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Fancy Moves

I played about 400 hands of break-even poker last night at Full Tilt. I got down early when I got it all-in pre-flop with QQ against a shorter stacked player (50 BB) sitting pretty with AA. I also had another pair of Queens fall flat on an A K x flop. But today's post isn't about the sheer crapiness of finding yourself down a buy-in or two within the first ten minutes of your session. Instead, I'd like to look at a couple hands where certain Villains decided to get tricky.

I hate raising pre-flop, getting called, and then finding myself guessing on the flop. In one scenario, I raise pre-flop and get called by an out-of-position opponent. The flop is pretty dry and before I can make my c-bet, my opponent makes a pot-sized donk-bet. Typically, Villains will get away with donk-betting me once or twice before I'll shut them down. But I'm wondering if I should start re-popping donk-bets from the get-go and adjusting my frequency downwards once the Villains start compensating for my aggression.

Seriously - I hate donk-bets...

Full Tilt
No Limit Holdem Ring game
Blinds: $0.50/$1
5 players

Stack sizes:
UTG: $103.20
CO: $125.30
Hero (Button): $100
Villain (SB): $48.55
BB: $380.40

Pre-flop: (5 players) Hero is Button with 3♣ 3♥
2 folds, Hero raises to $3.5, Villain calls, BB folds.

(Villain is a terrible player. The only thing that's saved him so far is his short-stack and my inability to hit a hand on the flop. As much as I love stacking off with overs, I've found this to be a losing strategy against short-stackers. I probably should have adjusted a little better to this Villain though by tightening up my stealing range. In any case, I've got a pair this time so it's time to play a hand.)

Flop: 8♠ K♥ K♣ ($8, 2 players)
Villain bets $8, Hero raises to $20, Villain folds.

(Villain has made this same donk-bet numerous times before. Fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice, shame on you; fool me five times, we're stacking off every hand we play together.

I make my pot-committing raise and Villain instantly folds. For what it's worth, Villain stopped donk-betting me entirely for the rest of my session. Then again, he took me to value town a number of times so I guess he won this round.)

Final pot: $24

The next problem that I have is when I end up c-betting the flop out-of-position and my opponent min-raises my bet (i.e. the "click-it-back" strategy). I don't read the 2+2 forums right now, opting for watching poker training videos instead. But I'll have to do a little research myself (or maybe MJ could look into it for me?) to see what conditions Villains are using before attempting this move. In the past two weeks, I'm sure I've folded way too many hands to this flop min-raise.

In any case, here's a hand where I had a premium hand and a good flop. Let me go on record saying that I hate the "click-it-back" move; that may change once I figure out how to exploit this strategy...

Full Tilt Poker
No Limit Holdem Ring game
Blinds: $0.50/$1
6 players

Stack sizes:
UTG: $105.25
Villain (UTG+1): $226.35
CO: $219.95
Button: $150.65
Hero (SB): $109.55
BB: $43.40

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is SB with J♦ J♣
UTG folds, Villain calls, 2 folds, Hero raises to $6, BB folds, Villain calls.

(Villain's PT3 number don't seem that strong but he's been doing quite well at the table.)

Flop: 9♥ 2♦ 9♠ ($13, 2 players)
Hero bets $10, Villain raises to $20, Hero raises to $60, Villain folds.

(Villain gives me the old min-check-raise move on the flop. Thankfully I have a hand to counter this time and re-raise. When the Villain insta-folds, I had one of those "Usual Suspect" moments where my brain quickly went back to all those times that I'd had my c-bet or flop bet min-raised. All those times that I'd folded. I'd probably mucked the best hand a number of times without knowing it.

I hate it when my opponents use canned strategies on me. I'll really have to start checking out the forums from time to time to see what is being praised as the new hotness.)

Final pot: $53

I'll be putting in some more hands at Full Tilt this weekend. I think my game's coming along nicely and I'm happy to be putting in the hours. I feel like I'm on the verge of a breakthrough in terms of my poker ability. I guess we'll see how things go over the next month.

I'll be back on Tuesday after the long weekend. Have a safe and happy weekend everyone!

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