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Not posting but still playing

I just thought I'd drop a quick line letting everyone know that I'm still playing poker. Unfortunately, things have been a little busy at home with the family. And when things get busy, it's hard to play and post with any regularity.

That being said, I've been storing up further session reviews for posting later this week (hopefully tomorrow...). Things are still going pretty well at the tables: Titan Poker continues to impress me with the number and quality of $50 NL (6-max) games going at any one time.

I also feel that my game is coming along nicely as well. I'm finding myself faced with fewer and fewer "hard" decisions while playing: whether this is due to my good play or my opponents' bad play is hard to ascertain at this time.

Besides a little poker and a lot of time with my family, I managed to finish another Xbox 360 game this past weekend. You can read my review for the game over at The Greedy Gamer.

I hope everyone's enjoying life and enjoying poker. That's what it's all about, right?

I'll be back tomorrow with another session review.

Keep reading "Not posting but still playing"

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Session Review #6: Titan Poker, $50 NL (6-max)

After finishing up my bonus at PartyPoker, I decided to get back to the crazy action over at Titan Poker. Until recently, I believed Titan Poker to be a low traffic site, spreading very few games featuring nothing but nits. If my recent sessions are any indication, Titan Poker is one of the better sites to play (especially if you like 6-max NL...and as long as you're not a U.S. player...unfortunately).

My primary focus for this session was to increase my flop and turn aggression. Recently, I'd become pretty weak on these two streets which resulted in difficult river decisions on a number of hands. And when my river decisions happened to be easy, the pots were small or my opponents were folding to my bets.

NB: There are very few hand history converters for the iPoker Network's hand histories. I had to write up a little program to perform a quick conversion on the hand histories in order to have them appear nicely on my site. I'll continue to refine my program until I'm happy with the results. As it stands now, the converter still leaves too much of the conversion process in my hands and the results are not exactly spectacular.)

Titan Poker ($50 NL)

Seat 1: UTG+1 ($21,90)
Seat 3: CO ($25,35)
Seat 5: Hero ($49,25)
Seat 6: SB (Villain) ($58,80)
Seat 8: BB ($47,85)
Seat 10: UTG ($39,70)

Villain posts small blind of $0,25; BB posts big blind of $0,50;

Hero is dealt 5♦ 5♣

UTG folds; UTG+1 folds; CO folds; Hero raises to $2,00; Villain calls $1,75; BB folds;

(I have no read on Villain having just sat down at the table. Presto is Gold, so I raised it up!)

Dealing flop 3♠ 3♥ 9♠
Pot is: $4,50

Villain bets $2,00; Hero raises to $6,00; Villain calls $4,00;

(Villain donk-bet me on a fairly safe board. I thought it best to maintain control of the hand and raise. I was a little concerned that Villain called the raise.)

Dealing turn A♣
Pot is: $16,50

Villain bets $4,00; Hero folds;

Villain wins $19,70

(I'd represented strength throughout the hand and Villain still came out betting on the turn when an Ace fell. I gladly folded my hand (sorry Fuel55!). I figured that if Villain had pushed me off the pot with a weak hand, he'd probably make a mistake later in the session making a similar move and I could take my money back then.)


Titan Poker ($50 NL)

Seat 5: SB (Villain #1) ($65,25)
Seat 6: BB (Villain #2) ($50,00)
Seat 8: Hero ($94,45)
Seat 10: BTN ($49,75)

Villain #1 posts small blind of $0,25; Villain #2 posts big blind of $0,50;

Hero is dealt A♥ J♦

Hero raises to $2,00; BTN folds; Villain #1 calls $1,75; Villain #2 calls $1,50;

(Villain #2 just sat down, Villain #1 is pretty tight. Down to four-handed, I raised AJo because it's the nuts!)

Dealing flop 7♠ 2♠ Q♦
Pot is: $6,00

Villain #1 checks; Villain #2 checks; Hero bets $5,00; Villain #1 folds; Villain #2 calls $5,00;

(Check to the raiser and I thank my opponents by betting a good flop. Villain #1 folds but Villain #2 calls. I don't like being in the pot with an unknown player, but I do have position on him.)

Dealing turn Q♥
Pot is: $16,00

Villain #2 checks; Hero checks;

(Terrible play on my part. I needed to bet here. By betting the flop, I was representing AQ, KQ, QJ, or pocket pair. I think a bet of $10 on the turn would usually win me the pot here, but I could also be walking into a check-raise from an unknown player. Which do you think is best? Checking to control pot-size or betting to steal the pot? I think the former point is moot since I didn't have a hand and wouldn't be able to call a river bet unless I rivered something.)

Dealing river 8♠
Pot is: $16,00

Villain #2 bets $10,00; Hero folds;
Villain #2 wins $25,20

(And there's a good reason for betting the turn: Villain #2 bet into me on the river for $10. I had nothing and couldn't call.)


Titan Poker ($50 NL)

Seat 1: BTN ($57,10)
Seat 5: SB (Villain) ($95,50)
Seat 8: Hero ($65,45)
Seat 10: CO ($50,50)

Villain posts small blind of $0,25; Hero posts big blind of $0,50;

Hero is dealt 3♠ 3♥

CO folds; BTN folds; Villain raises to $1,75; Hero calls $1,25;

(This was actually a close call for me. Villain was uber-tight. Getting paid off if I hit a set would be tricky. Still, the set might not be required if I could steal the pot from my opponent on a no-ace, no-face flop)

Dealing flop T♠ 4♣ 3♣
Pot is: $3,75

Villain bets $3,00; Hero raises to $6,00; Villain calls $3,00;

(Bingo! Set time! Villain bets into me on the flop. Given that he was so tight, I figured that a min-raise on my part might induce a re-raise on his part if he had a premium pair. Otherwise, the min-bet acts as a pot-sweetener and gives Villain odds to see the turn if he has a AT - JT.)

Dealing turn 6♥
Pot is: $15,75

Villain checks; Hero bets $12,00; Villain calls $12,00;

(Villain checked to me so I needed to bet here. If I didn't, the pot wouldn't be big enough on the river to get him to call a good-sized bet. I opted for a three-quarter pot-sized bet. Although Villain tended to fold to both turn and river bets, he'd shown me that he liked his hand enough to call my raise on the flop. I was pretty sure that my $12 would get called here.)

