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Session Review #9: Titan Poker, $50 NL (6-max)

After spending a couple days away from the tables, I returned to Titan Poker on Sunday evening. With no bonuses to clear or any other goals set out for me, I was free to focus on playing my best poker. Although my evening started off quite well, my game and stack sizes were eventually dragged, kicking and screaming, back down to their usual mediocre levels.

I don't mind playing a long break-even session of poker. In fact, I don't mind losing all that much either. What's most important right now is that I play each hand well. I'm a big believer in the "long run" and I force myself to step back and see the big picture whenever I feel like the Poker Gods are having their way with me.

You tell me: should I be happy with this session?

Titan Poker ($50 NL)

Hero ($50.75)
BTN ($73.78)
SB ($64.85)
BB (Villain) ($48.20)
UTG ($117.10)

Hero is UTG+1 with K♣ K♠

UTG folds; Hero raises to $2.00; BTN calls $2.00; SB folds; Villain calls $1.50;

(Villain (in SB) had been playing fairly tight pre-flop and quite aggressive post-flop. When he called, I was glad that I had position on him with a premium pair. I had no reads on the button, but he didn't play prominently in this hand...otherwise, he would have been the Villain, right?)

Flop: 7♥ 4♣ 6♦

Villain checks; Hero bets $5.00; BTN folds; Villain raises to $13.50; Hero calls $8.50;

(I made a standard c-bet - betting anywhere from 2/3 to pot - and got instantly check-raised by Villain. At that point, I made the decision that I was going to try and get all the money in. I would have pushed on the flop but I felt that Villain probably had an overpair and might fold if I jammed. I figured by simply calling on the flop, the Villain's aggression would see him bet into me on the turn, at which point I'd jam and the Villain would be pot-committed and call with any sort of hand. I wasn't too worried about the straight draw here: Villain was tight pre-flop and, unless he'd managed to hit the set, I was probably well ahead here.)

Turn: 2♦

Villain bets $17.00; Hero is all-in ($35.25); Villain is all-in ($15.70);

(I still wasn't worried about the straight draw here. I couldn't see Villain calling my pre-flop raise with a 5 3 or 8 5. I was hoping for a big bet from Villain and he didn't disappoint. The pot was too big for me to fold and Villain was pot-committed: I pushed and Villain insta-called.)

River: J♥

(Sometimes you need to be careful what you wish for. I was happy that the river wasn't a third diamond; however, I wasn't completely out of the woods. Do you think I made the right call on the turn? Should I have pushed on the flop instead of trying to induce the turn bet?)

Results: (in white below)
Final pot: $98.20

Hero shows Kc Ks
Villain shows 7d 5d

(Had I pushed on the flop, Villain would not have made a mistake by calling. Unfortunately, the 2d on the turn meant that Villain was also correct in pushing all-in with only one card to come. Still, I don't mind having my hand hold up in a pot where neither one of us made a huge mistake. Mind you, playing 7d 5d out of position in a raised three-handed pot is a little too loose for my tastes.)

Titan Poker ($50 NL)

Hero ($93.90)
UTG+1 ($84.38)
CO ($49.75)
BTN ($32.05)
SB (Villain) ($24.85)
BB ($135.35)

Hero is UTG with 9♦ 9♠

Hero raises to $2.00; UTG+1 folds; CO folds; BTN calls $2.00; Villain calls $1.75; BB folds;

(No read on the Villain at the time of this hand. I later learned that he was an uber-LAG, unafraid to play any two from any position for any amount of money.)

Flop: 5♥ 4♦ 9♥

Villain checks; Hero bets $7.00; BTN folds; Villain calls $7.00;

(It's always nice to hit the set. With the heart draw on the board and possible straight draws, I overbet the pot hoping to get a call from one of my two opponents. Since the board did not contain any face cards, I was hoping that the large bet looked like a bluff bet with an unimproved AK. Villain called pretty quickly.)

