Sunday, March 13, 2016

Project Manhattan Session #10 - Making Sets and Getting Screwed with Draws Part II

Looking back at Session #9 I made a straight draw and lost to a bigger straight and missed a 12 out flush draw + gut shot combo.

In Session #8 I missed a pair plus a flush draw draw and in other draw related news got my pocket kings squashed in a $1,000+ pot by a guy building a flush around the 5 of clubs on a 4 club board.

In session #10 I missed 5 (yes 5!) draws in hands of consequence and looking back I haven't actually made a straight or flush draw and won the pot since Session #6. I have an active streak of about 18 hours of play since I brought home a pot with a flush or a straight. Not good.

I got off to a good start when someone moved all in for $175 against a straddle and a couple of $10 callers and I looked down at KK. It held up. But then I blew it right back when a guy who had raised four or five straight hands and was on meltdown tilt managed to find AK against my AJ. We both made trip aces so I'm glad he only had $175!

I dribbled off $200 in unexciting ways over about 90 minutes and then I got dealt 77. A mid twenties dude with a big beard and enormous headphones who was two to my right came in for a raise to $15, I called and and older guy who kept getting rivered came along too. The flop came down K T 7, which was a bonkers good flop for me. Mr. Headphones bet $15, I decided to slow play and just called and Old Man River called as well. The turn was an A and Mr. Headphones bet $15 again which was only 1/6 of the pot. I briefly considered that he might have AA or KK given his odd bet sizing, but raising was really the only option. I made it $100 to go and to my surprise Old Man River went all in for $250. Then Mr. Headphones quickly just called. That seemed really weird to me. With just about any hand I'd expect him to either put me all in or fold. Anyway, I wasn't folding so I moved all in for $420 and Mr. Headphones called. Old Man River immediately flashed QJ for the nut straight and I was a little worried Mr. headphones might have AK meaning I'd need a T or a 7 to drag the pot. The river came out and it was...a ten! Zing! I showed my hand and Mr. Headphones quickly mucked. Old Man River went on a mini tirade about getting rivered again and headed for the door.

Does this count as making a draw? I don't know, but I'm in bitch fest mode so I'm not counting it!

There was $1,180 in that pot which meant I was ahead $480 on the night. I was feeling good and planning to play a long session if things continued to go well. Then my parade of misfortune began.

DRAW #1 - I called a raise to $20 in a 6 way pot with T9 of hearts and the flop came down K J 7 with one heart and two spades. The first player to act on the flop was a short stack and he moved all in for $78 into the $120 pot. Everyone folded to me. Against a hand like Ax of spades or Kx I'd win about 1/3 of the time and getting 2.5 to 1 on my money, with no more betting this felt like a profitable call. Looking at the odds now it turns out that against anything but a set I'd be getting the right price to call and even against KK I'd be 27% to win. The turn was a 2 and the river was a 4 of spades and I lost to...wait for it...72 of spades! GAH!

(Sort of a) DRAW #2 -  I came in for a raise to $20 with QQ in the cutoff, the button called and then a player who just sat down made it $90 to go out of the small blind. He started the hand with about $500 and I had him covered. Against an aggressive opponent I'd probably 4 bet here, but I didn't know this guy at all. I was a little worried if I made it $220 or $240 I'd lose all the worse hands and get 5 bet all in by AA or KK. So I just called. The flop was J T 6 which looked terrible since I was hoping he had a hand like JJ or TT before the flop. But then he checked. Hoping he had AK or AQ, but also thinking he might have JJ I bet out $100. My opponent quickly called. The turn looked like the worst card in the deck, a king. Now I couldn't beat any hand that would three bet preflop, and check call the flop. But on the bright side I did pick up a straight draw. My opponent checked and I checked it back. The river was a 4 and he checked again. Now I was really confused. I checked it back and he showed KK for a set of kings! What an odd way for him to play that hand.

DRAW #3 - I called a min raise to $10 four way with J9 and a guy who hand limped for $5 and then called the min raise came out firing for $20 on a Q T 5 board. I decided to be aggressive with my open ended straight draw. I made it $60 and then he three bet it to $160! ACK! Unfortunately he only had another $100 behind which would certainly be going in on the turn. If I wanted to draw essentially I'd be risking $200 to win $360 which was not the right price. I folded.

