Sunday, October 12, 2008

40 Days of Pain - Day 21

I played for a little while early today to keep my steak of consecutive days going, but I've finally gotten to the point where I needed to take most of a day off. Luckily I put in some major points last week so I'm still in good shape.

I have 19 days left to go and need to earn 92,000 more points to make my goal, having earned 103,000 points in 21 days so far.

I had a bit of a bad run losing 5 or 6 days starting last Sunday, but the largest of them was $1,300 and after a $2,400 win yesterday I'm still ahead of where I expected to be in terms of profit.

In other news I've taken on a protege of sorts. My sister in law Kristen has a friend (also named Kristen) who wants to quit her job and be a professional poker player or sorts. She is in a great situation since she's currently working part time (her husband is the main bread winner) and only needs to win about $1,000 a month to make as much as she does working 25 hours a week at her job.

She had by far the biggest win of her career recently finishing second in an $11 tournament with 21,700 players (that's not a typo!) winning about $10,800. Clearly an amazing return on an $11 investment. Not surprisingly she's pretty gung ho about playing. We've made a deal where I'm going to give her lessons and she's going to give me 5% of her profits in 2009. Obviously I'm not doing this for the money, but she said she wanted to pay me something and this way if she runs into a big win I'll get a piece. If we have e-mails that might provide good blog material I'll post them. Here is one such exchange we had recently:

Lately I have had a strange run of "luck". I have been maintaining about 300$ in my account for over a month now and when It gets closer to 400$, I'll cash some out and so far have had about 350$ sent to me in smaller checks-I think I mentioned this before. Anyhow, a couple of weeks ago, I lost a big hand at a cash table with pocket queens. It was at a 1$ 2$ table and I raised to 8$ pre-flop. I had one caller who was behind me, I was under the gun. The flop came 10-6-Q, all unsuited-beautiful! I was stoked and bet 10$ just trying to make a little bit more from him just hoping he made a pair or even tripped on the flop. He just called. a 2 feel on 4th, i bet 22$ at this point, I felt like i was milking the guy. He just called again. a 7 fell on the river and i bet 36$ he pushed all in for 70$. I had a strange feeling that I might have just been beat by the most ridiculous player imaginable. I called and there it was: 8 9 off suit to wipe me out for over 100$! I was in awe that he would not only call a preflop raise with that hand and then call all the way down for a gut-shot! Is the anything I couldv'e done differently? I'll admit it took me a bit to shake that one, in fact, it probably cost me another 40$ or so not really having a clear head about things. A few days later I got dealt pocket kings in the bb and was left with one caller out of the blinds that had been playing fairly loosely. It seems that pocket kings have been the hand to knock me out o several tourneys lately so I decided not to deal with a possible risky situation so I raised it to 10$. He called. flop is 10-2-5 with 2 clubs. I bet the pot, he calls. a J falls on 4th, but not a club and i bet 30, hoping he hadn't called my preflop raise w-J-10 and if he had, i hoped to outdraw him on the river, he calls and at this point I'm fairly certain he either tripped, made his 2 pair or is really hoping for a 3rd club on the river. River brings an 8 or diamonds and I feel a little better, but jst in case of the 2 pair, I check, he moves all in for 56$-and I call, assuming he had in fact missed that club flush. In reality he had called he had 10 8 of spades! The river killed me. Another 100$+ loss that I felt I couldn't have done anything differently that got railroaded on the river. Is this just part of the game, or should I have played it some other way? Long story short, I had 5$ left in my account and played a 4$ 180 person tourney and came in 5th for 45$ and then played a 20$ single table s-n-g and came in 1st! for 90$ so my account is back over 100$ which I am pretty proud of after those 2 horrendous hands that cost me most of my $! I have the next 2 days off so hopefully I will get in some good playing time. Any suggestions for my cash game blunders is appreciated, as always. Thank you :0) talk to you soon-Kristen

Here is my reply:

