Thursday, September 03, 2015

Project 10K Session #15 - Tough Decisions

Winning poker is about making better decisions than your opponents. In fact you'll hear many of the best players talk about how as long as they feel like they made the best decisions with the information they had they'll be satisfied with the results. Usually when you crush your opponents you find lots of easy decisions and when you lose you look back and feel like you had a lot of tough ones.

My first tough decision came against a guy who looked like he was probably a college student and looked about 20. Mr. 20 called $5 preflop on the button after one other call. I had AQ in the small blind and made it $35 to go. Only Mr. 20 called. The flop came down 2 2 6 and I bet out $60. At this point I felt pretty sure he had a small or medium pocket pair. When the turn came down a Q I thought "A ha! Even if he called me lite on the flop he's sure to bet here if I check." I checked and he checked behind me. Crap. The river was a 6 which was a shitty card and I checked again. I checked, Mr. 20 bet $90, I called and he showed me J2. "Mother fucker!" is what I thought, but what I said was "Mother fucker!" To be clear this was more of a general exclamation than calling Mr. 20 a mother fucker. Mother fucker.

A little later I got dealt A9 of clubs and called Mr. 20's raise to $25. We took the flop heads up and it came down A Q 5 with one club. He bet $45 and I called. I figured he'd bet here with any raising hand so I really hadn't narrowed down what he had with that bet. The turn was the 8 of clubs making me a flush draw. Now Mr. 20 bet out $120. This was a big bet. If I hadn't picked up the flush draw I think I might have given him credit for a better hand than mine and folded, but given the clubs I decided to call. The river was a 6 and Mr. 20 bet out $200. This is where the tough decision came into play. On the turn I thought AK was a likely holding, but I didn't think he'd bet it again on the river. With AQ, AA, QQ, 55 and 88 (the real monster hands) I didn't think he'd bet so big on the turn. He was a tricky guy and I thought there was a real chance he could be firing off a three barrel bluff on me. It seemed fishy and I was getting 3 to 1 on my call so I called. He showed me 66. Mother fucker! I think the hand plays out the same if no 6 comes.

Later I raised to $25 with AJ and got 3 callers. The flop came down A 5 2 with two diamonds and I bet $65. The both called. This was a dicey spot. My hope was that one had a worse ace and the other had a diamond draw but even in that best case I still had to fade a lot of outs. The turn was a black 3. I didn't think they were likely to have a 4 in their hands, but you never know. One guy had $120 and the other had $200 so I didn't have to risk a ton to get to showdown. Even though I didn't really like it I figured a check would be too weak and I decided I could still have the best of it. I shoved. They both called - yikes! The river was the 9 of clubs and I beat A8 of diamonds and T6 of diamonds - hooray!

I had a few good things happen to me and found myself about $400 to the good when my next tough spot came up. I got dealt black QQ, raised to $35 from the big blind and got 3 callers. The flop came down K 7 3 with two clubs. This is kind of a tough spot with an underpair, a shallow stack to pot ratio and being out of position. This time I went with when in doubt, fire and I fired out $100 into the $140 pot. A guy who is a total nut and would call anything went all in for about $80 of it and another more reasonable player called as well. The turn was the J of clubs. Now I didn't know what the fuck to do. Mr. Reasonable could have a K or a flush or he could have 98 or A7 or who knows what. He also had about $600 in front of him. My indecision led to a check this time and Mr. Reasonable bet out $200. This felt like an "I've got it" bet, but there was about $620 in the pot and I thought there was a good chance that if this was a bluff it was getting checked back on the river. The river was a red 2 - Yuck! I checked and now Mr. Reasonable bet out $100. Ugh. I knew it was either a move of total desperation after a failed turn bluff or trying to squeeze some last bit of value out of a flush. I called and it was the latter - he had 97 of clubs. Grrrrrrr!

On the very next hand I got dealt AK. The guy in Seat 3 made it $25 to go, and got called by Seat 4. When it got to me I made it $70 to go. Seat 3 just called and then Seat 4 looked down at his remaining chips and said "well...I guess I'm all in" and made it $112 to go. What really sucks here is that I couldn't reraise. I'd raised the $25 bet to $70 which is a raise of $45. He reraised it another $42. If he had $3 more or I'd raised to $65 instead of $70 I could have shoved here. I was pissed I hadn't taken a closer look at the short stack and thought it though a little more. With no other choice, Seat 3 and I both called. The flop came down T 7 7. Now what? I fired out $200 with the hope that he didn't have a pocket pair, but he insta-shoved on me for $700! GAH! I folded and the turn was a K! Double GAH! The river was a brick and Seat 3 won with JJ! Triple GAH! I think if Seat 4 has $3 more or I make it $65 we get it all in preflop and I stack him.

After this one I was out of sorts and decided it was time to go. I played to the big blind and picked up. I lost $287 over 4 hours. My $10,000 bankroll is now at $13,772 after 73 hours of play.

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