Saturday, November 25, 2006

2 pair - the bane of my LHE existence

Hmmmm, long time no post. The best out-of-the-blue post is a raving insomniac 3am post....

Of late, I have been exclusively playing live $20/$40 and $40/$80 LHE with a heavy emphasis on the former. There are a variety of reasons for this that I may get into in a later post.

There are 4 hands from my last few sessions that I wanted to mull over, so I thought it would be best to churn out a post to force myself to take the time to do so. I'll first describe the hands, and then make some commentary after the hand history.

In each of the hands, either the Hero or a Villain holds 2 pair.

As always, comments and/or questions are appreciated.

hand #1 - collusion/paranoia
Live $20/$40 LHE, 6 handed.
- preflop: mucked to CO who raises, Hero 3 bets on the button with KcJs, SB mucks, BB pauses and cold calls, CO calls (3 players, pot size 9 small bets)
- flop: Tc4h3s, BB checks, CO bets, Hero calls, BB check raises, CO calls, Hero calls (3 players, pot size 15 small bets)
- turn: Tc4h3sJc, BB bets, CO raises, Hero tanks and cold calls, BB tanks, picks up his cards, shows his neighbor his hand and mucks, CO remarks to Hero "you have AcKc?" (2 players, 11.5 big bets)
- river: Tc4h3sJc5h, check, check, CO's top two pair scoops the pot

For difficult-to-describe reasons, when the BB cold called preflop I suddenly had the feeling that I was in a collusion situation. I've never felt this way about any live cash game situation I have ever been in. However, BB had an expression on his face that didn't seem quite right to me. The BB and CO are both mainland chinese (as opposed to HK'ers, ABC's, or even any other asian) and this possible (although granted very thin) link gave me pause for concern.

When the BB check raised the flop, my collusion concern increased. On the turn, my internal feeling about the collusion was still very strong. I decided to base my decision on how to play the hand on the turn with the assumption that the 2 opponents were colluding. Given that I was "put" in a situation where I was facing two bets cold, I felt my "colluding" opponents had weak hands and wanted to win the hand without a showdown. When I acted on the turn, I actually picked up enough chips in my hand to make it 3 bets, broke off the 2 bets somewhat slowly leaving clear indications that I had considered 3 betting.

Naturally, given the way the rest of the hand played out, the BB and CO were not in cahoots. I later discover that BB had shown his neighbor ATo before mucking. My collusion radar was WAY off. That is quite disconcerting....

Admittedly, my flop play is very questionable. When facing the first bet, if I am concerned about collusion, I should simply muck (having missed the flop), cut my losses, and pay more attention during the remainder of the session for any additional possible patterns of collusion. Otherwise, if I'm going to continue on in the hand, I should take advantage of my position and raise the flop donk bet.

hand #2 - loosey-goosey/big pot
Live $20/$40 LHE, 9 handed
- preflop: 5 limpers, Hero completes in SB with Qd5c, BB checks (7 players, pot size 7 small bets)
- flop: 3c5s9d, Hero bets, solid BB calls, muck, loose player raises, mucked to (pretty good playing) CO who 3 bets cold (I've played more than enough with CO to know his range of preflop overlimping/flop 3 betting here is exactly 33, 55, 99, A9, K9, 35s), Hero calls, BB mucks, loose player calls (3 players, pot size 17 small bets)
- turn: 3c5s9dQc, Hero checks, loose player checks, CO bets, Hero check raises, loose player tanks and mucks, CO immediately 3 bets, Hero tanks and calls (2 players, pot size 14.5 big bets)
- river: 3c5s9dQc3d, Hero check/folds, CO flashes 99 while raking in the pot

At the time this hand was played, I felt like a complete retard. After writing it out, I feel a little better about the hand because I think my decisions were reasonable (though not great). When CO 3 bets me headsup on the turn, I'm 100% certain he has one of 3 sets. I'm also 100% certain, I will be able to CR and get called on the river if I make Qs full (I will only be check/calling the river with 5s full).

I was not sharp enough on the turn comfortably estimate my EV given my 13.5:1 pot odds on the spot (and the weighted additional bets that will go in on the river if a 5 or Q hits), but I felt it was close to 0. (After inputting the numbers into excel to do a Baysian analysis, the EV turns out to be -0.063BB) Given that during the actual hand, I know the EV is close to 0, in retrospect I'd prefer to minimize my variance by mucking here (and in fact since the actual EV turns out to be negative, I think it is a clear fold).

There is some value to table image/tilt inducement/creating a good game environment to calling the turn 3 bet in what is clearly (at that point) a runner-runner situation. I don't know how to quantify this yet. Also there is certainly an amount of entertainment value in hitting that hand. (gambool indeed).

hand #3 - jammed
Live $20/$40 LHE, 9 handed
- preflop: Semi-solid UTG open limps, mucked around to semi-LAG CO who raises, mucked to Hero in BB who calls with As8s, UTG calls (3 players, pot size 6 small bets)
- flop: Ts9h7s, Hero bets, UTG calls, CO raises, Hero 3 bets, UTG calls 2 more, CO caps, both call (3 players, pot size 18 small bets)
- turn: Ts9h7sKd, Hero checks, UTG checks, CO bets, Hero calls, UTG check raises, CO 3 bets, Hero tanks and calls, UTG caps, both call (3 players, pot size 21 big bets)
- river: Ts9h7sKdAh, Hero checks, UTG bets, CO calls, Hero mucks, UTG scoops with QcJc, lagtard CO mucks his T9s.

When I face the turn 3 bet, it is as clear as day that I will be having to call the cap as well. Thus, I should understand that I'm getting 18:3. (It is a bit of an exaggeration for me to call CO a lagtard since his real hand range on the turn 3 bet is 2 pair or a set, but a little better hand-reading from CO on the turn saves me 2 bets - bah the dark side of playing in loose games!) With 8 or 7 outs (depending on CO's set or 2 pair), I'm again in a close-to-zero EV situation again. Yuck variance...

As some regulars in this game often say, "this game is very flushstraighting...."

hand #4 - knocked out
Live $20/$40 LHE, 9 handed
- preflop: 2 EP limpers, ABC-playing button raises, Hero cold calls in SB with Qc9d, everyone calls (5 players, pot size 10 small bets)
- flop: Qh9s7c, checked to 2nd limper (sneaky player who frequently semibluffs, his range here is VERY large), 2nd limper donks, button raises, Hero cold calls 2, BB mucks, 1st limper (semi-lagtard) 3 bets cold, 2nd limper calls, button calls, Hero calls (4 players, pot size 22 small bets)
- turn: Qh9s7c8c, Hero checks, 1st limper bets, 2nd limper raises, button tanks and folds, Hero tanks (has no read on 1st limpers intentions) and folds, 1st limper calls disgustedly (2 players, pot size 15 big bets)
- river: Qh9s7c8cXx (brick on the river), 1st limper check/crying-calls, 2nd limper tables his 9h6h, and 1st limper takes it down with his top pair QcJs

My initial cold call on the flop was made with the intention that I would maximize my chance of winning this big pot by check raising the button on the turn. Instead, after the 1st limper check raises 3 cold, I turn into a disgusting weak tighty (fearing monsters under the bed and being jammed between straights vs. sets). This is a classic example of a hand where played aggressively postflop, I can win this big pot in a showdown (although admittedly I will be making a crying call on the river).

Additionally, given the way that the button reacted both during and after the hand, I imagine he mucked AK, so I'm particularly not pleased with my "plan" to check raise the field on the turn. Another awesome read by yours truly.... :(

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