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lent day 15: poker at harrah's

warning:  this entry comes from a fairly tired brain, so the vocab used isn't too non-poker friendly.

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Saturday i went to play poker at Harrah's for the first time in a couple of months, and i forgot how insane that room is in comparison to other rooms i'vie played across the country.  On the night in question, one guy who had started on the 1/3 table for $200 ended up with a stack of about $6000 due to a lot of crazy luck, and by the time i left, it had widdled back down to about $1200 - and i'm fairly certain that he probably finished the session broke.  At times, he was a decent player, but he was too obsessed with bullying and chasing and catching when he got bored or he smelled weakness, and that was his ultimate downfall.

I wish i had had more money on the table when i caught him on the pseudo-big hand, but i still got enough out of him to turn what had been an earlier unlucky break (where my AA got cracked) and some degree of sloppy play into profit.  Two hands in particular were instrumental in my success:


Hand 1:

I was in mid-late position and had a moderately tight image up to that point.  There were a bunch of limpers before i looked down to see 3h4h.  I decided i wanted to try to make a move to steal some blinds, so i raised to $16.  People behind me started calling, so that made the limpers also call, ending with about 6 people preflop.

Board came 56J rainbow (with one heart).  The people before me checked.  I only had $99 left, so i shoved.  The guy to my immediate left went all-in for $100.  I was surprised but happy about that - out of all of the players he had an even tighter image than me, so everyone figured that we both had a made hand.  One person said that they folded top pair.  It folded around to me (or so i thought), so I said to the guy, "i have an open-ended straight draw."  He said, "no shit, really?  So do I.  Which end?"  And then the guy to my immedaite right said, "hey, i still have cards."

Whoops.

I thought he had folded, but his cards were pseudo-hidden; the guy to my left also didn't notice it.  The guy thought about it for a little bit and then eventually called with AdQd.  Not sure why he had to think for so long, but whatever.  The turn came a 2 to give me my straight, the river came 8 to give the guy to my left a pair (he had 78).  Instantly went from $115ish to $400ish.

Hand 2:

Main villain who had $6000 was on a different table that i joined later.  At the time that i joined that table, he had $2500 and he ended up going all-in against a regular who had $2100 on a flop of Q-10-8 or Q-10-7 (i forget exactly).  Regular tanked before deciding - i found out later that the reason why was because villain's stack was taken mostly from regular, occasionally with legit hands but mostly through dumb luck, and regular was trying to decide which side he was playing.

Regular ended up calling, villain ended up having 10s9s.  Regular was ahead with KK, but then a 9 came on the river to give villain two pair, so his stack went up to $4600.  He built it up more in the next 30 minutes through sheer stupidity and luck, so my original intent of "i'll just stay here for another 30-60" turned into "i'm going to stay here until this guy doesn't have any money anymore."

Villain for a while played 90% of his hands PF and raised maybe 30-40% of them.  I was playing carefully against him, generally played fairly straightforward with my pseudo-aggressive raising style.  He saw me as dangerous and typically folded when i c-bet flops or opened on flops which i did an even mix of doing on made hands versus draws.

Villain started to play more cautiously at some point, but his stack started to widdle until he was roughly at $3000 - his main problem was that when he smelled weakness or if he was committed to his hand, he would shove all-in, particularly on players whose stacks were in the $100-300 range.  He did this whether the pot size was comparable or if the pot size was $50, which I think he meant to consider "putting on the pressure" but was in reality making decisions easier because marginal hands weren't going to call and monster hands were.

So under the gun i look down at AcKc and raise to $15.  He reraises me to $45, everyone else folds.  I have about $335ish in front of me.  I elect to flat call instead of reraise - typical reason to reraise there is to either a) add fold equity due to strength or b) take away fold equity due to pot size, but i already knew that fold equity was zero on his part because his reraise was definitely a Strength reraise and he would shove before he folded, and therefore i needed to give *myself* fold equity in case i missed on the flop and he bet.

Flop comes KKx with two spades.  Hardly do i ever slow-play because i want to control pot size and i also developed a reputation for c-betting often so slow playing might have been suspicious, but in this case i know he's being hyper aggressive and has blinders on.  I'm 99% certain he would bet for me, so i check.  He bets $75ish, i flat-call.  Turn come some blank but does add a spade to the board.  I'm not really worried about him having a flush - 9 times out of 10 he's dominiated cause he has AA or QQ or something, if he walked into a flush then that's unlucky, but odds are in my favor and if the board pairs or an A comes then i have it (unless he had AA).  He still looks like he's ready to fire, so i check again.  He asks, "how much do you have left?" to which i replied $220.  He pushes me all-in, i call and turn over my hand, river comes blank, he mucks.


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I'm happy with those two hands and happy with a few other small bits, but I was unhappy with some of my play which made me bleed/leak small money at times when i went into automatic-hyper mode.  On the other table when my image was much more aggro, i still kept on PF betting and c-betting in ways that widdled me down, and it wasn't until an hour or so in that i took a mental step back and told myself, "back off."  Switching tables definitely helped, getting new info on the table made me take more of a backseat and not try to raise and steal with trash, but it was still annoying - it's a leak i was getting better at controlling when i was playing more regularly in the last few months before i stopped playing regularly, and it's something i need to get back if i'm going to play with any sort of regularity again.

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