Dealing river 9♣
Pot is: $39,75

Villain bets $11,50; Hero calls $11,50;
Hero wins $60,50

(When Villain bet out, I wasn't sure what to think. Could he have had a couple clubs in his hand? It was possible but unlikely. I decided that I was going to call the bet. Should I have raised on the end? If Villain didn't have the flush, I was certain that he would fold to a raise. And given that my hand had very good showdown value here, I figured it best to call.)

Results:

Villain loses $31,50 with Qh Td
Hero wins $29,25 with 3s 3h


Titan Poker ($50 NL)

Seat 1: CO ($49,25)
Seat 3: BTN (Villain) ($77,95)
Seat 5: SB ($49,50)
Seat 6: BB ($99,35)
Seat 8: Hero ($52,25)
Seat 10: UTG+1 ($50,00)

SB posts small blind of $0,25; BB posts big blind of $0,50;

Hero is dealt 8♦ 8♣

Hero raises to $2,00; UTG+1 folds; CO folds; Villain calls $2,00; SB folds; BB folds;

(I hate raising and getting called by a Villain who has position on me. I had a good hand but no read on the Villain.)

Dealing flop 5♠ 3♣ J♠
Pot is: $4,75

Hero bets $3,00; Villain raises to $6,00; Hero calls $3,00;

(Another safe flop to bet. I wasn't going to give a free card here by checking since the board was pretty drawy. When Villain raised me, I considered the fact that the board had potential straight and flush draws before calling. My plan was to bet the turn if a non-spade hit.)

Dealing turn 6♦
Pot is: $16,75

Hero bets $8,00; Villain folds;
Hero wins $23,95

(I was pretty sure that the Villain wouldn't have called my pre-flop raise with 42 or 74, so I believed that I was ahead on the turn. In that case, I had to protect my hand since any spade, A, K, or Q on the river might put me in a bad spot. I figured an $8 bet would give Villain incentive to fold and he obliged.)


Titan Poker ($50 NL)

Button is in seat 8

Seat 1: BB ($56,30)
Seat 5: UTG (Villain) ($98,00)
Seat 6: CO ($98,35)
Seat 8: Hero ($57,65)
Seat 10: SB ($60,75)

SB posts small blind of $0,25; BB posts big blind of $0,50;

Hero is dealt K♦ A♦

Villain calls $0,50; CO folds; Hero raises to $2,50; SB folds; BB raises to $4,50; Villain folds; Hero calls $2,00;

(It's always nice to pick up a big hand on the button, especially when your opponents are used to your frequent button raises. Villain was a little loose and tended to call down to showdown - your typical calling station. When he re-raised my button raise, I considered the possibility of AA, but Villain was loose enough pre-flop that he could have made the same move with KK - TT, AK - AJ.)

Dealing flop 8♥ 6♦ 8♣
Pot is: $10,25

BB checks; Hero checks;

(Villain wouldn't have folded here, so I wasn't going to bet. If I'd had a tighter table image, I think I could have given the pot a little pop.)

Dealing turn Q♠
Pot is: $10,25

BB bets $0,50; Hero calls $0,50;

(For such a small bet, I called here. Again, I couldn't raise here getting no fold equity. I was happy to draw to my discounted 3 or 4 discounted outs.)

Dealing river A♣
Pot is: $11,25

BB bets $2,00; Hero calls $2,00;
Hero wins $14,05

(When the ace hit the river, I was a little surprised that Villain bet. Generally, when a calling station bets on the end, they have a hand. Villain could have had AQ or AA, though both were unlikely. I probably could have raised on the end here, but I chickened out. TPTK is a good hand unless you're facing a bet from a calling station. I started to wonder if Villain had simply been waiting for me to bet his hand given my recent aggression at the table.)

Results:

Villain loses $7,50 with Jc Js
Hero wins $7,05 with Ad Kd

(I was pretty close on my read. I'm a little surprised that Villain bet on the river with third pair. His blocking bet worked like a charm.)


Titan Poker ($50 NL)

Seat 1: UTG+1 ($53,20)
Seat 3: CO ($19,25)
Seat 5: BTN ($86,80)
Seat 6: SB (Villain) ($70,80)
Seat 8: Hero ($84,45)
Seat 10: UTG ($58,50)

Villain posts small blind of $0,25; Hero posts big blind of $0,50;

Hero is dealt J♥ A♥

UTG folds; UTG+1 calls $0,50; CO folds; BTN calls $0,50; Villain raises to $1,75; Hero raises to $5,50; UTG+1 folds; BTN folds; Villain calls $3,75;

(Villain is an uber-LAG. He was raising every second hand and I was happy to re-pop him with my AJ.)

Dealing flop Q♣ 5♠ 8♥
Pot is: $12,75

Villain checks; Hero bets $8,00; Villain folds;
Hero wins $19,40

(During the past few orbits, I'd had to tighten up given that Villain had been trying to make every pot a big pot. In a recent hand, we had checked down to the river and I'd shown him a strong second pair in a raised pot. I reasoned that a big bet from me on the flop might get Villain to fold, even though he had only folded to a c-bet once in the last 15 pots he'd played. The last hand that he'd seen me raise with had been an AQ, which must have crossed his mind before he finally decided to fold.)


I started to feel a little more like myself as this session went on. I'm still learning and it shows. I still made a few weak lay-downs (small pots though) and I can think of a couple more hands where I gave ill-advised free cards.

If I played perfectly though, I'd have nothing to write about or complain about.

Have a great weekend!

Keep reading "Session Review #6: Titan Poker, $50 NL (6-max)"

Session Review #5: PartyPoker, $50 NL (6-max)

After my previous weak-tight session, I continued the trend the very next session. The only good thing I can say about this session is that I think I've finally learned (poker players always seem to "learn" their lesson, don't they?) to lay down my hand in the face of overwhelming evidence that I'm behind in a hand. The question is: am I laying down too much?

Whereas I've mentioned that playing winning poker requires patience, I think this session shows the importance of courage (or "heart" as Mike The Mouth is fond of saying). Playing a patient and conservative game may allow me to grind out small wins and small losses, but I think my growth as a poker player is definitely stunted. Maybe I am playing for more than just money...

PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
UTG: $49.50
UTG+1: $8.25
CO: $50
Button: $102.57
Hero: $51.13
BB (Villain): $51.27

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is SB with 6♦ T♦
3 folds, Hero calls, Villain checks.

