Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Project 10K Session #8 - Big Pocket Pairs Are Worthless Piles of Beaver Shit

Losing with big pocket pairs can be really frustrating. It's only once every 54 hands (or about every hour and a half) that you'll get a pair JJ-AA so you have to wait and wait and wait, and then many times you get no action and inwardly bitch about it. But, friends it can always be worse...

I sat down at a $1/$1/$2 game where one guy had about $1,500 in front of him. This is an insane stack as the max buy in is $200. He was a nut and I got involved with him and another player in a big hand early on. I got dealt JJ, made it $10 to go and got 4 callers. The flop came down J 6 2 - YAY! But it was all spades - BOO! The player just to my right that had limped preflop bet out $20. I wasn't messing around and made it $60 to go. Mr. 1,500 cold called the $60, and the other guy made it $210 to go! Holy smokes! It figured that this guy had a made flush, but even if he did I was getting the right price to call and there was some chance he had 66 or 22. I put in my remaining $120 or so and was all in. Mr. 1,500 called and they got another $100 in on the turn before the raiser was all in. He had K8 of spades and Mr. 1,500 had the ace of spades. The turn and river were both red, non-pair cards and I saw a huge pot go the wrong way. Stupid sets of jacks!

After other minor bumps I was stuck $250 in that game when I got called for the $2/$3/$5 and got into a tough spot right away. I open raised in late position to $25 with A9 and got one caller who I hadn't played with before. He was sitting on about $250 when the hand started. The flop came down A 7 6 with two hearts. I bet $45 and he raised me to $110. Ugh. The secret sauce here is figuring out 1) Is this the kind of guy who would raise a draw in this manner 2) Is this the kind of guy who would call a raise preflop with Ax suited with the X being a small card and raise a weak ace in this manner 3) Is this the kind of guy who will put me on AK if I three bet him and be able to make a big laydown with AT-AQ? These are questions you can easily answer about a player after a few hours with them, but it's hard when you've played no hands against him. If the answer is no to all of them like it is with many players, it's a clear fold. If it's yes for all 3 it's probably shove time. Without anything to base it on I hoped this guy was the kind of guy who I could answer 'Yes' to for 1, 2, or 3. I put him all in for $225 and he snap called me with AK. Fudge!

I spent a lot of time questioning that play over the next 10-15 minutes, but after playing with that guy for 4 hours I would 100% shove on him there knowing what I know now. He raised me with a bunch of weak shit later on on A high boards and called raises with very weak suited hands often. That doesn't change the fact that it was highly questionable to shove there against a random opponent, but it did make me feel a little better.

I had a few other minor hands go against me and slipped down to -$800 on the day and was thinking how it would be nice to walk in and just have shit work for a change! But I was not discouraged.

I called $30 on the button with KQ and took a flop 3 way. The flop came down A J 4 and the preflop raiser bet out $40. This was a small bet for him and I figured it was either a set, AJ or a miss. So I called thinking if I hit a 10 I'd stack a set and if I was against a miss I'd take the pot on the turn. The other player called which gummed things up a bit on the bluffing front, but when they both checked to me on the turn, I fired out $150 without hesitation. The other player folded and the preflop raiser said "God Damn it!" and folded KK face up! Yum, yum, the sweet taste of bluffing KK with KQ is so sweet!

Over the course of the next couple of hours I flopped 2 straights and got a little action. But then lost $150 with AA ks K8 on a T 9 8 8 4 board. I made some pairs and missed some thin draws. I stole a shitload of small pots. It was mostly up with the few small downs.

Then over the course of a few hands I destroyed this one guy so hard it's almost not fair. I'll call him Mr. Curious.

I didn't note the details, but on one hand I remember I hero called a bet of $60 into a $60 pot on the river with 23 with just the 2 paired and it was good. 

On the second hand Mr. Curious raised to $35 and after 2 calls I called with A8 of spades in the big blind. The flop came down 9 6 2 with two spades. I checked, Mr. Curious bet $120, the others folded and I made it $250 to go. He had about $300 left after his bet and spent about 60 seconds mumbling to himself about what I might have. I spent this time listing to 10% of my inner monologue making the case that the best outcome is him calling and me hitting so a call wouldn't be all that bad while the other 90% is screaming FOLD FOLD FOLD! Eventually he folded KK face up! I'm bluffing pocket kings all over the place baby!

He asked me what I had and I told him that I couldn't tell him because I wanted him to squirm inside with doubt (really!). He asked me a few more times over the next hour and I gave him the same answer.

Facing a lot of limpers Mr. Curious made it $40 to go and I made a loose call (translation: a bad call) with 86 of hearts hoping a few others would come in behind me, but they all folded and we took the flop heads up. It came out 7 5 4 making me the nut straight! I was thinking about how to get max value from Mr. Curious when he made it super easy on me by moving all in for $200. You'll never believe what he had...KK again! No miracles came for him and I scooped a nice pot.

Mr. Curious bought back in for $100 and a few minutes later he called a raise to $15. I looked down at AA and made it $40 to go out of the big blind. The raiser bailed but Mr. Curious called as I figured he would. The flop was T 9 3 and I put him all in for his last $60. He called with KT, missed and I got him again. He stood up to leave and again asked what I had in the hand where I'd made it $250 to go with A8. This time I told him what I had, not to rub it in, but because I felt a little bad for crushing him so hard and he seemed like he really wanted to know.

I guess all big pairs aren't worthless piles of beaver shit, but if you bring KK anywhere near me expect some stink.

In the end I banked a $377 win over 5 hours. My $10,000 bankroll is at $11,087 after 38 hours of play.

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