Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Saturday All-Nighter

Saturday night, I played my longest session ever -- a 10.5 hour all-nighter.

My evening began at the poker room at Borgata.  The last time I played Borgata, I dropped $400 when my KK got cracked by QJ.  I was seeking redemption.  None was found.  I played my first hand about half an hour in.  Pocket Jacks under the gun.  I limp-call $10 and we go 4 to the flop -- Ten high, two diamonds.  Villain -- the pre flop raiser, was somewhat short stacked.  I check and he bets $25.  I call and we are head up.  The turn is the 2 diamonds.  I lead for $65.  I'm not sure if my JJ is good; I figure I can represent the flush the way the hand was played.  Villain has about $85 behind.  He tanks, and eventually calls.  We check check the river (I don't think there is any fold equity in a bet here).  Villain flips AA(d).  He indicates he would have layed them down to my turn bet if he didn't have the redraw.   So, first hand played -- JJ versus AA on a T-high flop.  The hand costs me $100.

Twenty minutes later, I play my second hand.  JJ.  again.  I call $15 on the button.  The flop is 9 4 3.  Villain leads for $25.  I call.  The turn is a Ten.  Villain bets $65.  Fuck.  I fold.  Villain shows AA.     Two hands played.  Both JJ versus AA as an overpair to the flop.   At this point, I've only been playing less than an hour, but I'm sort of on tilt.   I leave shortly thereafter, down $118.

I decide to move on to Harrah's.   I buy in for $300.  My first playable hand -- JJ.  I feel like throwing up.  After two limpers, I raise to $11.  It folds around.  

A few orbits later . . . you guessed it.  JJ.  Fourth time in two hours or so.  I open to $15 in early position and get two callers.  The flop comes J T 3.  I lead for $22 with my top set.  Fold.  Fold.  Of course.  

Over the next few hours, I worked my stack up to $525, with a combination of decent hands and some bluffs.  My image seemed solid.  Then the wheels started to fall off.  It started with this hand:

I call $15 with 66 against a decent reg, who is sitting on $400+.   The flop is T 4 2.  He checks and I check back.  The turn blanks.  He checks again.  I put him on an Ace, and decide to take the pot down.  I bet $23.  He RAISES to $75.  Weird.  My read does not change.  I get the sense he thinks I'm trying to buy the pot.  I call.   The river does not change anything.  He leads for $65.  Now I'm thoroughly confused.  Why check two streets if he had a hand?  I call and he shows TT for top set.  In retrospect, I suppose the board seemed particularly dry, and he was hoping I'd catch a card on the river and he could get at least a bit of value for his hand?  I gave him more than he could ever have hoped for.  Another spectacular hand by P3.

Over the next hour or so, I lost a bit more on a series of standard hands.  Then this gem:

I limp call $8 with 44.  The flop is 4 9 T.  Old guy ships his last $60.  I snap.  Turn is x . . . River is 6.  Old guy tables 78.   And, with that, I found myself down for the session.    

A few more hours goes by.  I'm card dead; although I do pick off a few pots with some bluffs.   Then, finally, I look down at AA on the button.  I raise three limpers to $15.  Fold. Fold. Fold.  Good times.  

The very next orbit, I look down at KK on the button.  I raise 2 limpers to $15.  Fold.  Fold.  Of course.

An hour or so later, I'm sitting on $230, and pick up 6(s) 8(s) in the big blind.  An active player (both in terms of hands played and constant table talk) raises to $10.  He picks up two callers.  I decide to come along and throw in another $8.  The flop is 6 6 4.  Interesting.  Dude leads for $25. It folds to me.  I just call.  The turn is unmemorable.  He leads for $65.  Again, I just call.   The River is a Q.  Dude puts me all in.  I call .  .  . and show my 6.  Villain just mucks.   Hand really felt like he just spazzed.  I don't think he said a word for an hour afterwards.  His mistake was OK by me!

My phone died at some point in the night.  Eventually, I asked the guy next to me for the time. 4:45 am.  I had sat down at Harrah's just after 8:30 pm.  This was my longest session ever, particularly including the roughly 1.5 hours I played at Borgata.  Tally for the evening:  ($118) at Borgata; $160 Harrah's . . . $42 profit.   Not particularly favorable; but it beats losing.


  1. It does beat losing - way to battle. Nice fold on the second JJ vs. AA at Borgata. Don't be afraid to fold sometimes - you don't have to be the sheriff at the table. Like you said before you told us about your 66, your image at the table seemed solid, so you have to ask yourself why he'd be willing to check-raise you from 23 to 75 - what could he have, or better yet, what can you beat at that point? Way to fight and come out ahead though... :)

  2. Agree with ~Coach about the 66 hand. The wheels were definitely starting to fall off.

    Also surprised that your longest poker session to date is only 10½ hours.