DRAW #4 - I raised to $20 with QJ of hearts and a tough regular player made it $60 to go. I called and the flop came down 9 5 4 with two hearts. I figured my opponent would bet close to 100% of the time after three betting and sure enough after I checked he fired out $70 into the $120 pot. He'd started the hand with $400 so he had another $270 behind. This was pretty much the perfect amount for him to have as I wouldn't be risking a crazy amount to semi-bluff raise all in, but he was no where near pot committed. I decided to go for it and put him all in. He quickly called. The turn was a Q giving me hope that I'd caught up to JJ or TT or even A high hearts. The river was a black 2 and I saw that I'd run into KK again. Drat!

Around this point I was stuck $400 on the night. But then I won a few small pots and crawled my way back to the point where I was sitting with $700 in front of me in for $900 on the night. I was closing in on the 4 hour mark on the session and decided to play one more round before leaving.

DRAW #5 - I was in seat 8, seat 5 called $5, seat 7 made it $15 to go, I called with T8 of spades and we took the flop 3 way. Seat 5 and seat 7 are both weak predictable players that I've played with before. The tend to buy in for $200 or $300 and tend to play scared. Seat 5 had been running hot and had run his small buy in up to about $900. The flop came down 9 4 3 with one spade and two hearts, seat 5 checked, seat 7 bet $25 and I decided to float. I didn't have anything, but that bet of $25 into the $50 pot wasn't exactly a strong bet, so I figured I'll call the flop and maybe put the heat on on the turn. Seat 5 called as well and the turn came out the 6 of spades. This was a great card for me as I went from nothing to a combo straight and flush draw. Both players checked to me, my plan was coming together as expected, and I fired out $105 into the $150 pot. To my surprise seat 5 min raised me to $210! This was a major alarm bells raise. A check raise on the turn is almost always a huge hand. A min raise on the turn is almost always a huge hand. Put them together and this looked like a set. But there was $440 in the pot and I only needed to call another $105 for a shot at my combo draw. This was an easy call. The river was the 2 of hearts making the board 9 4 3 6 2. The front door flush draw had come in and there was a one liner to a straight out there as well. My opponent quickly checked. I looked down at my stack and saw that I had almost a pot sized bet left. Actually I had $422 and there was $545 out there, but it was pretty close and in the moment it looks like the pot was a little smaller. I still thought my opponent had a set, but I also thought of him as scared. I thought there was a chance he might fold to a big bet with that scary board. I didn't think about it too long, I just went for it and moved all in. After about 15 seconds my opponent called. And showed 65! Son. Of. A. Bitch.

I was 41% to win on the turn, but the real pain of this hand comes through when you realize that the 2 of hearts is the only card in the deck that can come on the river where I lose my whole stack. If a 7 comes he makes a straight, but I make a bigger one. If he doesn't make a straight he might bet again and win or it might go check check on the river or if I bet at it there is no way he's calling with one pair of sixes. That is literally the only card where he checks, I bet and he calls. Anything else and at least I save the $422 on the river.

I'm also left questioning my play. The way it went down all makes sense. I don't think I made any huge errors, but I certainly could have just pitched it on the flop. Or I could have left one round earlier. Or I could have just checked back the river. Anyway, how ever you slice it, it sucked.

I lost $900 on the night and am now down $116 over 38.5 hours.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Project Manhattan Session #9 - Making Sets and Getting Screwed With Draws Part I

I was back at it at the Oaks Friday night. I bought in for $500 and got involved in a hand of consequence on the first hand. But first, an aside!

One of my best friends Matt Lessinger wrote a poker book called The Book of Bluffs: How to Bluff and Win at Poker. One of the first bluffs in the book is a play to use when you've just joined the game (or have missed your blinds) and are posting to get a hand and everyone folds to you. In this instance you should raise unless you are against the loosest possible players in the blinds.

As an example, let's say you're in a $15/$30 limit game. You post $15 one off the button and everyone folds to you. There is $40 in the pot from your post and the blinds and to put in a raise you only have to risk $15 more. If everyone folds 3/8ths of the time or more, you immediately profit. If you get a call or callers you'll be in position with some equity no matter how bad your hand is. This doesn't come up all that often, but it's worth taking advantage of when it does.

This made great sense to me when I read it for the first time about 10 years ago. The next time I played after that was at $15/$30 at the Oaks, I posted my $15 and got dealt 72 off suit - the worst possible starting hand. Not to be deterred I raised it to $30 ready to scoop in my $40 win. "I'm soooo smart!" I thought. Then all 3 players left to act called me. "Stupid Matt Lessinger and his stupid book!" I thought. I flopped a 7 which was second pair and decided that would be good enough to try to push through. I bet the flop got one call. I fired again on the turn and got called. The river was a 2, giving me two pair. I bet again, got called and my opponent's mewling made sure everyone saw the shitty thing that had happened to him and my shitty play. Then on the next hand I got in there with 55, flopped a set, turned a full house and since everyone thought I was a total loon who would raise 72 I got paid off big and dragged a $500+ pot. Thank you Matt Lessinger!

