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Muddled thoughts and boring recaps

In my previous post, I went over some of the details of finishing off the 100 SNG Challenge. However, I decided to leave out the recap of my play from last night because I wanted to keep the "challenge-y" type talk separate from the other boring stuff that I like to write about.

And so now, here's the boring stuff that I didn't feel was worth posting earlier.

After playing, and losing, three straight SNGs, I thought it'd be a good idea to play some more $25 NL at Eurobet. I was pretty sure I wasn't tilting or anything after having lost all 3 SNGs on sound plays: all-in with AJs on the bubble and ran into 88, all-in with TT on the button and ran into AA, and all in on the flop with set of tens and lost to chip leader's open-ended straight draw (who calls a big pre-flop raise with Q9o out of position?). Back to the NL...

I first sat down at a table that just happened to have a few players who enjoyed the finesse inherent to a great game of poker. I'm lying - these guys simply raised it up to 10xBB or more pre-flop on every hand. After losing $2 with a couple missed flops, I decided to leave the pissing contest to the pros and move on.

I quickly found another table that presented me with a far nicer setting: 40% average VP$IP, 7% pre-flop raise percentage, and very little aggression after the flop. Since I was already down about $18 on the night if you count the SNG bankroll drain, I was hoping this table would turn it around.

And lo and behold, it did. Although I didn't pick up any of the big hands early (AA-TT, AK), I still managed to push my weight around a bit and take down some small-ish pots. In fact, for the first hour and a half at the tables, I showed down exactly 0 hands. Each pot was won on the flop when no one had anything and couldn't call my big bets.

By the way, if you ever do happen to play with me, keep track of how many hands I show down. I guarantee that it ain't many and if the pot is big and I do choose to show it, I've normally got a hand. Unless you slowplayed me, in which case all I can say is "Screw you!!".

I find success at NL comes down to two things:

  1. Going with the flow when your cards are running bad.
  2. Picking up one big hand every hour or two to build up your stack.

Because the blinds are very low compared to the stack sizes, it is very easy to just sit back and choose your moments. Feel like your getting blinded to death? Don't worry about it - just sit tight.

I like to frequently top my stack up as high as it needs to be in order to maximize how much I can make if I double up. This means keeping my stack either at the max buy-in or a couple bucks more than the big stack at the table if no one is playing with the max buy-in.

As your session progresses, do your best to pick up the small pots that come your way. And when you do catch a monster pre-flop or on the flop, put your money where your mouth is and go for broke.

This is exactly what I did. I was up about $2 after the first hour and a half of play. I'd won some small pots, lost some small pots, but was poised to make a move if I had to.

My whole night came together in three hands. In one, I flopped a full house. I slowplayed it as best I could but only managed to take down an $6 pot. The problem with flopping the boat is that I had all the cards. Even though my opponent had raised pre-flop, unless he had a big pocket pair, he was not going to play the hand. Well, he didn't have as big a hand as I was hoping and nothing panned out. My opponent folded to my river bet and I walked away with next to nothing.

Another hand, I picked up QQ and gave it my standard PF raise. One opponent comes back over the top of me. I'm instantly putting him on AA-JJ or AK. The flop comes down J J 5. I have to try and win the pot here because I definitely do not want to see an ace fall. With the pot at $6.40, I bet $5: this is in line with my standard bet that I put on on every flop. My opponent calls.

Hmmmm...I can now narrow his hand down a bit. Since I was not reraised on the flop, I'm thinking AK, QQ, TT, or a slowplayed JJ.

When the turn comes down A, I'm pretty well done with the hand. I check it but my opponent checks as well. Now I'm guessing he's got QQ or TT based on his play. If he has an AA, KK or Ax, he's done everything he can to not make money with his hand.

Then my money card hit on the river: Q. Sweet! I'd hit the full boat and unless my opponent had AA or JJ, I was golden. Now the question was: how much could I bet and get him to call? I had a feeling that a big bet would scare him off, so I bet $5 into the $16 pot and he called.

I'm lucky that the Q hit the river because I was drawing dead to two outs. My opponent quietly mucked his cowboys and immediately left the table. Although I got lucky by hitting my Q on the river, my opponent gave me the opportunity by playing his hand too passively on the flop. He should've pushed on the flop and taken his chances. I guess he was worried that I might have raised with an AK, AQ, or AJ. Had he pushed all-in on the flop, I would've had a very difficult decision to make...

The other hand that made me some money occurred just before I called it a night. A small pre-flop raise from late MP and I call on the button with pocket 4s. The flop comes down A 4 x. Money! Opponent bet half the pot and I smooth called.

When the turn came down with my case 4, I had the hand won barring another A falling on the river. I had to hope that my opponent would decide to take another stab at the pot. He checked it as did I: I needed to let him catch a card.

At that point, I wondered if he even had an ace. Honestly, how could the 4 on the turn have scared him? I'd played tight the whole game, so there was no way he could've put me on any hands containing a 4.

When the river came down with a 9 of hearts, I knew I was going to make some money. I was hoping that he'd put me on a busted flush draw. When he bet out $2 into the pot, I pause for about 10 seconds then came back over the top for $5. He instantly called, then instantly mucked his AK.

He complained that he should've raised more pre-flop. His pre-flop bet was alright; he should, however, have bet more on the flop and the turn. He should have bet the flop harder than he did to prevent me from drawing to the potential flush and he should have bet the turn when no scare card hit. Sure, he would've lost more money in this particular hand. But that still doesn't excuse playing a made hand that passively post-flop. What if I'd had pocket nines? He would have really been kicking himself.

After that hand, two of the fish at the table (who seemed nice enough) really tore into the guy, calling him all sorts of names. At first, I thought they were talking about me since I'd slowplayed the monster hand. Nope - they wanted a piece of Mr. AK.

Anyway, long story short: my winnings at NL put me at +$1 on the night. Not great, but as always, I'll take it.

That's all for today. Have a great weekend everyone! I'll see you at the tables...


Time well wasted? Thank you Sir and Iamhoff for helping me with my overall productivity...

You scored as Pocket Kings. Home, home on the range you are Pocket Cowboys, pardner. Love may be a force of nature, but you are a force of your own. You're brash, bold area rarely in error and won't hestitate to push the little guy out of the way.

What starting Hold 'Em hand are you?
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TripJax said...

You might do well to give my SNG Challenge a whirl someday when you are back in a SNG mood. It allows you to try and grow your roll and go up in the buy-ins without risking much initial money ($55)

I used to call it the 6-max SNG Challenge, but it is really for any SNG. Below is the link to it...and by the way I linked you up today and will be reading you going forward.


May the felt be with you...

iamhoff said...

As always, positive money is positive money. I took 2 SNG hits tonight. Hopefully, the rest of the weekend will be better.

Klopzi said...

Hey tripjax,

I haven't taken a look at your challenge yet, but I will. I was thinking of trying a new challenge where I'll start pushing towards the upper echelons of SNG play.

If my challenge resembles yours too closely, I'll give you credit for the great idea.

Thanks for the link up - I will reciprocate and take a look at your site.

Klopzi said...


If you'd like to feel better about your two SNG hits, just read my post today.

It's like I just took a 16 SNG hit...