  3. Welcome to the word of low limit poker. Get use to the horrendous beats on the river and the variance. You just haven't played enough to get used to it. 1-2 games, if they bet big, they usually have it. Just play basic abc,position,odds,etc. and you will have an advantage, on the 66 hand, they usually have a set or are slow playing AA or KK. pretty basic 1-2 play.

  4. Just calling pre, and then just calling on the all-undercard flop, with pocket Jacks? You're basically ensuring that you lose these hands with the way you are playing them. Just terrible.

    1. Let's talk specifics. Hand 1. Preflop: are you raising JJ UTG? Are you check-raising it? Assuming it was a mistake to limp-call . . . on the flop, are you leading? Are you check raising? What are your thoughts?

      Hand 2. I'm in position. I can certainly see the value of three-betting JJ OTB. But, again, let's say I make a "mistake" and just call. We are heads up to the flop. Are you raising his bet? If so, why?

      Thanks in advance for you thoughts.

  5. on the 1st JJ hand....raise UTG and when he repops you either make a disciplined fold or call with the mindset of set mining only....if you hit your J on the flop with no A out there you get the courtesy double up....by raising a small amount UTG here you are defining his hand to a degree....limp calling tells you nothing about the relative strength of his hand.....and you made the classic mistake of putting him on Ace big....could he have AK and repop you there?....sure....but not likely in a 1/2 game...most recs and regs view it as a drawing hand and will just want to see a flop with it...so when he repops you...depending on the amount...you can set mine or dump it.

    One of my favorite tricks is to raise to $6 with any hand I am going to play from 5-6 soooted to AA....even if the average bring in raise is $10-$12...this does several things...for one they can't get info on my hand strength with a bet sizing tell...for another....when i have the goods they will invariably repop it to somehing ridiculous like 10x+ and I KNOW they have KK or maybe QQ and are going to double me up 81% of the time.

    The downside to the smallball approach is having AA go to the flop 5 ways...but its more profitable than raising huge and hoping there is another big pair out there that will come along.

    on the 66 hand...as has been mentioned....this guy has a MONSTER . you have a tight image and he check raises you? Sirens and lights should be going off here...this guy put the cupcake out there and you are chowing down on it.

    1. Thanks Bill.

      A couple of thoughts on the JJ hand. In retrospect, given his actual hand, an UTG raise and a revaluation when he repops sounds great. But, in most instances, isn't your UTG raise going to simply get called in multiple spots by people with marginal hands (AT, KQ, etc). Aren't you just likely to create a big pot, multi-way, where you have to check/fold when over cards hit? As you can see from above, I raise JJ in middle to late position. Perhaps I just suck too much to be playing it for a raise out of position.

      As for the 66... Um. Yeah. In my defense, I had been drinking for about 10 hours at the time! Then again, I might have spazzed stone cold sober as well! As mentioned, his turn check through me. But, I guess it should be an easy fold to the raise. Another example of me over-complicating the $1/2 game, and thinking people are doing tricky shit when, in fact, they are not.

    2. You essentially have 3 options whenever 1st in the pot....limp raise and fold....what is the best option given the situation? Obviously effective stacks are important here....if you had all shorties behind you it might be correct to limp/shove one raiser...folding JJ from any position 1st in can't ever be right...so we are left with raising if there are some deep stacks behind you.

      Yes, AK thru AT and KQ are most likely going to come along... ....so now we have a bloated pot and the best hand!....this is good news...sure on some flops you will have to check fold....but lets look at flop like AJ2 rainbow....now you are making up for all those check/folds by doubling or even tripling up against AK AQ AJ A2 soooted and maybe even AT

      An unpaired hand only makes a pair on the flop 35% of the time...so even with multiple opponents (holding blockers to each other) it's not so bad.

      Ideally you want deep stacks and big implied odds in this situation so when you hit your hand you get paid in a big way.

      Bottom line is poker is a game of iincomplete information as I am sure you know...and limping doesnt gain you any info about your opponents range....raising could

    3. .Just take every decision individually and try to make the decision that will make you the most money in the long run

      I have JJ UTG at a loose table with deep stacks......raise.

      I got two callers and the flop comes down AKQ...check/fold
      The flop comes down 953....bet 2/3 pot....etc...etc

  6. Let me preface this by saying that my game is by no means stellar, but I limp a lot w/JJ. Hooks are so tough to play when an overcard flops, especially an ace. Conversely, when a jack hits the board, no one is putting you on a set.

  7. My longest session: I went to a casino Saturday afternoon at 4 and played straight through until Sunday evening at 7:30. Bad idea.


  8. OK JJ can be hard to play. That is true but it doesn't mean that it shouldn't be raised from any position on the table (assuming unopened pot). I would not raise small as I think that makes little sense. Low stakes players do 2 things consistently; call too much and raise too little. So why would I raise to $6 when I am likely to get called just as frequently if I raise to $10 or even $12. It's not about the best hand or what if over cards come, etc. the game is about exploiting edges or more specifically realizing our edges. Playing out of position CAN make it hard to realize our edge.