(Villain was a TAG and I didn't want to raise my hand out of position, just in case he called (weak!). I'd tried to steal his blind a few times and he wasn't having it ,so I tried the passive approach.)

Flop: T♠ T♣ 2♦ ($1, 2 players)
Hero bets $1, Villain calls.

(I figured the bet would look like a steal)

Turn: K♦ ($3, 2 players)
Hero checks, Villain checks.

(I was hoping for a bet on Villain's part here but he didn't oblige.)

River: T♥ ($3, 2 players)
Hero bets $10, Villain calls.

(The pot was too damned small on the river since I'd failed to bet the turn. I figured a check on my part would result in Villain's checking behind. My options were to bet the pot, overbet the pot, or jam. Of the three choices, I figured a large bet would look the most like a steal attempt without putting the Villain to a test for all his chips. I was really hoping that Villain had a 2 or a small pocket pair.)

Results:
Final pot: $23
Hero shows 6d Td
Villain doesn't show 2s Kh

(I can't believe Villain didn't go broke on this hand. Was he worried that I had rockets? Or maybe he figured it was a split pot and wanted to save the rake?)


PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
Hero: $71.65
SB (Villain): $35.42
BB: $51.27
UTG: $49.5
UTG+1: $8.25
BB: $130.92

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is Button with Q♣ J♣
3 folds, Hero raises to $2, Villain calls, BB folds.

(Villain was a little LAG. On a recent hand, I'd put a pretty obvious move on the Villain that forced him to lay down his hand. I was going to play this hand a little more cautiously.)


Flop: 3♦ 2♥ J♠ ($4.5, 2 players)
Villain bets $2.5, Hero calls.

(I figured that Villain was a little frustrated and would try to push me off the hand. Rather than raise and face a potential all-in re-raise, I was determined to smooth call to showdown unless I picked up something that told me to fold.)

Turn: 9♦ ($9.5, 2 players)
Villain bets $4, Hero calls.

River: 4♥ ($17.5, 2 players)
Villain checks, Hero checks.

(I thought strongly about betting on the end. I chickened out, figuring that Villain would raise my river bet if he had me beat or fold otherwise. I probably should have bet here with top pair...but I was putting Villain on an A5 or 56. How's that for monsters under the bed? Brutal!)

Results:
Final pot: $17.5
Villain shows Th Kd
Hero shows Qc Jc


PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
UTG: $10.80
UTG+1: $35
CO (Villain): $106.87
Hero: $68.23
SB: $38.91
BB: $48.50

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is Button with 2♥ 2♦
2 folds, Villain raises to $2, Hero calls, 2 folds.

(Villain was a TAG and a smart player. I called on the button hoping to draw either the SB or BB into the pot.)

Flop: A♣ 2♠ Q♦ ($4.75, 2 players)
Villain bets $3.5, Hero calls.

(I should have raised here. With an A and Q on the board, I might have been able to get the Villain to commit a few more chips to the pot. This would then allow me to make a large turn bet and hopefully get all the money in. As they say, hindsight is 20/20 and I was playing uber-weak.)

Turn: 5♦ ($11.75, 2 players)
Villain checks, Hero checks.

(I can't believe I didn't bet here. Either Villain has a hand or doesn't. What sort of card could come on the river that would make Villain believe he was ahead? Answer: none!)

River: Q♣ ($11.75, 2 players)
Villain checks, Hero bets $8, Villain folds.
Uncalled bets: $8 returned to Hero.

(The second Q on the river was an action killer. I'm sure Villain could see me calling his pre-flop raise with a hand like AQ, KQ, or QJ. I tried to value bet the river but Villain was scared off long ago. I really wasted my set in this hand.)

Results:
Final pot: $11.75


PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
BB: $48.5
UTG: $10.8
UTG+1 (Villain): $49
Button: $92.17
Hero: $50.25
BB: $53.02

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is SB with T♣ A♦
UTG folds, Villain calls, Button folds, Hero raises to $2.5, 2 folds, Villain calls.

(No info on Villain here. This was my first hand at a new table.)

Flop: 6♥ 9♣ A♠ ($5.5, 2 players)
Hero checks, UTG bets $5, Hero raises to $15, Villain raises all-in $41.50, Hero folds.
Uncalled bets: $41.50 returned to Villain.

(Last week, I would have called this bet. However, with no obvious draws on the board I had to put my opponent on a hand. He hadn't seen me play yet, so that made me think Villain's hand was strong. And the fact that Villain still pushed all-in after I'd check-raised on an Ace high flop told me that I was absolultely beat here. I don't mind the way I played this hand, though I don't like the fact that I dropped almost half a buy-in with a weak hand out of position.)

Results:
Final pot: $22.1


PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
UTG: $58.87
UTG+1: $87.09
CO: $46.63
Hero: $49.75
SB (Villain): $26.55
BB: $53.19

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is Button with K♦ J♦
UTG calls, 2 folds, Hero raises to $2.5, Villain calls, 2 folds.

(No real read on Villain here. I'd seen him play a few hand in one orbit and he was a little aggressive. However, six hands or so is not enough to form a concrete read on any one player.)

Flop: T♦ 4♥ J♥ ($6, 2 players)
Villain bets $2.5, Hero raises to $7.5, Villain raises all-in $21.55, Hero folds.
Uncalled bets: $21.55 returned to Villain.

(When Villain donk-bet me, I figured a good-sized raise to $7.50 might take the pot down. However, Villain surprised me by pushing. Although I like my decision at the time, I could have been ahead at this point. Villain ended up being a stupid LAG who overplayed his hands at every opportunity. I never got the chance to get my money back as he was busted two orbits later.)

Results:
Final pot: $16


PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
UTG: $14.80
UTG+1: $36.75
CO: $104.20
Hero: $62.75
SB: $41.70
BB: $49.25

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is Button with 9♠ T♥
3 folds, Hero raises to $2, SB calls, BB folds.

(Villain was pretty LAG. As in my previous session, I found myself with a player who liked to call in position pre-flop and float my c-bets. Now that I had position on Villain and since everyone had folded to me, I figured I had a good blind-steal opportunity.)

Flop: Q♠ T♠ A♥ ($4.5, 2 players)
SB bets $3, Hero calls.

