The Power of Position

Sundays are usually my off day; they are spent at home watching football and relaxing; it’s a good thing I wasn’t interested in the late game.  I arrive at Green Valley Ranch at 4pm and immediately fill an open seat in the 1/2 NL game.  For the first two orbits I do nothing but play pitch and catch with the dealer.  At first, I thought this was going to be a tough table, but it didn’t take long to spot the source of my daily income.

Seat 7, Bill, was an older gentleman who was winning hand after hand after hand.  He was relentless.  Finally, he had to showdown a few hands and they were silly.  He was raising with almost anything, but no one at the table knew how to play back at him.  At last I found a spot for a squeeze.  I was sitting in my favorite spot versus an aggro-maniac:  four seats to his left.  Most people believe, or have read, that it is best to sit to the immediate left of the most aggressive player at the table–WRONG.  If you are sitting on an aggro-maniac’s immediate left, Seat 8 in this situation, then after his raise you are next to act.  There is no dead money to play for, no dead money to steal, just the blinds and Seat 7’s raise.  The optimal position is three to five seats to his left.  This creates great opportunities to squeeze after players have entered the pot following the aggro’s raise.  The following hand is a great example.  I am in the BB with 9 T.  Two EP limpers enter the pot (in this game, EP limpers mean absolutely nothing), and Bill raises to $20.  The blonde lady in Seat 8 calls, as does a weak-passive player in seat 10.  I make it $90 to go and all fold.  Had I have been in Seat 8, this raise wouldn’t have had near as much as value.  Sitting a few seats down, I was able to collect a bit more dead money for a nice little pot.

I continued to exploit his weakness of being too aggro by squeezing when given the chance, making marginal call downs, and taking strong hands to value-town against him.  All-in-all, this was a nice session.  I love playing in games that make me use a little more than basic ABC fundamentals of poker to win.  It makes me feel as if I’m improving my game, which I am.  Everyone likes to get better at what they do, and this was a great chance to do that.  I came out $700 ahead in a three hours, and I have to give credit to great play and great position.  So the next time you spot an overly aggressive player, sit three or four seats to this left, have a cup of coffee, and watch your winrate increase exponentially.


A Dozen, Cousin

Today began in an awful fashion.  I planned on getting an oil change, new tires, and a haircut, now how does that go wrong?

I arrive at Wal-Mart (my first mistake) at Noon.  I tell the attendant exactly what I want, two new tires and a basic oil change.  He says it should take about 50 minutes, perfect!  I walk about half a mile to SportsClips where I am greeted with an hour and half wait.  No thanks.  I walk back to Wal-Mart.  To make a long story short, it takes them two hours, and I still don’t have new tires.  Ugh!  I go back home, change clothes, grab a sandwich, and, putting my 11 session streak on the line, head to Green Valley Ranch.

After a short wait, I buy $300 chips from the cage and take a seat in a juicy 1/2NL game.  The blonde lady sitting three seats to my left is a complete spew-tard…I have never seen an older white lady play so sporadically.   The talk of the table was her miraculously turning $50 into her now healthy stack of $400.  I watched mostly and observed her play.  It became quite apparent that she wasn’t folding any pair ever.  Several times she would 3-bet pf with very marginal holdings, (66, 44, AT, KJ etc…) I have no clue how she would play these hands on later streets, because the opportunity never arose.  She would always take it down preflop or nail the flop.  Finally, I pick up a hand and decided to put her to the test.  I make it $12 in EP with A Q.  The action gets to her and she 3-bets to $60.  A short-stacker moves in the remainder of his $45 stack and action is folded to me.  I insta-push.  I hate being all-in preflop because I feel like I have such a huge edge postflop against most of these players, but with a short-stacked player being all-in, I would rather isolate.  After all, she has had nothing for most of the day, and I was fairly sure she would fold…but wait—AH, Pocket Aces.  She calls, and turns over AA.  I fire my hand into the muck after the board is dealt and rebuy.

Shortly after, our table breaks and I’m quite sad.  I am fairly sure this lady is going to cash out her $1,000.  To my surprise, she takes two racks of red and goes to another table.  I make sure to get on her table, and preferably a few seats to her left.  I get my wish, I am in seat 10, she is seated in the 5 position.  Perfect, I have position half the time.  She stacks me again with 22 v TT when she spikes a deuce on the river.  I could have bet her off at anytime, maybe, but I was quite certain she would 3-barrel bluff at it, and she did.  UGH!

