Just venting a bit. Played 20 hours of $15-30 Limit over the weekend. I won a tiny bit, but I was really upset with my play. There were a couple big hands I butchered, due to more of the same non-straightforward play I complained about in my last post on my limit game. I guess I should be kind of grateful that this lesson is really being driven home to me. It seems like whenever I don’t bet a hand that has a good chance of being ahead, and turns out to have actually been ahead, I will lose the hand. Even if I have a few good reasons for checking sometimes, I’m going against the textbook play, which is to bet 95% of the time. I’ve lost thousands of dollars of real profit in the last year from these bone-headed plays (even if the actual mathematically-expected profit is much lower).
Case in point: I’ve got . Three limpers in front of me, I raise it up on the cut-off and we get six players to the flop. (That’s a lot even for this loose game.) I’m last to act. The flop comes down:
Everyone checks to me. I decide to check for a few reasons. My reasons (flawed as they may be) are:
- In a pot this big, if anyone has just Ace-high or a six, (and of course any other pair) they will peel one off. Some decent Kings will probably even peel. If my bet doesn’t get out the Aces, there isn’t must purpose in betting, because the only cards I really don’t want to see on the turn are A or K.
- With this many people calling, it is quite likely that people are holding a lot of the Aces and Kings, meaning I’m not too scared of an Ace or King hitting on the turn and ruining things for me. Plus, as I’ve mentioned, I’m probably not getting out the Aces anyway, so it’s really only a K dropping on the turn that will be a bad deal.
- With this many people, it is quite likely someone has a Jack, and I will lose the least by letting them bet out on the turn and calling them down.
- While a bet on the flop might take the pot down immediately, almost any card on the turn lower than a Q will almost certainly assure me of continued action.
- Checking the flop encourages people to take a shot at the pot on the turn. I can much more profitably call down, or even raise if the right person bets the turn, and I am less likely to be given credit for an overpair. (Both of these last two are in the category of getting overly greedy about making more money when there’s already a decent-sized pot out there to be won.)
But all of these reasons are pretty weak. The simple fact is that in a pot that big, you’ve just got to bet to protect your hand, and reduce the number of people in the pot, and to prevent people from making weird plays on you that allow them to win the pot, either by betting you out or by outdrawing you.
I think part of my problem is being worried about getting played off the hand if someone raises me on the flop and bets into me on the turn, but I shouldn’t be, because I know the players who are likely to make plays like that, and with the size of the pot I wouldn’t have a problem calling them down. The players that will only make that play with the Jack I can lay it down to. It’s just pretty simple. You’ve got to bet.
Anyway, the results. Turn comes:
The first player to act bets out immediately. He’s a pretty loose, weird player but still someone very unlikely to fire a bluff on that board into 5 other people. Then another player in front of me calls. And now I’m sitting there, thinking I’m an idiot yet again, because the way I’ve played this hand I’ve painted myself into a corner and have to fold. The chances are just so slim with that action that my hand is good.
So I fold and the players check the river and show A5 and A7 to split the pot with A high. Their play was weird even for that weird table. And I’m kicking myself yet again for not taking the obvious line and preventing such an occurrence.
It’s always tempting to comfort myself with the thought that, yes, these players are loose and weird, and on a normal table that action in front of me would mean I was definitely beat. But when playing bad players, you need to take their weirdness into account. A bet on the flop just prevents that hand happening in such a weird way. I mean, the pot is $180 pre-flop and I’m overthinking tossing out a $15 bet. Just silliness and overthinking. Fancy play, etc.
Another funny little hand. Not my fault in the least, but just amusing. A few seat changes later, I’m playing that same first-position better – the weird one who bet out with Ace-high. I’m to his left. I’ve got . I raise it and we get it three-way. He’s become much looser than before cause he’s been winning and up big. He’ll throw some silly raises and calls in that just don’t make any sense. Flop comes:
giving me the overpair and the gutshot straight draw. The weird player checks to me, I bet, the third player folds, and the loose player raises me. I call, with the intention of raising the turn unless it gets really ugly. I know this player and he will make this flop raise with a wide weird range of hands, like any pair/straight-draw/flush combination, which are obviously high on a board like that.
Turn puts out:
He bets into me. I raise him. He calls. Now I’m quite sure I’m ahead.
River makes it:
He bets into me. I call. He shows:
Before I even think about it, just as a reflex, I just say, “that’s bad” in a completely dead-pan, matter-of-fact voice, without any anger. The table laughs pretty hard. As does the guy, who I’ve been friendly with. I tease him a bit, saying “I’ve never said that to anyone, but that’s just bad.” He says, laughing, “I didn’t think you had anything on the flop. I was making a play.” “It’s okay,” I say, “I know how it goes.”
People are weird, and it’s hard to believe some of them have discretionary income.