(When SB bet out, I figured I'd float him this time. Can you float someone when you yourself were the pre-flop aggressor? My plan was to bet the turn if Villain checked to me, regardless of the card that fell. If I happened to improve my hand and Villain bet, I planned on re-popping him.)

Turn: 8♠ ($10.5, 2 players)
SB checks, Hero bets $7, SB folds.
Uncalled bets: $7 returned to Hero.

(This was the first time I'd ever stolen a pot like this. I guess it was more of a semi-bluff since I had redraws to a straight, flush , and two-pair. Then again, I was probably well ahead in this hand. Still, it felt good to turn the tables on an aggressive player who'd picked on me for a good number of orbits.)

Results:
Final pot: $10.5

Over the course of this session, I was probably perceived as pretty tight/weak. Lots of raising pre-flop kept me from out of a number of pots. Those times that I wanted to play back and re-raise, I usually found the player to my right thinking along the same lines.

Late in my session, I used my image to pick up a lot of small pots and climb back from being down close to a buy-in to being down a few bucks. A number of times, I was surprised that I didn't get paid off given how I'd played certain hands; then again, nobody forgets to fold when the table rock bets out on the river. The easy pots that I did pick up only convinced me that many of my opponents were simply screwing with me, trying to make off with my money by pushing me off pot after pot. Luckily, I finally noticed what was going on and put an end to my antagonists' reigns of terror.

It's very hard to learn certain lessons. Being able to play winning poker on a consistent basis is one of the hardest undertakings that I've ever faced in my thirty-plus years. But anything this difficult has got to be worth doing!

Keep reading "Session Review #5: PartyPoker, $50 NL (6-max)"

Gimme a break!

Rather than easing my way back into poker, I've really taken it up again with enthusiasm. Tonight, though, I think I'll take be taking a break.

In the past week or so, I've managed to finish clearing the $40 bonus I had at PartyPoker. I could have gone for a bigger bonus but I was a little unsure as to the amount of time it would take to clear the bonus.

It ended up taking me six sessions of roughly 250 hands per session to clear the 160 points required. That's not too bad, though hardly on par with Party's older bonuses. Remember the days when you could clear a $100 bonus in a single afternoon at the tables?

Most importantly, I was up at the tables over the course of the bonus. I ran at about 6 BB/100 which is pretty good. I think I could get that higher if I ramp up my aggression again and re-focus on building big pots with my big hands. As I learned last night, not every player will call an all-in river push no matter how much he or she thinks you're bluffing.

Anyway, I'll probably sit back with my Xbox 360 tonight, have a few beers (reminder: pick up beer), and spend some time grinding my way through Enchanted Arms (imagine Final Fantasy with less cutscenes and more openly gay characters).

If I tire of that, it's back to some hobo bashing in Condemned: Criminal Origins. This game is actually so scary that there are a number of people who've been unwilling or unable to complete it. After a few beers, hobos just aren't that scary. Mind you, the hobos wearing Santa hats while bleeding through the eyes can still put me on tilt for a little while.

As for poker, I still have one more PartyPoker session to post. I'll give you a quick preview: I play so weak tight, you'd think I was Tuff_Fish.

When I return to the tables on Thursday, I think I'll hit up Titan Poker's $50 NL tables. They have some great games running right now!

See ya!

*** UPDATE ***

Looks like Titan Poker's got a reload bonus going right now...and I happen to have a bit of money kicking around in my Moneybookers account. Ok, plan's still to take the night off...but I may take a few minutes to check this bonus out...

*** UPDATE #2***

Scratch that - looks like Titan Poker does not have a reload bonus going right now. Must have been a slight hiccup in Bonuswhores' RSS feed...

Keep reading "Gimme a break!"

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Session Review #4: PartyPoker, $50 NL (6-max)

After coming off a good session on Sunday night, I was feeling pretty good about my game. Whereas the flops went more or less my way on Sunday, things were a little different for Monday night's session...

This session at Party taught me the importance of playing in position. The lesson was learned from the perspective of one playing out of position. I can't tell you exactly how many times I was floated but the number is frighteningly high. Although I tried to mix things up by staggering my c-bets and tightening/loosening my starting hand requirements, it seemed like I was playing from behind for most of the session.

PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
UTG (Villain): $17.23
CO: $53.03
Button: $70.87
Hero: $59.47
BB: $58.93

Pre-flop: (5 players) Hero is SB with A♣ T♠
UTG raises to $1.5, 2 folds, Hero raises to $5, BB folds, UTG calls.

(Villain was a LAG player in every sense of the word. He'd been raising a lot of hands and I figured my AT to be best. I was hoping to isolate, hit the flop, and have Villain commit himself to the pot.)

Flop: 7♣ 4♦ 5♥ ($10.5, 2 players)
Hero bets $6, UTG raises to $12, Hero folds.
Uncalled bets: $6 returned to UTG.

(I hate getting check-raised! I had no fold equity in the hand and was likely behind. I hate folding in situations such as these since it only serves to reinforce Villain's aggressive behaviour. However, there are better places to make a stand.)

Results:
Final pot: $22.5


PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
UTG: $48.58
UTG+1 (LAG): $46
CO (TAG): $46.36
Hero: $89.27
SB: $62
BB: $13.35

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is Button with 9♥ 9♦
UTG folds, LAG calls, TAG raises to $2.5, Hero calls, 2 folds, LAG calls.

(In position with a good hand, so I called. The pre-flop raise, TAG, has not raised pre-flop many times at all and he'd shown a good hand each time. Still, with both LAG and TAG having large stacks, I made this call in the hopes of flopping the set and stacking the LAG or the TAG (if A 9 x flop hits).)

Flop: 3♠ 4♥ 4♣ ($8.25, 3 players)
LAG checks, TAG bets $5, Hero calls, LAG calls.

(I was floating the TAG here but the play backfired when LAG called. I should have raised. By raising, I'd have known exactly where I stood in regards to the TAG's hand and the LAG's hand, if he'd happened to tag along.)

Turn: K♦ ($23.25, 3 players)
LAG checks, TAG checks, Hero checks.

(Since LAG was in the pot, I was a little worried about firing out here.)

River: A♦ ($23.25, 3 players)
LAG bets $8.5, TAG raises to $20, Hero folds, LAG raises all-in $30, TAG calls.

(Easy fold for me here. My suspicions of being behind were confirmed when the LAG bet and the TAG raised. However, I had no idea just how "behind" I was at the time...)

