Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tough session

Today I played a moderate length (by my standards) $40/$80 LHE session of about 9 hours. It was challenging and draining.

In Limit Hold'em, there are often hands in which you raise preflop with a big pocket pair or big Ace and flop an overpair or TPTK and just bet all the way for value against one or even a few opponents and just get called down by worse hands (or until the river when they miss). No thinking required. In the 9 hour session, this scenario occurred exactly ~1~ lousy time.

I think I need to monitor more closely my emotional and psychological state, as these balances get drained more quickly when a session involves more thinking and tougher situations. The negative result that typically emerges as a consequence is that I play more hands preflop. This just ends up getting me in more and more difficult postflop situations when I do things like open raise UTG or UTG+1 with hands like AJo, KJo or be the 2nd or 3rd cold caller with a hand like K9s or T8s (when the hand only ends up being 4 or 5 handed to the flop)

When I get too drained, I need to end my session regardless of the players in the game. Instead of feeling compelled to stay in a "good" game, I should more broadly consider how to make decisions in the overall session to drain less of my mental and emotional energy. Also, in the overall picture, I should take steps to lead a healthy lifestyle (sufficient sleep, diet, exercise) to bolster my stamina.

Here are two hands from today's session that I wanted myself to review:

The first hand involved me forgetting some crucial piece of information from an earlier street. The second hand just relates to tilt, and how easily it causes me to make poor decisions (and not factor earlier "decisions" I made in the hand to the ones I have to make on later streets)

hand #1
live $40/$80 LHE, 7 handed.
Hijack is probably a (28/20/1.5); SB is Hero, BB is probably (25/10/2.0); both opponents are sane and thinking opponents
preflop: mucked to Hijack, Hijack raises, muck, muck, Hero calls in SB w As8s, BB calls (3 players, pot size 6 small bets)
flop: Kd8h4c, check, check, Hijack bets, Hero raises, BB calls, Hijack calls (3 players, pot size 12 small bets)
turn: Kd8h4cKh, Hero bets, BB immediately raises, Hijack mucks, Hero tanks for ~2 seconds and calls (2 players, pot size 10 big bets)
river: Kd8h4cKhQs, check, check

Firstly, regarding the preflop decision. Hero should definitely be more inclined to 3 bet in this situation. However, semi-recently in the session, Hero had been caught 3 betting fairly light in the SB and BB so this is a small excuse for not 3 betting. (although perhaps this could just be an argument for mucking preflop and avoiding a complicated postflop situation)

On this flop, given the number of players at the table and the actual 3 players in the hand, BB will CR 3 bet close to 100% of the time with any K. Big hands that BB will slow play are a set (88 and 44) and top 2 pair. It is less clear with what frequency BB will raise with 2nd pair; it might depend on the kicker. With a PP between K and 8, BB will raise close to 100% of the time as well as with bottom 2 pair.

Given this flop range for BB, a substantial number of hands that BB will raise the turn with are worse than Hero's (the raise is positional and defensive, with the intention of knocking out Hijack and getting a free showdown). Given that the pot already has 9BB in it when Hero faces the turn raise and Villain's range, my thought (granted, this may be influenced by actual results, and this is a big part about why I am taking the time to write out the hand history) is that Hero should 3 bet the turn with the intention of folding to a 4 bet and also not putting in another bet on the river unless a K or 8 hits. This line doesn't cost any more than just calling down.

BB has to be as worried as Hero is about the K (if he is not already filled up). If BB has a worse 8, then calling gives BB a free card to hit his 3 out kicker and another 3 outs (8 or K) to chop (blending these together is essentially the same thing as saying the Villain has 4.5 outs). BB has to automatically fold to a 3 bet with only an 8. Assuming Villain has A8 (granted this is unlikely because Villain is extremely likely to 3 bet this holding on the flop), it is a big victory to win an extra half of the pot. It is a huge victory if he folds a better hand like 99.

It is also possible that BB will only call with 4s full, in which case Hero does not get punished and still can draw to 4 outs.

Anyway, the result of the hand was that BB held Q8o and scooped the pot. I'm actually surprised that BB didn't value bet the river. I think if Villain had been more alert, he would not have missed this bet. I guess he was just happy he got his free showdown and I didn't hold some K rag holding.

hand #2
live $40/$80 LHE, 9 handed
Hero was on tilt prior to this hand, although opponents may or may not be aware of this.
preflop: semi-solid UTG limps, mucked to Hero in Hijack, Hero raises w AsAh, Loose CO 3 bets, button calls, SB mucks, UTG calls, Hero 4 bet caps, all call (5 players, pot size 20.5 small bets)
flop: Ad9d4c, check, UTG bets, Hero calls, CO calls, button raises, BB mucks, UTG 3 bets, Hero caps, CO mucks, button and UTG call (3 players, pot size 33.5 small bets)
turn: Ad9d4c6d, check, check, button bets, UTG mucks, Hero calls (2 players, pot size 18.75 big bets)
river: Ad9d4c6d3d, check, button bets, Hero mucks.

Yes, I mucked on the river getting 19.75:1 with a set (on a 4 flush board). I mucked because I was on tilt. My hand is probably good here considerably less than 10% of the time, but I think I need to make what is at least close to a 0EV call on the river for metagame reasons. Yes, my hand is so clearly defined. However, my preflop and flop 4 bets, which so strongly help to define my hand, extracted enough value to pay off here on this river. In other words, the decision I made on the early streets to extract value (at the cost of defining my hand) should determine my decision to call down despite the awful board.

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