Not going too far

I restart with 2 bucks. I am already playing poorly, and now I feel like I am playing with house money.

So just a couple hands in, blinded to 1.90, I pick up the Cowboys on the button and open to .45. The sm, with 2.44, re-pops to .45 which I like as he will do that with a wide range of hands. A/A or A/K are, of course, possible here, but he could just as easily and much more likely have Q/J or a dry ace.

I shove and he folds. I am okay with picking up 10 bb with no risk. I would have been fine with him calling, too.

I then settle in and play pretty well for a while, winning a few small pots, folding a few times. After a while utg opens with a click raise and 4.68. I have the button and Qd/Qs to go with my 2.66.

I decide to re-raise to .40 and the click-raiser calls. A lot of people will do this with small pairs, with suited cards, connectors…even two-gappers I am coming to see…or two face cards.

They will also often make this move planning to raise virtually any flop under the assumption the button was raising based on position, not cards. I just happen to have cards.

The flop has an over, the Kc/2h/9d. There is always the danger he has a King or pair of nines in his hand, but his min-bet screams of thinking I just raised based on position.

I re-pop it to .45. I probably have to fold to a re-raise, but that will be the first actual strength he represents. He does the expected, however, and folds.

I discuss this hand just to point out why I often re-raise against min-raises with air. They usually mean exactly this…”I have a small hand that will not stand up to heat and will fold if you put pressure on me.”

So now I am back to playing my fearless style that is great when it works and gets me stacked when it doesn’t. A middle position guy opens to .15 with 2.62 and, on the button with 6d/6c I call with 3.03.

The flop is the Qc/5c/Qs. He might have a Queen but I am more afraid of the Club draw. More than likely whoever was ahead pre-flop is ahead now. He bets out .26.

When I am playing passively the hand is over right now. This time I flat it to see what he does on the turn.

The turn is another big card, the Kh. He checks, I bet .45 and he thinks for a bit, then folds.

I think this play, when it is working, is among the most powerful moves in my arsenal. From his standpoint, I showed I had a worthwhile hand, showed no fear of the trips or the A/K type hand, I must have something and that something must be relatively good.

Of course, I then get cocky and take it too far.

The next hand utg+1 opens to .12 with 2.17 and I make another call on the button with Ah/7h.
The flop is the 5d/7c/Ad. He bets .15 and I call. So far, so good. I am calling based on the continuation bet, not the two pair.

The turn is the 9d and he bets .61. I should have re-raised the flop or I should re-raise here. The board is starting to get draw heavy, he has twice show interest. I fold here if I have nothing, so now I want to charge him to draw. The call is a weak play.

Then again…I am a weak player...

The 6h on the river makes pocket 8s painful to me but few other draws. He bets .25 and I think about re-raising, but with straights and flushes, I am just as happy to see a cheap showdown now.

And his pocket nines take it down. I let him set the price on the flop and by not re-raising, I gave him infinite odds to hit his set. If anything, I got lucky to lose so little.

Not having learned my lesson, down to 2.33, I open utg with Ac/10c. I get calles from mp with 15.07 and the button with 3.23. So now I am out of position against two players with a marginal hand.

The flop is no help, 2c/5h/9s, though I am probably ahead of all non-pocket pairs as that hits almost nobody. I bet .30 and get a call.

The Kh turn is more dangerous. Part of the issue with my play style is I cannot afford to believe flop calls. So I am pretty much committed to the second barrel of .60.

Which means a .15 pre-flop open more or less commits me to a minimum investment in any given hand of over a buck.

.15 pre-flop with a call gives a pot of .30. I like to bet about half the pot but not simply match my pre-flop, so .20 on the flop. Now there is a buck in there and that makes the turn bet .50. So that is .85 with just one caller, but on the lower levels there are often two or three callers.

This needs some rethinking.

This time, however, it works as he folds.

So with 2.97 utg+1 I open to .15 with Qd/Qs. The small blind then shoves with 12.05.

