Friday, June 26, 2009

First Stacking

Just seven hands in to my first live cash poker in Las Vegas, and I've already been part of a full-buyin stacking.

I bought in for $200 tonight with one pair in a 1-2 game at the MGM, when I picked up pocket Kings just seven hands in to my session. UTG limped for $2, UTG+1 also limped for $2, and I popped it up to $10 from third position with KK. Pissingly, two other idiots called the $10 bet behind me, even with the first two under the gun players still to act, and they of course also called the bet. I knew of course this was a bad situation for my pocket Kings, with four other players calling 5x the big blind to see the flop despite my very reasonable efforts to push them out by bumping it to $10. Obviously it wasn't enough, and I knew I would have to get a very favorable flop or fold to any action.

And that's when the flop came down 332 with two diamonds. I had the King of diamonds, but that has nothing to do with the story and I never considered the backdoor flush draw a factor in the hand. All I knew was, after I had kicked it up to $10 preflop, I'm surely not putting anyone on a 3, but there could easily be one (or more) flush draws out there, a bunch of overcards, and quite likely some middle pairs which are now overpairs to the board. The only hand I was legitimately worried about was pocket Aces, maybe at least partially because I have managed to run Kings into Aces three times in the past few nights already, but really by just limping and calling preflop, no one played their hand like AA since anyone with a brain would do whatever they could to limit the number of players in the pot with a raise in that situation.

Anyways, further complicating matters, the UTG player then led out into me, donk betting me after I had been the preflop raiser, which is almost never a monster since it is so much more obvious to go for the check-raise against the preflop raiser who is pretty sure to c-bet a flop like this. His bet was for just $10 into what was I guess around a $50 pot. UTG+1 just called, and I raised it to $50 with my pocket Kings. The two late position guys folded, and then UTG minraised me to $90. It felt like a punch in the stomach. Now that move realy felt like pocket Aces, a vibe I had already kind of been on even before his action on the flop. My first reaction was to grip my cards almost immediately to chuck them into the muck. But then that little voice started talking.

"You really think that guy limped preflop UTG with Aces? And then you think that, seeing another limper, a 5x raiser, and two callers of that raise, he then decided to just call along with his pocket rockets and knowingly take a 5-way flop for $10 rather than try to thin the field and/or build the pot with the best possible starting hand and a lot of action coming on this flop? You really believe that? Come know he didn't play that hand like pocket Aces before the flop at all. The story he's trying to sell you just doesn't add up."

On and on the voice went, and before I knew it I had convinced myself that just calling the flop and seeing if the turn card changed anything was the right move, he probably didn't have pocket Aces given his preflop action, and I was just seeing things that weren't there because of my recent experiences with running Kings into Aces. So off went another $40 of my now just $100 stack remaining into the middle on my call. The turn card was an offsuit 4, making the board 2334 with still the two diamonds. As I was just processing the hand, the UTG player instantly announced all-in. He had me covered by about $60 or so.

I guess I'm just a sucker for the insta-allin move on the turn. actyper used is successfully against me an the BBT4 Tournament of Champions final table a couple of weeks back, and then tonight when this guy pushed so quick and with so much bravado, I very quickly let that voice again convince me that my one pair was sufficiently ahead of his overall range that I clearly had the roughly 33% equity I needed to call of my last $100 to win $300. I mean, the board is 2334, and he called a 5x raise preflop and donk-bet and minraised me on the flop. No way in hike he has A5 there, right? Donk-betting and minraising that flop with A5? Not a chance. 65, same story. I don't really see him donk-betting and then min-raising me if he has 44 on that flop either, as he would probably want to put in a significant raise to find out where he's at and try to get a higher middle pair to fold. So basically, either this guy has AA, or he has 22 and flopped a set, or I am ahead of every other reasonable hand since no hand with a 3 is worth calling a 5x preflop raise with, other than perhaps 33 which would mean he flopped quads and I'm just not going to spend time considering that.

So I struggled with it, but eventually I don't think I made a good move on the flop because I left myself no choice but to call off my last hundy on the turn when getting 3-to-1 on that pot. I mean, if the flush had completed, or if the only open ender on that flop would have filled with a 6 on the turn, then I would surely get away. But how do I really put my Kings behind his range here, I kept asking myself. And when I couldn't answer it anymore, I just shrugged, slid my chips into the middle and asked him to show me his pocket Aces.

He did in fact not have pocket Aces.

He did, however, show me the J3 of spades. Soooooooted donk FTW!

Although I forked over $200 with just one pair during my first orbit of my first cash session in the process, this hand just reinforced what I already knew in coming to Las Vegas after my last couple of live sessions at the casino -- I am going to make so much money playing poker here this weekend.

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Blogger Fabio Ruini said...

... just keep on mind you're not playing an MTT, mate... otherwise you'll end up losing dozens of hands like this one and winning just few stupid pots...

7:35 PM  
Blogger OES said...

When a donkey min-raises you, then insta-all in's, i would think you know better sir that even an overpair is no good. Reading your posts for awhile, you're better than that, clearly. You might have not known he was a donkey given it was the seventh hand, but that line is real donkeyish. All of those situations that you list, would be a good player protecting his hand or getting information, which are relatively complex. I obviously have the power of hindsight bias, but after vomiting on the flop then the same the turn, I'm easily folding then quickly reloading because that table looks real soft.

Nonetheless, enjoy this week sir. I would like to hear all about Prime because that shit is INcredible.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Yeah this wasn't my best play, no doubt. You have my word I will play better over the next few days.

And about the mtt / cash thing, I just don't have the skill for cash game play. I'll just have to stick to tournaments me thinks.

10:17 PM  
Blogger Jestocost said...

Welcome to the MGM 1-2 game.

10:48 PM  
Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Hoy, I think your error was playing this game like it was something other than a 1/2 live game. In 1/2 live games, $10 is not a bet to push players out of the hand; it's a pot sweetener. These players see $10 as a hand of blackjack. In other words, it's not 5x the BB (which appears like a significant bet) but "just $10." In a hand like that with a couple of limpers, you have to bet $12 minimum, and likely $15 or $17. Once one player calls your $10, the rest are coming along for the ride because of odds (even if they don't necessarily realize that that is the reason they are calling).

Then, on the flop, you treated his initial bet as a sign of weakness, but once again, in a 1/2 cash game, most players are not playing that tricky. His bet out is from strength, and his re-re-raise only moreso. It was fairly clear he didn't have an overpair under KK, otherwise, he would've bet out preflop. Essentially, I think your preflop weak raise set you up for this disappointing hand.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Jordan -- FYI I have come to this same conclusion myself as far as my preflop bet sizing, and plan to adjust that starting today. I've played in plenty of live games where a raise to $10 is sufficient to get out J3s in all situations bar none, but clearly you are correct in this case.

Planning to play some cash this afternoon so hopefully will have some better stories to tell.

12:10 AM  
Blogger Astin said...

What Jordan said. Vegas. MGM. 1/2. $10 is practically a limp.

$12-$15 to get anyone's attention.

1:26 AM  

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