Monday, February 23, 2015

Every Hand Revealed

Credit to Gus Hansen for the title.  His book was far more interesting than this post will be.  I assure you.

Sunday night, I drove back to the Shoe, looking to log a few more hours.  I played a brief three-hour session from 6:00 to 9:00.   I did not play many hands; but each is detailed below.

6:00 P.M.

Buy in for $300.  Get the ten seat.  Table looks like a bunch of regulars, several of whom had decent stacks.  Not surprising I guess for  Sunday evening.

Two hands in, dealt AQ UTG.  I limp $3.  Six people see the flop.  I miss.  Fold to a bet and two calls. [I limped here because I had just sat down at the table, and, because my confidence is shot.  I figured I'd get a handful of calls if I raised, and that I'd miss the flop. I miss EVERY flop, lately].

6:15 [$297]

Get AQ again, in early position.  Raise to $11.  Four callers.  The flop is 8-high.  I check.  Someone bets $25 and gets a call . . .

6:28 [$288]

KJ in middle position.  I raise to $11 and get one call.  Another low flop, which I completely whiff.  I check OOP.  It checks back.  Turn blanks.   I bet $15 and get called.  River is a K.  I bet $25 and he folds.

6:35 [$318]

I call $10 in the cut-off with 9T(d) after four people already called.  Six of us take the flop.  I flop a gut shot (no diamond draw), which I fold to a $45 bet and a call.

6:50 [$303]

I have K(c)9(c) in the big blind.  A single player raises to $10, and I throw in $7 more.  Flop is 77T.  I fold to a C-Bet. [I may have been ahead on this flop; but I put in the $7 hoping for clubs.  Since I missed, I moved on. I figured it was a hand I should not have played to start with, so why compound my mistake].

7:10 [$283]

Twenty minutes of nothing.  I won one small pot the first hour.  Pretty standard lately.  I'm dealt KQ off (both black) UTG+1.  This is likely a foldable hand.  But, I'm fucken bored as balls.  When you are card dead, every session, these hands seem to get harder and harder to fold.  I Raise to $11, and get two callers.  The flop is 89J (all hearts).  Another gut shot draw to a hand that could already be crushed.  Just the way I like it.  I check, villain #1 checks, villain #2 bets $20.  I fold.

7:25 [$275]

I limp 23 from the small blind.  Five to the flop of 344.  I check and it checks around.  Turn is a 3.  I check again.  Middle position bets $10, and I call.  Heads up to the river, which is a Queen. I lead $20 and he folds.

8:00 [$280]

Card dead for another two orbits, when I get AT off in early position.  I limp-call $7, and we go four to the flop.  I miss.  Of course. [Again, another hand I should probably just muck.  But after two orbits of crap, I got antsy to play a hand]

8:05 [$268]

Limp call $13 with 66 after two other callers.  Miss.

8:10 [$255]

Limp call $15 four ways with 22 UTG.  Several deep stacks.  Miss.

8:15 ($240)

Very next hand, I'm dealt 44 in the big blind.  There is a $17 raise and a call when it gets to me.  One of the villains has about $200.  The other is very deep.  I've just limped two small pocket pairs the past ten minutes. I feel like my stack is just starting to drain.  I haven't hit a flop all night.  But I suck it up and call.  The flop is 8 4 Q rainbow.  About time.  I check.  Original raise bets $25 and gets a call.  I just call.  Turn is a T.  I check, raiser bets $40, and villain #2 folds.  Raiser only has a little over $100 left.  I shove and he snaps with KK.  I basically played my hand sort of face up, here.  I mean, isn't the check-raise on the turn the donkey line for a set?  If I lead the flop, maybe I get some more out of villain #2.  But, who knows.  If I lead, maybe KK raises, and villain #2 folds the flop..