Anyway, on Friday I posted $5 and got dealt T7. Everyone folded to me and I made it $20 to go effectively risking $15 to win $14 if everyone folded (there are $10 in blinds, but they rake $1 even if everyone folds). The small blind and big blind called (Stupid Matt Lessinger!). Happily the flop came down 7 5 3 rainbow which is a pretty solid flop for T7. To my surprise the small blind fired out $45. This guy was tall, about 50 and had an accent and appearance like maybe he was from Central or South America. I'd never played him before so I figured I'd just call and see what happened. The turn was a J and he bet out $85 with about $150 behind. This was another big bet and my gut reaction was to fold, but I took my time and eventually was fully convinced that he had a 7 or perhaps was just losing his mind. There wasn't much else that made sense. I also figured with the J out there that if I shoved on him, he couldn't call with a 7 or some other hand like 65. He kind of sighed when I put him all in and I figured he'd be folding, but to my surprise he called with...T7! We split the pot.

On the very next hand he went broke and I thought he might pick up and leave and people who lose their $300 stacks often do. But then he pulled out a wad of hundreds that looked like it was about $3,000 strong and bought back in for $300. A hour later, without buying in again, he was sitting on a $3,000 stack! He pretty much started playing every hand and just ran super hot. I'll call this guy Mr. Deep.

A little later I put in a big bluff. Mr. Deep made a min raise to $10 and a loose player made it $40. I called out of the big blind with A5 of hearts for another $35 in a 5 way pot. This is probably more than I should be putting in with A5 suited out of position, but everyone was $500+ deep and it was multi-way so I decided to be speculative. The flop came down 8 4 3 with 1 heart and it checked over to the $40 raiser. He bet out $100 and two players folded. I stopped to think. I had 4 outs to a straight, a backdoor flush draw, and 3 more outs if an ace was good. If he had a hand like JJ I'd win the pot 1/3 of the time if we got it all in. But this guy had a really wide three bet range compared to normal competition and an even wider continuation betting range, so I figured I'd unload him some of the time. I made it $300 with $300 in the pot and everyone quickly folded. Hooray!

Then I got tied to the tracks. I saw a flop for $5 with 87 of diamonds. The player directly to my right came out betting $15 on a board of J T 3 with two diamonds. With a 12 out draw and 4 players left behind me I called, and Mr. Deep also called. The turn was an A and the same guy bet again - $30 into the $75 pot. Mr. Deep and I both called again. I was a little worried Mr. Deep might have a bigger flush draw after he called again and so I was mentally calling for a 9 on the river. The river came and bingo! It was a black 9. The guy who had been betting bet out $60 and I put him all in for $200. He snap called me and proudly rolled over KQ for the nut straight! ACK! I'm glad he didn't have more chips.

I had more draw problems on the next hand of significance. I completed the small blind on the button for $3 to see a flop with 32 of spades and we say the flop 6 way. The board came down T 9 5 with two spades. Everyone checked to me and I bet $20 with my flush draw. Mr. Deep called in seat 10 and then seat 1 raised it to $60. I called as did Mr. Deep. The pot was getting big! The turn was the A of clubs and Mr. Deep checked. Seat 1 bet out $150 into the $200 pot. This was a toughish spot. One one hand, I've played with seat 1 many times and I was sure he had something big and I thought he'd have trouble folding even if the front door spades came in. I also thought there was a good chance Mr. Deep would call giving me another person to pay me off on the river potentially and better immediate pot odds. On the other hand, if I called I'd only make a straight or a flush 26% of the time and I could be up against a better flush draw in the hands of Mr. Deep. In order for the call to be profitable I'd need the money in the pot and the money I'd make on the river add up to $577 or more and that's if all of my outs where good. If I called I'd have about $300 left for a river bet. Add it all up and I should have pitched this one. In the actual hand Seat 1 had 55, Mr. Deep had QJ, I did call the turn, the river was a red 8, Mr. Deep moved all in and seat 1 called him for about $400.

At that point I was down about $400. But then I made two sets.

On the first I flopped a set of threes and got called for $20, $35, and $75 (all in) by one player on the flop, turn and river.

