Gold Rush Buddies

Tidbits from some of our Sacramento area Poker games

  1. 2012-04-05 01:41:43

    Playing a 4-flush post-flop

    During last Saturday's tourney at Thunder Valley, my last move has been to move all-in post flop with a 4-flush. Sunday, at our league game, I called a big bet with a flush draw only, yet I folded a later hand post flop despite having a 4-flush, and much later I called Laurie's all-in post-flop with a 4-flush. So, what's the rational? We talked about it, but I fear I confused people, so here are some thoughts on the matter I wanted to share (to the risk of confusing everyone!)

    HAND 1:

    On my button, with ~23,000 left, blinds at 800-1,600 and 200 antes, UTG+3 raises to 4,500; I call from the button with and so does the BB. Flop comes , I have top-pair and the 2nd nut flush; BB checks, UTG+3 c-bets to 7,500; I raise all-in to 18,500; BB folds but UTG+3 calls and shows pocket fives for a set. Turn is the to make my flush, river is an eight for his full-house and my demise
    >>> Let's break it down. The range for UTG+3 to raise is pretty open: any pair, any ace, suited connectors, all are fair game at this stage of the tournament. My call in position allows me to push on him if he shows any weakness in later streets, or if I hit the board. I could make this call with practically any cards. The BB is already partially in, and my call definitely prices him in. So action pre-flop is pretty typical. The 8h5s2s flop is somewhat connected, suited, so UTG+3 c-bet is to be expected regardless of his hand, plus it seems relatively unlikely that the board would hit us strongly. What are my options? Fold: no way. I hit top pair, a decent kicker, and have the 2nd nut flush draw. Call: the 7,500 is ~40% of my stack, my odds to hit a spade on the turn are only 1 in 5 (9 outs once) and I have less chances to improve my hand than I potentially give that guy by just calling. Also, I price the BB in to stick around and possibly outflop me, so a call seems pretty weak. Raise: now I know I'll have 2 streets to hit my 5th spade, another 8 or pair my King to outdraw the original raiser, and he would have to call without knowing if he improves or if I do during those 2 streets: sounds like a good deal. Also, getting back to his range, even if he suspects I have a straight or flush draw, he would be leary to risk so much (he had me covered but not by much) with an overpair or any Ace. Only hands he can call with are {55}, {22} or {88} as he's got a set, or a flush draw of his own, though he'd call probably only with the nut flush draw (AsXs). So I shove... too bad he had precisely the killer 55!!

    OK, this one got me more than a couple of comments, and all about one thing: what was I thinking when I got involved in that hand?! I've missed to provide a few elements. First, my stack, even close to an M of 10, was around half the average stack in the room, and I needed to make something happen before I had lost all prospect to make top-10. When I got moved to that table, I had just below 30,000 chips and got decimated by blinds and antes, raises from bigger stacks and all-ins from shorter stacks. But the key element was the raiser himself: this was his 3rd raise in 10 or 12 hands, but this time he hesitated and looked weaker, if not weak. Very thin read on him, but got a sense that now was the time, and that a push from me on 90% of the flops would work (any Ace, King or 8, flush or straight possibility, and so on...

    HAND 2:

    In early position, I limp for 100 with , the Button and SB call, BB checks. Flop is and is checked around. Turn is , SB, BB and I check, but Button raises to 500. SB & BB fold, I call. River is a third diamond, I bet 1,000, button calls, shows a set of sixes and loses to my flush.
    >>> Let's break it down. Pre-flop limp, checked around post flop is not surprising early in the tournament. The flop was rather dry and unlikely to have helped anyone. The turn is a 6 of diamond, pairing the board AND giving me a decent diamond flush-draw. The combination is not condusive to a bet with my hand, but the button's bet of 500 (over bet?) really looks like (at least represents) she might have hit a set of sixes. That's important, because at a first glance, I do not have pot odds to call (500 to a 800 pot, with odds at best at 1 to 5) but I have implied odds: if I hit a diamond, I know the Button will call any (reasonable) bet I'll make. That's what happened: got my flush, bet it (looks like a still), the Button has a set with an Ace kicker, my runner-runner flush looked like a far-stretched story, and she calls.

