Dollaring it upThis is a dollar sitngo with ten-minute blinds. I thought I might blog it just for fun (my fun, not yours, obviously). The action's a bit too fast for too much commentary but anyway, this is how it went. I give my hand, whatever action mattered to me, and what I did. It's a fairly typical dollar sitngo. There are usually a couple of very aggro players, who aren't selective enough, three or four terrible calling stations (who if I bust out early will be the guys who call my all in with middle pair no kicker when I have TPTK and then turn their kicker), maybe one other player who has anything resembling a clue and a couple of players who are more selective but don't up gears. Only two are paid in this format. I'm not aggro enough on the bubble, I know, but I'm up against players who will call with a very wide range, and you just can't play the same way you would in a tourney for more money. (I know that it sounds weird but I'm pretty convinced that the normal SNG strategy that most good players use is effective only because one's opponents are close to sane and make rational decisions. I don't think you can be as aggro in a $1 as you can in a $5 because you will simply get called an awful lot. In this game, for example, the BB called a push with J8 when he still had an M of about 12. On the bubble.) These games don't usually end this quickly (they'd normally get to at least t400 and often more).
MP2 J4s fold
Some guy called a 210 bet and then folded to a push on a K high uncoordinated flop. There just isn’t a hand that makes sense for that action.
Same guy folded to river raise on fourflush board. Basically, I don’t think you’re ever betting into the fourflush if you don’t intend to call a raise.
BB T2s, folded to 275 raise. Don’t ask me why donks make these huge raises at low chip levels. And call them! Anyway, down to nine.
SB 76. Fold to a 3BB raise. I’d probably complete with this at the lowest chip level, although I’m trying to stop doing that.
Down to eight. If the other guy looks like he has boated his kicker, he probably has.
KJs fold to 500 (!) raise. Wish I hadn’t. KK9 flop. I don’t know why these idiots make these huge raises. You are only going to get played with by hands that beat you or you’ll fold everyone out and win nothing much. Unless you find an idiot. Which this guy did. Down to seven.
J3s fold. Nearly lost someone
JJ. I raise to 4BB because there’s a limper in. Flop 433. Some guy bets 300. I push. All-in guy has Q2 and turns a Q! I chip up to 1675 anyway.
A8s. I fold this in EP. Shorty wins again. He’s back to nearly 1000.
BB K4 check my option. K high flop. I bet out a probe. Big raise from BTN. I fold it. I’m not going to war with top pair this early. 1570 chips.
A8. Fold to 3BB raise. Calling raises with offsuit aces is a fast road to busto, even on the button.
A3s. I limp after a couple of limpers. K88r flop. Aggro guy bets big and I fold it. Note that he had TPNK and way overbet it flop. Bet again turn and was called down by guy with bigger kicker. They split it though.
95 fold. Aggro guy is betting at the flop again. Some guy had slowplayed aces PF and trapped someone. Down to seven.
A7 fold. AT vs 66 race. Shorty loses out to river A. Down to six.
87s fold. Maybe from the button but not UTG.
BB T8 check. K high flop. Nothing in it for me so I fold to minbet from SB. He had bottom pair but turned another 6 and made his money.
52 fold to 4BB raise. Same guy slowplayed AA again! The other guy bet all the way to river but folded to push on river. Dunno what he had. Intriguingly, I would have won the hand with a str8.
A8 fold to big raise. Another busts. Down to five.
43s fold. You’ll note that we’re down to five already and I have put money in once! The other two hands I’ve played were in the BB. This is how it often goes. I’m nearly the shortstack.
BB K5 check. J high flop. I don’t fancy it. Fold to a minbet several callers.
55 fold to big raise and push reraise. Slowplayer calls too and we’re down to four.
T9. I limp on the button. 864 all spades flop. I have a draw to the flush and a gs but I don’t fancy this and fold to 1/2 pot bet. In the circs a bad choice. The gs came in. But the pot odds really didn’t favour me, particularly given that bettor can easily have bigger spade.
KT fold from EP. Not big enough blinds to worry yet.
BB A6. Fold to big raise.
