Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting

I've played and witnessed a few interesting hands at the Vic recently.

Hand #1.

2-5 NLH. I limp UTG with 33 and a few others follow suit. Flop 3 8 7 badugi, £30 in the pot. I lead for £20. Next guy folds and now the villain springs to life with a raise to £50. Everybody folds back to me and I call.

The villain in question is a regular at the Vic who I have played a fair amount with, not a lot, but enough for me to know that he is a super-loose passive calling station. A typical move by him would be to cold-call a raise and a re-raise out of position etc.

As far as I know, he never raises on the come (unless he is going all-in with his last bit of scratch) or makes flairy raises because he thinks he can push you off a hand and so on. In fact, I would argue that this guy (a very nice guy btw who loves his roulette) is the epitome of a loose-passive calling station.

Turn 8. Hmmm, I check. He now gives it the dwell and checks too.

River T (putting a backdoor flush out there). I now bet £75. He fiddles about with his chips for a bit (jeez, I wonder how much he's gonna raise?) and makes it £250. Marvellous. I fold.

Great, the first full house I've made in about 100 years at Holdem and I feel I have to fold it. The thing is, I'm pretty confidant that the villain in question would not raise there with just trip 8s. If he had a straight or a flush he would just call me down. On the flop he is not raising me with just top pair - ok, maybe he was raising with an over-pair, but if so, these too are hands that he would just call on the river with as opposed to raising.

I know you're supposed to assign a range of hands that your foes can have these days, but I have to say that when he raised me on the flop I immediately put the villain on top two (i.e 87 in his hand) and I have to say that further action down the streets only strengthened that belief. Of course, I could be wrong and I was totally outplayed in which case kudos to him and I'm an idiot (we know that already, so that's no big deal).

As it happened there was a pigeon-y kind of player (that's more original that fishy, isn't it?) who was incredulous that I folded such a strong hand and was convinced that the villain had a straight (he might be right, we'll never know). As we discussed it, a young player on my left who seemed pretty solid to me agreed with my analysis of the situation (confirmation bias FTW).

I told Panni about the hand too (he knows the villain in question) and before I even finished the story he said, "87, definitely 87" - without a doubt I respect his opinion so in my mind I really feel I made a good fold there.

Hand #2.

2-5 NLH. A strong, solid TAG player limps UTG, another player limps and I raise to a pony with AhKh in the cutoff. One of the blinds call, the TAG calls as does the other limper after him.

Flop T K 3 badugi, about £100 in the pot. Checked around to me and I bet three farmers' daughters (that's £75 to those of you who can't speak cockney poker jargon - far superior to young american collegiate poker jargon imo). The BB folds and now the TAG check-raises to a bottle (£200 - alright, alright, I'll stop). The other player gets out of the way and now the action is back on me. I neglected to mention the stack sizes - approx £1,300 for the TAG and I had him covered.

Hmmm, what to do? This particular villain is a super-solid player who really knows the game. I've tangled with him before and I know he respects my game (as he knows that I respect his etc). What I haven't mentioned is that in this particular game he was getting beat up pretty bad. Not that he was on tilt or anything, he's too good a player to have serious steam issues, but he was having one of those sessions where he just could not win a hand no matter what he did.

As I pondered my next move it struck me that I was only really worried about a set of 3s or top two (i.e KT in his hand). Also, that check-raise was kind of small, pretty weak-looking when you think about it. Also, my bet just looks a standard c-bet. Fuck it, I've got the best hand here. Raise! £500 to play.

Of course, if I think I have the best hand there is an argument for just calling - I am in position after all - and letting my foe bluff off a few more chips. But I think if I call it could lead to a tough spot further down the line, especially as I'm up against a good player.

Anyway, as I said, I raised and after not too much thought the TAG folded.

Hand #3.

I wasn't in this one, just happened to eyeball it firsthand. 5-10 PLO. There's been a raise and re-raise and somehow four players have all put in £395 before the flop. Incidentally, the stacks were quite shallow in this hand apart from Mike Ellis who had about 3 or 4 grand in front of him.

Flop 9 9 5 (badugi again, I think). Vach, who I think was in the BB now leads out all-in for £685. After longish dwells both the raiser and re-raiser pre-flop fold and now the unbluffable calling station star.....folds too. Unlucky Vach, no action for your 9TJK or your 5s full.

Vach now turns over his hand. KJ87!! Wow, now that's what I call luck. To bluff pure air (apart from the gutterball straight out) with a bet of a bit less than half the pot into three players behind you in a lively PLO game and get away with it means you must be living right.

In case you're wondering about the title of this post - last night I went to Neil's unveiling of his new business/web site blackbeltpoker.com which looks like it could be the nuts. It was a really good presentation and considering that Channing can talk the hind legs off several mules he was really concise and to the point. I wish him the best of luck with it and suggest you check it out (they're going live in early April).

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