Results:
Final pot: $100.25
TAG shows Ac Ah
LAG doesn't show 5s 4s


PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
UTG: $41.48
UTG+1: $108.04
Hero: $63.96
Button (Villain): $67.64
SB: $18.53
BB: $41.34

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is CO with 7♥ A♣
2 folds, Hero raises to $2, Villain calls, SB folds, BB calls.

(Villain had called each of my pre-flop raises when on the button. Even though I'd slowed down for the last three or four orbits, Villain was still willing to make the pre-flop call. This speaks rather poorly of my skill and my Poker Tracker stats. Having the BB call my raise was an added "screw you".)

Flop: T♥ 4♣ 8♦ ($6.25, 3 players)
BB checks, Hero bets $5, Villain calls, BB raises to $14.5, Hero folds, Villain folds.
Uncalled bets: $9.5 returned to BB.

(With a safe flop and with the BB showing a willingness to fold to c-bets, I decided to take a stab at the pot. Unfortunately, Villain floated me yet again. How did I know he was making a loose call? After the BB check-raised me, the Villain insta-folded. For any 6-max experts out there, how do you deal with opponents who'll float you non-stop? My thinking is that I need to wait for a big hand, three-bet if my c-bet is raised, or double-barrel the flop and turn in the hopes of discouraging the "floater" from sticking with his hand.)

Results:
Final pot: $21.25


PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
UTG: $48.93
Hero: $54.93
CO: $57.12
Button (Villain): $12.89
SB: $52.33
BB: $34.40

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is UTG+1 with A♥ A♦
UTG calls, Hero raises to $2.5, CO folds, Villain calls, SB folds, BB calls, UTG calls.

(Villain was pretty loose pre-flop (VP$IP around 65%) but he'd tighten up post-flop. He'd floated me a few times. Thankfully, both UTG and BB called my large raise so the pot would be big. I was really hoping to get a nice rainbow flop or to flop a set.)

Flop: K♣ T♦ 9♦ ($10.25, 4 players)
BB checks, UTG checks, Hero checks, Villain checks.

(I decided to check the flop with my overpair and my backdoor nut-flush draw. In hindsight, a bet would have been much better since I could have easily pushed if check-raised or raised by the Villain.)

Turn: A♠ ($10.25, 4 players)
BB checks, UTG checks, Hero bets $10, Villain calls, 2 folds.

(I had to bet here: failing to bet is a little too suspicious. I wanted my bet to be big in order to make it appear that I was afraid of having anyone draw out on me. I was a little surprised that the Villain called and that he didn't simply push his last $0.89 into the pot. Unfortunately, Villain also prevented either the BB or UTG from calling the bet.)

River: K♦ ($30.25, 2 players)
Hero raises all-in $42.43, Villain calls all-in $0.39.
Uncalled bets: $42.04 returned to Hero.

(I hit the flush on the river and I was sure that I was ahead. I thought most likely holding was two-pair: AK, AT, or A9.)

Results:
Final pot: $31.03
Hero shows Ah Ad
Villain shows Qh Ac (I was wrong: he called with top pair and gutshot draw.)


PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
UTG: $13.85
UTG+1: $48.58
CO: $49
Button: $46.36
Hero: $76.04
BB (Villain): $73

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is SB with K♥ K♣
UTG calls, UTG+1 folds, CO calls, Button folds, Hero raises to $3, Villain calls, UTG folds, CO calls.

(The Villain in this hand was the same as in Hand #3. This hand takes place earlier in the session. I already knew that Villain liked to raise and put a lot of pressure on his opponents. Though I had a great hand, I wasn't happy to have Villain on my left.)

Flop: 9♦ 4♣ 3♠ ($9.5, 3 players)
Hero checks, Villain checks, CO checks.

(I was trying to exercise pot control here. I've been so afraid of running into sets lately that I play top pair and overpairs very weakly. My chief concern was making a big bet and having the Villain push me off my hand.)

Turn: 8♣ ($9.5, 3 players)
Hero bets $8, Villain calls, CO folds.

(No more free cards. I made a big bet and got insta-called by Villain. After CO folded, I realized that I still know nothing about the strength of Villain's hand. I really should have bet the flop...)

River: A♦ ($25.5, 2 players)
Hero checks, Villain checks.

(Awful river card. If I bet, Villain would most likely fold any hand that didn't contain an ace unless he'd hit a set on the flop or turn. I played it safe and checked. I would have probably folded to a push by the Villain.)

Results:
Final pot: $25.5
Hero shows Kh Kc
Villain doesn't show Jh Jc
(This confirms that I played the hand poorly. Overpair vs.overpair? I should have made some money...)


PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
UTG: $32.66
UTG+1 (Villain): $41.23
CO: $53.71
Button: $70.42
Hero: $50.69
BB: $38.28

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is SB with A♣ K♠
UTG folds, Villain raises to $2, 2 folds, Hero raises to $6, BB folds, Villain calls.

(This was my first hand at a new table. I knew nothing about the Villain.)

Flop: 9♣ K♦ Q♠ ($12.5, 2 players)
Hero checks, Villain bets $6, Hero raises to $18.
Uncalled bets: $12 returned to Hero.

(This disconnect thing is atrocious! Others at the table commented that Villain had timed out in an earlier hand as well in order to get a free look at the river. He was booted from the table at the conclusion of the hand.)

Turn: 5♥ ($24.5, 2 players)


River: 9♥ ($24.5, 2 players)


Results:
Final pot: $24.5
Hero shows Ac Ks
Villain doesn't show Jh As

I said earlier that I felt like I was playing from behind for most of the session. Rather than playing aggressively, I became quite weak and started seeing monsters under the bed at every opportunity.

The main question that arises from this session is: how do you deal with aggressive players (smart or crazy) to your left? I guess the easiest solution if to find a better table. I'd be interested to hear how some of you would answer this question.

And, as always, I appreciate any feedback on the hands above. You know what they say: it takes a village to raise a child.

Keep reading "Session Review #4: PartyPoker, $50 NL (6-max)"

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Session Review #3: PartyPoker, $50 NL (6-max)

I haven't played much NL hold'em during my time as a poker player. And I've spent very little time at the $50 NL (6-max) tables. After mowing the lawn and watching a little TV on Sunday evening, I settled in for the best session of NL hold'em that I've had thus far.

