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The Old One-Two

Yesterday I mentioned that I had a pretty good weekend at the tables. Right on schedule, I took a good hit at the tables last night. The games were quite good with a good mix of bad LAGs and fish. The downside to these types of games is that things can get expensive when you miss flops and turns in four-way pre-flop capped pots or when your opponents chase and hit an unlikely two pair on the river. Is there any feeling worse than getting check-raised on the river?

I'd like to say that I played solid poker last night but it's hard to tell. I don't post at any forums and I don't have any friends who've played limit hold'em in the last few years. I did end up calling down a little more than usual with ace-high and second pair hands getting reasonably good odds. But I also made some loose calls when I knew I was beat. It's hard to lay down a hand even as weak as ace-high when the pot is laying you 8:1 and your opponent plays an erratic game.

The session kicked off poorly last night when I played two bad hands back-to-back. In both of these hands, the Villain was a 51/4/1.2 fish - though slightly more passive (0.9) at the time of these hands. He really threw me off and managed to deliver a solid one-two punch to my stack.

PokerStars $1/$2 Limit Hold'em - 6 players - View hand 372095
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

Pre Flop: (1.5 SB) Hero is MP with T of hearts A of spades
UTG calls, Hero raises, 3 folds, BB calls, UTG calls

(Way ahead of Villain's limping range here. I'd been playing pretty tight and was hoping to isolate.)

Flop: (6.5 SB) 4 of spades A of hearts 2 of spades (3 players)
BB checks, UTG bets, Hero raises, BB folds, UTG 3-bets, Hero calls

(I wasn't sure how to handle Villain's donk-bet given his low aggression. With the draw on board, I figured I'd raise if he was donking a draw. When Villain three-bet, I was thinking I was in a way-ahead, way-behind situation. I thought my ace would be good against a large portion of his range though.)

Turn: (6.25 BB) 3 of clubs (2 players)
UTG bets, Hero calls

(No backdoor flush for me. Given Villain's aggression factor, was it best to fold here? It seems terrible to fold top pair. Villain could be betting a pocket pair or a worse ace. But again, he wasn't very aggressive...)

River: (8.25 BB) Q of spades (2 players)
UTG bets, Hero calls

(In for a penny, in for a pound. How many of you can find a fold here?)


(I forgot to set the checkbox to show results when I converted this hand. Villain held J of spades 3 of spades and took down the pot with his flush. Needles to say, I was amazed that he'd bet his draw - albeit a strong one - on both the flop and turn. Could it be that this hand is super-standard?)

I didn't have time to recover before I got my cards for the very next hand...

PokerStars $1/$2 Limit Hold'em - 6 players - View hand 372096
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

Pre Flop: (1.5 SB) Hero is UTG with K of hearts K of diamonds
Hero raises, 4 folds, BB calls

(Just me and the Villain...)

Flop: (4.5 SB) 8 of clubs A of spades 2 of hearts (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets, BB raises, Hero calls

(Cowboys a.k.a. ace-magnets. When Villain check-raised, I instantly thought back to the last hand and how he'd bet his draw. What I failed to realize this time around was that there were few valid draws that the Villain could have given the flop.)

Turn: (4.25 BB) 9 of clubs (2 players)
BB bets, Hero calls

(Fairly passive player bets into you on the turn - is your second pair good? Rather than take the safe route and fold, I got a little stubborn hoping that the Villain was overplaying a pocket pair in the 99 - QQ range. I wasn't sure if Villain had it in him to 3-bet that range pre-flop. I was probably on mild tilt at this point because I never considered folding.)

River: (6.25 BB) J of diamonds (2 players)
BB bets, Hero calls

(What's another bet, right?)


(Villain showed A of diamonds 3 of diamonds and took down the pot with his top pair.)

I made two big mistakes in these two hands:

  1. I didn't give enough credit to a passive player's bets on later streets. I'm not saying that it's always to fold top pair against a single opponent. But I should have given a little more thought to my actions in the AT vs. J3 hand. The results would have likely been the same but I could have saved myself a couple of big bets in the KK vs. A3 hand against this particular opponent.

  2. I failed to realize the strength of the Villain's draw in the first hand. Even a passive player could find the wherewithal to bet/3-bet a flush + gutshot combo draw. The pair on the turn made the Villain's turn bet automatic since he'd probably have 14 outs (3 Jacks, 2 Threes, 9 spades) to beat me even if I held top pair. When I lost to the rivered flush, I simply noted that the Villain bet his draw aggressively on all streets. I then misinterpreted this information on the very next hand and attributed a much wider betting range to my opponent.

I'll take what I learned last night to the tables tonight. I've got another 330 VPP to earn at Stars before I head over to Full Tilt. Full Tilt's offered me a $100 Holiday Bonus. It'll take 1667 FTPs to clear the bonus which shouldn't take too long playing $1/$2 and $2/$4 6-max LHE.

Have a good one!

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