Shockingly, after my "mini rush" of shitty pocket pairs, I am again card dead.  Which is frustrating as hell.  Because, just after my 44's, the entire table basically turned over.  We got four-handed, then merged with another table.  The new table was insanity.  Several big stacks, and every pot was several hundred.  One dude bought in for $300, lost it all in 3 hands; rebought another $300, and lost that too in a a single orbit.  I got none of it.

9:00.  Time to head home.  Work in the morning.  Cashed out $435.

Not a very good weekend.  If I try and view it positively, if my trips hold up Friday night, I'm sitting on $800 (off a $600 buy in), and I have a decent weekend.  Hell, if I had just folded my K9 on that hand pre flop, I'd have only been down about $60 . . .  That $400 loss to the rivered heart was the key hand . . .  That's poker.  At least I roll into next weekend on a hot streak! 


  1. How did you remember all this? Did you take notes? I tried taking notes for a while, but found it was too distracting.

    1. Yes, I took notes on every hand (note pad on the iPhone). Not sure I'd do it again, because it does take focus away from the game. But, it wasn't too hard given how few hands I played.

      I do, however, want to try and document key hands just to post some hand histories and get feed back. The contemporaneous notes help with positions, stack sizes, etc

    2. Try voice memos. You can step away from the table for a moment, look like you are making a phone call, and transcribe later.

  2. Good running commentary. I think you should continue to do this when you can.

    Here's some comments:
    6:15 [$297] Get AQ again, in early position. Raise to $11.
    How many limpers were there prior to your raise? Your ~3x raise is not going to get any suited or connecting cards out of the pot. I've been hammering on you about your raise sizing - both in person and in comments. $11 for a 1/3 game is way too small IMO. If you're first in, make it 5x ($15). If you have 2 limpers, make it 5x$3 + 2x$3. Punish those limpers then assess the flop texture.

    6:28 [$288] KJ in middle position. I raise to $11 and get one call.
    Out of position with middling hand? Small pot! Don't raise the KJ, KT, QJ type hands from mid position. Try to limp / get in there cheap. Fold to a decent raise because these hands are easily dominated and not going to be 3bet always by those dominated hands (i.e. KQ doesn't 3bet generally, and AQ doesn't always 3bet, and AK may 3bet). I like keeping the pot small until I see a flop when I'm out of position like that. It's weak, but you'll get value when you're ahead without dribbling away $11 at a time...

    7:25 [$275] I limp 23 from the small blind. Five the flop of 344. I check and it checks around. Turn is a 3. I check again. Middle position bets $10, and I call. Heads up to the river, which is a Queen. I lead $20 and he folds.
    What is betting here going to accomplish? Is this a player who bet bet bets? Is he meek and timid? Do you have reason to think he'll check through the river? Just some thoughts before leading out. This hand is hard to get value on the river by betting because you have such a narrow range in your hand that doesn't have your opponent beat (drawing 56, A5, 25).

  3. The point in making your PF raises larger is to make them scared and think twice about playing back at you with junk. If they're going to get involved in a pot with you, they know up front that it's going to cost them a bunch of money as an entrance fee. I've found most players don't care about that cost of entry until they see a flop and then think twice when they face a $40-50 flop bet instead of a $20-30 flop bet. Yes, it's a lot more money at risk between the PF & flop, but you wind up taking away a lot of pots with cbets because your opponents cant fool around as much - i.e. the cost to bluff / draw / float is so much greater when there's more money in the pot and your bets are percentages of the pot.

