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A Little ABC Poker

I played my shortest session of no-limit hold'em this past Saturday afternoon: 12 minutes. In a 24 hour day, I managed to obtain less than one-quarter hour to myself for the express purpose of gambling online. It was a good session that saw me up about $3.50 in just 24 hands which is phenomenally good if we look only at my win rate of 6 PTBB/100!

For today's post, I wanted to look at some hands that I played one night last week. It was a good session (financially) and I think I played pretty well despite getting lucky a few times. I apologize if these hands are not extremely fascinating: I don't play for big bucks just yet and many of the short-stack plays that I make are pretty standard. But hey, that's poker: hours of boredom followed by a raise on the button followed by a quick take-down of a small pot by virtue of a perfectly-standard c-bet bluff on the flop...

This session took place at Titan Poker, as do most of my sessions nowadays. Rakeback, bonuses, and lots of games have a way of keeping me coming back for more! Let's get to it, shall we? Hopefully we'll both learn a little something from these hands.

In this first hand, the Villain makes a loose call late in the hand in a spot where I'd not even consider making a "big call". It's nice to have outs but far nicer to have chips.

Titan Poker 0.50/1.00, hand converted by the iPoker Converter at Talking-Poker

saw flop | saw showdown

Button ($139.00)
SB ($102.60)
BB ($26.35)
UTG ($148.98)
UTG+1 Villain ($117.25)
CO Hero ($48.50)

Preflop: Hero is in the CO with K K
1 fold, Villain calls 1.00, Hero raises to 5.00, 3 folds, Villain calls 4.00.

(Villain is pretty loose, having limped into a number of pots. I'd seen him make a few loose calls post-flop so I figured that a raise to $5 would make my post-flop decision pretty simple: commit if I held an overpair on the flop.)

Flop (11.50) T 2 Q
Villain checks, Hero bets 10.00, Villain calls 10.00.

(Good - possible flush and straight draws! I find that I get more action on draw heavy flops. I should be able to get action from my opponent if I make a big bet. I was hoping for the Villain to check-raise all-in with a draw but it didn't happen.)

Turn (31.50) 9
Villain checks, Hero moves all-in for 33.50, Villain calls 33.50.

(With another card coming on the turn that could help make my opponent a straight on the river, I feel that I should just push my money in while I'm probably still ahead in the hand. My money is barely in the pot before my opponent calls my bet. Villain shows JJ and I can only pray that the river does not bring an 8...)

River (98.50) 7


Hero shows K K
Villain shows J J

Hero wins 98.50 with One pair, King

(A pretty loose call on the turn with only second pair and an open-ended straight draw. It would have been maddening had my opponent hit on the river but these are the types of opponents that I need if I want to make money playing poker. I wouldn't have made that call on the turn myself but I'm happy that my opponent did just that. I wonder what type of hand he put me on before calling off so many chips?)

Playing short-stack no-limit hold'em is all about committing all your chips when you feel that you're ahead in the hand and when the pot is large enough to warrant such action. Of course, it also helps to get incredibly lucky...

Titan Poker 0.50/1.00, hand converted by the iPoker Converter at Talking-Poker

saw flop | saw showdown

Button ($60.27)
SB Hero ($56.45)
BB McLAG ($84.33)
UTG Tighty ($176.38)
UTG+1 ($100.00)
CO ($325.48)

Preflop: Hero is in the SB with A K
UTG calls 1.00, 2 folds, Hero raises to 6.00, McLAG calls 5.50, UTG calls 5.50.

(I've just finished winning a couple hands in the past few orbits where I've managed to take down the hands uncontested by making some run-of-the-mill c-bets. My raise to $6 is larger than normal because the BB in this hand is pretty loose and I don't want to play a three-way pot out of position. My second goal with they $6 raise is to get the pre-flop pot large enough to make my commitment decision after the flop an easy one. If Tighty (UTG) calls off the extra $5, the stack-to-pot ratio for this hand would be around 4, which is perfect for a hand like AK.)

Flop (19.50) 7 6 6
Hero bets 14.00, 2 folds

(I'm not sure how the pot got so big pre-flop but I make my standard c-bet to force Tighty off his hand. As soon as I've finished clicking the bet button, I suddenly realize that I've made a huge mistake: I hadn't enough noticed that McLAG had slipped into the hand from the BB. I missed the flop, I made a large c-bet out of position into two players, and I failed to notice that a wild and crazy player was also in the pot and had position on me. Now that's good poker!

Luckily, both of my opponents folded and saved me from throwing away 20 BBs on a poorly played hand.)

Let's take a look at just one more hand today. In this next hand, I run into my most hated no-limit hold'em situation: the possible button float-steal.

Titan Poker 0.50/1.00, hand converted by the iPoker Converter at Talking-Poker

saw flop | saw showdown

Button Villain ($127.90)
SB SB ($109.10)
BB ($155.83)
UTG ($114.20)
UTG+1 Hero ($58.00)

Preflop: Hero is UTG+1 with 3 A
1 fold, Hero raises to 4.00, Villain calls 4.00, SB calls 3.50, 1 fold.

(I'd been playing well on this table for the past half-hour and I felt that the time had come to loosen up a little and take advantage of my somewhat-tight table image.)

Flop (13.00) 7 Q 4
SB checks, Hero bets 8.00, Villain calls 8.00, 1 fold.

(I was contemplating not even making a c-bet here, given that the Villain was a tricky player. However, my tight image and the good flop gave me a little courage to fire-off a bet. When the Villain insta-called me, I knew I was done with the hand.)

Turn (29.00) 8
Hero checks, Button bets 10.00, 1 fold

(As soon as I check the turn, I know that the Villain is going to bet. Although it's quite possible that he had something, this sequence of betting always make me feel that the pot's been stolen from me. Making an early position raise with A3 was a pretty loose though somewhat reasonable given my table image (notice how I'm trying to justify my loss after having played an awful hand out of position). As for the c-bet on the flop, I'm terrible at knowing whether or not I made the right choice here. Playing out of position against tricky players is never a good thing.)

None of the other hands that I played over the course of my session were even remotely interesting. I guess I should be happy that many of the decisions I made that night were easy or automatic given the stack sizes. It's easy to make money playing poker when the cards fall just right and the betting makes it even easier to commit all your chips early.

I've got some more sessions to look over and I'll try and find some interesting hands to post. Maybe I should simply add a couple of zeros to the dollar amounts in order to make things appear more lively? I can't wait for the day when I'll be able to write about a sessions where I was up BMW or down a few mortgage payments.

Until that day, I'll do my best to keep things interesting...


Anonymous said...

If you can pull $3.50 every 12 minutes, thats a living right there.

Klopzi said...

It's a living, but with two kids, a wife and a mortgage, I think I'll need to work on my game before I go making the jump to professional poker player. ;)

Anonymous said...

20 bux an hour is a living??? are u insane? where do u live, kansas?

Klopzi said...

$20/hr is a living if you're young and have no responsibilities other than paying the rent and buying your next box of Kraft Dinner.

It's a hell of a lot better than the $8/hr minimum wage up here in Canada.