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Session Review #8: Titan Poker, $50 NL (6-max)

When the weekend hits, you head home from work anxious to bask in the freedom offered by two days off work. Maybe you spend a little time with the family, maybe you unwind with a movie or a video game, or if you're like me, you head to the online poker tables and try to earn some extra scratch.

I turned in a pretty solid session on Friday night. And it would have been a great session had I not forgotten one simple rule: do not make large river bets when worse hands will fold and better hands will call or raise. Seriously - how many times should I make this mistake before it sets in? I've probably fallen victim to this proven money-loser ten or so times over the past month for a loss of at least $150. Why do I feel this need to lose the maximum on my losing hands? I can't tell you...but maybe you'll be able to shed some light on my disease after taking a look at my shame.

Titan Poker ($50 NL)

BB ($12.69)
UTG ($48.50)
UTG+1 (Villain) ($14.00)
CO ($59.85)
Hero ($49.30)
SB ($10.85)

Hero is BTN with J♣ Q♣

UTG calls $0.50; Villain checks; CO folds; Hero calls $0.50; SB calls $0.25; BB checks;

(I had no read on the Villain here. He just sat down and posted a blind in the UTG+1 seat (or MP seat, if you prefer). If I was a good player, I'd have raised from the CO to pick up the dead money in the pot. Instead of taking the bull by horns, I decided to limp into the pot and hoped to see a cheap flop.)

Flop: 9♥ 2♦ Q♠

SB checks; BB bets $0.50; UTG folds; Villain calls $0.50; Hero raises to $4.00; SB folds; BB folds; Villain calls $3.50;

(I was hoping to pick up the pot on the flop with my raise. When BB folded, I was sure Villain would fold as well. Honestly, he'd just posted so his hand couldn't be that good, could it?)

Turn: 8♥

Villain checks; Hero checks;

(A turn bet might have been good here. I could've gotten more money into the pot before an Ace, King, or another heart hits the river and kills any action I might get with my hand. However, an argument could also be made for pot-control and geting a free shot to draw at the gutshot straight (3 outs if we exclude ten of hearts). I go for the safe and cheap approach and check behind.)

River: T♣

Villain is all-in ($9.50); Hero calls $9.50;

(Well, I just hit my gutshot straight and villain has pushed. Easy call! Oh, and thanks to Mr. V. for pointing out the straight on the river. For some reason, I'd overlooked that fact while writing up my session review: at the time of the hand, I guarantee that I knew I had the straight and insta-called. Have I mentioned that I'm exhausted?)

Final pot: $28.50

Villain shows Qd 7d (Overplayed top pair...)
Hero shows Qc Jc

Titan Poker ($50 NL)

Hero ($56.05)
SB ($51.15)
BB (Villain) ($110.88)
CO ($54.65)

Hero is BTN with 8♥ T♥

CO folds; Hero raises to $2.00; SB folds; Villain calls $1.50;

(Villain wa pretty passive, as far as I could tell. Slightly more aggressive post-flop than pre-flop, but not really worth mentioning.)

Flop: 8♠ 7♥ 3♥

Villain checks; Hero bets $4.00; Villain raises to $8.00; Hero is all-in ($50.05); Villain folds;

(Flush draw with a pair = I'm going to go broke with this hand if given the choice. When Villain min-check-raised me, a call would have put me in a tough spot on the turn, or killed any action I'd get on the hand. No - it was time to play for all our chips. Whether I was fortunate or unfortunate here makes little difference: I won a good-sized pot holding top pair, weak kicker.)

Final Pot: $65.30

(Villain is pretty lag pre-flop, not quite post-flop)
Titan Poker ($50 NL)

CO ($14.94)
BTN ($44.90)
SB ($47.25)
BB (Villain) ($59.50)
Hero ($66.50)
UTG+1 ($9.25)

Hero is UTG with5♣ 5♠

Hero calls $0.50; UTG+1 calls $0.50; CO folds; BTN folds; SB calls $0.25; Villain raises to $3.50; Hero calls $3.00; UTG+1 folds; SB calls $3.00;

(I decided to try limping from EP with a small pocket pair this time. The Villain was pretty LAG pre-flop and liked to raise unraised pots. I was prepared to call a raise from Villain should he feel frisky in the hand. I could have re-raised Villain but I'm not good enough to know when I'm ahead post-flop if Villain were to jam the flop.)

Flop: Q♦ A♦ 5♦

SB checks; Villain checks; Hero bets $12.00; SB folds; Villain folds;

(With the flush draw on the board, along with the ace and queen, I was really hoping that SB or Villain would get frisky and push all-in in response to my large bet. I wanted to get as much money into the pot before a fourth diamond hit on the turn and killed any action I might get with my set. Unfortunately, both SB and Villain didn't like their hands enough to contribute to the Klopzi fund.)

Final Pot: $22.45

Titan Poker ($50 NL)

UTG ($13.64)
CO ($43.90)
BTN ($44.40)
SB (Villain) ($56.95)
Hero ($74.90)

Hero is UTG with 6♥ 6♦

UTG calls $0.50; CO folds; BTN folds; Villain calls $0.25; Hero raises to $3.50; UTG folds; Villain calls $3.00;

(Here we have the same Villain as in the previous hand. Over the course of the last hour, I'd taken a large number of pots off the Villain as he constantly folded to my aggression on the flop, turn and river. When Villain called my pre-flop raise, I instantly thought that he might be playing a lesser hand in the hopes of getting even. What a silly thought...)

Flop: 5♣ 2♦ 4♦

Villain checks; Hero bets $6.00; Villain calls $6.00;

(Standard c-bet.)

Turn: 5♦

Villain checks; Hero bets $12.00; Villain calls $12.00;

(With an overpair, straight-draw, and flush draw, I'm not sure if my turn bet should be called a value bet or semi-bluff. I didn't mind having the Villain fold here and if he happened to call, I had a lot of outs if I was behind. However, I saw myself as being ahead here due to the lack of aggression on Villain's part.)

River: 5♠

Villain checks; Hero bets $20.00; Villain calls $20.00;

(When the river put that third five on the board, I couldn't bring myself to check the river down. I saw myself holding a full house and pictured Villain sitting there with a slow-played flush or an unimproved AQ. And then, for some reason, I felt that he'd call a large river bet with with either of these hands. The truth of the situation was this: Villain probably wouldn't call on the river with anything less than a full house and, if that was the case, there were only three other full houses that I beat. This is one of the worst river bets in the history of bad river bets.)

Final pot: $81.00

Villain shows 8d 8c
Hero shows 6h 6d

Unlike limit poker where a bad bet on the river can possibly cost you an extra big bet, an all-in river raise or check-raise by your opponent can be disastrous in no-limit poker. I can't stress enough the importance of the following rule when it comes to betting on the river:
Do not bet on the river if doing so means your opponent will fold all hands that you beat and raise (or call) all hands that have you beat.

You've been warned...

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