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Month in Review: March 2008

There's no point in beating around the bush. This past month was not been my greatest on record. I ended up playing a whole lot of losing poker and I have only myself to blame. Bad luck's one thing; tilt's a completely different story. Although I don't have every last detail of my play in March, let's take a quick look at the goals I accomplished, those I failed, and a final look at my win/loss tally.

In the end, how bad was March? I played 3000 hands of $1/$2 NLHE and dropped a total of six buy-ins. I think I went as low as eight buy-ins down but managed to win a couple back before moving down to the $100 NLHE games. As for $0.50/$1 NLHE, I was also down two and a half buy-ins over the course of a few thousand hands.

Looking over my sessions, a number of things stand out that really cost me money:

  • I got very little action with many of my big pocket pairs. You've got to give action to get action. My timing for tightening up and loosening up was terrible. I found myself paying off my opponents with my poor hands and getting nothing with my good hands. Not very good play on my part.
  • I only posted a winning record on three of the twenty days that I played poker last month. Even worse, my winning sessions were all short and my losing sessions all lasted much longer. Chasing losses is not a good reason to keep playing.
  • Most of my losses came at the hands of players with VP$IPs > 50%. What does this mean? It means I spent too much time bluffing and not enough time value betting.
  • I saw the flop with just over 220 pocket pairs and flopped sets 7 times. I flopped a set of Aces three times and I flopped a set of Kings twice. It can be really hard to make money that way. Keep in mind that I'm not saying my losses were a direct result of my inability to flop sets. But I believe that this string of perceived bad luck put me in a terrible frame of mind to play poker. When the world's out to get you, it can pretty easy to justify monkey-pushing second pair on a wet flop against a donkey. [NB: In all fairness, I did flop a set with Presto last week and stacked my opponent which was pretty good.]
  • My c-betting success was terrible. I found myself c-betting in spots where a c-bet was not likely to take down the pot. Of course, these failed c-bets made me a little gun-shy and I failed to c-bet a number of flops that were ripe for the stealing.
I managed to hit 80% of my goals for the month of March. I played a lot more medium stack poker. I'm not sure if my losses are a direct result of me playing a bigger stack but it's certainly possible. A bigger stacks means more hands played mean more chances to make costly mistakes. My poor play last month also resulted in my failed attempt to improve on my 13 BB/100 win rate at $1/$2 NLHE in February. I wasn't even close...

On a positive note, I hit my Silver VIP status at Titan Poker and I also obtained SilverStar VIP status at PokerStars. I also hit my goal of getting a new laptop earned solely through poker-derived winnings. So it's not all doom and gloom!

Looking ahead to April, I'll probably play a little less poker given my general levels of exhaustion. I'm also a little shell-shocked from some of the awful plays and terrible results from March. It's probably best if I slowly ease myself back into poker. Of course, I'll need to play enough this month to tide me over once Grand Theft Auto IV hits store shelves on April 29! That game will definitely eat up quite a number of my free-time cycles!

My primary goal for the month of April will be to play 5000 hands of poker at the $0.50/$1 NLHE tables. I'm going to stay away from the $1/$2 tables until I've managed to win 10 - 15 buy-ins. And to change things up, I'll be sticking with the games at Full Tilt and Titan Poker. I'm going to need rakeback and bonuses to help me reduce the variance in my suddenly-small bankroll.

Stick with me and I'll see if I can turn things around. There's nothing worse than keeping up a poker blog while also playing terrible, losing poker. It can be hard to admit to the world that I know far less about poker than I thought I did a short month ago.

And with that out of the way, it's time to make some money...

Keep reading "Month in Review: March 2008"

Time to Lift the Curse!

Back to the tables tonight and ready to kick ass! I've also decided on a plan of action. We'll have to wait and see how things work out.