Rebuy!  I go in for a third time, but for only $200.  This puts me into the game for $800.  Normally, I would leave after losing 2 buy-ins, but this game is way too good.  I increase my last buy-in by 50% in a hurry, and then I get four consecutive hands with less than optimal results.  I pick up Pocket Sixes in the SB.  After four limpers, I make it $20 to go and everyone folds.  The very next hand OTB I get QQ.  Two players limp, I make it $20 again.  The big blind calls, and another player calls.  The flop comes out A 2 T.  BB checks, and the MP limper can barely restrain himself to check.  I check as well, knowing that the limper nailed the flop.  I get confirmation when he and the big blind get all-in on the turn and he shows A2 for Two Pair.  One hand later, I am in the CO and look down at Pocket Queens, again!  Again, I raise to $20.  The table is quite irritated and I get six callers.  I am ready to play a big pot with this one as the flop comes 5 6 9.  The small blinds moves all-in for $81 and the player UTG makes the call.  Normally, this is insta-shove, but UTG hasn’t played a hand in five hours.  I think for a long time, and fold.  I’m still not sure if this was a +EV fold or not.  It turns out, I was miles ahead, as the SB had 46o and UTG shows TT.  I would’ve won the hand but I was very sure I was beat, sigh, nothing right this session.  All the wrong reads, all the wrong results.  The next hand I get 77.  A new player makes it $20 to go, one caller, I make it $100, enough to put the pfr all-in.  He makes the call with AK and I lose the race.  This leaves me with $100, about 7 stacks short of being even for the day.  I decide that that’s enough.  I take my stack to the cage and exchange it for a crisp $100 bill.   What a bad session!  But the day isn’t over, yet.

I decide to take the $100 to the blackjack table.  A $700 loss would be about the same as an $800 loss, who knows, maybe I’ll run hot.  It didn’t take long to double my hundred.  Four hands after hitting the $200 mark, I make it to $300.  I hit a wall at the $400 mark, and my stack fluctuates between $300 and $400 for a while.  Finally, I decide that if I get down to $300 then I’ll call it a $500 loss and go home.  Several times I was at $325 with a Quarter in the bet circle.  “Shuffle.”

Along comes a new shoe,  and for the first four rounds there wasn’t a single face card dealt; count is plus twenty.  I go on a sick rush and before I know it I have a stack of green in front of me.  I’m betting $50-$75 a hand, doubling, splitting, and hitting blackjacks.  I finally stop to count and i have $760.  “Forty more and I’m even, hell, I may squeak out a profit on the day.”  I get up to $840 when the deck begins to even out.  I decide that I’ll play with the $40, but I’m not touching the $800.  “Shuffle.”  What a great shoe!  All the while I was taunting the house, everytime there was a dealer change I would say, “Bring in the bullpen, another blown save, I’m running too hot Franklin.”  BTW, Franklin is the floorperson’s name, LOL.  After each blackjack I say, “Here’s a nickel dealer, keep it up and I’ll pay both our mortgages.”  The other players were laughing and having a grand ol’ time.

After the shoe, I have $810.  I bet the $10, push, bet it again and lose.  Color please.  I color up to $800, but wait, I have five singles in my coat pocket.  Chalk it up as a $5 win on the day, and a dozen straight winners at GVR.  But sadly, my poker streak is now at -1.  Tomorrow is another day!

Streak Intact at GVR

I had a split session yesterday, which I log as two different sessions.  My first session lasted only 45 minutes, as I was originally going to have lunch with Kim, but some Vegas vacationers decided to have a walk-in wedding at the last minute.  Scratch that plan, I’ll head home for a free lunch at the casa…ain’t no food better than free food.  In the 45 minutes I played, I won $60, it would’ve been $200 but I can’t beat AT with AK in an all-in preflop ever.  LOL.