The other was a little more involved. I raised to $20 with 88 under the gun and got three callers. The flop came down A 8 5, I picked up chips to bet and then very awkwardly checked. This was not a pre-planned move and I wasn't sure what my opponents would make of it. This dude that looks like 2007 WSOP main event winner Jerry Yang bet out $45 and Mr. Deep called. Ah ha! I decided to continue the slow play plan and just called. The turn was a 7, I quickly checked and Mr. Jerry Yang fired out $155 very proudly like he just knew I had a hand like JJ and he was going to blow me off it. Mr. Deep folded and I took a good look at Mr. Jerry Yang as if I was trying to sort out what he had and after some hesitation I put him all in for $200 more. He sat there for at least 3 minutes. It was the longest I can remember someone taking to call me in a cash game, but eventually he put his chips in. The river was a brick, I dragged a $900 pot and I was up $50 on the night.

Some time passed without much happening and then I got dealt T9 of clubs on the button. The under the gun player raised to $20, Mr. Deep called, I called and along with the small blind we took the flop 4 way. The flop came down T 7 3 with two diamonds and they checked to me. Figuring I had the best hand I bet out $60. They all called! ACK! This was a draw heavy board so it was possible I had the best hand, but I was ready to shut it down on the turn. Then the turn came out and it was a T! They all checked to me again and I bet big - $220 into the $260 pot. Then the stupid small blind moved all in for $375. Shit! If he had a T also it was probably better than mine, but with only $155 more to call and $850 in the pot I wasn't folding. He turned over 77 which meant a T, 9 or 2 would make me a winner on the river, but alas a Q came out and I was toast.

In the end I lost $558 over 5 hours. I'm ahead $784 for the project over 34.5 hours.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Project Manhattan Session #8 - These Guys Hate To Fold

I made my way to Bay 101 Tuesday night feeling confident with a good plan in place. I had $2,000 in my pocket and was ready to take on the challenge of playing against a bunch of new faces.

There are a 3 small differences at Bay 101 that end up making things materially different: 1) they play the games 9 handed instead of 10 handed 2) they have 5-6 games going at once (even on a Tuesday) 3) there seems to be a cultural difference where people spend more time lobbying (i.e. away from the table). All of these things combined lead to the games playing 6 or 7 handed often.

In theory this should be good for me. Almost all of the time I spent playing online poker full time for 7 years was short handed. When I played no limit cash, it was 6 handed games. When I played limit games, it was 6 handed. I played about 15,000 single table tournaments where, guess what - you spend a lot of time short handed.

In practice...I was going to say maybe it's not, but screw that. It has to be good for me!

Shortly after I arrived they started a new $2/$3/$5 game with 7 of us. I bought in for $500 which is the max and oddly everyone else bought in for exactly $300 or $400.

My plan was to be conservative for the first hour so I could get some sense of how everyone played, but I had to throw that out the window on the 3rd hand. There was a raise to $15 and we took the flop 5 way. I was on the button with A3 of spades, the flop came down K 2 2 with two spades and everyone checked to me. The conservative play would be to check it back, but it just didn't seem like anyone had a piece of that and I did have a flush draw so I bet out $50. Everyone folded. So far so good.

One round later I was back on the button and there was a raise to $25 and two calls. I looked down at AA and made it $85 to go. All three called without hesitation. At the Oaks I might expect one or no calls and if it was a little later in the session after I confirmed that these guys all hate to fold I would have made it at least $100 and maybe as much as $120. Anyway the flop was a beauty - K 6 3 rainbow. They checked to me and with $340 in the pot and all of them having $400 or less I moved all in. The first two folded and then the third guy took about a minute before finally folding what he said was a pocket pair.

Not much else happened in the first hour and I found myself $275 to the good an hour in.

In my first hand of note in the second hour I had AT of diamonds in the small blind. A 30ish Asian guy in middle position who I'll call Mr. I Got There raised to $25 and got called by one other player. I called as well and the flop came down A 7 2 all spades. Mr. IGT bet $40 on the flop and I was the only caller. The turn paired the 7, I checked and Mr. IGT bet $60 with another $120 left in his stack. I figured he could have an ace or a pair with a big spade or even just a big spade. I was a little surprised that the turn card or the fact that I called the flop didn't slow him down. I didn't think he was on total air, but there were plenty of hands - like a pocket pair with a spade or Ax with the x being smaller than T - that I could beat. Since he wasn't that deep I decided to go for it and moved all in. He snap called me, the river was a red Q and he showed me AK with no spades. I'm not saying I'd expect this guy to fold here, but the fact that getting check raised all in on the turn didn't cause him any hesitation with one pair is telling.