Earlier today, I withdrew a good chunk of my bankroll into my discretionary fund. I still have enough to play at the $100 NLHE limit. Until I build up a bigger 'roll and regain my confidence, I think I'll revert to my short-stack strategy once again. This style of play can be generalized as tight pre-flop play with an itchy post-flop trigger finger. TPTK is gold when you've got less than 50 BB! I'm hoping that playing short will lessen my fears of getting stacked (a terrible fear to have when playing NL) and allow me to focus my efforts on a good pre-flop/flop game. I'll worry about the turn and river portions of my game when my laptop starts to feel like an ATM again!

I'll also be three-tabling: I tried it the other night and quite enjoyed it. It really helped me stick to a "tight-is-right" type of attack. At two tables or less, I start to read too much into my opponents' play. Thinking on the 3rd or 4th levels does you no good when your opponents are only playing their cards.

I hope to lift this bizarre voodoo-like curse (aka. super-duper-monkey-tilt) that seems to have killed my skills and destroyed my game, my sanity, and my bankroll. I may not define myself as a poker player but I'd much rather be a winner than your run-of-the-mill gambling loser. Voodoo or not, something's busted and it's about time that I fix it!

At least I've locked in enough cash to buy myself a PS3 should things fail to improve! If you feel like helping me reduce my month-to-month variance, please feel free to sign up at PokerStars or RakeTheRake.com.

Have a great weekend!

Keep reading "Time to Lift the Curse!"

Life's Tuff

No poker for me last night. Instead, I spent the night playing a Japanese RPG on my 360.

But since I'd hate to leave my readers with nothing so I've got a funny Tuff_Fish video for all of you. I have to admit I feel for Tuff_Fish in this video. This is exactly the way that I've been feeling at the tables lately. And my results have also been quite similar to what we'd all see in a Tuff_Fish vid too!

By the way, did you know there's a five o'clock in the morning now? I found that out today!

Too tired to keep writing...

...but I should say that I won't be playing poker tonight...

...tomorrow night...return to the scene of the crime at PokerStars...

...one last shot at $100 NLHE?

Keep reading "Life's Tuff"

Plotting a New Course

I'd like to thank Alan, Gnome, Support and SimpleStyle for weighing in on my poker-ineptitude. I think it's fair to say that I lack the experience to adequately handle the variance and the opponents found at the $100 NLHE and $200 NLHE games. Looking back at my recent posts and taking a look at my current frame of mind, I think I may have made the jump to $100 NLHE without being quite ready for the games. But all told, it was a great learning experience and pretty profitable too!

However, it may be time for me to plot a new (and hopefully temporary) course for my poker game.

So the question is: what should I do? I think a solid plan of attack would be to cash out some of my bankroll to lock in my PS3 purchase and to put some more money aside for frivolous purchases. I'm hoping that this might curb my worries about "money" and move me away from a results-oriented style of thinking.

From there, I could move back down to the $50 NLHE limit until I've played a certain number of hands. I'm definitely lacking in experience at the poker tables. All the books I've read have done a good job of starting my poker education but I'm still not an expert in any sense of the word. I'm all book-smarts without any applied skill. My experiences in life have taught me that this can be a really bad thing.

If I could get some input from my more experienced online-poker-playing readers on the following points, I'd really appreciate it. Here's what I'd like to know:

  1. How many hands at the $50 NLHE tables should I play before attempting to hit the $0.50/$1 games again? 10K total? 15K? And what sort of win-rate should I be aiming for? I've heard 16 BB/100 (or 8 PTBB/100) is a solid number but I'd like to know if there's a range that more or less captures a winning record given a smaller sample size of hands.

  2. Other than confidence and a winning record, are there other aspects of my game that I should look for that mark me as a shark or as a donkey? It seems to me that winning online poker players view many things as being quite standard. If I can start to pick up these "standard" patterns, I'd know that I'm going down the right path.

  3. Is there anything else that I've overlooked or forgotten here?

In all honesty, I hate the fact that I'll need to move down in limits. I guess it's an ego thing with me. I've always been pretty good at everything I've ever done. Poker is one of the few thorns in my side. Just when I think I've got it, I get all my money in bad and go on super-duper monkey tilt.

