Went back the The Chuck this weekend. I got in to town late Friday night and played $1/2 from 11 to about 3:00am. Was up over $100 at one point, but walked away up a mere $11. It was late, and I felt like I was not playing my best, so I called it quits before digging myself a hole.
Saturday morning, I got up after 3 hours sleep. I was hurting. I drove across the street to the McDonald's drive through and ordered breakfast. Went to pay and realized I had no cash and only a couple of black chips in my pocket. Luckily, I had a bunch of quarters in my car (usually dedicated to tolls on the AC Expressway). Paying for breakfast with loose change - not a good start to the day.
I hit the table at 11:00am feeling tired and looking to put in a short session before heading home. The cards hit the air, and I immediately began the sickest run of premium hands I've ever caught. It began with pocket KK twice in the first four hands. I was in the big blind for the first set of cowboys. Middle position opened to $12 and the hijack called. I repop to $30 and both call. Flop comes out dry; I fire out $75 and take it down (not going to let someone chase an A). (+$55)
Two hands later I look down at KK again. Early position bets $15; this time I flat in position. Board again runs out dry. Villain bets $25 and I call. Turn blanks and villain slows down. I bet $60 and villain calls. River is a K. No draws have hit. Villain Checks and I bet $85. Villain sighs and says, "I have to call..." I show top set and villain mucks. (+$240)
15 minutes later I look down at JJ on the button. Six people limp and I decide to play the hand small and limp (a raise might have gotten 4 or 5 callers and I did not want to create a problem spot with a mediocre hand). Big blind raises to $18 and it folds around. I briefly consider re-raising, but end up mucking. Too soft?
A few minutes later I'm dealt AJ. I limp in out of position (I've been limping with AT and AJ from early position often lately. It usually lets me see a flop cheap, and I can get away from the hand with little damage if I miss. When I hit, I tend to play it a bit slow and, quite often, I ended up trapping a weaker A . . .). The flop is A4K flop. I lead out for $10 and get three callers. While I'm confident my A is best here, I don't want to build a big pot and get beaten by some random two pair hand. Turn bricks and it checks around. River is a 5. I check call $20 and take it down. ($290).
Shortly thereafter comes the most painful hand of the day. I'm forced to fold A6 hearts to a $17 pre flop bet. Raiser gets one caller and the flop comes out J high, all hearts. F*ck me. Hand turns out to be a set of JJJ against pocket KK and the money goes all in on the turn. I can only watch and imagine what both their chips would look like added to my stack. F*ck me.... As an aside, oddly, I ended up with A [x] hearts 6 times over the course of the afternoon. I was able to limp in with the hand once, and missed. Every other time I folded to a raise or limp folded to a fairly large raise (e.g., $12 or more) preflop.
Ten minutes of so after mucking the nuts, I'm dealt AA oop. I raise to $12 and get three callers. Flop comes AJ9 (two spades). Not the ideal flop for top set. I decide to play it fast and bet $27, which takes it down. (+$320)
Shortly thereafter, I look down at AA. Again. UTG+2 raises to $12 and gets two callers. I'm in the small blind and repop to $45. Middle position calls, while other two fold. Flop is 662 (two hearts). Still smarting from my cracked AA's from two Sunday's ago, I lead out for $75 and take it down. (+$400).
I scoop my chips, and while typing notes on my AA victory, I look down at my next hand. AA....AGAIN! Two hands in a row. A $10 bet, a call, and I re-raise to $28. Get a call from the one guy at the table as deep as I am - a solid player. Flop comes down 492. He checks to me and I decide to play pot control. I check. Turn is 7. Villain bets $35. I just call. River is a T. Villain bets $60 and I tank for a moment and think about the hand. Board is somewhat coordinated. I don't think villain would have called my three bet with J8; but he seems strong and appears to want a call. I really think I'm beat, but I can't lay the hand down for $60. I call. Villain shows KK and I take another hand. ($+520)
In just over two hours, I'm dealt KK, KK, AA, AA, AA...and they all hold up. I haven't lost a single flop . . . Given my profit and the fact that I'm running on very little sleep, I decide to make it a quick session (albeit not quit a "hit-n'-run"), and head for the cage.
In two weeks, I went from being down over $1,200 for the year to just shy of even. Feeling confident that I can reach the black next weekend. I feel like I ran bad most of January (losing some big hands to runner, runner, et cetera). HOWEVER, in retrospect (and after considering some comments on this blog), I also feel like I may have enabled Villains to be in position to get lucky, mainly with poor bet sizing. Hopefully I've sealed this leak.
That said, I question whether I might be playing TOO tight lately. Two issues:
FIRST, I feel like I've virtually eliminated most suited connectors and A/K suited hands from my range. Tables, recently, have played somewhat aggressive preflop, eliminating the ability to limp with these types of hands. Thus, when I've gotten into the action, I've typically had a pocket pair or some combo of broadway cards. It hasn't hurt me at this level, but I can't imagine this type of game working at $2/5 or higher. How do people typically play these hands? Assuming an early or middle position limp is unfeasible, do you simply save the 89 suited kind of hands for late position, and then open them with a raise? Is limp-calling from middle position ever right? Say, for instance, when you've got 4 or 5 people taking the flop? It's been a while since I've read Harrington. I almost feel like maybe its time to reopen the book and see if I can apply some of his theory to my current game.
SECOND, I feel like I may be three betting the range of QQ, KK, AA (and sometimes AK) too often. I'm three betting this range nearly 100% of the time in early or middle position with players left to act. I'm also three betting when there are two or three callers already in play. The more callers, the bigger the raise. I feel like the only time I'm not three betting this range is when I'm in position against the lone raiser (and maybe one caller). While this approach has been working (and, typically getting a lone caller heads up to the flop, which is ideal), I feel like I'm playing my cards face up if anyone is paying attention. Of course, I will sometimes open my range a bit to include AQ, JJ, TT . . . but those hands are few and far between. Is three-betting this range, in this manner, the kind of move that only works at $1/2? How do people like to approach this range preflop?
Appreciate any thoughts.