Saturday, September 22, 2007

The big game

My LHE session today spanned a solid nine hours of play. It started in the $20/$40 game, transitioned to the $40/$80, and finished in the $100/$200 game (which is the highest stakes game in the room and city). I was able to play close to my A game for the majority of the session, although I found I was having difficultly concentrating (most easily detected by how my mind would often wander after I mucked and didn't follow the action of others) by the time I reached the main game in the $100. This made for a very easy decision to call it a day.

This was my first foray into the $100 game. I have been monitoring the $100 lineup closely over the last few days, and I have put my name up on the waiting list a couple of times when I thought the lineup looked favorable. The good lineup didn't pan out by the time I reached the head of the queue, on those occasions.

There is a moderate overlap of the player pool between the $100 and $40 games, and to an even smaller extent, into the $20 game as well. I am certainly aware that there are a number of soft spots in the $100 game, but I haven't done enough "data mining" to be able to identify more than a handful of these. However, this afternoon I clearly saw 3 very weak spots in the game with an additional 2 juicy call-ins on the board and quickly seized the opportunity to get into that game at a time when I had, relatively speaking, great table conditions and my maximum amount of opponent knowledge (meaning I had moderate amounts of prior table time with some of both the good and bad players at the table in lower stakes games, roughly about 3/4 of the players at the table).

The $100 feeder game was great until 2 really bad players went broke, 1 left after sucking out in a monster pot, and another left for dinner. The game actually became short handed, going down to as few as 3 players. After about half an hour of short handed play, I was moved to the main game. Hence, in my roughly 2.5 hours of $100 play, I was able to span the whole gamut of full ring loose play, short handed play with very strong players, short handed play with loose players, and the main game which had a majority of decent to very strong players. A fairly comprehensive experience all around; I really couldn't have asked for much more.

I did butcher a few hands, and shamefully, here they are:

hand #1 - Passive journey to Zero-valuetown
live $100/$200 LHE, 8 handed
preflop: Hero raises UTG w AsAd, loose player (LP1) cold calls, tight player (TP1) cold calls, mucked to loose player (LP2) in CO, button mucks, solid SB calls, strong player (SP1) calls in the BB (6 players, pot size 12 small bets)
flop: 7h7sTh, check, SP1 bets, Hero calls, LP1 calls, TP1 mucks, LP2 calls, SB mucks (4 players, pot size 16 small bets)
turn: 7h7sThJh, SP1 bets, Hero sees LP1 ready to muck, Hero calls, LP2 calls (3 players, pot size 11 big bets)
river: 7h7sThJh3d, SP1 bets, Hero raises, LP2 mucks, SP1 tanks and calls. SP1's 6 high flush is good

Hero calls on the flop to hopefully preserve the ability to have the field face 2 big bets cold on the turn (assuming a turn brick). On the actual turn, Hero is way behind the majority of SP1's turn betting range and calls to improve his pot odds by having callers behind. On the river, Hero loses his mind and makes a zero value raise despite being behind on the majority of SP's holdings (at least comfortable in the knowledge that SP1 will never 3 bet a worse hand). Not only is this a zero value bet, but additionally it typically means that Hero will have to reveal his hand to the table. What a bonehead move!!!

hand #2 - doubt on the river
live $40/$80 LHE, 8 handed
Villain is a strong semi-LAG who is a winning player in the $40 and $100 game, his open ranging range is fairly wide given his style and also the way the game has been playing for the last few orbits. Suited hands like K6s, Q8s, etc are easily in his range. He seems more aggressive preflop and on the flop, but less so on the later streets.
preflop: muck, Villain raises, mucked to loose CO who calls, muck, loose SB calls, Hero calls in BB w 7d7h (4 players, pot size 8 small bets)
flop: JdTs4d, check, check, Villain bets, CO mucks, SB mucks, Hero calls (2 players, pot size 10 small bets)
turn: JdTs4d5h, Hero bets, Villain calls (2 players, pot size 7 big bets)
river: JdTs4d5hQh, Hero checks, Villain bets, Hero tanks and mucks

On the flop, Hero's hand stands to be ahead of Villain's range. However, there are abundant draws on board. Hero calls and hopes to see a blank on the turn before making further commitment in the hand.

Turn is a blank, and Hero fires. Villain will never muck a worse hand here, and would always raise a better made hand (many of which would just be for a free showdown), but may also raise here as a total bluff. A call almost certainly means a worse hand with some type of draw. Straight draw, flush draw, perhaps a small pair and a flush draw. In retrospect, given this hand range, I believe the Villain will bet 100% of the time on the river regardless of the card when checked to.

The river brings a moderately scary card. However, it still really only improves the straight draw type combinations. Given the 8:1 pot odds, this should be an easy call down for Hero.

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