I'm going to try and buckle down. Get back to basics and try to play some winning poker. My session last night was a good start though painfully expensive. At least I lost most of my money on a single hand where most players should go broke.

I've got another 50 VPPs to earn at Stars for SilverStar VIP Status. Once I've finished that off (if for no other reason than I said I would at the start of March), I'll consolidate my money at Titan Poker and Full Tilt Poker. I'll need rakeback to help bring my bankroll back up to the levels necessary for $100 NLHE after I cash out a little play money for myself.

Again, thanks for the comments. With my ego and a some hardcore tilt clouding my vision, it can be hard to step back and see a losing streak for what it is: more likely the result of bad play than bad luck.

Here's hoping that I can change...

Keep reading "Plotting a New Course"

A Sad State of Affairs

Another weekend come and gone, along with a portion of my bankroll and my soul. Poker's the greatest game in the world when you're winning. And it's the worst possible game imaginable when things aren't going well.

MJ was over on the weekend and he witnessed a typical session for me. He even saw me double up when I got extremely lucky against a terrible Villain who managed to pick up a huge hand against me. Of course, I lost it all back and then some the following evening.

I find myself approaching each session with the best of intentions. Play solid, pick up some hands, get paid off, rinse, lather, repeat. But things haven't been going according to plan.

Typically, I pick up very few hands. The good hands don't get paid off. I over-extend myself, tell myself that I have to be ahead this time only to find that I'm well-behind in the hand yet again.

Not sure where to go from here. I've got a few hundred VPPs to pick up at Stars in order to maintain my SilverStar status. I'll take care of that and then take it easy.

I don't even feel confident enough to offer any poker advice on specific hands or specific situations. All the clarity that I had in February has been replaced by a jumbled mess of half-forgotten theories skewed by my tilt-ridden mind.

I've taken comfort in video games in the past week or so. I always feel that I'm letting my Mediocre Poker readers down by stepping back from poker. But there's little point in playing poker with any frequency until I've figured out what's wrong with my game and my state of mind. I've already dropped half my bankroll this month and I'd rather not continue the downward spiral.

I guess I've just taken the reality of poker a little too hard. Last month's results set my sights way too high and I'm paying the price now, one piece of my sanity at a time.

I just want to thank all my readers again for leaving some great comments. I've had some tough questions asked of me. And I've been shown to be wrong or shoddy in my analysis on a number of occasions. It's taken some criticisms for me to realize just how far my game has fallen in so little time. Maybe I'm just mentally exhausted from all the poker I've been playing? Maybe a little time spent with my Xbox 360 will do me some good.

I'll continue to post some of the hands from my recent sessions. I'd like to get some more feedback where possible. I'm not sure if I'll post one disastrous hand from this past weekend. It's extremely embarrassing, caused by my inability to properly focus on the game at hand.

I'll be back tomorrow - hopefully in a better frame of mind than today.

Keep reading "A Sad State of Affairs"

Conditionally Committed

Knowing when to commit to your hand or lay it down can be a tricky proposition. Stack-to-pot ratio (SPR) theory lays down a number of solid guidelines to help you decide when you expect to come out ahead when all the chips are in the pot. But knowing when to commit is not always a matter of simple arithmetic.

The hand that I'm posting today demonstrates the idea of being conditionally committed to your hand. Conditional commitment comes into play when SPR alone is not enough to warrant getting all the money into the pot without first meeting other specific preconditions. These preconditions can be based on a number of things such as:

  • Opponents playing styles
  • Board texture
  • Reads
  • Table image
In a hand that I played the other night, I had a slightly loose table image. In the last fifty hands, I'd picked up a number of quality hands but hadn't shown down anything yet.

On the other hand, the Villain in the hand was a total crazy LAG: VP$IP sitting at around 40% with a PFR of about 36%. More importantly, the Villain had shown a willingness to bet weak hands on all streets. I'd already seen him commit a lot of chips to pots holding far less than TPTK. But I'd also seen him fold a lot hands when played back at by his opponents.