The lesson that I took away from this session is that patience really does pay off. When things aren't going your way at the tables, you'll sometimes feel compelled to force the action. Big bets and even bigger bluffs: sometimes they work but usually they'll eat away at your stack and bust you if your timing's off. And if your timing is anything like mine...

PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
UTG: $38.08
UTG+1: $45.07
Hero: $49.50
Button: $49.70
SB: $53.68
BB (Villain): $27.88

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is CO with Q♦ Q♣
UTG calls, UTG+1 folds, Hero raises to $2.5, 2 folds, Villain calls, UTG calls.

(The Villain is this hand played very LAG. I had position on him so I wasn't too worried.)

Flop: K♠ 2♥ J♥ ($7.75, 3 players)
Villain checks, UTG checks, Hero bets $5, Villain calls, UTG folds.

(A good flop for a c-bet. The Villain's call surprised me here: I was expecting a fold or a raise given his stats. I would have probably folded to a check-raise here. Had the Villain raised, a call or 3-bet on my part would have meant that we'd be playing for the Villain's whole stack since he'd be pot committed at that point. That's not something I'd want to do holding only second pair. In any case, the call on the Villain's part is a little suspicious.)

Turn: 9♦ ($17.75, 2 players)
Villain checks, Hero checks.

(I realize that I'm giving a free card here. If I bet and Villain calls, he's committed to the pot. At this point, I'm hoping to see a non-heart river and get a free showdown, if possible. The fact that Villain has shown no aggression has me a little worried considering his past response to other players' c-bets and raises. I have position, a good hand, and I can't help but feel that I've misplayed the hand. Is this a function of the Villain's small stack or of how I've played this hand?)

River: 4♣ ($17.75, 2 players)
Villain checks, Hero checks.

(I learned my lesson in the session prior to this one. If I bet here, I don't think I'd get the Villain to call with a busted flush draw. Perhaps the Villain might have called with JT or QJ, although I was worried given the uncharacteristic way he'd played the hand. I'd seen this player play second pair quite strongly in the past. Monsters under the bed, maybe? I played this hand very passively but did I play it too passively?)

Results:
Final pot: $17.75
Villain shows Qs Kh
Hero doesn't show Qd Qc


PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
UTG: $41.50
CO: $69.90
Button: $76.72
SB (Villain): $46.86
UTG+1: $45.07
Hero: $67.75

Pre-flop: (5 players) Hero is BB with 3♦ 6♦
UTG calls, CO folds, Button calls, Villain raises to $1, Hero calls, UTG calls, Button calls.

(I'll call the min-raise with any hand here. I don't look at pot odds in this case; rather, I look at the number of players in the pot and the size of their stacks. UTG, Button, and Villain all have more than $45 in their stacks. If I were to hit some miracle hand, I'd easily make back the extra $0.50 I put in pre-flop.)

Flop: 5♦ 9♣ 2♠ ($4, 4 players)
Villain bets $0.5, Hero calls, 2 folds.

(The Villain in this hand is pretty LAG, but he gave me odds to draw to the gut-shot. If I hit, I was pretty sure that I could induce a large bet on the part of my opponent.)

Turn: 6♠ ($5, 2 players)
Villain bets $0.5, Hero calls.

(Another small bet on the turn. Again, I was getting 11 to 1 immediate pot odds which easily justified my call. Although the board paired, I wasn't putting the Villain on a flopped set turned full house on the turn. In my mind, I saw him holding an Ax type hand, 77, or 88. His small bets didn't seem suspicious in this hand - they seemed weak. I was happy to keep drawing cheaply.)

River: T♣ ($6, 2 players)
Villain bets $1.5, Hero folds.
Uncalled bets: $1.5 returned to Villain.

(Getting 5 to 1 on the river call here. At the time, I gave up rather quickly. Maybe my single pair of 6s was good enough to make a call given the odds I was getting. I think my hand was pretty good as a bluff-catcher. Would the Villain have made this bet with an unimproved AK? Possibly. What would you do here?)

Results:
Final pot: $6


PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
UTG: $76.29
UTG+1: $38.71
CO: $37.81
Button: $24.25
Hero: $79.37
BB: $49.50

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is SB with A♠ Q♥
3 folds, Button calls, Hero raises to $3, Villain calls, Button folds.

(In this hand, I wasn't going to limp into an unraised pot with AQ, especially out of position. I'd be quite happy to take down the pot pre-flop with a good sized raise. When the Villain called, I would have been a little more concerned except for the fact that he was a very loose, passive player (i.e. fish).)

Flop: A♥ K♣ Q♠ ($6.5, 2 players)
Hero bets $5, Villain raises all-in $46.5, Hero calls.

(Bingo! Good flop for me and quite likely to have hit my opponent as well, given the three face cards. I decide to make a standard c-bet, looking for a call or raise. If the Villain were to fold, I'd be happy too. I definitely would not want to see a J or T hit on the turn or river. When the Villain pushed all-in, I had to figure out whether he would have flat-called pre-flop with AA - QQ. Since I'd stolen a number of blinds from him, I figured that he would have probably re-popped me pre-flop with a premium hand. Fishy players still play AA-QQ quite strongly. If he was holding AK, I was screwed. I've had a number of players smooth call with AK pre-flop, waiting to see the flop before investing any further money into the pot. To be honest, I never gave full consideration to the Villain holding AK here.)

Turn: 6♠ ($99.5, 1 player + 1 all-in - Main pot: $99.5)


River: A♦ ($99.5, 1 player + 1 all-in - Main pot: $99.5)

(I was happy to fill up on the river. If Villain was playing JT, I was now beating the straight. So, who do you think won the hand?)

Results:
Final pot: $99.5
Hero shows As Qh
Villain doesn't show Kd Qd


PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
Hero: $126.24
UTG+1 (Villain): $29.06
CO: $75.73
Button: $50.78
SB: $39.20
BB: $32.45

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is UTG with T♦ A♣
Hero raises to $2, Villain raises to $3.5, 4 folds, Hero calls.

(The dreaded min-raise! I'm not sure what this means, honestly. In any case, I was getting 4 to 1 on my money to call here and Villain was pretty LAG. If I missed the flop and Villain bet, I figured I'd fold the hand and or put him all-in with a check-raise, depending on the flop texture.)

