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before and after

over the summer because i was busy with so many projects and travel that i only played at the casino maybe twice in the span of three months, the longest stretch that i've had since i moved to new orleans and even before.

the break ended up doing me a lot of good. Since starting up again in late august/early september, i've had a very positive long term run, profiting the most that i ever have in a three month span. I know some of it is luck swinging in my favor, but i know also that since coming back to the poker table on a regular basis these past few months, i've been playing a lot better. i've increased my bluff percentage to a higher percentage, particularly the check-raise semi-bluff weapon. i've reduced my c-bet percentage so that it's not always predictable, particularly when people start calling me on it when i hit air, or i delay my c-bet to the turn to give players less odds to catch if i'm out of position and their board hits air on the turn. i'm getting better reads on people on specific situations as opposed to general and established trends that have always come naturally to me.

in general i think i've diversified my play, reestablished my degree of patience, and given my poker experience a fresh sort of life, escaping from the rut that i was kind of in before i took my summer break. not that my game still doesn't have a lot of leaks, but my game definitely feels more honed.

over thanksgiving break, i had one hand in particular that i feel i played well particularly since i had a plan from beginning to end.

There was a guy who was sitting about three seats to my right who was simultaneously a chaser and a super aggressive guy when he sensed weakness. He liked putting big pressure bets on the turn and river, particularly when people slowed down their own aggression, and too often he was caught with his pants down, getting trapped with a deliberate check-raise where he'd be forced to fold his aggression bet because he had nothing.

I was in the BB. An aggressive but very smart player originally from NY three to my left raised to $15. guy/target in question calls. I look down at AsJc and call. Three of us are in.

board comes 6sKdJs. I know for sure that one of the two aggressive guys is going to bet and despite that there's a good chance that i'm ahead. NY guy c-bets often and would fold to my check raise because he's been paying attention to me, made some good folds to me (and thus i'd also made a couple of good bluffs against him). Target could fold on me unless he has a K or picked up even a gutshot straight draw.

NY guy bets $30, target calls. I raise to $80, NY guy immediately folds, other guy thinks momentarily and then calls. Him thinking momentarily makes me believe that he doesn't have much, that my J is probably good and i might get a good card on the turn and push him out of the pot.

Turn is a low spade. Perfect. The board is representing a flush already and that has to scare him more than it does me. in my mind he's already behind and if by some freak chance he's trapping me with a set or 2p, i've now picked up a lot more outs to improve my hand. I figure if i shove he's going to fold because all of the circumstances work in my favor. I do so, my remaining $130ish.

he hesitates for a few breaths, then starts counting his chips. while he's first doing it i can tell that he's still thinking about whether or not he wants to call, but once his $100 was in a single stack, i can now tell that he's decided he's going to call. He turns over K9. River comes a spade, i take down the pot.

Personally i think he made a really questionable call win or lose. Given the image i had on the table and how often i check-raised ever (maybe once in four hours), he should have put me ahead of his top pair and his hand was much less likely to improve. Neither of the cards in his hands were spades. Really i thought i was going to take down the pot with the shove, i guess he just couldn't let go of his top pair. Them's the breaks kid.

We'll see what happens during the PLO events that are coming up here in a couple of weeks. i'm looking forward to it, i feel confident in how i'll play overall, we'll see if it earns me significant return.

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