It is possible he has Jacks or tens, but I think he has Aces, Kings, or A/K over half the time here. I think there are better times and places to play for all of it. I fold.

I think a lot of people call here. And sometimes I do…but I am never surprised to see Kings or Aces. I am surprised when I see things I am ahead of. So for me I think folds are correct.

The cut-off limps with 4.07, after my fold I am down to 2.65 in the small blind and make one of my occasional “suited connector cheap flop” calls with the 8c/9c and the big blind checks with 2.47.

The Kc/6h/10c gives me the flush draw, a gut shot, and back door belly buster. Nothing too exciting, so I check as does the big blind. The cut-off then makes a pot size bet.

I always find that strange. If they limp pre flop, they should be trying to play a small pot, so a min bet or click-raise makes more sense here. A pot size bet does not shout “I have pocket sixes” to me, instead it is “I have a missed drawing hand and position.”

I call.

The Qh on the turn gives me a Jack as an additional out but still nothing I am wanting a big pot with. I check, he checks behind. This hand is mine.

The Ah should give me pause. I am behind any two hearts or any Jack…okay, any card 10+ or any pocket.

But he wants to play a small pot. I bet .35 on a pure bluff and it works as he folds as he pretty much had to unless he had the Jack or flush himself.

With 2.92, I then open with Qs/Kd from late middle position and get a call from the hi-jack with 6.64.

The flop is the 7c/10h/9h. I have a gut shot and two over cards, plus his check which make me think a bet is in order. I lay out .20 and he calls, not unexpectedly. I figure he will check-fold the turn unless he hits it.

The turn is the 3d, he checks, I bet .35 and he…calls. Time to think about what he has.

A call pre-flop does not narrow his hand range much. The flop indicates he has a high card or some sort of draw since he check-called. Again a check-call on the turn.

Some sort of hand holding an Ace, 8 or Jack would make sense on the flop or possibly two hearts on the flush draw. The turn helped no likely holdings. I guess a small to medium pair is also possible.

The river is the 5c, he checks and I almost check behind, then look at the board. The most likely holdings are some sort of Heart draw, a small pair, or even just an Ace…none of which I beat in a showdown. I actually want to force a fold here as I think he will fold lots of hands that beat me.
I bet .70 and he obliges by folding to my king high.

The problem is I am getting too willing to push too far with too little and that is a recipe for getting stacked so I call it a session.

It is the right time to stop. I have had good results overall, I am about to get myself in trouble...time for some X-box.


Bad play, good result

Playing 2/5, I start with 2.00 and am in the big blind with 8/9. Two limpers with 3.2 and 1.05 call and I check.

The 10c/9s/8s flop is horrible for me in this situation. I have 2 pair, yes…but there is a very possible higher 2 pair, straight and flush possibilities. I want to play a small pot here since this limped into pot is dangerous.

It is checked around. The turn then completes a draw, the 4s. For whatever reason, I elect to bet out .10. I get a call and should be done right there.

But when the Jd falls on the river, I show I am even worse. Any hand holding a 7 or Q, a 10/9, 10/8, 10/7, J/10, J/9, J/8 all beat me. Any spade flush beats me. About all I can beat are things like A/J, A/10 type hands which are never calling me anyway.

But I bet out anyway. I guess MAYBE something like 10/8 folds here? But it seems unlikely. Sure enough, I get called down by 8h/10h. I really played this hand poorly.

Down to 1.68, I open to .15 from late middle position with pocket threes and promptly get re-raised to .45. Here is the problem with starting with 40 bb. I gave up 6 in the first hand, a little more to being blinded. Now I face a modest raise in terms of overall value….30 is not much and he has 5.00.

The problem is, I am calling .30 to win .90 pre-flop. I am unlikely to win unimproved, so I need to hit my set. That means I need to have 2.40 to be getting the right odds. If I have 5.00, I call in a heartbeat. If I flop a set I can probably stack him if his re-raise indicates strength.

I am not shoving here…I only get called I think by 10/10 plus and that dominates the range of hands he could have. So playing with a short stack, my raise pretty much means I can only play the hand if people call or fold.