I got another taste of "These guys hate to fold" a little later. I got dealt T4 of hearts on the button and I threw in $3 to see a flop 6 way. The flop came down 9 4 3 with two hearts giving me middle pair and a flush draw. Everyone checked to the cutoff who bet out $25. I considered raising, but decided with 14 outs to improve I wouldn't mind a few other players in the pot. But everyone folded. The turn card was a A and my opponent checked to me. With 14 outs and a great scare card I took a shot at it and bet $60. My opponent slowly called. I figured he probably had a 9. I was hoping to either make my hand or get something like a K or a Q that would help me unload a 9, but sadly the river was a black 8 missing me completely. There was about $200 out there and my opponent had $90 left. I figured another bet might convince him I had an A or had flopped a big hand. I'd only need this to work about 30% of the time for it to be profitable. After a short pause he called and showed me T9. Drat!

Those felt like a couple of pretty minor losses, but that was $425 out the door. I saw a few more flops and missed and before I new it I was stuck $300 on the session. I was also square in the mode of waiting to make a hand and bet for value.

The I got dealt KK! A ha! Time to bet for value. Mr. IGT called $5 with a $500 stack and another player who had us both covered (I also had $500) raised to $25. I made it $65 to go out of the small blind. Mr. IGT asked how much it was 3 times. As in "How much is it? [10 second pause] Man. How much is it? [10 second pause] Man. How much is it?" All 3 times the dealer told him it was $65 to go. Eventually he called, as did the other guy. The flop came down Q 4 2 with the 4 2 of clubs. I had red kings, but that looked like a pretty sweet flop. I bet out $130 hoping to get called by a Q. Mr. IGT called and the other guy folded. "Pair the 2!" I thought. The turn was a 6 of clubs bringing in the flush draw. Was it possible that my opponent made a flush? Sure. But his hand is really pocket pair heavy given the preflop action and it would be much more likely that he had a pair 77-TT or even something like QJ. Either way I wasn't just going to check fold, so I moved all in for $295 in to the $460 pot. He thought for a probably a full minute before calling all in for $290. The river rolled off the 9 of clubs and I knew I was cooked. "Overpair?" he said. I showed my KK and he said "I got there" and showed 55 with the 5 of clubs. Son of a bitch!

There was about $1,050 in the pot and I think it was the first time in Project Manhattan that I've been taken all the way to the felt (or within $5 of it) on a hand which is actually pretty surprising.

I will admit that I felt a little rattled after that one, but I had more money in my pocket and bought back in for $500.

About 10 minutes later I got dealt KT of diamonds and came in for a raise to $20. I got two callers and the flop came down 9 7 6 with one diamond and two spades. The player in the big blind check called my bet of $40. The turn was the 9 of diamonds and my opponent checked again. I had to consider that he might have a 9, but it was much more likely that he had one of a bevy of possible draws. Also now I had a flush draw and a gut shot. I fired out $75 and got called fairly quickly. The river was the 3 of spades completing the front door flush draw and my opponent checked again. I shut it down because - Say it with me - These Guys Hate To Fold! To my surprise my opponent rolled over JJ! What the? This is probably one I could have lost a little less with. My turn bet sizing was off. With $140 in the pot I should have bet $120 if I wanted to blow him off a draw and if I wasn't going to try to do that, then I should have just checked it back.

At the end of the second hour I was stuck almost $900. Did I really just have a -$1250 hour? Had it only been an hour? I had to look back at my notes to see just what the hell happened and if I had done anything really egregious.

I did finally make a few hands I could bet for value. 

On the first I got red KK again and Mr. I Got There called my raise to $25! What I should have thought was "Great! I should get action from this guy." What I thought instead was a very amateurish thing to think. I thought (in not these exact words)"Oh sweet lord, I'm never folding this hand against this guy and if he makes something I'm totally screwed and I'm going to lose my shit." The flop was 8 5 4 with two spades and he folded to my bet of $40.

On the second I got KQ in the big blind and facing 3 calls in from of me I made it $25 to go. As expected they all called. The flop came down  K 8 4 with to clubs and I bet out $75. They all folded. Bastards! Where is that suspicious guy with 87 that I need to pay me off?