I finally got a chance to get paid in a blind versus blind confrontation.

PokerStars, $0.50/$1 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 5 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

Villain (SB): $183.10
Hero (BB): $100
UTG: $221.80
CO: $100
BTN: $160.25

CO posts $1
Pre-Flop: T A dealt to Hero (BB)

UTG folds, CO checks, BTN folds, Villain calls $0.50, Hero raises to $6, CO folds, Villain calls $5

(Villain liked to limp from SB quite a bit despite his high PFR %. My hand rates pretty well against Villain's hand range of "any two". I raise a little more than usual because of my image and the Villain's playing tendencies.)

Flop: ($13) 5 4 T (2 Players)
Villain bets $8, Hero calls $8

(I flopped TPTK. Villain donk-bet into me as he'd done on most hands he'd played thus far. Against most opponents, my best bet would be to raise the flop and take down the pot immediately. But I remembered that the Villain liked to bet weak hands on all streets but might fold to a large re-raise on my part. By calling the Villain's flop bet, I needed to decide whether or not I was willing to commit to my hand (ie. willing to call a large bet after I've put in more than 30% of my stack) with only TPTK in a hand with an SPR of 7. [NB: SPRs of 7 can be good with TPTK hands against certain loose opponents.]

Since I knew that the Villain would bet both the turn and river, I was bound to play a big pot unless I was willing to raise the flop and take control of the hand. I'd lose value if a raise would force the Villain to fold hands worse than TPTK. So why not let the Villain keep betting? Why do the pushin' when he'd do the pullin', right?

Therefore, I was conditionally committed to my hand as long as I let the Villain do the betting.)

Turn: ($29) 4 (2 Players)
Villain bets $18, Hero calls $18

River: ($65) 3 (2 Players)
Villain bets $43, Hero calls $43

(Since I made my commitment decision back on the flop, calling the river bet getting better than 2:1 was a no-brainer.)

Results: $151 Pot ($2 Rake)
Villain showed 5 5 (a full house, Fives full of Fours) and WON $149 (+$74 NET)
Hero mucked T A and LOST (-$75 NET)

I got a little unlucky that the Villain happened to flop a set on me. But I made a well-though out decision on the flop and stuck with my plan. I'm sure most of my readers will interpret my play as a simple over-valuing of TPTK. I still like my play here. What do you think? I suspect Alan might have something to say about this...

I'm taking a mini-vacation from posting with the four day weekend coming up. I'll be back as usual next Tuesday with some more poker-related content for everyone.

So have a great long weekend! Be safe, eat lots of food, and be sure to stuff as much chocolate into your mouths and those of your children (if applicable).

As for me, I plan on playing some poker at PokerStars, playing some Saints Row on my Xbox 360, and eating my own bodyweight in ham, scalloped potatoes, and Cadbury Mini Eggs!

Keep reading "Conditionally Committed"

More books?!

I had a post planned for today but things fell through on the blogging front. Instead, let me tell you about some books I've just ordered from Amazon.

Long-time readers will know that I tend to start buying books if I feel my game is stuck in a rut. For better or worse, I look to the wisdom of published authors to help knock some sense into my game. That's not to say that I don't feel that there are some great bloggers out there who could teach me a lot. But the bulk of my reading time takes place on the bus to and from work.

In any case, I ordered a few books today.

These books aren't due to arrive for a while. I guess it's time to re-read Professional No-Limit Hold'em Vol. 1 for the tenth time...

I'll be back tomorrow!

Keep reading "More books?!"


George: Elaine! Get! Do women know about shrinkage?
Elaine: What do you mean, like laundry?
George: No.
Jerry: Like when a man goes swimming... afterwards...
Elaine: It shrinks?
Jerry: Like a frightened turtle!

