting paid off by 99 or 55.

But the broader thing, in my opinion, is can you get up and take a walk when your mindset is as you described. I absolutely can live and absolutely cannot online, so if you figure it out let me know.

d said...

Thanks for the feedback guys.

Hand #1 is at least an insta-call. I've had so much prior playing time with both Villains that it could be argued that there is some value in raising the river.
I hear what you are saying about taking a walk. Playing with a clean mindset is important.

cc said...

I just think that it is bizarre for me personally that I find it so easy to get up at the Bellagio when the blind comes to me, go wash my face, walk around out of the poker room for 20 minutes, come back and jump back in, yet I will absolutely never do that online. I don't know why, I can't explain it. Maybe it's because of the shorter time you'll have to take a break from a specific table, but I just don't ever, ever do it. The live walk is a major tool for me. I once had AA cracked by T7s (runner-runner two pair), and another guy at the table had remarked about how he liked my Bellagio Nike golf t-shirt alot (I'm fairly plump, and it was just innocent chit-chat). I of course had told them I was the Nike rep for Las Vegas. After the beat (no tilt, just sort of shrugging that this is poker), I got up, went and bought him a medium shirt from the gift shop, walked around, then gave it to him. Then finished up +600 for the session. Online, I probably would have lost it.

Have a good weekend.