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two successful poker hands.

i haven't played a lot of cards in 2015 - ten sessions in total, and four of those sessions have been in the past two weeks.  Prior to that the last time was in february, and like the last time i was forced to take a break for a few months about three years ago, my playstyle has adjusted and i think in a good way.

The first time i adjusted, i went from being a fairly tight passive/aggressive player into a medium loose aggressive player. Gradually that turned into hyperaggressive, where i was generally seen as the table bully more often than not and would then be exploitable because of just how loose aggressive i had gotten. In the past four sessions i've recalbrated somewhat, still tending to be aggressive but dialing it back from, say, an 8 down to a 6-6.5, and I think it's served me pretty well, particularly on friday night because the table was so loose passive that there was absolutely no need to ever bluff, and last night because i was aggressive just enough that people were willing to call me with fairly weak holdings, and that built up my stack in such a way that my big score was huge.

There were two hands in particular that were very profitable - one where i went all-in for $137 and came out with $460 which is absolutely insane, and one where i went all-in for about $425 and came out with $900.

Hand One:

After a couple of limpers, Player A opens preflop to $20 and player B calls.  I'm in the SB and look down at AcAh.  I have $137 and consider jamming, but instead decide that that's an overbet that everyone will fold to.  The table has been fairly loose passive, but I figure that a $40 reraise (so a bet of $60) will probably get the original raiser to call and everyone else to fold, so i do that.

Player C in the BB, a highly loose passive woman who has been bleeding money by calling with pretty marginal hands, elects to call.  Original raiser also calls.  And then person B also calls.  So suddenly i'm sitting with AA out of position with three hands that are a fairly wide range.

Flop comes 5JK rainbow.  Pretty safe flop, and if i was outflopped, well, i was outflopped.  I jam for my remaining $77.  Player C calls, Player A calls, Player B folds.  I'm fairly worried about player A, but i still feel comfortable with what i did, so i just had to hope that he had AK or AJ or something. Player C is a wild-card, she could have called that easily with AJ, QQ, 1010, 99 in the lower range of her hands.  Turn comes 5, river comes 2 or 3 (some blank), still rainbow.  Player C turns over QQ, Player A doesn't show his hand but folds, so i rake in the $460ish pot.

Looking back on it, $60 may have been too small of a reraise given one caller already, but I hadn't anticipated that the woman would have a hand so strong that she'd be willing to call yet be so passive as to not reraise with a hand that she'd be willing to go all-in with on the flop in the first place.  I wish that she would have just shoved her $120ish stack at that point instead of call call because i bet that would have isolated it heads-up - based on how the other guy played it, i assume he had AK and probably would have mucked it to a strong reraise.

Hand Two:

In early position and a stack of $425ish I look down and see QsQh.  I raise to $15 and get 3 callers after me.  My image at the table is one of loose but careful aggression, the rest of the table started out incredibly loose passive with select aggression, but started to shift to more tight passive.  I was one of the two dominantly aggressive players at the table.  One of the three callers was the other aggressor.

Flop comes QdJc9d.  I'm first to act and think about it.  In most situations such as this i am loathe to slow-play not just because the board is dangerous, but because i want to build big pots with my strong hands and win more money.  But I decided to take a calculated risk - if i c-bet on this flop, the flush draws and straight draws would likely call even if i put out a pot-sized bet and if i don't lock a full house hand, i'm out of position and either have to concede the hand depending on who bets and for how much or jam as a semi-bluff which could end really poorly.  The other aggressor was last to act - i figured that if it checked around to him, he would take a stab at the pot as he's demonstrated that ability in the past.  Sure, it might seem like i'm trapping, but the table has seen me check fold before when i don't hit flops.  I want to induce him to bet and then check-raise strongly - betting $35-40 into the pot is one thing, but raising $125ish on a $35 bet from someone else is another matter entirely.  In that instance it's likely that i can just take the pot down or isolate to one person, and then i can evaluate from there based on the turn depending on which person elected to call.

I'm not sure whether or not he smelled something or if he was just as scared as the board as anyone else with how many callers were in the pot or what, but when i decided to check with the intention of check-raising, aggressor closed the action by also checking.  free card on the turn which was a Jh.

Now the situation is very different.  i'm sitting on a gold mine and want to be able to jam the rest of my money in and take someone down with me.  Attempting to check-raise is stupid here because of the strength it represents.  Leading out on the turn is much more ambiguous because to the other players, the J would seem like a card that I would feel comfortable betting on as if i was betting on weakness, plus if I lead out and someone hit trip Jacks or if the aggressor decides that he wants to raise on a flush draw or on weakness, they would likely raise and get more money into the pot more quickly.

I led out for $40.  Player A folds.  Player B, (not the aggressor), tanks for a moment and then raises me $100 on top of my $40.  Aggressor folds.  Player B has been fairly tight the whole time - he would not raise in that situation with less than trip jacks.  I tank, partially to show weakness, but mostly because i was trying to decide if i wanted to get it in right there or if i wanted to wait until the river came out and let him bet the river since going over the top could make him fold if feels like i have a boat and all he has is trips.  That seemed unlikely - i think he put me on KK or AA, or he just didn't put me on anything in particular since he felt like his hand became so unexpectedly strong.  In any case, i elected to flat call just in case jamming would make him fold.

River comes out a black 9.  Even though he was last to act, he said "all-in" out of turn, so i knew that it was going in no matter what.  I throw my chips in, an additional $260ish and he calls.  He shows J10.

I still need to tweak my play more in regards to the vocabulary i'm comfortable with, but i'm confident that that will continue to hone and improve over time.  I still have yet to put check-raise bluffing into my vocabulary - even though it should be used as a rare weapon only, i've only done it maybe five times in my poker career which is much rarer than i should use it given the right circumstances.  maybe it'll happen in the near future, but we'll see.

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(Deleted comment)
Jun. 2nd, 2015 03:30 pm (UTC)
trying to get back into it. now that life has become just insane crazy as opposed to panic crazy, i'm trying to rebranch on here. haven't been able to get back on the friends list yet, but that's on the agenda to turn into daily-habit again too hopefully soon.
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