Thursday, August 18, 2011

Nickel and Dimin’ It

A nickel ain't worth a dime anymoreThought I’d write a quick little “on the street” post. Those are the ones supposedly about my own play, which for obvious reasons has been scaled back considerably since the spring. I am still playing online some, though, over at Hero Poker where as I’ve mentioned before I have a small amount with which to play.

The last few times I’ve logged in I have actually been playing no-limit hold’em cash rather than my usual PLO, mainly because there are more tables of NLHE going. I guess I’m also being influenced a little by the fact that I’m currently reading that Annie Duke/John Vorhaus book which I talked about Tuesday, a book that seems to focus entirely on no-limit hold’em (and mostly cash games, with just a few bits here and there about tourneys).

Am having to stick with the tiny $10 buy-in tables thanks to my limited bankroll. Have had a few decent sessions here and there but am mostly just treading water. Had one short sequence the other day involving two hands in rapid succession that stood out a little. The first is more interesting than the second, strategy-wise.

It was a full ring game (nine players), and for the first of these two hands I had just about $10 when I found myself in the big blind Jh3d. A middle position player limped, one of those passive sorts who limped in a lot before the flop then called a lot after. It folded all of the way around to me and I checked. The flop came Qs3sJd, giving me bottom two.

I decided to bet 30 cents, more than the pot, in fact. The MP player called. The turn was the 8h, and again I bet, this time 80 cents (slightly less than the pot). Again my opponent called.

The river was a not-so-pretty Th. I checked, and my opponent promptly bet $1.27. On Hero Poker there are buttons to bet 1/2, 2/3, or full pot, and here my opponent had clicked the 1/2 pot button. (There are “2x,” “4x,” and “8x” buttons, too, in fact.)

Probably should fold, right? Well, I was stubborn and called, and was duly punished as my opponent showed Kd9h for the rivered straight.

The amounts are so small I’ll admit I was affected at least a couple of times here. If playing higher stakes, I doubt I would’ve bet so big (relative to the pot) on the flop. And I probably would’ve folded to the river bet, too, which I well knew my passive opponent likely wasn’t making with a hand worse than mine.

That left me with something like $6. (Hero’s hand histories don’t include starting stacks, I’m afraid). The next hand I folded, and watched as an opponent had his A-A cracked by a player rivering a king-high straight with 10-9.

Then on the very next hand I was on the button when a player in early position min-raised to $0.20. I had picked up KcKd, and thinking I’d take advantage of what looked like steaming I reraised big to a dollar. It folded back to my opponent who made it $1.80, and I actually thought to myself how he most likely had aces.

But I was stubborn again, influenced both by the smallness of the stakes and perhaps irrationally by the fact that a player had just had aces the hand before. And maybe I really was steaming a little. Then again, I don’t think I’ve ever folded kings preflop before, anyway, so there was little chance I was doing so here.

So I shoved, he snap-called, and sure enough he had AdAc. A king flopped, actually, but an ace came on the turn and I was forced to rebuy.

The hand made me think of the one from this summer when I’d run kings into aces in that deep stack tourney. It also made me think of one shown this week on ESPN from Day 3 of the WSOP Main Event -- was talking about the coverage yesterday -- in which a player managed to fold his pocket kings before the flop after an opponent four- or five-bet all-in with aces.

Is fun to play, even for tiny stakes. While one always has to allow for the kind of crazy-random play that will sometimes crop up at the micro stakes, that really only constitutes a small percentage of what goes on. Otherwise it is the same sort of good and bad play one finds higher up, with perhaps a bit more of the latter. And even though the smallness of the stakes is likely keeping me from thinking as carefully as I should when making certain decisions, I am nonetheless feeling reasonably challenged to think somewhat seriously about the game.

The fold buttonStill, finding that fold button can be extra difficult sometimes when playing for nickels and dimes.

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