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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)

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?)

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

PartyPoker ($50 NL)

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?)

Final pot: $6

PartyPoker ($50 NL)

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?)

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

PartyPoker ($50 NL)

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.)

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

PartyPoker ($50 NL)

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.)

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.


L'artiste said...

Everything looks good to me. I'm sure we'll see you crushing NL 100 and 200 soon enough.

Keep up the good work!

Klopzi said...

l'artiste -

I think the consensus seems to be that this session was pretty solid.

However, I think you should reserve judgement on my abilities to hit the $100 NL and $200 NL tables until after you've seen my latest session. A little brutal...

sag said...

those hands seem to be well played alltogether!
I like your play with qq, sometimes it's just annoying, but you feel like you are beat and you have to stick with your feelings.

Klopzi said...

sag -

Yea, I get the feeling that I'm beat a lot. Probably a little too much...