My game is in full-blown shrinkage mode right now. What was once half-decent and respectable is now nothing more than a small little nothing to be mocked by the average Villain. I even thought I'd give Alan and Gnome the benefit of the doubt and stopped changing my pre-flop raise sizes when I found myself playing against some aggressive pre-flop players. All for naught, unfortunately.

Last night's marathon session at PokerStars closely mirrored the typical sessions that I've been dealing with lately. No action with any of my big hands, too much action with hands that can't stand the heat, and many of my opponents reading my like a book. I found myself playing raised pots out of position. And many pots got stolen from me (a simple assumption given the number of times I was forced to fold after the flop) as I found myself facing pot-sized donk-bets and multiple callers on my whiffed flops. At one table, I found myself with a c-bet percentage of less than 25% due to my inability to get a chip in edge-wise given the amount of action in the hand before I got my say on the button.

I understand that for every good session that I have there will also be one or more bad sessions. Every great flop will be mirrored by just as many - if not more - horrific flops. If I played 20K+ hands a month, I'm sure that I wouldn't feel the effects of variance as much as I do. Then again, the feeling of being on a hot streak can be incredible when you play less hands. Last month's hot streak was a mere 5000 hands long that lasted for three long weeks. It was great!

Although I still seem to be getting lucky when it comes to all-in luck, I still feel as if something's missing from my game. I took a look at my PokerTracker stats and seemed to find a few things that confirmed my general feelings of dismay with poker:
  • Of the 197 pocket pairs that I've seen flops with, I have flopped a set or better only 5 times. Of those five times, I flopped sets with AA twice, KK once, QQ once, and 66 once. I only got paid off once with my set of aces because we happened to be all-in pre-flop.
  • Of the 700 hands that I've seen a flop with, I have hit the flop with a pair or better only 150 times. What does this mean? It means that my opponents are winning a lot of pots by check-raising me off my high-card hands.
The funny thing is that I'm not really card dead. I'm picking up my fair share of great hands. I've had KK eight times in my last 600 hands! However, seven of those cowboys have been dealt to me in the big blind and I've had everyone fold to me. I think that gets me a little tilty. Especially when I raise AK on my very next hand from UTG and get four callers.

In any case, I'll have some more hands to put up for review this week. I'm going to take a night or two off from poker again. Last night was extremely frustrating and I need to take the time to re-examine my game and work on improving things. As one of my readers pointed out, poker is not video games. It's impossible to guarantee a string of winning sessions no matter how hard you practice. Poker isn't a game that you can beat as readily as Mass Effect - a game I could and did beat this past weekend.

When I play again on Thursday night, I'd like to hit the tables hard with all signs of shrinkage hopefully far behind.

Keep reading "Shrinkage"

Session Review #18: The Hero Returns

I sat down to play a little $100 NLHE on Friday night at PokerStars. I was ready to post my first winning session in over two weeks. Within minutes, I had a couple tables up and running. I bought in for a $100 at both tables, said a little prayer, and started clicking.

PokerStars, $0.50/$1 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 6 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

Hero (UTG): $115.55
MP: $112.50
CO: $98.50
Villain (BTN): $236.20
SB: $107.45
BB: $100.55

(Villain is exactly the type of player you want seated at your table. Loose, passive, and willing to see the river before deciding to give up on a hand.)

Pre-Flop: 8 9 dealt to Hero (UTG)
Hero raises to $2, 2 folds, Villain raises to $3, 2 folds, Hero calls $1

(Given my stack size, I wanted to keep the pot small pre-flop. I figured that min-raise would probably scare off most of my opponents except for the Villain playing the button. I made an easy call when the Villain min-reraised me.)

Flop: ($7.50) 4 6 3 (2 Players)
Hero checks, Villain bets $5, Hero calls $5

(Although I wasn't getting pot odds on my draw, my implied odds were excellent given the Villain's propensity to pay off hands.)

Turn: ($17.50) 2 (2 Players)
Hero checks, Villain checks

(The Villain was pretty passive but had shown that he was more willing to bet than call on later streets. Figuring that my check-call on the flop screamed flush draw, I decided to put the Villain's mind at ease on the turn. If he bet, I could check-call again then bet out on the river. Unfortunately, the Villain followed his usual pattern of playing passively and he got a free look at the river card. I planned to make a large river bet for value.)