So this might be an issue with my recent favorite tactic of buying in short.

Now I am down to 1.53. I get a limp from the middle with 7.16, another from the cut-off with 1.34 and I am on the button with Kh/Ac. I make the obvious raise to .30 and get the call from the guy who has me covered by about 5-1.

So now there is about .70 in the pot and the flop seems pretty good, the 5d/5h/8d. He checks, I bet .35 expecting to take it down, but he calls.

The turn is the 4c, he checks and I should shove here…but I get cautious and check. So when the 7d rivers, he bets the pot and I have little choice but to fold. I can beat nothing except a naked bluff, I gave up control of the hand. I am playing horribly.

Funny thing is…so are others. They fold to me when I am the big blind with just .88…less than 12 bb and a 5s/6s. I am happy to win the blinds there.

I blind down a bit and buy back to 2.00. This is, in many ways, a silly decision. If I am willing to play 3, I should start with 3. At the same time, at .82, I cannot even profitably play pocket pairs…

And the first hand after re-upping, I pick up As/Kh in the small blind. I get an early limper with 2.92, I raise to .25, he is my only caller.

The flop is the 8d/Ah/Kc. I am not real worried about pocket Kings or Aces here, but there is a small possibility he has eights. If so he is going to stack me no doubt.

I go for one of my rare slow-plays, hoping to check-raise. He checks behind.

The turn is about the worst card in the deck…the Jh. If he had something like Q/10 he just drew out, it provides other straight and flush possibilities and it kills my action if he has none of those.
But I have been playing very poorly, so I might as well continue doing so. I go ahead and bet .25. He click-raises me.

Now, if he makes a real bet here…raising the pot or something, I might fold. But a click-raise puts me in a spot where I do not think that is an option. Now there is 1.50 in the pot, I have 1.75 left and top two pair.

On top of that, his weak bet screams weakness…I actually think he might have something like 10/J or even A/J.

I try to go all in but mis-click and raise to 1.24, a weird bet. He click-raises again, but it is enough to put me all in and I call, thinking I might be ahead but with that sinking feeling I over played A/K yet again.

Until he flips up the Ac/6c. Wow. For once my slow-play worked, even though it was a hand I had no business slow-playing.

A thought that is only reinforced when the Queen on the river would have completed the straight for many of the hands I feared. But hey, sometimes bad play has good results, just as sometimes good play has bad results.

So inspired by my success, I then open to .15 on the next hand from the hijack with Ah/6h. I get called all in by the next guy with just .14…no big deal…and the small blind with 2.29, a bigger deal.

He check folds the 9/s Qh/Kc flop, my caller shows A/8, we turn a queen a split the pot. My second caller turns the raise into a positive.

A while later I open to .15 from the cut-off. By this point I have blinded down to 3.48 and am looking for a hand. Part of the problem is…when I have not played for a while after hitting a big pot, sometimes I am looking to play another big pot.

This is fine if I have the nuts…not so good if I am probably behind. The button calls with 2.25 and this is also bad. I have Aces, I have him covered. I have already decided to see the river.

The flop comes Qs/10c/5d. fair enough. Pockets that match the board, Q/10 are about the only believable hands I am behind and there are only a couple of draws I am afraid of.

I lead out for .20 and he bumps it to .45. All too often this means a set. I do not let that stop me from shoving. He calls off his last 1.65 and I think I did it again…shoved at the wrong time.
About the only hands he can have I am ahead of are K/J, A/Q, maybe J/9.

Fortunately, he does flip up one of those…A/Q. And I think my poor play was better than his worse play. All he can beat that I would raise here is K/Q, maybe J/Q. Otherwise he is most likely against someone over playing an over pair (read “me” ) or a set (read “what I SHOULD have had to make that move”).

We run out a couple small diamonds and my Aces get max value. Nice.

The problem with the hand is I determined before the flop I was seeing the river based not on hand ranges but on stack sizes. So having made up what I lost plus 2.50, I rat hole. Because that is how I roll.