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Running Blind

My first session this month was a good one. Tonight's session was not so great. I really found myself struggling with blind defense and blind stealing. It's hard stealing or defending blinds against solid and/or aggressive opponents with marginal hands. Although it may be technically correct to attempt a blind steal with a pocket threes, that all depends on how well you play post-flop. My bankroll would have been bettered served by a little selective aggression on my part.

I had a bit more success playing the one $2/$4 SHFL table than I did the two $1/$2 SHFL tables I also had open at the time. I had one opponent completely devastate my session over the course of two hands. In one hand, his small suited one-gap hand smoked my cowboys in a capped 4-way pot. I got my money in good and limited my losses when behind. Of course, once behind I was drawing stone dead to my opponent's turned straight.

The same Villain also got me a few hands later on a K K T J J board. It was a 3-way pot. Villain raised UTG+1, fish in SB called, and I called with a suited A9. The action checked around to the river. The fish led out with a bet and I mistakenly called. Villain raised, fish folded, and I was getting 7:1 to make the call. I don't think I'm ahead very often in this spot. Realistically, I'm basically getting 3.5:1 because I'm likely splitting the pot with another Ace or way-behind. I figured that the Villain could make this raise with an Ax hand, never considering that the presence of the fish in the pot made it less likely that Villain was getting out of line. I called and Villain showed KT for the flopped boat. I'll chalk this hand up to tilt. I'm such a donkey sometimes...

I also got in trouble at a $2/$4 table playing in blind vs. blind pots against a seemingly solid TAG. Every check-raise was easily countered by my opponent. Every call down with A-high ended in disaster. Every turn bet was met with a raise. I only realized too late that my opponent was not getting out of line and had simply picked up some good hands.

One adjustment that I'll have to start making is to my stealing ranges. It's very hard to play small pocket pairs in raised heads-up pots. I think it's a huge mistake to defend my big blind with a small pocket pair by just calling and then folding to flop or turn bets when I miss my set. I think I'll have to either fold pre-flop, call the raise and try to get to showdown cheaply, or 3-bet pre-flop and try to steal the pot.

For no-limit hold'em players, I realize that many of these small decisions to pay or save a couple big bets seem meaningless. But given that even a tight short-handed fixed limit hold'em player such as myself will see upwards of 20 flops per table per hour, these bets really add up. And when an opponent gets a bead on you, things can go from gold to gross pretty quickly.

My plans for tomorrow night are to grind out some more hands at PokerStars' $1/$2 tables. I lost a good number of bets tonight and need to re-centre myself. I'm happy to say that I earned a good number of VPPs which, in the long term, is a good thing. I won't sweat the bad decisions and poor results. And despite the tone of this post, I did make some solid plays and great value bets in spots where many $1/$2 players would have checked-back their hands. I have many more hands to play this month, lessons to learn, great turn cards to check-raise, and horrible river cards to bet-fold.

Have a good one!

5 comments:

The Poker Meister said...

"The same Villain also got me a few hands later on a K K T J J board. It was a 3-way pot. Villain raised UTG+1, fish in SB called, and I called with a suited A9. The action checked around to the river. The fish led out with a bet and I mistakenly called. Villain raised, fish folded, and I was getting 7:1 to make the call. I don't think I'm ahead very often in this spot. Realistically, I'm basically getting 3.5:1 because I'm likely splitting the pot with another Ace or way-behind. I figured that the Villain could make this raise with an Ax hand, never considering that the presence of the fish in the pot made it less likely that Villain was getting out of line. I called and Villain showed KT for the flopped boat. I'll chalk this hand up to tilt. I'm such a donkey sometimes..." - Don't know about FL, but this is sometimes a good line for a call in NL. It depends on the player, obviously.

Klopzi said...

@Meister -

The line that Villain took looks so bluffy. But I'm still not familiar enough with limit hold'em to know how and why people bluff in certain spots. The one thing I've learned is that river raises are rarely bluffs. I was hoping my ace high was good but given the pot odds and the fact that the pot was protected, I'm not sure.

I think the mistake came in calling a bet from a loose-passive player without considering the pre-flop raiser behind me.

Poker's hard - what can I say?

The Poker Meister said...

Yes. Poker is hard. It can be a complete whore sometimes :-).

Memphis MOJO said...

Do you play as Klopzi?

Klopzi said...

@Memphis -

Maybe...