    1. I will definetly increase my opening raise size next time.

  4. I agree with the theiry if limp folding hands like KJ from middle position. Especially if you can get away from it in the flop if you hit and face aggression. But, i got crushed in comments recently for doing it. The thiught was raise or fold, but don't limp.... Hence, my raise last night. Interesting to get perspectives on it

    1. The reality is this: in a 1/2 or 1/3 game that's mostly loose and/or passive (which most are), I want to get in there with those broadway hands that are second besting for cheap, value bet when I believe I'm ahead and fold when behind. A lot of players at these stakes try to limp their dumb suited cards (i.e. K3ss like in my post today), hit top pair and don't know how to get away from them. I can value bet them all day and make huge money. When I'm value betting those spots, I want to be in position so I can evaluate the type of player who's calling me; i.e. a loose player or tight player. If it's a loose player, I can feel confident my broadway is good, while a tight player makes me slow down on the turn, etc. However, when I'm out of position against the loose player, and I check for pot control, the loose player (if he's aggressive) reads the situation and bets out to make me uncomfortable. To avoid that spot, keep the pots small in out of position and potentially dominated hands.

  5. ->>>>> Raise with AQ. Sometimes you can limp/reraise certain conditions. Limping just gets you in trouble. You want to be heads or against one player. Raising to $15 in EP is good. Raise smaller in late position so you don’t lose as much when you are stealing (you can adjust size by position but don’t adjust the size based on the value of your hand).

    KJ in middle position. ->>>>>>> I am fine with raising here. Cbet heads up unless you have reason to believe villain calls light. I have a different style than the other meister and don’t like limping trouble hands. I raise or fold them. Just my opinion/style.

    ->>>>>>>>Like you said fold the K9 in the big blind. If you are antsy or you think villain is raising wide then 3bet this part of your range. Don’t extend your calling range. Instead you want to have a balanced 3betting range that includes hands you would normally fold along with hands you would normally 3bet. Call with good broadway hands like QJ suited, etc. 3bet with TT+,AQ+ or wider. Also 3bet with hands you would barely fold like K9 suited.

    ->>>>>>>> I am ok with raising KQ UTG+1, make it $15. I like the check/fold post flop. Heads up it’s generally a blind cbet.

    On the river with 23 on 3-4-4-3 ->>>> I believe check/calling is better than bet/folding. Your bet could be interrupted as a blocking bet or a 3. I don’t see villain calling without a Q or a 3 (raising a 4). Bluffs should make up a large portion of Villain’s turn range. Checking the river gives villain a chance to bluff again in a spot where you are unlikely to get any value betting. It also keeps villain from bluff raising the river (due to your weak looking river bet). Unlikely but you don’t want to get raised and have to call (I wouldn’t call by the way).

    Card dead for another two orbits, when I get AT off in early position ->>>>> When you get antsy don’t extend your range of trouble hands out of position. Just fold. Extend your range of hands or spots in position. 3bet in position or 3bet the blinds if a villain raises late. Extend the hands you play in position or pots that are opened late. Trust me it sux to fold over and over. Be disciplined. You could even practice raising spots instead of cards.

  6. oh i should add that I usually play online so my exact examples for balancing your 3bet range might not fit for a standard live $1/$3 game.

    1. I should have added exactly that, Vook - my suggestions are for live play *ONLY*. Online needs to have range balancing and and 3bet ranging. Live plays far different than online. Online, I'm always raising KQ, KJ, etc.

  7. Congrats on the better results. Just now thinking about this (and the irony of the memory trick), but one of my things is 'PPP' (position, players, possession) - What is your position? Who is in the pot already (or has yet to act)? What is your hand? This dictates a lot of my play. Keep thinking through your game, it only helps... ;)

  8. The 33 44 Q hand reminds of a hand you played when I was at the table Friday night (based on memory, so my details are a bit fuzzy):

    You open raise ~$12-15 fro mid position with TT and get a BB caller - probably the most competent player at the table (the 1 seat). Flop comes A A x. The 1 seat checks without thought / looking genuinely disinterested and you check through. Turn is a J and he again checks in the same manner - no pause, no re-evaluation. This time you bet out for $25 after hesitating. To me, watching you, it looked very weak - both your mannerisms, the bet sizing, everything smelled like you were throwing out a token bet to "see where you're at." As you're doing this, I'm contemplating what I would do in this spot if I were 1 seat

    If I had an Ace, I'm just calling and leading small on the river.

