A strange sense of malaise has fallen over me, blog-wise for the past few days. It feels like I’ve said it all before, but the blog is something that once it builds momentum requires constant maintenance or it runs out of steam. So here’s a maintenance post of sorts.
There’s been some pokery goodness in the past week, starting with my return to the underground game a little bit west of here and continuing into the home game on Friday night. I was running around like the proverbial headless chicken trying to get shite all set up for the boys and girls to come over and sling cards, so it was a good thing for me that it took us a while to get rolling. We had some great hands, some terrible hands, and a lot of limping.
One hand in particular I think is worth some evaluation, because it illustrates a point about running an absolute bluff. At least to me. I’ve spent some time thinking about this hand because I was in it, and have tried to work out the hand from the perspective of the guy across the table.
We’re 8-handed with a ton of limpers. BTW, the home game is $.25/$.50 blinds, $50 max buy, NLHE. There’s probably no more than $300 around the table at this point, as it’s early and the rebuy monster hasn’t taken too many bites out of players yet. I’m UTG with ATs, and I raise to $2.50. I get two callers, and we see a flop of Q T 6 rainbow. I check, MP checks and Twitch bets out $4. I call the ½ pot bet, looking for one of the 5 cards that improve my hand, working on the assumption that 2nd pair no good. MP folds.
Turn is a brick and I check. Twitch checks behind and I’m baffled a little. River is an 8, completing the monster J9 straight draw, but I check my 2nd pair. Twitch thinks for a second and then moves in for about $17. I’m baffled by this, as the bet makes no sense to me. Why push after I check? I think for a long time (probably inordinately long given the $11 I had remaining, but I wanted to think through a hand for a change) and finally convince myself that he also has a pair of Tens, with a worse kicker. I call, and he flips up 34o, for no pair, no draw, and absolute naked bluff.
In my opinion, he gave me that hand on the turn. With a $3-6 bet on the turn, and almost any bet on the river, I’m done. But when he checked the turn it confused me. I didn’t know if that was weakness or a trap for a river bet, but the push on the river was too much for a made hand, it was obviously a bet that didn’t want a call. So I thought about what my opponent wanted out of the hand, and I gave him the opposite. My 2nd pair was good, and I was on my way to finishing the night up about $90. Anything I missed there? I know the results were good, but it’s not all about results. I felt like I played well most of the night, AND the results were good, so I called it a good night.
Would have been better but I talked myself into a very bad call in Omaha High for a $25 river bet with the same logic. I was right, he also didn’t really want a call. Where I blew that one was in forgetting that in Omaha, third nuts is not worth any real action, because the second nuts is a viable holding. Sure enough, his straight was one number higher than mine and I felt like a dumbass.
Last night I took a shot at a Party Sit N’ Go, the first time I’ve tried one since they upped the starting chip counts. But the blinds start higher, too, so it’s no difference in play. And I was right, there is no difference in the play from when I was playing SNGs a lot. I found myself the chipleader early, the prohibitive chipleader when we got 3-handed, then on fumes heads-up when the other guy played his AA perfectly, letting my catch up a little with KQ and ship him most of my stack. But then he fell apart, being so afraid of doubling me up that he surrendered way too many blinds to my push. He let me back in the game and I eventually put him away. I credit Harrington 2 with being able to play better heads-up than him, and that was a nice $100 bump to cover some of my other dismal online play from the past week.
This week’s project: not playing while bored and/or distracted. In other words, playing to win money for a change.