Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Project Manhattan Session #12 - Why Don't I Just Go Ahead and Make All the Draws

After my three week break I was not feeling all that sharp headed in to play on Friday, but I was ready for some good shit to happen to me for a change. The theme of the night was a I made a lot of strong hands and with some of them I feel like I may have left some money on the table.

On my 5th or 6th hand I got dealt 63 off suit in the big blind and got a free look 5 way. The flop came down Q 5 4 giving me an open ender. I bet out $15 into the $19 ($6 goes to the rake) pot and got one caller. The turn was a bingo card - a 7! I bet out $30 into the $49 pot and got called again. The river was another great card - a Q. It was certainly possible that my opponent had a Q and if so he had trips so there was no way he was folding. If he had anything else he was almost certainly going to muck for even a small bet. So I decided to bet big. I fired out $100 and he quickly folded. Drat!

What left me thinking here a little was that if he had a Q he would have certainly bet if I checked, giving me the chance to check raise. And if he had a missed draw or something else I would have liked to have given him a chance to take a shot at the pot. Maybe he would have just checked back and I'd be left wondering why I didn't bet the river, but at the end of the day I thinking trying to induce a bluff was the right play here and I missed it.

On the very next hand I got dealt 22 in the small blind and called a raise from the button. We took the flop 3 ways along with a limper for $25 each and the board came out K 9 2 with 2 hearts. Bottom set baby! We both checked to the button who bet $50. I raised it to $140 hoping to get called by a K or a draw on a draw heavy board, but instead I lost both opponents. I think raising is right here, but was again left with the feeling that maybe I could have made more with a different line.

I had another hand where I flopped top pair with KQ and it was good. After about 15 minutes of playing I was up $250. Not a bad start.

About a half an hour later I raised a $10 straddle to $40 with AJ of diamonds and got 4 callers. The flop came down KQ4 with two diamonds! With a nut flush draw and a straight draw, a pot that was already $160 and facing medium sized stacks, I figured I was probably either going to win the pot or double someone up because I sure as shit wasn't going anywhere. I fired out $110 and got called by the button. Mentally I called "Ten! Ten! Ten! Put a ten out there!" I got a 5 of diamonds which was almost as good. I had the nuts, but now the board looked pretty scary. My opponent was aggressive so I decided to check and he obliged by betting $220! He had another $340 in his stack and I had him covered.

At this point my heart was really racing. I noticed that I had what I'm sure was a really uncomfortable look on my face and I decided to go with it. I went into full on acting mode, trying to look uncomfortable without making it look like I was trying to look uncomfortable. I looked at my opponent like I was trying to put a read on him when all I was doing was thinking, "Sweet lord, don't pair the effing board on the river!"

After 30 seconds I gave him one last look and shoved all my chips in the pot. Some people seem to like to throw in one chip and practically whisper "all in" but I'm old school in that way. I shove them all in there baby! My opponent said "Nice hand" and threw one chip in to signify a call. The river was a total disaster - it paired the Q. KQ or a set were two hands I could easily be up against. I showed my flush and my opponent picked up his cards to turn them over - a sure sign of doom - but instead of rolling them all the way over, he looked at them one more time and pitched them into the muck. There was almost $1,400 in that pot!

I had a couple of speed bumps running AQ into AA and losing $90 and dropping $50 with TT vs AK - which was really minimal damage - then I got back to the draws.

I raised to 20 with Q9 suited and got two calls. The flop came down J J T which is a really scary board, but I fired out $40 with my straight draw anyway. I got one call and the turn came out an 8! My opponent only had $90 left so I figured I'd check and he's probably just ship it in there no matter what he had. But he checked it back. The river was a 5 and I put him all in for $90. He snap called and didn't show, but his demeanor led me to think he may have had a J.

Not only did I hit all three draws to this point, I got them all on the turn which ensured that I wouldn't get blown off the draw and allowed me to focus on making the maximum.

A little later I got dealt 22 again and I thought "I bet I'm going to flop another set of deuces. I'm just going to run hot as shit all night here." Of course the chances were still the same 7.5 to 1 against me that I'd flop a set, but I did have that feeling. I called a raise to $20, we took the flop 3 way and it came out 7 6 2! Ha! There were two diamonds out there which meant it a draw heavy board and the preflop raiser bet out $40. My opponent was a thinking player and I figured if I raised he wouldn't know if I had a draw, a 7, an overpair or something else so I made it $100 to go. After some thought he called. The turn was a terrible card for me - the 5 of diamonds. I wasn't really worried about not having the best hand, but since all the draws got there it would be hard to get action. My opponent checked and I bet out $110 hoping to get called by a diamond, but my opponent quickly folded.

My next hand of note came when I raised to $20 with QQ and got two callers. The flop came down J 9 4, I bet out $40 and the player in the big blind called me. The turn was a T and my opponent checked again. This was an interesting card because it completed some draws and made a lot of reasonable two pair combos. It also gave me a straight draw.  My opponent was a tightish solid player and I figured I'd have better chance to get paid off on the river after having checking the turn. I checked and the river came out a Q. Now the board was J 9 4 T Q meaning an 8 or a K made a straight, but I could beat everything else. My opponent fired out $55 and I thought for about 20 seconds before calling. He showed 99! I really dodged a bullet there!

A little later I called $15 3 way with J9 of diamonds. The flop came out K Q T with two diamonds and I thought "OK, this is getting kind of ridiculous." How do you best play a flopped straight with a 2nd nut flush redraw? It really doesn't come up all that often! I probably should have just bet out as any raising hand would have a piece of this and no one in their right mind would put me on a straight after I bet out, but I went with the more standard line and check called $40. The turn was a T and I checked again. My opponent bet $75 and I really blew it by just calling. I continued to blow it by checking the river and having my opponent check back. In the moment I felt like he liked his hand and was going to keep firing on through, but a small check raise on the turn and a smallish bet on the river would have been much better. My suspicion is that he had a hand like AK or KJ and figured I either had a busted draw and wasn't calling or had him beat.

OK, I didn't actually make all the draws. My one miss came when I called $20 in the big blind 5 way with K6 of spades. The board came out K 7 3 with two spades giving me top pair an a flush draw and the preflop raiser who was a total nut bet out $60. Based on other hands I'd seen him play he could easily have had any pocket pair or a 7 or be on total air. He only had $140 left so if he was willing, we were going to get it all in. The only thing I needed to decide was if it would be better to just ship it on the flop or wait for the turn. I figured if I moved in he might fold a 7 or a pocket pair, but if I made a reluctant call on the flop he'd shove on almost any turn card (as was his pattern up to that point). The turn was a red 8 and like clock work, I checked, he moved all in a millisecond later, and I called almost as quickly. The river was a red ten and unfortunately I lost to KJ. Boo!

Those were all the big hands. I think I could have done a bit better getting value with my made hands and I'd give my self a C+ in that arena, but I had my A game working when it came to staying out of trouble. I lost the minimum on probably 10 hands that were all fairly inconsequential, but in aggregate saved me a few hundred bucks.

In the end I booked a $1,094 win over 4 hours. That has me back in black for the project. Overall I'm winning $468 after 46.5 hours.

I'm going to make a rare Wednesday afternoon plus evening appearance at the Oaks tomorrow. My tentative plan is to put in 4 hours of cash game work and then play the Wednesday night tournament. The tournament is a $185 buy in with the option to re-enter if you go broke in the first 4 levels. I think there are usually 40 or 50 entrants and my plan is to fire two $185 bullets at it if needed.

I hope I keep making all the draws!

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