    HAND 3:

    I limp from the cut-off an un-opened pot for 100 with a suited . SB calls and BB checks. Flop come , with 2 clubs: I have a flush draw. SB bets 200, BB raises to 500, I fold my hand.
    >>> Let's break it down. Pre-flop, all I had was position, J8 even suited is pretty bad, so a limp is a more conventional venue than a raise. When SB bets on the A-K-rag flop, one can assume he's got something: maybe a pair, maybe a draw. If BB would have folded, I would have floated the SB bet, again not so much because of my own flush draw (200 more to a 500 pot is not +EV) but on the ground of having position and the opportunity to punish any weakness in later streets. When BB raises to 500, now my options change drastically: if I call and somehow SB let's us see a Turn card, I must improve right then (one chance in 5, my odds are bad) before another round of betting. But what's worse, is that SB could well reopen the action by 3-betting on my call and then god knows what BB would do, but in any case my call money is lost. The action was too hot, and I felt I had to go away.

    HAND 4:

    With an above average stack, blinds at 100-200 and 25 antes, in early position, I raise to 600 with . All folded to the blinds: SB, short-stack, calls; BB calls too. Flop comes with 2 hearts. SB and BB check, I c-bet 1,200, SB check-raises me to 4,000 (she's all-in), BB fold, I call the 2,800. Missed the turn but hit a heart on the river to make my flush and bust SB.
    >>> Let's break it down. Pre-flop, I raise to keep the pressure on the short stacks who were playing cautious, warry to bust before another shorter stack. SB call leads me to believe she had a decent hand (small- or mid-pair, weak Ace) but not a monster, while BB felt probably priced-in. Post flop, checked to me I c-bet like I would do 90% of the time, not because I have a flush draw, despite the bad feeling that the Ace might have hit someone. But to know if the Ace hit anyone, I have to bet, and represent I have an Ace. I got my answer: when SB check-raises me all-in I know I am behind, but there are two factors here: it now only costs me 2,800 extra chips to win a total pot of 11,600, a 24% pot-odd, while my odds to hit a heart on the turn OR the river are around 40%. The call is obvious. Note that if she had shoved on the flop, SB would have given me only 34% pot odds, borderline +EV... I would have considered folding, though calling in the end, as I could afford a call even with worse odds given my dominant stack at the time, and the high value of busting a dangerous competitor in the league.


    Posted by Frederic at 2012-04-05 01:41:43 | permalink | Discuss (0 comments)

  2. 2011-10-17 15:50:43

    BAY101 - The curse of pocket Kings

    So, I've played this last Saturday, at San Jose's BAY101. Played once there before: a Shooting Star satellite where I busted early with pocket Kings, against an aggressive pocket Aces. This time, it's a $200 buy-in tournament, 90-some entrants, starting with 10,000 chips. Blinds go fast (20 minute rounds) with early antes. They pay top-12, but 6 through 12 are lame money back equivalents, only top-spots seem worthwhile.

    Hand setup: down to 24 players on 3 tables, I am the second biggest stack with close to 80,000 chips, twice the chips average. Chip leader is around 120,000 chips, mostly because he's busted the last 4 players at our table, calling them with sub-premium hands. He's a gambling loose Asian guy, who has not shown real good poker skills (a couple of young guys, on the other hand, worried me more because they were awful good...) At the end of last round, he was bullying folks a lot, playing his big stack with not too much subtlety. My image at the table is solid: I have not lost one hand on show down, showing Aces once, pocket Jacks, and , oh and I've not been caught bluffing (though I did my fare share of it).

    Back from break, blinds are 1,500 and 3,000 with 300 antes I believe. I am under the gun with so I raise to 11,000 (I've consistently raised an unopened pot 3xBB plus extra for antes). The chip leader is on my left and announces pretty quickly "all-in", my worse case scenario as I was not looking forward a confrontation against him. It's of course folded down to me. I've tanked several minutes, which is very unusual from me.

    "Be safe, fold..." says the voice. In the past few weeks, I have busted early twice in our WPT League managing to get someone all-in with me and my pocket Kings, only to see they had Aces. And I busted at the Bay101 18 months ago on that setup too. I have over 60,000 chips left if I fold. He must have Aces... Money is not far and there are a few short-stacks...

    "Yet..." I'm thinking. That guy could have Aces, right, and he would play them probably like that. But he could have a big or middle pair (he busted 2 guys with tens...) or a big ace. He raised so fast, not much thinking went into it. Also, I'm not trying to survive to 12th position and win $225. Against some other excellent players I've seen around, I'll need a strong stack, a double-up would be welcome. Final trigger: the read. After a long while, I asked him "it would not be happening again: you really have pocket Aces?" And for a fraction of a second, I thought he reacted nervously, like he was shocked, surprised, worried. I read some weakness. And while until now he had been waiting looking strong and laid back on his chair, he now came closer to the table. So I called. He seemed unhappy, and showed Two players said they folded an Ace: one I believe, the BB with whom I've played for over an hour, the other I doubt. I'm at least 72% to double-up, add 5% for each potential dead ace.

