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Videos, Plans, and Monster Hands

Another night, another session at Full Tilt. I played fairly well though there are still a number of spots where I find myself a little lost.

For example, I'm still not sure how to handle min-raises on dry boards when I c-bet out of position in a 3-bet pot. Another classic example is betting KK on an Ace high flop and having your opponent min-raise my bet. Without a read on my opponents, I tend to fold in both of these situations and I think that's a leak. I guess I'm just unfamiliar with the typical betting lines that my opponents would take when facing off against me in these situations.

Thankfully, I'm really learning a lot by watching my collection of PokerSavvy videos on my Zune. I think Andrew "Foucault" Brokos' videos are terrific. After my session last night, I watched a short video of Foucault playing a couple tables of $3/$6 6-max NLHE at PokerStars. I am constantly amazed by how much he knows about poker and how little I know myself.

Rather than feel discouraged at how far I still have to go to become a feared poker player, I find myself excited. Watching Foucault systematically dismantle and outthink his opponents gives me the drive to become a better player. The higher stakes games are beatable if you're willing to put in the time at the tables and learn the theories and strategies behind winning play. Foucault proves that with every video he makes.

As for my poker play, I've put in just over 5,000 hands this month. I don't think that's too bad given that I took the first week of August off to play video games. I'm hoping to put in another couple thousand hands before the end of the month. As for moving up to the $1/$2 NLHE games, I may give those games a shot next month. I'll start with a couple tables and see how things go. Moving up in limits can be pretty stressful as you try and figure out how the games play and what adjustments need to be made to your own game in order to start profiting.

I'm not in a huge rush to move up though I am curious to see how things play out this time around. According to Poker Tracker, I am a (barely) winning player at $200 NLHE over a small sample of hands. I'm currently undecided as to how big a bankroll I want to have before tackling the higher-stake tables. I guess there's no minimum size required if I'm self-aware enough to step back down if things aren't working out. I guess I don't have any answers right now except to say that I will give $200 NLHE a shot soon enough.

I'd like to end things on a positive note so here's a hand that I played last night against a random LAG villain. No profound observations this time. The hand played itself and I was happy!

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

Stack sizes:
UTG: $105.70
CO: $93.55
Button: $100
Hero (SB): $143.95
Villain (BB): $112.65

(UTG and CO are both loose and somewhat passive players. Villain in BB is LAG.)

Pre-flop: (5 players) Hero is SB with 9♣ 9♠
UTG calls, CO calls, Button folds, Hero calls, BB raises to $6, 2 folds, Hero calls.

(I considered raising my 99 in this spot but neither of my opponents would likely fold post-flop. I figured I'd be able to value bet them to death after the flop if I did hit so there was not point in bloating the pot while out of position. The Villain was pretty LAG and opted for the pre-flop squeeze play. I figured my 99 were worth the call given that Villain would likely pay me off post-flop if I used the old rope-a-dope strategy.

I'm sure there are some out there who might 3-bet 99 against a known LAG making a squeeze play but didn't feel like flipping for stacks if the Villain decided to 4-bet all-in. Leak?)

Flop: 6♥ 9♦ 3♥ ($14, 2 players)
Hero checks, BB bets $8.9, Hero raises to $17.8, BB raises to $55.9, Hero calls.

(Great flop for me! In order to get the Villain playing as aggressively as possible, I decided to play my hand like a draw. I wanted the Villain to think that he could push me off my hand or price me out. I went for the instant min-check-raise to further my image as playing a draw. Villain took a while before deciding to re-raise the flop. I tanked for a bit and reluctantly called.)

Turn: 2♦ ($125.8, 2 players)
Hero checks, BB is all-in $59.65, Hero calls.

(Turn is blank and I insta-check to the Villain. He pauses for perhaps a second or two before jamming; I insta-call.)

River: 2♠ ($245.1, 1 player + 1 all-in - Main pot: $245.1)

Final pot: $245.1
Hero showed 9c 9s
BB showed Kh Ah

(I guess it didn't matter how I played the hand. Both the Villain and I flopped monsters. Oh well, I got lucky this time around and took down a good-sized pot.)

Have a good one!

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