Friday, January 09, 2004

Missed the Party

I'm still kicking myself for not playing on Thursday night when half the population of Cambodia was on handing out money.

Played for a couple of hours this morning on Party.

It was brutal...

I was completely just missing cards. After about 150 hands, I had seen 6% of the flops (yes, Virginia, 6%). Of those flops, I missed on pretty much every single one. I even managed to pick up pocket kings, only to have an ace fall on the flop and the betting go berserk ahead of me... With 3 people betting it up after the rocket hit, I had little choice but to toss the Men frustratingly into the muck.

I bought in at the start of the morning with $25. After about 2 hours of either folding outright or seeing the flop, missing and folding, I was down to my last $6. I get AQo and toss a couple of coins in to see the flop, which comes AJx rainbow... I start tossing in the last of my chips, finally ending up all-in when the river queen hits, bringing with me 3 callers. BAM! I'm back up to $24. The luck didn't last though, and I continued the regularly scheduled 'flop-miss-fold' tango for another 40 minutes until I finally logged off $14 lighter in the bankroll. Considering the potential losses though, I think I got off pretty light, and if -$14 is a bad day for me (and it was a horribly bad day today) I'll gladly take an occasional one of those if I can keep notching $25 to $35 wins.

Okay, now to the question I posed the other day.

Now, you're at the river, with an overpair in the pocket, 25BB in the pot, and the passive caller ahead of you has bet into you, even though you have, to this point, been the aggressor. Why would he be betting into you?

Well, the most obvious answer would be that he's made the nut flush on the river. But, is that the only reason? Other possibilities is that he's hit top pair. Maybe he's trying to get you to check up by representing the flush. Or, it's a stone cold bluff.

So, of course, you have your standard array of choices yourself. You can either fold, call or raise.

Folding would be pretty much never correct here. With the bet in front of you, you're at 26:1 pot odds to call. If you call, you have a 4% margin of victory. If you fold, you're at a 0% margin, and don't forget, you've got the overpair. It's not like you've got a crap hand.

Calling. Well, here's where we get into the grey area, and your read of the player who's betting into you comes into play. If he's tight/passive and he's betting out at you, you've got to feel pretty confident that he has the nuts. A crying call would be a correct move here.

Raise. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? Well, it might be, but perhaps not as crazy as you think. By raising, you are now introducing several new variables not available by simply calling. When you raise, you're now putting the decision back on your opponent. It certainly doesn't change what he has in his hand, but what it MIGHT do is convince your opponent of a hand you don't have. How sure are you that he has the absolute nuts? If he caught a little flush with say a middle suited connector, and you come out firing back at him, there's a chance he might put you on the nut flush. If he's a REAL bad player, he might well fold right there. At 26:1, he has to do this only 4% of the time to make this +EV. Running into fish that are this fishy are rare, but I can count several times in the last week I've re-raised someone and enticed them to fold a healthy pot to me.

But let's say you're not so lucky. He's got you dead to rights. By raising him, you're sending the message that you're not going to get bullied off the pot at the river. Now, granted, it will cost you an extra BB to pull this move off, but if this wins you a pot later on in the game when your raise is respected and you move the opponents winning hand into the muck, this move has more then paid for itself. Don't make the mistake of labeling all low limit players as ignorant fish. Although there are some players that don't remember these moves, there are about as many who will remember it. The other possible result is that people will think you are looser then you are. This can also pay dividends if exploited correctly.

Granted, this may be a little too advanced thinking for a typical Party low limit game, but again, not everyone who plays the low limit tables are clueless fish, and it is to your advantage to not only be in a position to dominate the fish but also to keep the skilled players guessing too. A small investment (-EV call or raise) could return at least even money down the road when you raise into someone on a semi-bluff and they fold the pot to you. If they tag you as an aggressive player, even better. Now, when you raise into them, they won't know whether you've got the hand or not. None of this, short of a fold right there from your opponent, will likely win you
this pot, but it may well win you a later pot, or better, several as the skilled and aware players won't know where you're coming from.


Post a Comment

<< Home