On the third I threw in $3 to call with K3 of diamonds on the button 4 way. The flop came down K 5 3 and the cutoff bet $10. My gut reaction was that he was betting, but didn't really like it. I just called and the small blind called as well. The turn was a Q, the cutoff bet $20 into the $45 pot and I raised it to $60. Both of my opponents folded. Shit!

After 3 hours, other than the have with the AA, I didn't really have a hand that played out how I wanted. When I missed or had second best, I got called. When I made something, my opponents managed to find a fold. Sometimes this is indicative of being over matched or easily readable, but half these guys didn't know their ass from a hole in a the ground and there is just no way they were putting tight reads on me.

In the end I lost $938 on the night. I'm still winning $1,342 for the project over 29.5 hours.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

5 Tips for Winning in Poker Games with All New Opponents

I'm going to be in San Jose playing at Bay 101 tonight. While I've played limit hold'em or tournaments there 25-30 times, I've only played $5 big blind no limit there 3 times. Since there is pretty regular churn in the player pool at any casino and the player pool there is much larger than at the Oaks, it's likely I'll be facing an entire table of players I've never played a single hand against.  Before I play in a game that is likely to be composed of unfamiliar players I figured I'd take the time to give myself the advice I'd give to someone else if they asked me about this challenge.

1) Pay attention - They say the three most important things for a successful restaurant are location, location and location. Playing in a game of new faces, the three most important things are pay attention, pay attention, and pay attention. If you know 3/4 of the players in a game because you've played a dozen sessions against them you can get away with spacing out or checking your phone when you're out of the hand once in a while, but forcing yourself to watch every detail for at least the first hour is key.

2) Start a profile on every player - It's not OK to stereotype people in real life, but in poker that's where you have to start. Not every old white guy you ever play is going to be weak tight, but the vast majority of them will. I'm sure there is a 45 year old woman out there who wears $10,000 in jewelry and looks like she spent an hour on her hair who has a perfectly balanced three bet range, but I've never played against her. Of course some people will surprise you, but if you've already thought hard about how to categorize them in detail when they do something out of character that will jump out at you and stick in your memory for later. Thinking beyond appearance, general behavior is huge. Watching how someone handles their chips and cards is very telling. Even if the sound was off how long would it take you to figure out that Beyonce' is an amazing performer if you'd never seen her before? How about if we put me up there next to her for a duet? It would probably take about 10 seconds to figure out that Beyonce is amazing and less to figure out that I am not. Take a look at everyone, create a detailed set of initial conclusions and then adjust as the sessions continues.

2) Build the image you want - Understanding the way your opponents perceive you is huge. What snap judgements are they going to make about you based on your appearance and behavior? In old TV shows and movies either the hero or villain would often pretend to be an absolutely awful player until the key hand or situation would come up and then they'd pounce. In reality, it's much better for your opponents to perceive you as a threat than a soft spot. In fact one of the things that really screws me up is that under normal circumstances I know most players know I'm a strong, winning player. When I play new opponents sometimes either they perceive me as softer than I am or I start thinking that they perceive me as softer than I am even though they don't. Both of these are not ideal. The best thing for me to do is to play tight preflop for the 1st hour. That will usually get people started on thinking that I'm at least pretty good, and they also won't expect me to be loose post flop which I try to be.

3) Find the errors in your opponents frequencies - This is really the key to all winning in poker. If they call too much you beat them by making hands and betting for value. If they fold too much, you beat them by playing more hands and bluffing more. If that 45 year old woman with the hair and the jewelry three bets you, you can be pretty sure it's a big pair and fold. A more detailed example is most recreational players will bet an A high flop if they've raised before the flop 100% of the time whether they have it or not. That's not the optimal frequency. They do this because their opponents fold whenever they don't have an ace. That's also not optimal. Every situation on every street needs a certain amount of balance and if you don't have that balance it's exploitable. One hand can show you that an opponent is doing something that's exploitable so you better be paying attention so you don't miss it.

4) Don't force it - Playing somewhere new or where you don't normally play can be exciting. Getting all jacked up to play and then sitting down to a string of garbage cards can be tough to handle.
If things aren't going well, it's much easier to get the "What I'm doing isn't working" feeling than if you're in your normal game. Usually that leads to "Let me try this other thing!" when the situation doesn't really call for that other thing. Every next hand could be the one where you get a no brainer double up.

5) Be confident - These jabronis can't handle you!

My WSOP 2023 Plans and Missions

After four and a half years working for StubHub I wrapped up my time there in March. I've been at the poker tables 3-4 days a week since...