    Flop comes and I am now 86% to win. Turn is and he's down to less than 7%. River is - end of story.

    Back in the same spot, I believe I'd reach the same conclusion and do it again. That's poker.

    Posted by Frederic at 2011-10-17 15:50:43 | permalink | Discuss (1 comment)

  3. 2011-07-07 18:36:39

    Vegas WSOP Event #43: $1,500 No-Limit Hold???em

    This big Event started on Saturday June 25, with 2,857 entrants including Chris, Mauricio (Marky) and my buddy Tim from hp. Whereas in Thursday's $5,000 6-handed event I stayed at the same seat for the whole Day 1, along with a couple of other players, this $1,500 made me move to a new table at least 6 or 7 times.

    In Round 9 (300-600 blinds, 75 antes) with about 500 players left (yes, more than 2,300 already busted!) and about 17,000 chips (average around 26,000) I played my last hand. On my SB, the chip-leader under the gun calls, UTG+2 raises to 1,800 (it was Bernard Lee, the East-Coast pro). The guy on the button, on my right, had me covered, but not by much, had played kinda tight so far, and he re-raises to 5,700. I look at my cards: . I take the time to breath and think a bit but with this much action, I want to be heads-up against one guy, not 2 or 3, so I shove my entire stack. BB and UTG fold, Lee folds pretty quickly, the button says he's pot-committed (really? what can I 4-bet with?!) and calls for the vast majority of his stack with . When I show my aces he used a couple of bad words Sam would be proud to hear me say, until the flop came: . No ace on the turn or the river, and I was done for. I was 80% favorite to end up with about 35,000 chips and my ticket into Day 2!

    Sadly enough, Tim also busted (I believe with an weak ace, from the SB) less than a minute later! We were both less than 200 still from the cash... So close again! And unfortunately, Chris & Marky also busted earlier...

    Posted by Frederic at 2011-07-07 18:36:39 | permalink | Discuss (0 comments)

  4. 2011-07-07 17:54:58

    Vegas WSOP Event #40: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em / Six Handed

    We started Day 1 on Thursday June 23 with a stack of 15,000 chips, 732 players total, much more than the 568 ones last year. Having 6 players only per table makes it for more action. What made things worse at my table (Black #20), for the first hour or so, we were only 4 with one late and one open! So I got involved in much more hands than I was comfortable playing, which translated into ups and downs leading to a slow decay of my stack.

    Starting the 9th round, after 8 hours of play, my stack was down to about 7,500 chips, its lowest point ever. But now the blinds & antes were coming at me fast & furious, so I started taking some risks.

    First notable double-up, I shoved all-in under the gun with and got called by the big blind and his . I spiked a Queen on the flop to double up. The young kid was chip leader and playing pretty aggressive, making hero calls I would never have made (like calling on the river with King high).

    Second almost double up came on Round 10, with the same young kid, past mid-night. He was noticeably tired, and had had a couple of bad beats after doubling me up, resulting in him being short stack. On my BB, my ~18,000 chip stack had him covered, and he just called from the SB. Seems awful weak to me and my so I put him all-in. He calls with ! and he flops a to take the lead, until the river, a 3-outer !!! The BBPL crew was standing by the rail and made a ruckus that made me feel like I was on a final TV table! Did I hear "Dominated" ?!

    I started Day 2 with 172 other players, a stack of 28,900 chips, a bit below average, with over 130 people ahead of me. My final hand has been a real heart-breaker, still thinking how to play it better, but I think I was doomed the minute I got involved in it. On my BB, UTG+1 (a mega-stack young foreign pro) raises - again - to 2.5 BB. On the button, my BBPL buddy Leo (yes, we were at the same table) calls with a shorter stack than mine (~15k) and the SB folds. My is pretty vulnerable, but I felt priced in and called. Flop comes beautiful with 3 diamonds completing my flush: . I expect the initial raiser to c-bet as he's done 99% of the time so far, so I decide for a check-shove. Alas, UTG+1 checks, and Leo checks too! turn is the and I cannot afford to give another free card to either of them, so I push all-in. UTG+1 tanks for a while, but just calls, scary. Leo tanks forever. I believe he had something like and had the nut flush draw along with a gut-shot to the straight. But he opted to fold (good fold, turns out). UTG+1 shows for a set of aces, and was drawing to pair the board or a 4 for a full-house. My odds were 77.3% to win, but a silly on the river ruined my day. 77.3% of the time I would have had a 60k stack and would have cruzed into the money, top 78. Instead, I busted probably around 140...