    You state that raising JJ UTG will often get called multi-way by marginal hands. As if that's a bad thing...I see that as the object of the game. Do you see what I'm saying? We want to be called by inferior/marginal hands as FREQUENTLY as possible.

    I would focus a bit more on understanding equities and then thinking of how to realize those equities. Will help to better understand the incredible power of position.

    As to what I would do...I would definitely raise JJ from UTG to $10 or $12. I would fold to most re-raises unless he makes a sizing mistake that allows me to profitably set mine.

    The second JJ is totally standard and well played IMO.

    The 66 is fine up until the check raise. They simply aren't going to exploit you at these levels. If you want to bet turn you have to fold to the c/r. His line is meh IMO but it worked because we overthought it and made a really loose call on turn and river.

    To the ANON trolling with the JJ hand...if you call pre and flop comes T high why in the world would we ever raise the flop bet? Makes no sense.

  9. To further clarify my point. You raise JJ and get called by KQ and AT. Discounting suitedness you have 38-39ish% equity and your nearest villain has ~33% equity. AT gets the worst of it with around 26-27%.

    So you are putting in 33% of the cash but getting 38.5% equity. Would you like these odds on VP machine?

    The question is can we realize that equity and that's where it gets a bit harder but we can only control the action preflop at this point. Can't control what the flop/turn/river brings. Can only exploit that preflop edge.

    I can get pretty semantical (to borrow and Eminem term) but this stuff is important IMO. Hope it helps.

    1. Brian, your comments are fantastic (as always).

      To finish out the hand . . . lets assume we raise pre flop (UTG) to $15, and get called in two spots. There's $48 in the pot, and the flop comes out with an over card (let's say K-high). What now? Are we leading out here? Assuming we are deep stacked pre flop, aren't villains' possible ranges Ax ... KQ, etc., and pocket pairs (depending, of course, on our perception of the opponents, perhaps we can limit or expand the range)? It would seem weak to me to give up control because of an over card. Bet out for $30 . . . ? Or check with the thought of possibly calling based on our perception of villain's bet?

      Assuming we get to a turn, are we giving up on the hand? This is where my post flop game gets me in trouble. These are the spots I think I tend to over think rather than give villains credit for the most obvious result, or I think I can out play someone. I'd be tempted to turn my JJ into a bluff on the turn and fire another barrel. Next thing I know, JJ has cost me $200. Hence, my instinct is to play them small out of position and essentially set mine them.

      Anyway, thanks again for the comments. One of these days I need to buy you a drink at the casino. Perhaps a decent single malt!


    2. I agree with Brian, raise JJ raise in early posiiton to define your hand, I like to know where I'm at early in the hand before feeling pot committed and putting more money in the hand. If he re-raises, you either make a discipline fold or a call depending on your read of opponent. If the pot is 10 high or one overcard, bet 2/3 of pot, if he raises, fold or call depending on your read. Sometimes you will fold the winning hand, everybody does, but you have to remind yourself that it's just one hand out of thousands you're gonna play. By the way I'm Anonymous #1, too lazy to set up a profile.

    3. I mean a dissertation could be written on c-betting; when to/when no to, etc. So much of it depends on our opponents ranges and how that range hits this flop. And that's where being observant, understanding opponents tendencies, seeing their reactions to your actions, etc can all incrementally improve your read. Absent that and I would default to a "standard" play, especially at this level.

      Something like with 1 over and 3 or fewer in the pot I am generally c-betting. With 2 or more overs and/or more than 3 in the pot I am ine check/reevaluating (generally check folding).

      Ignore the desire to check/call multiple streets at low levels. The players are simply not aggressive enough at these levels to warrant that type of line. Sure if you have a specific read there could be a spot where it makes sense but generally you are burning money check/calling at low stakes.

    4. "Ignore the desire to check/call multiple streets at low levels"

      This is advice I need to follow. My instinct seems always to worry I am playing to soft and getting pushed around. Reality is likely otherwise. I've mentioned it before, but I think this is my biggest leak (aside from sucking at poker in general, of course)

  10. I'd love to know the secret of reading a set...

    1. i would love to know the secret of how day old Little Ceasars pizza tastes soooooooooooo DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. I think I'm as nitty as they come, and I would never, ever limp with pocket Jacks. Never have, never will (at least in NL game, might have done it in a 2/4 limit game). If you limp, you are basically playing it the same as if it's pocket deuces and you're only set-mining.

    I raise and auto c-bet if there's only one or two others in the pot. Even if there's overcards. Even if there's an Ace. I may have to fold to a raise or check-fold the turn, but I would say in that situation, the c-bet takes the pot. around half the time (regardless of the flop).

    I might check-fold or check-call if there's four or more seeing the flop, that would be more situational.

    Of course, if I hit a set or better then I think about slow-playing, but that's a nice problem to have.