    Without an Ace: would I c/r you off your hand right now or call and lead big on the river. The question to me would be when should I knock you off your non-trips hand.

    In the actual hand, he check/raised you to ~75-100 and you quickly folded. Like the 33 44 Q hand above, by leading the turn you set yourself up to be taken off your hand (though with 3's full, I think it's a lot harder to bluff that spot). Point is this: you checked the flop, you have to check the turn unless you have the Ace yourself. By this point in the hand (the turn), your goal should be pot control since this guy is a decent player, reads decent, and can make logical moves - coupled with the fact that you have no idea where you are in the hand. You have a small amount invested in the pot with one card to go: the logical move here is check through and look for a check through river (if not calling a >75% pot bet).

    Both of these hands, and many many hands I've seen you post lack one common thread, which is perhaps what troubles you most: what is the purpose of your bet?

    From now on, every bet you make, I want you to come up with a reason (prior to making the action, obviously) for making that bet. For every check or call you make, I want you to come up with a reason for making that move.

    For example:

    1. Holding a 3 on a 344 3 Q board after check / calling a $10 turn bet, what are you accomplishing by betting $20 on the river? What kinds of hands can he bet with vs. what can he call that you beat / chop?

    2. Holding On a AAx J board, with a $35 pot, what is your purpose of betting $25 after checking the flop? Are you trying to rep an A (this effectively turns your AA TT hand into a bluff, you know - unless you think he has 22-99 and will value call you)? Are you trying to get A2+ to fold? Jx to fold? What's your plan on the river?

    Conclusion: I wouldn't focus on how you think you may have missed value on the flopped set hand above. I wouldn't focus on the flopped trips (K9) hand from the other night. Both of those hands require little thinking as they tend to play themselves out similarly; yes, set vs. overpair is standard and you're usually going to stack the overpair, and no, it sucks that you flopped trips and lost against a drawing hand, but I hope you'd do both of the hands over again every day, for all the money in the world, because you'll win both far more than you'll lose.

    I'd focus more on your death by a thousand cuts: being bet off hands (hows / whys of action), people sneaking in with trash and bettering your hands (PF bet sizing), not getting enough value when ahead (bet sizing), etc,

    1. This makes tremendous sense. Both your analysis of my play of the TT and the advice in the last paragraph.

  9. Good stuff. It helps me to hear others talk their well. The TT hand is a tough one.

    I would say anytime we want to quote ourselves as making a bet "to see where we stand" we are making an inherent mistake. We bet for value, protection, as a bluff etc. our opponents response might make us reevaluate. We might be for value and then fold to the response. Etc etc

    Discussions like this help all of us. Cheers

    1. I sent PM a text on the TT hand. I explained my turn bet there like this: I had raised pre flop. I figured if I checked through the flop and turn, I am just telling villain, "please, take the pot from me . . ." In other words, in my mind, I'm setting myself up to be bluffed off a winning hand potentially. So, I bet it.

      Now, I understand that this might be bad poker (especially where, as here, I had position . . . In retrospect, I agree it would make more sense to check through and call a river bet). But, in SIMILAR spots (u see), when OOP, I often feel the need to bet (almost like a blocking bet, I guess).

      And, further to the TT hand. Again, PM says he could tell I was weak by my actions. Maybe the tears in my eyes, and my mouthing the words, "can't believe I'm beat again" were "tells." I don't know.... Maybe I was giving away mad physical tells that I was weak. But, If I had an Ace, couldn't I have taken that line? Raise pre flop . . . hit top trips . . . check the flop and then, when checked to again on the turn, bet to try and get value? To me, my line did not seem out of ordinary. Couldn't I also have had a hand like JJ-QQ? With a hand like that, I'm scared of the Ace; but, when villain checks the turn, I figure, "he wouldn't check the ace twice" . . . so I bet my JJ-KK thinking I'm good. . .