After I have a sandwhich and catch up on some sports news, I head back to GVR where I have never had a losing session.  I buy-in with my usual $300, and while I am at a great table, my seat is horrible.  I am in seat 3, with an aggro-psycho LA native in seat 4.  I am able to squeeze him from the blinds occasionally, but for the most part, I am just folding.  There is a huge fish in seat 6, but he escapes my net several times and it doesn’t take long for my stack to dwindle to $200; then I pick up         99 in LP.  I make it $15 to go, seat 4 calls as does seat 7.  Both villains have me covered, and seat 7 is 22 years old and plays like he is on the Internet.  The flop is not ideal:  3 Q T.  Seat 7 donks into me with a $25 bet, I make it $75, LA native fluffs-and-puffs his way to a fold, and seat 7 moves it in.  Normally this is a fold for me, but at 1/2 live not many players will bet into the raiser with a strong hand, in this case, 33 or QT.  Furthermore, most will fold or call with Top Pair or less.  This leads me to believe that player 7 has air or a big draw.  I make, what I thought to be, a hero call.  Turn is 4, river is 9.  I really thought the 9 was a bad card for me, but at showdown he tables QT, and I show him a Set of Nines for a huge suckout…a bad read gone right!  LOL….lucky me, but my misread tilted me a bit.

Two hands later, I look down at K K.  After five limpers, I make it $20 to go.  The player to my left, who has been fairly quiet, makes the call.  Stack sizes are:  Me-$400, Villain-$900.  Heads-up to the flop of K 9 3.  He donks out $25, not wanting to play a huge pot just yet, I smooth call.  The turn brings the 6.  He bets $25 again, I quickly call.  The river is my money card, 6.  He bets $25 again, I tank for 10 seconds and announce that I’m all-in.  He beats me into the pot and says, “Full house” as he tables 99.  I show him my KK and he is sick.  He was sure the river card saved him when, in fact, it cost him $300.

I’m not sure my play was very stellar today, but I managed to scratch out a $560 win and increase my win streak at Green Valley Ranch to 11 sessions….what a game!

NFL Week 3 and Poker

Week 3 of the NFL brought some profitable bets my way.  I went 6-2 betting the NFL, with one of my losses coming in OT…yes, I picked the Bengals to beat the Giants at a nice price of 6.5 to 1.  The week would have been much more profitable if the favored Europeans could have beaten the US Ryder Cup team at Valhalla, but I did get the Titans, Falcons, Niners, Eagles, and Cowboys to cover–NFL = easy money!

On Tuesday, back to GVR for another poker session.  The jackpot is up to $230,000, you would think this would bring in the fish, but there were only three NL tables going when I arrived.  I bought in for $300, my standard buy-in at GVR.  I was up and down for the first 30 minutes, mainly down.  My buy-in shrank to $150 in a hurry, but I sooned doubled up with an AI pf with AJ suited.  What?!?!  All-in with AJ?  Indeed.  MP raises to $12, I make it $50 with A J.  He moves in for his last $75, I call.  The river gives him a set of Tens but it completes my straight as the flop containted both a King and a Queen.

A few hands later I stack a guy who decided that it would be wise to limp in with Pocket Kings.  After his limp, I raise with A K, he calls.  The flop comes Jack high with two hearts.  He check-raises me all-in and a snap call.  I am suprised to see his KK, I spike an Ace on the turn, “Good game lad.”

When the blinds get back to me, I decide to go for a stroll, as I had drank a bit too much coffee.  When I get back, I post my $3 and pick up Two Aces.  UTG had straddled, one limper, I make it $20 to go.  The guy on my left calls as does the straddler.  Flop is 9 8 9.  UTG checks, I check, last to act bets $25.  UTG folds, I call.  Turn is 7.  I check, the guy on my left bets $80.  I check-raise for the remainder of his stack, about $150 more.  He tanks for a while and folds.  I play for a while longer, rack up, and leave with a nice little profit.  More tales later!

Here Fishy…

I’ve logged four sessions in the last seven days, two at the V and two at Green Valley Ranch.  Both sessions at the V were 2/5NL, and both times I won a buy-in or so, nothing too spectacular.  Yesterday I played at GVR…wow…that is a world class pond.  The players at GVR can be divided into three categories:  Nits trying to hit the jackpot, Super Fish, and players trying to exploit the fish.  Both today, and yesterday I succeeded in stacking the biggest fish at the table.

