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last night's poker session i felt like i played well despite losing $60.

tonight's session i ended up $250, and i feel shitty because in the last two hours i did some bad negative expectation plays and went down from a +$400, and i should have lost a lot more but hit a lucky river on a key hand from a bad bad bad play.

it stemmed from me misreading a guy's hand; the board flopped QJ6 and the big blind guy bet. i on the button had Q10, so i called. The turn came a 9. He bet into it again, $40 into a $80ish pot and he had another $70 or so behind. i thought about it and decided that he either had AQ or KQ or some sort of missed flush draw, so i pushed all in as a semi-bluff to take the pot down. He thought about it for a while, then turned over J6 and said, "did you make your straight? should i call?"

a) i was annoyed because i misread his hand. i put him on a hand that could have been ahead of me, but also easily foldable because of the strength i was trying to represent. i didn't think he was as strong as two pair. if that was even remotely on my radar i wouldn't have tried to semi-bluff him out the pot.

b) much more importantly, when he asked me the question, i didn't really answer at all because i was tired and nervous that he was going to call, and that was a mistake because in previous hands at the table i wasn't afraid to answer some other questions like that when i felt more confident about my hand. I gave away that he should have called, and he read it correctly and called me.

the river was an 8 and gave me the straight. i won a $200 pot and my play was horrendous. i have have have to fix that shit if i'm going to maximize my +EV. play like that will cost me a lot of money in the long run. mainly i have to not give off that sort of tell when i'm bluffing, which is little more than a conscious effort to make sure that i'm consistent in how i talk when i want a call or when i want a fold.

granted, part of it was definitely me being surprised that he had the hand he had. he showed me his cards and it threw me off my game, especially because i was tired. even so, i have to not let myself get psyched out by people who show me the strength of their hand or project to me the strength of their hand when my hand isn't so strong and i'm trying to represent strength.

i fucking suck sometimes.

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Dec. 7th, 2008 04:34 pm (UTC)
He showed you his cards BEFORE he called? I wasn't aware that was allowed. o_O
Dec. 7th, 2008 07:23 pm (UTC)
It's not allowed in tournaments, but in cash game the hand isn't dead until it hits the muck.

Mendel, as far as your play, it doesn't seem too awful to me. Sure, 2-pair type hands are in his range, they always will be since he has just about any 2 cards preflop. But he still often only has a 1 pair hand. You probably didn't quite adjust enough for stronger hands, but the play isn't awful, probably only a little -EV at worst. Also tells are important but don't put TOO much faith into them. For all you know the guy couldn't tell crap from you, but decided "damnit, I have 2 pair, I just can't fold".

Anyway, poker is a funny game for how it will sometimes reward you for being stupid yet kick you in the face when you play great. :)
Dec. 8th, 2008 03:20 am (UTC)
it's possible that i'm blowing it all out of proportion. it was definitely a more emotional than rational stream of thought at the time when i was leaving the casino, kind of the 'last straw' after a string of me bleeding too much money away by some poor judgement calls.

i'm fairly certain that he read me because he seemed to deliberately change his mind, but i'm not a psychic. :) regardless, it brought to light that it's something for me to be a little more conscious of. i raise-bluff infrequently enough that people who sit down at the table with me and are obeservant could easily see that i'm doing something different when i'm trying to make a move.
Dec. 7th, 2008 08:44 pm (UTC)
I'm not so sure this is great spot as a bluff, because once you shove on him, he's getting 3.25:1 to call (230:70 left). Against his two-pair range, shoving is only marginally bad, but against a set, you're in pretty bad shape, and I'm presuming he'd play a set similarly.

I don't really understand his half-pot bet on the turn - why not just shove? Any bet of any significant size ties him to the pot, and his half-pot only gives you decent odds to draw out while committing himself to the pot anyway.

But... you say it was a 200ish pot at the end, which confuses me. 80 after flop, he bets 40, you shove for that 40 + his remaining 70, he calls... should be 300ish. Thus, my math could be all wrong.

On tells though, I'm reading the Navarro/Hellmuth book. It's quite good, improving my live game quite a bit. I played in Wendover, NV recently and was constantly having to correct myself. I guess I'm an idiot about body language.

What's the other (non-Harrah's) casino down there? Do you ever play there?
Dec. 8th, 2008 03:30 am (UTC)
i'm being approximate, and when i said "won a $200 pot" i meant something more like "won a $200 profit out of the pot." that might not quite be the right math either, but i counted something like that when i restacked my chips.

the other casino that's close to here is Boomtown, and that's not worth playing. the rake is $5/pot regardless of stakes, there's only about six tables, and they only offer NL two days a week. the only reason i go there is to play ITG.

Harrah's is great because it has 30ish tables and is a hot spot for tourism, thus there's a great variety of people who come through to play, both in personality and in skill. i do want to take a trip to the gulf coast to see what the casinos are like there, but otherwise, i'm in an ideal spot to play cards.
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