Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Poker + Booze

Let's kick off with the poker stuff.

Last night was interesting.  I purposely skipped the Skill Game, despite being interested by $12 HOE.  Instead I decided to focus on tokens for BBT Cubed.  When it came to lvl 1, I couldn't miss, going 3-for-3 with no problem at all (3 pocket aces at one final table was fun too, including 2 in a row followed by AK).  The lvl 2 frenzy however, that was a different story.  I played a decent game, and then found red cowboys in the SB.  Cutoff raises big, and I push over the top, happy with a fold.  Unfortunately, Mr. Raiser decides his ATo HAS to be good and calls.  2 spades on the flop,  and I know I feel that good ol' "here it comes" feeling.   Spade on the turn, spade on the river, and I'm done because he has the Ts.  Sweet baby jeebus did that suck.

I also played a couple satellites to the 50-50, but got smacked down in the $2 rebuy with 28 left (top 12 paying seats), and then went out 3rd in a 3-handed push-or-fold fest in a $7 SnG satellite.  I would have been better off going all-in every hand at that point than waiting to be first to act.

After the 4-flush in the frenzy, I got up and did a few things around the house to relax.  Then I came back and played 3 or 4 $1 turbo SnGs for tilt therapy.   Some $1 donks no doubt have notes on me now that say things like "will push all-in on first hand with nothing" and "will bluff at paired flop with 9-high".  Or maybe not, since they're playing $1 SnGs.  Good fun all around.


Fear.  I think it was Kajagugu that mentioned a conversation going on in at Pokernews about Stu Ungar calling for a pot heads-up with only T-high and winning. This got me thinking.

It's not uncommon to see someone call down with A-high, or even K-high on occasion. We've seen people go to the river with bottom pair. I seriously hope everyone here has at least TRIED to take down a pot with absolutely nothing in their hand on the turn. Yet how often do we fold on the river to even a small bet because our suited connectors missed their draws?

Yes, this is a safe move. If you're playing with 9Th and the board has missed you completely, you lose to any J, Q, K, A or pair. Better to fold your nothing than donate more chips. But what if your inital read had them on crap? Say it's a blogger game and you put them on the hammer? Or you've seen them play low connectors hard pre-flop in the past and bet their draws?

Let's say you're in the SB with 9Ts. The cutoff raises 3 or 4x the BB, and you call. Your read here could easily be "standard steal move." Say it's someone you KNOW can steal with absolute crap, or who loves 56d and has played it (or something similar) in position in the past. Flop comes 47J with two diamonds. You check, and they bet 1/2 the pot. You've seen them bet draws before and figure they're on one now, so you call. Turn is a 2s, helping nobody, you check, they check. Now you're positive they're on a draw with 56. River is an Qh and you check again. They bet the pot, or even overbet it. How many of us can call here, with only T-high in our hand?

Immediately we start thinking of ways we're beat. Any 2,4,7,J, or Q beats us, any pocket pair beats us, Ax, or Kx beats us. We have to fold!! But wait... this entire hand you put them on low connectors and a now busted draws. Why has your read changed? They could just as easily be trying to take the pot here and now. If they wanted a call, would they bet so much? You've read them for one thing the whole time, and now you've tossed this read out the window from one bet that could very easily be an attempt to take the pot. But a fold would be seen here 99% of the time, because fear has just changed our minds.

Which leads to reads being remembered. Last night I threw a read of mine right out the window in the $2 50-50 satellite and it cost me. A LP player minraised, and I had QQ in the SB. I automatically thought "he's strong... AA, KK, maybe AK". I called and in fact almost folded because of the alarm bells going off in my head. Flop came down 8-high rainbow, and I bet. LP raised, and I re-popped all-in, to get autocalled by... AA. It was as if my memory went away for the 2 seconds required for me to push. As soon as I hit the raise button, I said, "oh shit... KK or AA?" I had a dead-on read pre-flop and threw it away when the board looked so good for an overpair.

I've seen it time after time in games, recaps, and discussions. People put someone on a hand, and then forget it or alter it drastically post-flop. "I put him on an A with a mid-kicker, so my AK was ahead. Board comes AT8 and he bets and I call..." both T and 8 fall under "mid-kicker", yet the player neglects this part of their read and is pissed that they got beat by 2 pair. Or a range gets neglected. "I put him on a mid pair, or a draw. Flop comes KJ2 rainbow and he bets the pot, I autofold my JT." Why?? Nothing you put him on before matches that flop, yet you caught a piece that beats the initial range. Did KK suddenly become a mid-pair? KJ is a draw?

A huge part of this game is reads and playing without fear. Ungar was fearless and a genius with a photographic memory. Daniel Negreanu and Phil Helmuth use their uncanny reading abilities to be hugely successful. These are supreme exceptions in the poker world, but to ignore what abilities you've developed on your own simply because the odds are bad can hurt you immeasurably. As has been said many times before, scared poker is losing poker.


Now the Booze part. I went down a rabbit-hole of links today and came upon a bunch of coffee-based cocktails from Illy, a frozen Mojito recipe, and more. So tonight, pre-Mookie, I think I'll have to do some experimenting. I think my base of choice will be... tea. I have a drawer full of teas, from the mundane to the exotic. I'll have to figure some stuff out. I'd do coffee, but I don't want to be up all night.

Dinner... I've got some bread, some elk, and the means to make a quick gravy. Do up some quick fries while I'm at it, and that's a meal. Leftovers are awesome.


Alyce said...

That coffee MoeJieToh has my name on it.

Alan aka RecessRampage said...

You assume people actually have real reads. That's a silly assumption.

BamBam said...

It's a funny thing, that "fear" section. In particular, after last weekend.

I don't play with you or some of the others that much, live. But I typically pride myself on paying attention to another players, "language," be it body or other. I made 11 reads total Saturday night and the two that I feared the most, were dead wrong.

On-line, you take notes and do your best to go on instinct, based on those notes. When a player changes up their game, it induces that fear into you the next hand you're involved in.

As I learn about the on-line game, I find that fear comes a lot less into play and it's easier to accept a loss.

Sometimes, you're changing your game up, the same hand that they decide to change theirs.

Make any sense?