      So, given this, in reality, when Villain raises me on the turn, I don't automatically put him on a bluff. In my head, I think HE thinks I have something decent. In fact, I did.

      So, this leads back to my fold. In my mind, he's sort of polarized. If he had QQ-KKm he likely would have 3-bet pre flop. Can't sort of discount those hands. But, an Ax is right in his calling range. So, most likely, he's bluffing or he has an Ace. Now, PM's thought was a bluff, because his turn check doesn't make sense for an ace. I sort of agree. But, hell, at Harrah's two weeks ago a reg checked flop and turn with a set of Tens against me and I fell for it.

      In the end, ringing in my head was the message I've been hearing lately - "if they bet like they have it, they probably do. So, I folded.

      That's sort of what I was thinking on the hand. And yes, in retrospect, I would have checked the turn and either checked down or check called the river.

    2. I said it was a tough hand because barring tells an Ace is in your range. I'm checking that flop with an ace often as my default play.

      I haven't played much 1/2 1/3 for years but my old experience is you rarely see a check raise bluff there. Typical villain has an ace

    3. Agreed for the most part, but this is a competent player. Vook, put yourself in his shoes (as I know you're quite competent too). Are you check / check/raise with an Ace there? If you're a thinking player, what are you hoping to accomplish by c/r'ing the turn? You know you're folding out worse hands and getting calls from better unless you turned AJ full - which again, why are you closing out action from all non-Ace hands? On the other hand, as a thinking player vs. a timid player (like I said, my read was that PPP didn't have an Ace - 100% sure of that - and he was scared of the Ace), wouldn't you check raise the hand right there to push PPP off the hand?

      Regardless, my point is this, which I'm not sure was heard loud and clear: Holding PPP's TT, why are we betting the turn? What purpose does it serve? We only get calls from better (i.e. Jx, Ax) and close out worse. And we get no information about where we are in the hand if villain opts to just call. If we check we get to the river for free (still not knowing where we are but we can always check through the river if possible). If we face a bet on the river, the sizing won't be >$35, which is pot. Then we can evaluate whether to make the crying hero call or the fold. All of this costs us $25 less potentially and lets us see all 5 community cards.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Hit enter too soon.

    Yup. I agree. Depends on opponents level of thinking

  11. PPP, sounds as if you've been playing at Hawaiian Gardens (my local poker hangout) lately. Assholes there are ALWAYS raising and basically playing with their dicks instead of their brains, and at this point I'm going TBC-level paranoid and thinking the dealers are getting kickbacks for avoiding anything close to my cards on the flop.

    What I'd like to do, although I imagine I'll get nine responses telling me why I'm wrong, is show up with 20+ buy-ins at the $40 NL table and start shoving my stack in all the maniacs' faces, then see how lucky they really are. Of course I already know that's also a great way to lose money fast if the boards don't cooperate. Decisions, decisions.

  12. Replies
    1. What type of pictures are you looking for?

    2. just pics of the room, milfs in yoga pants, and #foodporn

  13. Straddle everyone to death. If that fails, put them on tilt by bitching about the poor wine selection in the local steak house and tell them that your vinyard produces much better wine.

    1. PREACH!!!!!!!!! and tell them about liability litigation too

  14. I like the post. I think Gus took down a monster event at the end of the book.

    Hopefully the "every hand revealed" run good will help you with one of the circuit events or even better the 500K event that gives prizes like ME Seat etc.,

    Exciting next one month at the Shoe. Hopefully you can play some tournaments this time.

    As others said having a plan for every hand really helps in playing them. Some days you feel you have been opening with good hands and you should flop good as well, but, as we know its Poker. Sometimes we are the bird and sometimes we are the statue.

    Once I play a hand according to a plan, I don't feel bad if the result or run of events do not help me. At least I have the feeling that I played it correctly. Like the Trips hand where you were ahead when the money went in, but, did not win it.