Yesterday:  I have 3 5 in the BB.  The fish is on my left and limps UTG, no one raises, so five of us take a flop of 2 4 T.  I bet $10, the fish calls, all others fold.  Turn is A.  I bet $25, he smooth calls again.  I know he has a big hand, but not bigger than the nuts obviously.  I decide that if the board doesn’t pair, I’m pushing.  The river card is the J.  I push for $200, he beats me into the pot and proudly tables his AA.  To save his stack, all he had to do was make it $10-$15 to go preflop, thanks for the monies.

Today:  Today’s fish stacking was a little more premeditated.  The guy in seat 1 just looked like a fish.  He always had a confused look on his face, checked his cards at least five times throughout the hand, made very weird bets, just FISH!  I had been playing a while, and it appreared that I was never going to have a pair against him.  This player was from Missouri, the SHOW ME STATE.  If the flop were Jack high and it were checked around, he would risk his whole stack if he turned a pair of Tens…very easy fish to exploit.  Finally, I get involved with him.  I make it $10 UTG with A A.  Fish calls from the SB, and a very tight player calls from the BB.  Flop is 9 2 3.  Fish checks, BB checks, I check.  What?!  I checked?!  Why?!  Turn is 8.  Fish bets $25, BB folds, I think for maybe four seconds and raise him the remainder of his $200 stack.  I know he is calling, and I know I have him beat.  This bet is so huge, $175 at a pot of $85.  He calls with A8.  River is a harmless T and I take the money.  He leaves, and immediately after his departure, three other players leave as well.  “Sorry for busting the fish, guys.”  Oh well, I racked up shortly after with a $230 profit on the day.  Now if only the silly Europeans can win the Ryder Cup!!!!

I Still Hate Tourneys

Alright, one day after a measly cash in a NLHE tourney, I am ready to play the WCOOP HORSE.  After the first hour (it takes an hour to get through all 5 games), my position is 9th of the 2100 entrants.  I dominate the razz and stud hi/lo rounds for some reason, I’m above average in Limit Holdem, and average at Stud.  I just fold in the O8B round.  The next hour would be a roller coaster.  I lost AJ to 77 in a 3-bet pot pf when 77 spikes a set on the TURN!  ACK!  I lose a few more pots in the O8B round, but then my Razz play saves me.  I pick up a lot of pots in Razz, I remain fairly quiet during the Stud round, and win a bit in the Stud Hi/Lo round.  Second hour is over!

The third hour would be my demise.  I lose every hand of O8B with quality starting hands, I lose a big pot in Razz, and another when I misread my hand.  I had a Ten-Nine low and thought I had a Nine-Six low…rrrgh, what a bad mistake!  It was a great read though, as a 9-6 low would’ve been good, LOL.  I finish in 1800th place when I go busto in the Stud round with split Queens vs. an Ace with two other Aces showing.  Did I mention that I hate tourneys?

I Hate Tourneys

Thursday night I decided that I was going to get up early and play in the Venetian Daily Noon Tournament.  It’s a good tournament, if you like tournaments, which I don’t.  Starting chips are $7500, buy-in is $135 with a $15 entry fee for a total of $150.  I take my seat at table 25, seat 10.  It doesn’t take long to spot a few fish.  The only female on the table is horrible, if she calls a bet on the flop, she is not folding ever.  With this in mind, I bet T$4,000 on the river with the nuts at a T$700 pot….she calls.  I gradually build my stack throughout the tournament, making the first break, then the second, then the third.

With four tables left of the twenty table field, I pick up A3o in the SB.  With the blinds at 1k/2k with a T$100 ante, the table folds to me.  I have 20K left and push.  The BB has Pocket Kings, but I snap an Ace in the window.  Yay!  Tournaments are so dumb.  An open-push would never happen with A3o in a cash game!  I’m on tilt and I won the hand!  LOL.  The next hand, I pick up JJ on the button, folds to me, I push again, this time for 40K.  BB calls with AK.  I eliminate him.  My chances are looking good, and it appears that I have a legitimate shot to win this thing.  My stack of $72K is more than twice the average with 45 players left.  My table is broken, and I don’t win a hand after this.  I finish in 16th place, good for a $210 payout.  So, nine hours later I make a whopping $60.  On top of that, I am drained from playing for 9 straight hours, so it’s bad for me to even make an attempt at playing cash.  I just come home and get some rest for the next tourney:  WCOOP HORSE on PokerStars….ACK!