Turn: 3♥

Villain checks; Hero bets $78.00; Villain is all-in ($15.85);

(Not the greatest turn card. In the past, I might have checked behind and called a bet from the Villain on the river. However, I didn't want to give Villain a free card here with the straight and an (even better) flush draw out there. Since Villain was short-stacked, I decided to put him all-in and charge him for his draws. If I was already behind to the flush, I had redraws to the full house on the river too.)

River: 6♦

(The river card was rather unfortunate. If Villain was drawing to the straight, that card probably helped. However, no matter the results in the hand, I was happy that I made the Villain pay the maximum to hit his draw; that is, assuming Villain was drawing...)

Results: (in white below)
Final pot: $49.60

Hero shows 9d 9s
Villain shows Qh 2h

(Well, Villain hit the flush on the turn. I'm still happy with the way this hand played out. I'm also happy to have found an opponent who'll call a raise OOP with a Q2s.)

Titan Poker ($50 NL)

Hero ($97.90)
BB ($68.18)
UTG ($47.85)
CO ($40.55)
BTN ($135.35)

Hero is SB with 9♦ 9♣

UTG raises to $2.00; CO folds; BTN folds; Hero calls $1.75; BB calls $1.50;

(UTG was a typical TAG and has been a fixture at the tables in many of my sessions at Titan Poker. The BB in this hand was a standard loose-passive fish. I was calling for set value here, though I considered donk-betting the flop if no scare cards hit.)

Flop: 2♣ 2♦ J♠

Hero bets $5.00; BB calls $5.00; UTG calls $5.00;

(I decided to follow Phil Gordon's advice here and bet out on the paired flop. I figured that I'd take down the pot right then and there on most occasions given that both my opponents had shown me their willingness to lay down their hands in the face of a big flop bet. When BB and UTG called, I figured UTG had a J and BB had a 2.)

Turn: Q♦

Hero checks; BB bets $5.00; UTG raises to $15.00; Hero folds; BB calls $10.00;

(No set on the turn so I check-folded. When BB bet out, I was convinced that he had trips. And when UTG raised, I seriously considered him holding AA - JJ. Mind you, UTG may not have noticed that BB was a passive player...?)

River: 4♣

BB checks; UTG checks;

(When UTG checked, I put him on QQ-AA or possibly AJs. The BB's check totally threw me!)

Results: (in white below)
Final pot: $48.45

BB shows Qs Jc
UTG shows Kh Jh

(See what I mean? BB was pretty damn passive. If I'd been in BB's shoes, I would have bet more on the turn and jammed if given the opportunity. I guess UTG's turn raise was a good bet given that it earned him a free showdown.)

Titan Poker ($50 NL)

SB (Villain) ($47.05)
BB ($53.65)
UTG ($47.35)
Hero ($54.95)
CO ($56.90)
BTN ($113.80)

Hero is UTG+1 with K♣ Q♣

UTG folds; Hero raises to $2.00; CO folds; BTN folds; Villain calls $1.75; BB folds;

(Villain has played pretty passively so far. Although I would have preferred to take down the pot pre-flop, I didn't mind playing a good hand in position against a straight-forward player.)

Flop: 4♣ 5♠ K♦

Villain checks; Hero bets $4.00; Villain is all-in ($45.05); Hero folds;

(What the shit! Don't you hate it when this happens? You make an innocent little c-bet with your top pair and your opponent jams. Given our relative stack sizes, Villain was laying me terrible odds to call here. And with no flush draws out there and an unlikely straight draw, I put my opponent on a set or two-pair. I hated folding here, but the odds just weren't in my favour...)

Final pot: $5.90

When the dust settled, I finished my session up the size of a raise/c-bet pot. Looking back, I found that Sunday night's session was easily summed up as follows:
  • One big hand for me!
  • One big hand for one of my opponents.
  • Many, many pre-flop raises, blind steals, and c-bets for me!
So I pulled off a winning session just by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin. More importantly, I'm pleased with how I played throughout the session. Although my aggression dropped off a little when I started missing a lot of flops, getting floated, or having my opponents play back at me, my aggression returned as I regained some respect from the table.

From that point on and until the end of the session, I continued to claw my way back into the black with frequent raises, bets, and timely folds.

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