River: ($17.50) 6 (2 Players)
Hero bets $17, Villain calls $17

(The six on the river was a great card for me. I knew the Villain hadn't flopped a set because he would have bet the turn. I bet the pot knowing that I'd get paid off if the Villain had anything at all. And if he'd managed to find trip sixes on the river, I was going to get paid off big time. When the Villain called, I put him on a flopped pair of 4s or 3s.)

Results: $51.50 Pot ($2.50 Rake)
Hero showed 8 9 (a flush, Nine high) and WON $49 (+$24 NET)
Villain mucked 5 A and LOST (-$25 NET)

(Villain slowplayed his straight on the turn. I guess he was worried about the flush but felt that 2:1 on the river gave him good enough odds to see if his straight was good.)

PokerStars, $0.50/$1 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 6 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

BTN: $92.85
SB: $96
BB: $244.70
UTG: $102.50
Hero (MP): $118.05
Villain (CO): $84

(Villain was pretty loose and mildy-aggressive.)

Pre-Flop: 7 7 dealt to Hero (MP)

UTG folds, Hero raises to $2, Villain raises to $5, 3 folds, Hero calls $3

(I'd been raising quite a bit in the past half-hour and the Villain had started 3-betting me with more frequency - hence the smaller raise pre-flop. With the rest of the table either folding or 3-betting me, I didn't see much point in raising more than I needed to steal the blinds.)

Flop: ($11.50) A A 3 (2 Players)
Hero checks, Villain checks

(When the Villain checked behind on the flop, I figured that my sevens were good.)

Turn: ($11.50) 8 (2 Players)
Hero bets $5, Villain calls $5

(I didn't want to give the Villain a free look at the showdown. I was sure that he didn't have an ace. I bet the turn to see where I was in the hand even though I strongly suspected that I was ahead. When the Villain flat-called, I put him on a lower pocket pair figuring that he might have taken a stab at the pot on the flop with two big cards (KQ, KJ, etc.) or raised the turn with any pocket pairs larger than my pocket sevens.)

River: ($21.50) 9 (2 Players)
Hero bets $9, Villain calls $9

(The river card didn't change things. I still figured to be ahead of the Villain's range of hands and bet for value. When the Villain insta-called, I expected to be shown 44-66.)

Results: $39.50 Pot ($1.90 Rake)
Hero showed 7 7 (two pair, Aces and Sevens) and WON $37.60 (+$18.60 NET)
Villain showed 4 4 (two pair, Aces and Fours) and LOST (-$19 NET)

PokerStars, $0.50/$1 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 6 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

Hero (MP): $128.30
CO: $88.50
BTN: $62.70
Villain (SB): $173.70
BB: $100
UTG: $119.25

(Same Villain as Hand 1: loose and willing to pay off a lot of hands. Unfortunately, this hand took place before I had a read on the Villain.)

Could have value bet river but I didn't think he was calling with anthing that I could beat.)
Pre-Flop: J J dealt to Hero (MP)
UTG folds, Hero raises to $4, 2 folds, Villain calls $3.50, BB folds

Flop: ($9) A K 9 (2 Players)
Villain checks, Hero bets $6, Villain calls $6

(Standard c-bet. Given the board, I'm not too happy about the call.)

Turn: ($21) 6 (2 Players)
Villain checks, Hero checks

(The board was way too scary for me to bet here. If I bet the turn, I might get the Villain to fold a hand that beats mine. But wouldn't the Villain have folded on the flop given that the turn card changed nothing? I figured the Villain for a weak ace, a pair of kings, pair of nines, or a draw of some sort.)