BB A9 fold to 4BB raise. I don’t like playing raggy aces OOP
99. I raise unopened to 225. BB calls. I push j85 flop. BB calls with K8. He sucks! MHIG and I double up to 2340.
BB A6s. Fold to 4BB raise. The guy knows I’m folding my blinds but it’s not worth playing back with dodgy hands just yet.
AA. Limp. Hope to reraise or just slowplay it. QJ3 flop. 800 into me. I push. He calls with J9s fourflush. MHIG. 4560 chips
BB j9s. check. Fourflush on the flop. I call flop and turn and flush on the river. Idiot calls value bet and I am up to 5610 chips.
J5s. I fold to raise.
JJ. I raise 3BB. K high flop. I fold to a potsized bet.
82s. We have a megashorty I just noticed. He’ll be gone soon. Idiot checked it down with shorty!
BB 74. He raised me out of my blind again.
JT fold. Not from EP. Down to three.
BB 33. I check. AK3 flop. I checkraise. He reraises but folds to another raise. 6310 chips.
97 fold. The guy’s aggro but I think he’s going to be easily trappable. Let’s see.
BB 54 check. Fold to bet on 933 flop.
Q5 fold. In a bigger game, I’d play more aggro. But these guys will call just about anything. And this is the bubble. I’ll make the money if I keep out of trouble.
BB 32 check. Miss flop again. Fold to a bet.
85 fold. Guy showed that he bet 42. Idiot. Now you’ll get called by other guy
K5s. Hard choice but I fold at these blinds. Again, I don’t want to b
KQ. Raise. I reraise. I call down idiot's smallish and river a pair.
AKs. Raise, reraise. A high flop. I bet out. He folds.
AT. 3BB raise. All fold. I now have more than half the chips in play.
BB 44. Fold to a big raise.
BB J7. fold to 3BB raise.
A9. Fold. I could reraise but I’m waiting for the right hand to trap him with.
A4. 3BB raise. Idiot calls. I pair my kicker on the flop. Call small flop bet but fold to big turn bet. He probably has TP. I'm willing to call an aggro merchant down with a pair if the betting indicates he has nothing. I'm also willing to call a flop bet to set up a play like the next one or the one on which I just about busted him.
Q8. check. Raggy flop. I call small bet. Raise his probe turn. I have nothing but I'm guessing he has air too. He folds.
52 fold. BB reraise pushed over his raise this time. Idiot sucked out though. Heads up.
J8s. I fold.
A3. He raises. I push. He folds.
T6. Fold to minraise.
K8. Call. He checks. I bet potsize on flop, check turn, fold river. This is an odd hand. I don't like K8; I don't like calling preflop when heads up (or ever to open the betting) and I don't like betting, checking, folding. So why? The call was aimed at luring a raise from him. I'd push over the top and he'd likely fold. I sometimes play this strategy against overaggro players because they will often try to push you off when you call but will fold to the reraise because they have nada. K8 is a bit light for it but I don't expect to get called. Having got to the flop, and it was nothing special, I bet out to try to fold him out. I don't like his call. There's one card higher than my kicker, so I'm possibly playing with three outs. The turn is also bigger than my kicker, so I check it. I'm willing to fold to a bet because I have nothing. He probably doesn't either, but I am not trying to win a few chips in a nothing pot here. I'm trying to bust him out. He checks behind on the turn. The river flushes and he puts a reasonable bet in. I'm getting about 3 to 1, I think, that he has not paired and is bluffing (I don't believe he has the runner-runner flush at all) and that my K beats him. I'd often call this, particularly against a player who wasn't this aggro but was willing to have a go at an unclaimed pot, but I want him to think I'm a folder and keep bluffing at pots.
87. He is minraising each time. I call. Flop an oesd. Check. Call minbets flop turn but fold river.
T9s. Raise. He pushes. I fold.
87. Call minraise. Miss flop.
JTs. Raise. He calls. Bets flop. I call with middle pair. I’m going all the way with this. Top pair would be a K but I don't put him on one. His bet on the flop was too small. It was another "I can push him off this" bet. I know he'll interpret the call as weak and try again on the turn. He pushes on J turn. I’m delighted to call. He has air and I am up to nearly 12,000 chips of the 15,000 in play. This is the hand I was setting up with my earlier play. I allowed him to steal the K8 pot without a fight because I knew I'd get a decent chance at him. At these low blinds, I'm not going to run into blind trouble if I don't put money into pots where I don't have hands.
