If you'd like to advertise on this site, please email me to discuss details and rates.

Hall of Shame (Vol. 1)

It's easy to review winning sessions and show everyone how good you are at poker. It's even easier to show a few hands that demonstrate how well you handle bad beats. But what about those hands where the results, either good or bad, are determined solely by your inexplicable poor play or lack of awareness at the tables?

I've never been too proud or too embarrassed to show my readers how poorly I can play a hand of poker. Sometimes I get really lucky and rake a big pot; oftentimes, I simply lose a buy-in and take a kick to the old ego in the process.

It's the lessons I learn from these types of hands that will make me a better player if I simply take the time to review the good, the bad, and the ugly bits of every poker session. Welcome to my Hall of Shame!

When a player calls your raise in position, it's quite normal to feel a little trepidation about playing the hand. When a player flat calls your pre-flop re-raise, trepitation gives way to sheer terror.


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

saw flop | saw showdown

Button ($100.00)
SB Hero ($49.00)
BB Villain ($104.00)
UTG ($120.00)
UTG+1 ($49.50)

Hero is dealt Q Q

Preflop: , 2 folds, Button raises to 4.00, SB raises to 10.00, BB calls 9.50, 1 fold.

(The Button had stolen the blinds in each of the last four orbits. Luckily, I picked up a real hand instead of the usual 73 offsuit and was happy to re-steal and play a big pot for all my chips. When the Villain, an unremarkable yet solid player, called my big bet, I was a little concerned. I planned to commit to my hand as long as I held an overpair after the flop was dealt. )

Flop (25.00) 8 K 4
Hero checks, Villain checks.

(I didn't like the King on the flop, but at least I'd saved myself some money by sticking to my plan and not committing any more chips to the pot. I figured the BB for a hand like AK since he would have likely re-raised with AA/KK pre-flop. Although QQ was also a possibility, it was unlikely since I held two queens myself. When the Villain checked, I was a little suspicious...)

Turn (25.00) 2
Hero checks, Villain bets 14.00, Hero calls 14.00.

(When the Villain bet on the turn, my original plan called for a fold. For some reason, I read the bet as weak. Why? At the time, I reasoned that the Villain would have bet the flop with a hand like AK. That got me wondering whether I had the best hand and was up against a hand like AQ, AJ, or even a hand like JJ or TT. I decided to call the bet and wait for the river.)

River (53.00) 5
Hero bets 15.00, Villain raises to 30.00, Hero moves all-in for 9.50

(With another rag on the river, I suddenly felt that I had a chance at the pot. I didn't want to be pushed off my hand on the river so I threw out a blocking bot. The Villain saw through my play and put me all-in. With 80% of my stack in the pot, I made the call for my last $9.50 hoping for the best.)

Villain shows A K
Hero shows Q Q

Villain wins 107.50 with One pair, King

Without a doubt, this is one of the worst hands that I've played in recent times. There are a number of errors that made over the course of this hand that cost me my stack and my dignity:
  1. I failed to properly factor in my opponent's skill level. He was a tight player who'd made zero moves thus far at the table. There are many players who will cold-call a pre-flop re-raise with a mid-pocket pair or ace-rag: solid ABC poker players do not fall in this category.

  2. Pre-flop hand strength is meaningless once the flop has been dealt. When you're holding pocket queens on a king-high flop in a re-raised pot, your hand is quite possibly worthless. I fell in love with my hand and refused to give up hope.

  3. After having placed almost one-third of my stack into the pot pre-flop, I felt that I was committed to my hand assuming that the flop contained no aces or kings. When I then called the bet for $15 on the turn, I made a horrible mistake by failing to follow through on my plan to fold. In general, calling a big bet and "waiting to see what happens" on a later street is a terrible play and one that will cost you your bankroll.

  4. My river bet was foolish. Any hands that could beat me, including a highly-likely AK, wouldn't fold to my bet and would typically raise me. Any of the hands that I could beat, such as the busted flush draws and lower pocket pairs, would probably fold to bet on my part. I made a blocking bet that served no purpose other than further committing the rest of my stack to the pot.

In the end, the hand should have played out as follows:

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

saw flop | saw showdown

Button ($100.00)
SB Hero ($49.00)
BB Villain ($104.00)
UTG ($120.00)
UTG+1 ($49.50)

Hero is dealt Q Q

Preflop: , 2 folds, Button raises to 4.00, Hero raises to 10.00, Villain calls 9.50, 1 fold.

(The Button's stolen the blinds in each of the last four orbits. I'll re-raise and hope for action and a chance to commit all my chips to the pot. The Button is loose and an SPR of 4 is more than adequate. Oops. The BB called and he's been playing pretty tight. I think he'd probably re-raise with AA or KK and possibly flat-call with either AK, KQs or QQ. I've been playing pretty tight myself so I have no reason to think that he's making a move on me.

The SPR of 4 is still more than adequate to commit with an overpair to the flop even against a solid opponent. As long as there's no ace or king on the flop, I'm getting all my money into the pot as quickly as possible.)

Flop (25.00) 8 K 4
Hero checks, Villain checks.

(There's that damned king. If the Villain has AA, KK, or AK, he's got me beat. If he's holding something like JJ or even TT, we might be able to get to a showdown cheaply. Although I prefer the latter scenario, I may still win a big pot if I hit my set on the turn and possibly put the Villain on tilt in the process if he happens to have been ahead on the flop.)

Turn (25.00) 2
Hero checks, Villain bets 14.00, Hero folds.

(The 2 on the turn changes nothing. When the Villain bets, I'm best cutting my losses and folding my queens. They looked so pretty before the flop but that was then and this is now. It's hard to play second pair out of position against any reasonable opponent and I'd rather not guess at what my opponent's bet might mean.)

A simple fold would have earned me an extra $37 for that session which is pretty huge for a $0.50/$1 small stakes no-limit hold'em game. If I can save myself further losses in similar hands in my future sessions, I'll consider that $37 well spent.

Have a good one!

4 comments:

Lucypher said...

Klopzi, thanks for checking out my blog. Regarding this hand/post, I would have raised more pre-flop since you were out of position (at least to $20).
In my opinion, your raise was so small that he could reasonably call with almost anything since he was on the button.

Lucypher said...

Whoops. Villain was BB (not Button) but Button was still in the pot and BB still had position on you.

Klopzi said...

Lucypher -

The reason I didn't raise more pre-flop is because QQ is a great hand and I don't mind getting a call. My only concern was the fact that BB flat called knowing that the button had yet to act behind.

Another thing to keep in mind is that even if I get one caller pre-flop, the pot is big enough that I can reasonably commit on almost any flop. If the button had called instead of the BB, I would have easily committed all my chips as soon as possible on the flop or turn.

Thanks for stopping by!

sports betting said...

dont be embarrassed dear..just kep in mind,every day is not a sunday..