Flop: A♥ T♥ 3♠ ($7.75, 2 players)
Hero checks, Villain bets $7, Hero raises all-in $122.74, Villain calls all-in $18.56.
Uncalled bets: $97.18 returned to Hero.

(If Villain was ahead pre-flop, he most certainly was not now. Rather than bet out, I figured that a check-raise all-in might get my opponent to stack off. I'd be lying if I said I knew what Villain was holding here. When you're up against a player who feels that 83% of hands are worth playing, hand reading is pretty pointless. All I knew was that two pair was a good hand heads up and I wanted to stack my opponent. After check-raising the Villain all-in, he called very quickly. I started counting my money...)

Turn: 9♠ ($58.87, 0 player + 2 all-in - Main pot: $58.87)


River: 4♠ ($58.87, 0 player + 2 all-in - Main pot: $58.87)

(With blanks on the turn and river, I was positive that I'd won the hand.)

Results:
Final pot: $58.87
Villain shows Kc Jc (donkey!)
Hero shows Td Ac


PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
BB: $32.45
Hero: $64.75
CO: $76.29
Button (Villain): $47.67
SB: $44.56
BB: $25

Pre-flop: (5 players) Hero is UTG with A♥ A♠
Hero raises to $2, CO folds, Villain calls, 2 folds.

(Is there any value in showing a hand where I'm holding AA? Sure there is! I'd had AA twice in 1000 hands at $50 NL prior to being dealt rockets here. Thus far, rockets had cost more than they'd won. The Villain in this hand, playing LAG and on the button, seemed to take great pleasure in floating any and all bets I'd made pre-flop and on every other street.)

Flop: 6♥ 7♣ Q♦ ($4.75, 2 players)
Hero checks, Villain checks.

(Dry flop - I checked to induce some aggressive play from the Villain on the turn. In the past, he'd stolen a pot or two from me on the river by making raises to my turn bets when I'd played the hand weakly. Looking back, I should have bet the flop here and checked the turn to induce the bluff. That way, I would have built the pot and been able to check-raise all-in on the turn if I felt that I had the best hand.)

Turn: A♣ ($4.75, 2 players)
Hero bets $5, Villain calls.

(Yet another float call. At this point, I figured that the Villain had something. If he'd been holding garbage, I honestly believe that he would have tried to steal the pot on either the flop or turn. Unfortunately, I didn't get a raise out of the Villain. Could he have been a little suspicious here?)


River: Q♠ ($14.75, 2 players)
Hero bets $9, Villain calls.

(I'd wanted to get more money into the pot on the turn but the Villain had not cooperated. A check would have allowed me the opportunity to check-raise, but it's unlikely that Villain would bet (or call the check-raise) unless he was holding a queen. Although a push would have probably been best in terms of EV here, I got a little greedy and wanted to make some money. I really felt that the Villain would have bet his queen on the flop and I felt that either a check or push on the river would leave me wanting. With the scared looking river bet, I figured that I could make more money if Villain felt like bluffing off his whole stack or if he had played his Qx hand strangely and had been waiting for the river to value bet me.)

Results:
Final pot: $32.75
Hero shows Ah As
Villain doesn't show 9s Ad

Admittedly, the hands I post for my session reviews are not always the most interesting. However, this is a poker blog and I don't mind using this forum for the selfish purpose of improving my game (and maybe your game too).

As I go through my sessions, it forces me to analyze my play and think about the strategies that I use at the tables. And there's always the chance that I get some helpful and always-welcome comments from my readers. I know I'm not a very good player but I'm looking to improve.

If I ever become one of the big game players in online poker, I'll have my readers to thank. Well, my readers and Jebus because it'll take divine intervention to get me the skills and the bankroll needed to play with the best of the best.

Keep reading "Session Review #3: PartyPoker, $50 NL (6-max)"

Session Review #2: PartyPoker, $50 NL (6-max)

This weekend, I focused on enjoying poker. I only played when I felt like it, falling back on my Xbox 360 and a couple games (Condemned: Criminal Origins and Enchanted Arms as needed. Did this help or hurt my game? I'll let you decide.

Here is a review of my Saturday poker session. I'll review my best three and worst three hands, commenting as appropriate. As always, I appreciate any and all feedback. SAG was nice enough to call me a donkey in my last session review (which I vehemently opposed, although do somewhat concede that SAG may be right in that regard): so please feel free to call me a donkey too!

PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
UTG: $57.80
CO: $47.69
Hero: $59.85
SB: $11.12
BB (Villain): $66.17

Pre-flop: (5 players) Hero is Button with K♦ A♠
UTG calls, CO calls, Hero raises to $3, SB folds, Villain calls, UTG folds, CO calls.

Flop: K♣ 5♠ A♥ ($9.75, 3 players)
Villain checks, CO checks, Hero bets $6, Villain calls, CO folds.

[The Villain in this hand had taken a sizeable pot off of me earlier this session and I was sure that he felt that I was steaming at this point. Little did he know that I'm used to getting rivered...and paying off large value bets by my opponents.]

Turn: J♦ ($21.75, 2 players)
Villain checks, Hero bets $15, Villain calls.

[When Villain calls this turn bet, I'm putting him on two pair. He was very loose and was prone to call down to the river with any draw and weaker hands.]

River: 6♠ ($51.75, 2 players)
Villain checks, Hero raises all-in $35.85, Villain calls.

[Assuming I was ahead on the turn, I'm most likely ahead here. Time to push and hope Villain calls.]

Results: (in white below)
Final pot: $123.45
Villain shows 8h Ac (WTF? Talk about not respecting my game.)
Hero shows Kd As


PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
UTG: $51.45
Hero: $55.15
CO: $18.85
Button (Villain): $51.86
SB: $93.70
BB: $50

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is UTG+1 with 7♦ 7♣
UTG folds, Hero raises to $2, CO folds, Villain calls, SB calls, BB folds.

Flop: A♥ Q♦ 6♣ ($6.5, 3 players)
SB checks, Hero bets $5, Villain raises to $10, SB folds, Hero folds.
Uncalled bets: $5 returned to Villain.

[I hate the situation that can occur when you raise pre-flop and get called by someone in position. You've got a mediocre hand and want to take down the pot. You c-bet hoping that your opponent will put you on the ace and fold; instead, you're raised. In the case of this hand, I didn't suspect that the Villain was simply bluff-raising so I made the easy fold.]