64. He pushes, I fold.
A3. He pushes, I call. I pair my ace. MHIG. I win $7.
A couple of brief comments. One of my big failings in poker is that I'm a bit weak-tight. I don't think it's a terrible way to play these tourneys though. I only ever really fuck up when I make ballsy calls on reads that are wrong. I do find too that allowing a superaggro player to think you are a folder is a good strategy. They start thinking "folds to a raise" means you are a fish, so when they try to blow you off a hand when you actually have one, they'll put all their chips in with air. They just don't realise that you might have spotted that they have been betting and raising just about every hand, and they don't realise that at lowish blinds, you can afford to pay them a few chips to get the chance to bust them when the right hand comes. When I flopped KJx, holding JT, and he betted out another small bet, I knew I had the right hand to take some chips. That he decided to bluff that he was holding a J was not smart, but I'd already realised that this guy was not smart. Earlier in the tourney, I had reraised his minraise with KQ. The flop came rags and he bet small. I knew he had nothing. You know why? Because he had only read the chapter of the poker book that says "aggression is good" and forgot even to look at "don't be too predictable". He tries to steal smallish pots with smallish bets. Here, I've raised, so he puts me on big cards and thinks he can steal it when it comes rags. So on a raggy flop, chances are my K high is good. The turn is another undercard and he bets again, quite small. I river top pair and given that I'm going to call him with K high, you know that I'll put money in with TP2K! So I call a bigger bet on the river. (I didn't raise him. He's not calling a raise with a worse hand on that board. There are no draws and I raised PF, so he can believe I have a K and will call a bluff push. So he only calls raises with hands that beat me.) He showed 64. That one hand told me all I need to know about this guy. First, a positive. He is willing to raise with trash to try to steal the blinds. Second, a big negative. He is not willing to lay it down to a resteal. Third, another big negative. It's a subtle one but it's the key to this kind of player. The board did not have a reasonable draw for a player like me on the flop and I called a bet. So I either have OCs, I paired the smaller of my cards or I started with a mid pair that wasn't bigger than top pair on the flop and played it cautiously. The turn didn't coordinate the board any and I called again. Half the negative is that he bet out again. I'm simply going to call with the hand I've already described to him with my action. Even if I did credit him for a pair, I had six outs to draw out and he was offering me something like 4 to 1! The river brought a big card and he bet again, more but not anything like big. But I'm never folding. If I call flop and turn with one pair, I will call again on the river if you offer me decent pot odds. I'll take the odds that you're a/ bluffing, b/ have a smaller pair than I do or c/ I outkick you. If I'm right oftener than the odds, it's a good call. And I will be. The other type of hand I might have had is OCs. And I reraised PF, so chances are, given that I'm tight, that I have either an A or a K. So the guy is thinking I must have Ax, didn't pair my kicker but still played on but will now fold to a scary K. What are the odds though? I've been more or less playing fit or fold, so you're reckoning I've reraised your minraise with AT+ (but not AK) -- because a fit or folder is not going to be playing to three outs very often, didn't like the raggy flop enough to raise your minbet on the flop but was willing to take the worst of it twice to try to suck out to my sixouter? And will then fold to a bullshit bet on the river? If he had K3 and I had had AT, I'd be paying him off till Christmas on that board if I was dumb enough to call him down in the first place. The other half of his negative is that he didn't realise that.
My other comment is simple. When I'm playing well, I'm very patient. I wasn't interested in playing marginal hands, even when we had lost a few players. When I'm playing badly, I make terrible decisions, born out of a lack of discipline.
Oh, and I forgot. One hand where I had 33 on an AK3 flop. I'd normally bet out here. Because everyone checkcalls sets on the flop, then puts the money in on the turn, I do something different and bet out. Usually. It's just that much more deceptive! But the aggro guy didn't raise PF. So I'm thinking he doesn't have an A or K and will likely fold. If I check, he'll try to take it, and I at least make that much money. If he has an A or K and just didn't raise PF, he will at least call a small checkraise. Or as it turned out, reraise it.