Sunday, December 03, 2006


Interesting hand of the day

This is sort of a mini update. Mainly because I'm tired of seeing Britney's snatch at the top of my blog. *shudders*.

So I just moved completely out of my old apartment over the weekend. This has poker relevance, because the office had my Harrington on Hold'em Part II (HoH:II) for about a month now. Now, I know that the HoH series' are really about tournaments, but some of the concepts are universal. Shit, they are even well applied to other games besides Hold'em. Harrington is a value-betting freak, and for good reason. As a sort of useful tangent, think about a tournament this way. You start with X number of chips. If you were to win this tournament you'd end up with Z*X number of chips, where Z is obviously the number of entrants. Getting from X to Z*X involves a series of chip acquistions. OK, there's nothing groundbreaking yet... So this means, if you lose out on 10% of your stack being a jackass in the first portion of a tournament, you are crippling yourself. Exponential growth is the second most rapidly growing series (factorial being first) and that being said, any amount to the "nth" power is fucking huge. This means that when you lose 100 chips early, you aren't just losing 100 chips... you are losing thousands, if not tens, or even hundreds of thousands depending on the series of chip acquisitions that are to come later (since you didn't have those chips to use to double up). Since you have lost out on 10% of your stack, you obviously cannot have this matched up in a double-up scenario against a larger stack. This snowballs as you get deeper in a tournament. The same can be said for not extracting 100% value out of a hand. It doesn't mean you are losing just the extra chips, but since the goal is to win, it means that you've lost an exponential factor greater. If you could follow that logic, it should make intuitive sense as to why playing very tight early is best, and why being a big stack allows you to bully (since you no longer are able to double up and have "excess" if you will).

Tangents aside, it's nice to be reading something and see it applied straight away. So tonight, I give you this hand. Keep in mind, my "image," if douchebags at the $50NL are even watching, is TAG (and yes, I know that I am implicating myself as a DoucheBag... so be it). That being said, I love to raise in the button. I rarely open limp. Here's what went down:

Full Tilt Poker
No Limit Holdem Ring game
Blinds: $0.25/$0.50
9 players

Stack sizes:
UTG: $48
UTG+1: $49.40
MP1: $55.85
MP2: $22.40
MP3: $55.10
CO: $51.65
Hero: $50
SB: $110.35
BB: $70.40

Pre-flop: (9 players) Hero is Button with Js Qs
3 folds, MP2 calls, 2 folds, Hero raises to $2.5, SB calls, BB folds, MP2 calls.

Villain is a 31/6/1.8/67. For those who don't speak PokerTracker, that's 31% of the time this DB sees the flop. 6% of the time this DB raises pre-flop. Our DB has an aggression factor of 1.8, which is average to low. Finally, this DB folds to 67% of flop bets. No real read on MP2.

Flop: Ts 8s 2d ($8, 3 players)
SB checks, MP2 checks, Hero...?

Ok, this flop is yahtzee. I really couldn't ask for a better flop than this. I'm a slight favorite to overpair, a pretty staggering equity leader against TPTK, and have about a 1 in 3 shot vs. a set. Normally, I'd bet here. But wait... Harrington says that this is what people expect. This is what I've been giving to the people all this time. I c-bet like a motherfucker. In 99% of cases, I c-bet here. But I've just been reading some HoH:II and says that it's best to take the free card. I have 2 others in with me who are probably expecting me to bet. I have so many outs, it's unreal. Not to mention that checking is the most deceptive play and does not define my hand at all. If I c-bet, and someone raises, I have to call. This defines my hand tremendously and in a negative way. Checking behind leaves my opponents with absolutely zero read on what I may be holding. Finally, I'm not giving people any outs to hit a hand, since if I don't get the right cards, I don't have a hand.

Hero checks

Turn: 9s ($8, 3 players)
SB bets $8, MP2 folds, Hero...?

Um Hi. I have the unbeatable nuts and now I have a generally non-aggressive OOP bettor mashing the pot button. There is definitely a case for raising here as we have a weak-tight player who is showing supreme interest. But the key element here is position. He's not going to get away from us and he likes the pot button. If I raise, a weak fish might swim away. If I just call, he obviously cannot beat me, and he will be staring at a value bet if he decides to check the river, in the worst case scenario. In the best case scenario, he mashes the pot button on the river and the pot is so inflated that I'll be pushing $10-$20 more into a $100 pot, where he calls me 95%+ of the time. He's going to have to call with anything.

Hero calls

River: 5c ($24, 2 players)
SB bets $24, Hero raises all-in $39.5, SB calls.

Does this street really even matter? No sense in hiding what I did, as it was pretty easy to follow.

Final pot: $103
Hero showed Js Qs
SB mucks Kh Ks

In summary, it's really nice to see what you have learned play out in a real scenario. I literally had just read that section probably 1 hour before that hand went down. Had I kept with my usual routine of c-betting, he probably would have put in a possibly uncallable raise (although, if it was an open-ended straight flush, I'm going to call whatever he wants to bet). Infinite implied odds and not defining my hand are +EV.

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