    Posted by Frederic at 2011-07-07 17:54:58 | permalink | Discuss (0 comments)

  5. 2011-03-30 04:06:40

    Sharing a couple of hands, for feedback

    Last Saturday, I played at the $60 buy-in 5,000 starting chips tourney at Thunder Valley. There were 137 entrants, making the prize pool a bit over $6,000, top-14 paid. I made the money, though I busted in 12th place in a painful maneer (as is all bad beat, as usual!) There are 3 hands I want to share, that caused me to think quite a lot! I look forward any feedback.

    HAND#1: round #2, blinds 50/100, stack 5,200, position small-blind. After a couple of limpers in early position, a very active young guy with a 6,000+ stack raises to 300. It's folded to me and I discover I have a small pocket pair . At a tight table, I would fold 50% of the time, raise very rarely, but here I felt I should flat-call, he could have a pretty wide range, and would pay me off if I hit a set, otherwise, I could afford letting go of 300 chips at this point of the tournament. Also, I was not expecting any crazy play from the BB or the limpers; in fact, I got even surprised that even one, the UTG, called: many players at that table were playing really soft/weak. Flop is and the pot 1,000. Again, at a tight table I would lead and bet as I hit my set, but here I decided to go for a check-raise as I was expecting the original raiser to continuation bet, or even the other player between us could act. As expected, it goes check, bet 600: I follow up with my plan and announce raise. Now, I would raise 1,500 heads-up but decide on 1,800 to tell the third guy I was very serious, and make less profitable straight or spade flush draws. It goes fold from UTG, and tank/moan/call from the raiser. He looked uneasy, surprised by the resistance, I put him on an over pair or a big draw (mix straight & flush?) I thought that with a higher set or an unlikely made straight he would re-raise to force me to commit now with lesser hands or abandon any draws. Turn is the expanding straight and flush draws possibilities, the pot is now 4,600 and I have 3,100 chips left: a check is out of question, a bet less than all-in is possible, but would make draws cheap and show an apparent weakness that would not buy me anything: I shove 3,100. He tanks for a while, and asked me if I had an over pair, or just paired the flop, but I stare at the felt and he finally calls, showing top-2 of the flop, drawinng dead to the last 2 sixes or eights. River is a blank and I double-up. I felt all the time that I was walking a very thin line, and could have taken safer and slower actions. It's one of those hands that put me in quandary and force me to think a lot and read the situation pretty intensely for e to decide on a course of action. Not sure I would re-play it the same way if a single small parameter would change.

    HAND#2a: four hours into play, past the bubble, down to 12 players, 2 tables of 6, playing hand-for-hand. Previously, blinds go up to 4,000/8,000 on my big blind, while a new player seats on my left to replace a busted guy from the previous hand. I have 43,000 chips, the guy on my right has a monster stack close to 200,000 and I saw the other table had one similar monster stack. If the average stack is supposed to be 57,000 now, in fact the ten "normal" guys we are around 30,000. The new guy folds, a guy shoves, folded to me, but I have crap and have to fold my BB. Down to 35,000 I post the 4,000 SB and the new guy with 38,500 posts the 8,000 BB. Everyone folds to me and I shove my 35,000 with a hand I'll discuss as HAND#2b, it's not the point now. The HAND#1a is in fact the the BB called me with: he caught a on the river to bust me, there was lots of noise of "sick" or "gross" and I was really disappointed and angry, while keeping a polite face and saying "good game" but thinking "what a donkey!" for the following 2 hours. But was he? What would I do in his position? is 49% to win against a totally random hand, add a 2% tie to make it not a losing hand. Pot odds were a 27,000 call to win 70,000, or about 39%. So in a cash game, unlimited funds, and assuming I could shove with really any two cards, the BB is perfectly right to call, getting a more than good price. But the situation was different. It's a tourney, and a loss would leave him with 3,500 chips, less than the coming small blind, and a sure way out. On another hand, blinds are so high, that now could be the right time to gamble regardless of odds: survival seems harder than ever if he lets go of his blinds, while doubling up now would put him in a very secure spot. One point for a call? Also, it might seem reasonable to assume I have better than a random hand: if you reduce my range to the top 7 Sklansky Hand Groups (pairs, painted, suited connectors or 1-gappers), his odds are still almost 39%, getting the right price! Again one point for a call. Honestly, in his shoes I would have folded, but I've learnt a lot running those numbers, and maybe next time I would call too?!