River: ($21) 3 (2 Players)
Villain checks, Hero checks

(Although I could have value bet the river, I wasn't sure how many hands the Villain could call me with that didn't have me beat. A bet would get a call from a pair of kings or pair of aces but that wouldn't be good. I ended up running down my timer a bit while I decided on my course of action. When all was said and done, I realized that I just didn't know enough about the Villain to make a good decision and checked behind.)

Results: $21 Pot ($1 Rake)
Hero showed J J (a pair of Jacks) and WON $20 (+$10 NET)
Villain showed 7 9 (a pair of Nines) and LOST (-$10 NET)

(As I said earlier, the Villain was pretty loose. He called a raise out-of-position with a 97o. And then he decided to stick around by calling my flop bet on a scary board. I might have fired a second bullet against this Villain had I known the kind of game that he was playing at the time.)

PokerStars, $0.50/$1 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 6 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

BB: $94.35
UTG: $97
MP: $244.70
CO: $102.50
Hero (BTN): $107.45
Villain (SB): $93

(Same Villain as the 77 vs. 44 hand above: loose and slightly aggro. )

Pre-Flop: J J dealt to Hero (BTN)
3 folds, Hero raises to $4, Villain calls $3.50, BB folds

Flop: ($9) 3 7 J (2 Players)
Villain checks, Hero bets $5, Villain calls $5

(Bet my set against a Villain unlikely to fold.)

Turn: ($19) 6 (2 Players)
Villain checks, Hero bets $13, Villain folds

(Too strong! The only reason I can give for betting is that I didn't want to give the Villain a free look at the river. There was a flush draw but some of his outs would have been tainted given that I could have improved to a boat or quads on the river with the J or 6. If I'd checked and the Villain's flush card hit on the river while simultaneously improving my hand, I could have stacked him. Damn...)

Results: $19 Pot ($0.90 Rake)
Hero mucked J J and WON $18.10 (+$9.10 NET)

PokerStars, $0.50/$1 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 5 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

Hero (BB): $136.60
UTG: $98.50
CO: $100.85
Villain (BTN): $142.30
SB: $115.05

(Once again, we're looking at the same Villain as in the 89 vs. A5 hand and the JJ vs. 97 hand.)

Pre-Flop: 2 A dealt to Hero (BB)
2 folds, BTN calls $1, SB folds, Hero checks

(Even though the Villain isn't a great player, I wasn't going to raise a weak ace out of position. Any money that I'd make against this particular Villain would come post-flop. There's no point investing a lot of money pre-flop before I can see the flop and figure out how much money I can extract from my loose opponent.)

Flop: ($2.50) K 7 A (2 Players)
Hero bets $1, BTN calls $1

(Top pair is gold against this particular Villain. I didn't want to build a big pot out of position. But I did want to value bet all three streets, if possible.)

Turn: ($4.50) 8 (2 Players)
Hero bets $2, BTN calls $2

(Flush draw comes in but I wasn't going to slow down. If the Villain had raised me here, I could have easily gotten away from my hand knowing that I was behind.)

River: ($8.50) J (2 Players)
Hero bets $4, BTN calls $4

(I'd shown strength on the flop and turn and decided to continue the trend on the river. Had I checked, the Villain would have likely checked through given the betting on previous streets. I believe that a half pot-sized bet on the river in this spot prevents the Villain from making any bluff raises while also allowing me to get value out of a pretty good hand.)

Results: $16.50 Pot ($0.80 Rake)
Hero showed 2 A (a pair of Aces) and LOST (-$8 NET)
BTN showed 8 7 (two pair, Eights and Sevens) and WON $15.70 (+$7.70 NET)


I only played a few hundred hands over the course of this session and finished up running at about 21 BB/100. Not too shabby considering how poorly I'd played in the weeks leading up to Friday night. Although I erred on the side of caution many times, I think I played reasonably well. Not too tight, not too loose, and not too passive either.

I played a couple more sessions over the course of the weekend. If I get the chance, I may just put up some hands from those sessions for review. I'm still getting used to playing a medium stack and could really use any pointers and advice from my readers.

Keep reading "Session Review #18: The Hero Returns"