I have answers to your questions! First of all let me say that this is just the type of e-mail I want you to write me. One of the best ways to learn is to discuss the merits of different ways to play certain hands.
The first thing that jumped out at me reading your e-mail is that your bankroll is a little (or a lot!) thin. I'm guessing you were playing on Ultimate bet or you cashed out almost all of that $10,000 you won?
$300-$400 isn't close to enough to ride out the swings at $1/$2 blinds NL. When I used to play NL cash games I would have something like 2,500 big blinds in reserve (which would be $5,000 for a $1/$2 game) and would cash out 500 big blinds when I got to over 3,000 in my account. That's not to say you absolutely have to have that much in your bankroll to play at that level, but you should think about trying to get your bankroll into AT LEAST the $1,000-$2,000 range. Otherwise you'll find yourself is just the spot you mentioned where you lose two or three big hands and then your account is empty.
As far as the hand with the QQ goes I think you played it right, but your impressions about the other player are a little off. One of the big differences between tournaments and cash games is everyone's chips stack is much larger compared to the size of the blinds. Most players have somewhere between 50-150 times the big blind in a cash game while in a tournament (other than the first few levels) an average stack might be something like 20-30 times the big blind.
When the stacks are deeper it makes more sense to call a raise or 3 or 4 times the big blind with a speculative hand like 98 suited once in a while hoping to hit the flop hard and maybe win 50-100 big blinds. Also for opponents that are paying attention it makes it much harder to put you on a hand if you play 89 the same way you might play AQ.
The big thing you missed was that 89 was a DOUBLE gutshot. A 7 or a J would have made him a straight. Given that he had 8 outs to a monster it makes it much more reasonable for him to call you down like he did.
With that said, you still played the hand very nicely. In no limit when you have a big hand and you suspect that your opponent is drawing you want to bet an amount that encourages them to make a mistake.
Let say you've played with this guy a million times and you're 99% sure he's drawing to 8 outs. How much should you bet? If you bet too little it's giving him the right price to call and draw, and if you bet too much he'll fold and you won't make anything with your set. On the flop there is $19 in the pot and he has about a 1 in 5 shot of hitting his straight on the turn. So anything more than $5 means he's not getting the right price to draw. You bet $10 meaning he was only getting about 3 to 1 when he needed 5 to 1 to see the next card. Seems like a good bet on your part.
Of course he knows he might make money on later streets if he hits so maybe it's worth the stretch for him even though he's not getting the right price.
On the turn it's similar, but this time he makes a big mistake You bet $22 into a $36 pot meaning he's getting something like 5 to 2 when he needs 5 to 1.
I might be making this too complicated. Let me just say that if you make a set and someone makes a not obvious straight you're going to go broke. If you don't go broke it means you're probably not making enough with your good hands. You bet the right amount the whole way and on the end when he hits your stuck. It just as easily could have been two pair or a smaller set or even AA or KK on a massive slowplay.
The only thing I might have done differently would be to check the river to induce a bluff. If I was in your shoes I would have thought he had KJ. That's hand where it makes sense for him to call before the flop (I'm not saying you should call early position raises with KJ - in fact you shouldn't, but people do it frequently), call the flop and the turn. If that's what he has then he's just going to fold on the end. But if you check he might make a desperate bluff and then you can nail him. If he has something else (like maybe AT) he might decide you don't have much and bet for value.
On to the hand with KK. It seemed in this one like you over bet it a little since you were worried about getting beat. You can't be afraid that someone is going to out draw you and start betting 1.5 or 2 times the pot. All you'll do is drive off the hands that you want calling you and get yourself totally stuck against the monster hands that have you beat. 99.9% of the time you don't want to bet more than the pot and rarely do you want to bet less than 1/2 the pot. Whether you're bluffing or have a made hand or a draw, somewhere in that range is almost always the optimal bet size.
If fact when I play NL cash games I always raise to three times the big blind if I'm going to play before the flop and I'm first in, no matter what my position (If I have one caller in front of me I make it 4X the bb, with two callers it's 5X the bb and so on). If I get 1 caller I bet 3/4 of the pot EVERY time on the flop. If I missed or hit, or the flop is 3 5 8 or AKQ all suited, it doesn't matter. I'm betting 3/4 of the pot. That way my opponents don't have any information about my hand. All they know is I chose to play before the flop. It make it really tough for them to read me.
Another thing is you want to be careful about always putting your opponent on the only reasonable hand that can beat you. There was really no reason to think he had JT and when the river came with an 8 there was no reason to think that helped him. Checking hoping he's going to bet a worse hand or a miss is fine, but I like betting again (about 1/2 the pot) in this spot hoping to get called by a ten. On the river you can go under the 1/2 pot bet size much more often. If you think your opponent has just a little something you might bet 1/4 of the pot hoping to get a call from second pair or maybe a missed draw that hit a weak pair.
Let me know if that made sense or if you have questions about my comments.
Nice work running that $5 back up to close to $100! I'm sure that was satisfying.

1 comment:

Jennifer Fleming said...

I see that your brain is fried, since you're talking about trying "to keep my STEAK of consecutive days going". Or maybe you're just really hungry for beef. :-)

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