    HANDS#2b: In the hand described before, it's my action on the SB, with 31,000 chips left, a decent stack. I have no history on the guy on my right, the 8,000 BB, who got me covered but not by much. My hand is and against any other players at the table, who had previous history of me never showing a bluff ever, I would shove instantly but here I hesitated: the new guy made me uneasy and I thought about folding, and survive just a few more hands. But then, that's one of those leaks I have that I try to plug, and I convinced myself to not play scared, and shove anyways. He called with and I am a 64% favorite. Blank rainbow flop and turn leaves him with the 3 remaining sixes and 3 queens, 6 outs, less than 15% but fate decided it was time for me to go home, and a six shows up. Next time, I will shove again, because I think that's the proper play to get deep, rather than folding my way a couple of notches up.

    That's all, folks!

    Posted by Frederic at 2011-03-30 04:06:40 | permalink | Discuss (1 comment)

  6. 2011-02-24 22:37:07

    "Heartbreaking hand"

    Someone at my table called that hand a "heartbreaking" one: well, I was not delighted, but I can't say I was ready to cry! Did not feel like I did anything wrong, so "it's poker" is more along the lines of my feelings at the time. Here is the story:

    A few minutes into the first round of TV's $40 buy-in tourney, blinds are still 25 and 50, and my stack almost intact at 2,750 chips. The big blind is the only player at the table with more than the 3,000 starting chips: he's played all the previous 3 or 4 hands, and took it home each time. The lady UTG raises to 200, 4 big-blinds. UTG+1 calls, and so does UTG+2. I am UTG+3 and discover as my hole cards, so I raise to 1,200. I expect to get heads-up with UTG and with position. Well, the small blinds calls (his first tournament ever!) and the loose big blind calls, and UTG calls, and UTG+1 calls, but UTG+2 folds: I am amazed: still 6 players. Flop comes awesome: SB and BB check but the UTG lady goes all-in for almost 2,000 chips. UTG+1 folds, I shove my 1,550 chips, SB folds but the loose BB calls! I am more amazed than ever, wondering which of the two players had aces like me. Answer: no one. BB shows and UTG . For the math guys, at this point SB is 8.6%, UTG is 8.2% and I am 83.2% to win. I still like my hand. Turn is and river : UTG smiles, how well she played, she knew she'll get a set. I wish folks good luck and return home. "Heartbreaking hand", says the guy on my right!

    Posted by Frederic at 2011-02-24 22:37:07 | permalink | Discuss (1 comment)

  7. 2010-10-26 22:10:03

    Not too happy about how I played today!

    Daily $40 at Thunder Valley, 97 entrants

    Blinds 50/100, stack 3,300 small blind with . Two limpers, another late position raises to 400, I call, big blind calls, 2 limpers call (pot=2,000). Flop is checked to the raiser who bets 1,600. The young kid seems cool and composed, I put him on an over pair that he's protecting against the flush and straight draws. With 3 more guys to act after me, I finally painfully decide to not go all-in as my initial plan was, but fold. They fold too and he shows pocket tens. I hate myself.

    Blinds 100/200, stack 2,100 big blind with . The small blind is an extremely loose but good player. She has raised the pot each time she had a king or an ace, pre- or post-flop, then showing the top card saying she "had the goods". Rarity: it is folded to us and she only calls. I take it she has nothing and I raise all-in to 2,100. She insta-calls and shows . Flop is giving her a straight, but a better one for me: sweet double up, every one is in shock, me included. I deserved to lose.

    Blinds at 300/600, stack 6,800 under the gun with . I raise to 2,100. Folded to the big blind, an old lady with over 20,000 in chips. She is not sure what to do, asks the dealer 3 times, says she calls but put the wrong number of chips... anyway flop is she looks twice at her cards and checks. I shove my 4,700 chips left and she calls, showing . Turn and River meaningless and I am out of there! Bad play on my part.

    Posted by Frederic at 2010-10-26 22:10:03 | permalink | Discuss (3 comments)

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