Results:
Final pot: $16.5


PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
UTG: $48.50
UTG+1: $24.06
CO: $55.19
Button (Villain): $56.14
SB: $48.75
Hero: $51.63

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is BB with J♥ A♣
UTG folds, UTG+1 calls, CO folds, Villain raises to $2, SB folds, Hero raises to $6, UTG+1 folds, Villain calls.

[Villain had been raising quite a lot pre-flop. I've seen some people call in this spot rather than re-raise. With a hand like AJ, I was hoping to take down the pot pre-flop.]


Flop: 4♣ 8♣ 7♣ ($12.75, 2 players)
Hero checks, Villain checks.

[I'd been making a lot of c-bets on missed flops and getting raised off hands. I decided to change it up against an opponent who didn't like to fold. I also didn't want to play a big pot out of position. Any opinions from the 6-max experts out there?]

Turn: 3♥ ($12.75, 2 players)
Hero checks, Villain bets $8, Hero raises to $20, Villain folds.
Uncalled bets: $12 returned to Hero.

[I didn't want to bet out and get called again. I figured that a turn check-raise might throw the Villain for a loop. I hadn't check-raised at the table yet and I was hoping that a show of strength would force my opponent to lay down his hand. I think the Villain had a hand similar to mine (Ax, KQ, etc.) and his bet resulted from me checking both the flop and turn.]

Results:
Final pot: $28.75


PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
UTG (Villain): $52.58
CO: $32.43
SB: $48.75
Hero: $66.09
SB: $55.16
BB: $20.27

Pre-flop: (4 players) Hero is Button with 5♣ A♥
Villain calls, Hero raises to $2.5, 2 folds, Villain calls.

[Villain was limping into a number of pots. I decided to raise on the button, hoping to pick up the blinds and Villain's bet.]

Flop: T♠ T♦ K♦ ($5.75, 2 players)
Villain checks, Hero bets $5, Villain calls.

[I figured I'd c-bet since the Villain did fold to c-bets. When he called, I was a little concerned and was prepared to drop the hand on the turn if Villain bet into me.]

Turn: 4♥ ($15.75, 2 players)
Villain checks, Hero checks.

[Maybe two barreling here might have been good...?]

River: 6♥ ($15.75, 2 players)
Villain checks, Hero bets $10, Villain raises to $20, Hero folds.
Uncalled bets: $10 returned to Villain.

[I can't believe I folded to a river check-raise after opening the betting on the river. The fact that he went for the check-raise instead of simply betting out seems to imply that he thought that I was bluffing or that he had a monster. I played this hand poorly. Instead of betting the river, I should have bet the turn and checked the river. Alternatively, I could have checked the flop and bet the turn, representing the AK or flopped trips.]

Results:
Final pot: $35.75


PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
UTG: $50.50
CO: $47.75
SB: $48.75
Hero: $58.70
SB: $47.25
BB (Villain): $29.90

Pre-flop: (5 players) Hero is Button with Q♣ J♥
2 folds, Hero raises to $2, SB folds, Villain calls.

[Standard blind steal. Villain was a somewhat loose pre-flop and tended to fold to bets after the flop.]

Flop: J♠ A♣ 5♦ ($4.25, 2 players)
Villain checks, Hero bets $4, Villain calls.

[The c-bet on this flop is automatic. I think I could get away with betting less since the board is pretty clean. When the Villain called my bet, I figured that I was behind a Ax suited hand or a middle pair (hopefully not 55). ]

Turn: 8♦ ($12.25, 2 players)
Villain checks, Hero bets $6, Villain calls.

[When the Villain checked again, I decided to fire off a second shot. My plan was to check behind on the river if called; if raised, I would have folded. When the Villain called yet again, I was sure that I was behind in the hand. I didn't put the Villain on a set, but I was up against an Ax type hand.]

River: J♦ ($24.25, 2 players)
Villain checks, Hero bets $12, Villain calls.

[Bingo! I hit my five outer and am most assuredly ahead here. I didn't figure the Villain for a flush draw and I believed that he put me on a weak ace or a pocket pair. I didn't want to risk checking to the Villain, in case he lost his nerve and put me on the flush, so I decided to bet out. I was a little surprised that Villain didn't push the last of his stack into the pot but there's no accounting for taste. So - what do you put the Villain on in this hand?]

Results: (in white below)
Final pot: $48.25
Hero shows Qc Jh
Villain doesn't show Ad Kh


PartyPoker ($50 NL)
Converter

Stack sizes:
UTG: $46.35
CO: $32.43
SB: $48.75
Button (Villain): $39.45
SB: $46.58
Hero: $49.75

Pre-flop: (5 players) Hero is BB with Q♥ Q♣
UTG folds, CO calls, Villain calls, SB calls, Hero raises to $3, CO folds, Villain calls, SB folds.

[Have I mentioned that I hate being out of position in a pot where I was the pre-flop aggressor?]

Flop: 8♦ 7♦ 3♥ ($7, 2 players)
Hero bets $5, Villain calls.

[Good news: Villain called. Most opponents will put you on AK when you raise so getting a call here doesn't tell me that much.]

Turn: 3♣ ($17, 2 players)
Hero checks, Villain checks.

[I don't mind this check, as long as I feel that I can get away from the hand on the river should I face a large bet. Knowing my playing style, I should have bet enough to ruin any odds that my opponent is getting to draw. And if Villain wasn't on a draw, I'm sure a big bet would have given me the answer I was looking for.]


River: 6♣ ($17, 2 players)
Hero bets $10, Villain raises to $20, Hero calls.

[Ah, the good old blocking bet...these never seem to work for me. At the time of the hand, I made the call for the extra $10 very quickly figuring the Villain for a busted flush draw. Should I have taken a little more time to think things through? Sklansky says that a large river bet usually means one thing: you're beat! Could Sklansky be correct here?]

Results: (in white below)
Final pot: $57
Villain shows 9h Tc
Hero doesn't show Qh Qc


Although Saturday's session at PartyPoker wasn't the greatest, I think I re-learned a lot of the lessons that I'd forgotten during my hiatus. My biggest leak thus far has been calling large river bets by convincing myself that my opponents are bluffing. The fact that I have to guess the correct play on the river speaks poorly of my play during the hand in question.

In the weeks to come, I'm going to focus on on my pot-control skills and my patience. Losing the money in the pot is a secondary concern to protecting the money still in my stack...

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