Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Project Manhattan Session #5 - The Champagne Is Flowing All Over The Table

I put in 4 more hours of $2/$3/$5 action on Friday. When I first sat down at table 1 at The Oaks, I noticed that my table had 5 or 6 players that didn't suck. Luckily there was another game going and I made a quick escape to table #16.  There was a ton of money on the table relative to what I normally see. One guy who I call Mr. Patient (for more about him check out this post where I beat him in a $4,400 pot) was sitting on $3,000, a couple of others had $1,500+ and everyone was at least $700 deep.

Just to my right was a mid 20's middle eastern fellow drinking Champagne. Over the course of the night he spewed about $2,500 off to the rest of the table.

The theme of the night was that found myself winning quite a few pots where I had the best of it and was left wondering if I pushed too hard and missed out on some value.

On the first one I had TT in the big blind. After one $5 call, the next player to act made it $25, got one call in the field and we took the flop 4 way.Three betting preflop here is not crazy, but I just sat down and wanted to get a feel for the table before building a big pot out of position. The flop came down 7 7 4 rainbow and the $5 caller bet $70 into the preflop raiser. The other two players folded and it was back to me. I was 90% sure he had exactly 55, 66, 88 or 99. Nothing else made any sense at all with that action. But I didn't know exactly how to proceed. If I raised I figured he'd probably fold. If I called he'd probably consider that I had a 7 and shut down the betting and certainly if a card like an A or K came he'd check back the turn. Did I want to let him see the turn and river and give him a free shot to catch up in the hopes that he'd call some smallish river bet? No. I decided that I was all but sure I had the best of it now and I should not screw around. I made it $200 and he folded 88 face up. I think if he'd been a little more short stacked he would have gone for it.

A little later I got dealt AA in the big blind. There was a raise to $20, and two calls including Mr. Champagne. I raised it to $70 and only Mr. Champagne called. I'd just seen him stack off for $300 on the flop on a QJ5 board with JT vs AJ with minimal pre-flop action so I was hoping to get paid off. The flop came down K T 4 which looked perfect. He'd probably have a piece of it, but unless he had KT or 44 exactly I was in great shape. I bet $100 into the $200 pot and after some thought he folded a T face up. GAH! He had about $300 behind and I was pissed I didn't get it.

A couple of hand later I got QT of spades and raised to $25. I got one caller and the flop came down A Q J giving me middle pair and a gut shot. I bet out $40 and got quickly called. The turn was a K making my gut shot! Bingo! I tried to imagine I was sad (so I could give off subtle sad vibes of course!) and checked. I could almost hear my opponent think "AH HA!" as he proudly bet $155 into the $130 pot. I thought about calling, but there was a front door flush draw out there and I wasn't going to be happy to see a board pair or a T so there were 20 cards that I didn't want to see on the river. I opted to shove for $500 and I took it down on the turn.

When I moved all in Mr. Champagne said "Whoa! You've got balls bro!" A few minutes later he dumped a full glass of champagne all over the table. My chips were sticky for the rest of the night.

In the next hand of note I got 99 on the button. There was a raise to $30 over a few $5 calls in front of me. Taking it to $100 was an option, but I decided I'd rather play a multi-way pot for $30 than get it heads up with a medium pair. Which is better is certainly an opponent dependent situation, but if I'm being honest I just opted to take the conservative route which I'm not sure is best. We took the flop 5 way and the board came down K J 4 with two diamonds. Everyone checked to me. This told me that the raiser didn't have a K and probably didn't have a J or something like QQ, but I didn't tell me the same thing about the other players who would have checked a K or a J to the raiser in most circumstances. If I bet it would basically be a bluff into 4 players on a wet board.

The turn was another bingo - a black 9! Now I had a set. One of the preflop limpers bet out $70 into the $150 pot - it was the same guy who'd bet $155 when I made the straight on the turn in that previous hand. I was sitting on about $700 at this point, he had me covered and I figured if I was going to get it all in there it would be better to put in a raise now. I made it $200 and after a few seconds he called. The river was an interesting card - it paired the K. Now I had a full house, really the only hand I had to worry about was KJ, and my opponent was likely to have trip kings given the action. He thought for a long time (in what seemed to be an obvious act to me) before checking. I bet out $260 and he reluctantly folded.

Looking back, my river bet was a pretty big mistake. There was $550 in the pot and I had $500 left. Betting $260 was the worst of three options. I certainly could have counted slowly to 10 and then shoved it all in. It would be hard for him to fold a K in that spot and he could certainly have a K. 2nd best would have been to bet an amount that a hand like QJ or JT could call, like $100. Normally I'd say the $500 bomb is the way to go. Even if you usually get a fold, the times you get called make up for it. For example, it's better to make $500 once and get folds three times than to get called 4 times for $100. But in this instance since I read his river stall as a total BS effort to make me think he had a hand that might be worth betting, if I take this to the 5th level (Where I'm thinking about what he's thinking that I'm thinking about what he has - I think?) I know he wants me to check back which implies that he has some showdown value, but it's relatively thin. Thus $100 was the bet to make.

Those hands went pretty well, but they didn't all go smoothly.

Towards the end of the night I raised to $20 with AJ or spades and got 5 callers. The flop came down T 6 2 with two spades and I bet out $75. Everyone folded to the player in the big blind who looked for a second like he was going to fold, but instead moved all in for $200. Only needed to risk another $125 to win about $400 with two overs and a flush draw made it an easy call. I bricked out and lost to A6. On the very next hand that guy won a huge pot and was up to over $1,000. In two hands and about 4 minutes he went from $220 to a $1,000 stack! That is why people love to play.

In the end I booked a $238 win over 4 hours. I'm now ahead $1,068 after 18.5 hours for the project.

After 5 sessions the story for me thus far is how tame everything has been. In Project 10K my average win was $847 and my average loss was $825 (I won 2/3 of the sessions). This time around it seems to be a few hundred one way or the other. In the sessions I was playing at the end of 2015 I felt like I had 5 or 6 $1,000+ pots going one way or the other every time I played, but those have been few and far between (If I've had any at all). Low variance is certainly a good thing, it's just a little surprising.

Back in action Friday!

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