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Session Review #12: Klopzi versus The Sneaky Bastard

When you play as few hands of poker as I do, there are upsides and downsides to the short sessions. If things go well and I get lucky at the tables, my winning streaks can last a month or two before I start losing again. On the flip-side, a losing streak can seem interminably long if it lasts any longer than 1000 hands (typically one month or more of poker for me).

Well, I've been winning so I'm happy. I've got some hands from my last session: whaddya say we take a look?

No matter the buy-in, no matter the limit, there are always people out there who derive ridiculous amounts of pleasure from outsmarting and outplaying their competition at the tables. I've seen players go out of their way to tackle the toughest players at the table rather than sit back and pick off the weaker players. Honestly, I don't get it. When I play poker, I play to make money. That's not to say that I don't mind the times when I get up on a player who's been running over the table...

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

saw showdown

Button ($252.90)
SB ($124.55)
BB Hero ($48.50)
UTG Villain ($113.20)
UTG+1 ($204.50)

Preflop: Hero is in the BB with A A
Villain raises to 3.50, 1 fold, Button calls 3.50, 1 fold, Hero raises to 9.00, Villain calls 6.50, 1 fold.

(The Villain in this hand has been running the show for a while. We've all played with his type before: floats quite a bit, makes tricky plays, loves suited connectors and tries to bust players who overplay their "top pair" hands.

I opted for a small re-raise this time round because I was hoping to have both the Villain and Button call my pre-flop raise. Why? Well, AA plays well against one or two opponents, especially when I can get a nice low stack-to-pot ratio (SPR) .

Even though the Button eventually folded after mulling it over for a while, a pre-flop pot-size of $24 gave me a nice SPR of less than 2. I was prepared to commit my entire stack regardless of the flop, hence taking away any positional and skill-based advantages held by the tricky Villain in the UTG seat.)

Flop (24.00) A T 8
Hero bets 15.00, Villain calls 15.00.

(Flush draw? Whatever. I wasn't going to fold my hand given the enormous pot size compared to the effective remaining stack sizes. Although I could have bet pot, I wanted to keep the Villain in the hand. I figured that a $15 bet might encourage the Villain to try and raise me off my hand: no such luck. I decided that I'd push on the turn regardless of the next card that hit the board, though I was really hoping for a non-heart.)

Turn (54.00) 7
Hero moves all-in for 23.50, Villain calls 23.50.

Hero shows A A
Villain shows 7 8

(Villain called quickly and rightly so getting better than 3:1 odds ($23.50 to win $73.50). I hoped that he didn't have the flopped flush and expected to see AT, A8, a set, or possibly a pair and flush draw. When the Villain showed his hand, I was a little surprised that he'd called my re-raise pre-flop with his hand. )

River (101.00) 2

(River is a blank! Klopzi: 1, Sneak Bastard: 0)

Hero wins 101.00 with Three of a kind, Ace's

(The Villain was a victim of his own tricky play here. I'm not sure what possessed him to make the call on the flop. I guess you could argue that he knew he'd get my stack if he hit his flush on the turn, but I don't see how the Villain knows that I wasn't going to show him the K, Q, or the J as part of my hand.

I believe that committing to the pot with only bottom pair and a terrible one-card flush draw is losing poker. I'll stop complaining, however, since I won the hand after getting my opponent to commit the rest of his effective stack drawing to eight outs.)

Not every player tries to play a tricky-style of game. At one the tables that I was playing during this session, I found myself sitting to the immediate right of a fishy player. I'd noticed that he'd defend his big blind or button against most steal attempts and that he'd fold on the flop unless he caught a card. Perfect...

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

saw showdown

Button ($121.32)
SB ($106.10)
BB Hero ($54.80)
UTG Villain ($176.80)
UTG+1 ($131.05)
CO ($100.00)

Preflop: Hero is in the BB with 7 Q
Villain calls 1.00, 3 folds, Hero checks.

(Villain was a loose player but I'd never seen him limp under-the-gun. I decided to simply check my option and make a bet on the flop regardless of the flop.)

Flop (2.50) Q 6 8
Hero bets 2.00, Villain calls 2.00.

(I hit top pair so I was probably ahead. Although I wasn't willing to play a huge pot here, there's no harm in putting out a pot-sized bet in the hopes of taking the hand down or causing the Villain to pay too much for a draw. When Villain called, I put him on a flush draw or a pair.)

Turn (6.50) 8
Hero checks, Villain checks.

(When the turn paired the board, I decided to check to the Villain and let him define his hand. If he bet, I could lay down my pair of queens knowing that the Villain had trips: he just wasn't aggressive enough to warrant any other hand. If he checked, I figured I could bet the river if the flush draw missed.

Please note that
had I been playing with a full-stack, I might have bet the turn without fear of committing too many of my chips with a marginal hand. If the Villain then raised my turn bet, I could have safely folded my hand.)

River (6.50) 8
Hero bets 3.00, Villain calls 3.00

(Full house! I was sure that the Villain did not have quad eights and if he was drawing to the flush, he missed. If I checked in this spot, the Villain would have checked behind with most hands. Since I want a little value for my hand, I opted for the half-pot sized bet on the river and expected to get shown a queen, a six, or even an ace or king by the Villain.)

Villain shows 9 6
Hero shows 7 Q

Hero wins 12.50 with A fullhouse, Eight's and Queen's

(I scored a decent win with a crappy hand so I was happy. More importantly, I liked the fact that I made a value bet on the end in a situation where I'd normally check without thinking the hand through and figuring out how to extract a little money from my opponent.)

In this next hand, the Villain is a little another slightly-loose, slightly-tricky player. I'd been playing air tight for the last few orbits so I figured that I might be able to steal a pot if I played my cards right.

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

saw showdown

Button ($117.20)
SB ($144.64)
BB Hero ($50.00)
UTG ($103.00)
UTG+1 ($124.45)

Preflop: Hero is in the BB with A 4
2 folds, Button calls 1.00, 1 fold, Hero checks.

(I wasn't about to raise ace-rag against a tricky player while out of position. There were too many ways for the Villain to punish me if the flop didn't come down just right.)

Flop (2.50) 6 6 7
Hero checks, Button checks.

(Given my opponent's tricky nature and given the paired board, I decided to play my hand as if I'd flopped trips. Most players will incorrectly check trips in this spot so I decided to do the same after an ever-so-slight pause.)

Turn (2.50) J
Hero bets 1.50, Button calls 1.50.

(I made a small bluff at the pot on the turn, hoping that the Villain would think that I was looking for a call with my trip sixes. When the Villain called the bet instantly, I wondered if I he might have a flush draw and had simply checked through on the flop in the hopes of hitting his hand cheaply.)

River (5.50) 4
Hero bets 3.00, 1 fold

(Normally I'd refrain from betting on the river in this spot since a call would usually mean that my bottom pair was well behind. However, in this case I'd represented trips, albeit in weak-tight fashion, throughout the hand and could reasonably expect the Villain to some hands that would beat me if given a showdown opportunity.

Most importantly, I was afraid that a check on my part might induce a large bet on the part of the Villain: I wasn't willing to call off a large bet on the river with only bottom pair.)

I'm enjoying playing short-stack poker because it really simplifies so many of the decisions that I need to make while playing no-limit hold'em. I also appreciate the fact that short-stack poker helps me overcome the disparity in skill level between me and my opponents. As this gap closes and once I've managed to pad my bankroll a little bit further, I'll start buying in full and opening up my game to take advantage of the tight players (by stealing more pots) as well as the loose players (by getting them to call my large over-bets when I'm holding the nuts).

I've also set up a schedule for upping my limits that I feel offers me a far better chance of hitting the $200 NL tables and beyond before the year is up. Of course, I'll need to back up my plans with some solid play and good-sized wins at my current stakes. We'll see how things turn out, I guess.

I'll probably stick with video games tonight and hit up the cash game tables tomorrow night. The tables really loosen up quite a bit on weekends when the drunks and crazies come online to play.

Have a good one!


BadBlood said...

Just wanted to let you know I added a link to the blog on mine. Thanks for commenting on my blog.

Take care,


Klopzi said...

BB -

Thanks for adding me. I appreciate it!