Saturday, September 16, 2006

It's a Fish-Eat-Fish World

It's a Fish-Eat-Fish World . . . PokerStars currently has a reload bonus promotion in effect through Tuesday, September 19th. These don’t come around as often on Stars as they do on other sites (e.g., Party Poker). The Stars bonuses are nice because they are relatively easy to clear (unlike, say, what Full Tilt offers) and you have six months to play the necessary number of hands (unlike, say, Party Poker where bonuses often need to be cleared within one week). I’ve actually started keeping a sum over in Neteller from which I can draw in order to take advantage of these offers when they come around.

Was reading an interesting thread yesterday over on the Two Plus Two forums that began with someone publicizing the Stars reload bonus to other “Microers” (i.e., micro limit players). Subsequent posts started to describe how promotions like this tend to affect the play at the tables. Some held the position that one encounters more skillful players just after a reload bonus is announced. As one poster put it, “I feel like I’m fishing at the pier and all the lines are in the water but the fish are already in someone else’s bucket.” An interesting point, but I don’t think I'm gonna put too much stock in generalizations about how the ratio of good-to-bad players gets momentarily affected by reload promotions. As I said, one has six whole months to clear the Stars bonus, so if the waters seem too treacherous right now, just wait a few weeks for the fish to return . . . .

Speaking of fish, as I began working to clear that Stars bonus I had a fishy hand earlier today I thought I’d share. This was 6-max, $0.50/$1.00 limit Hold ’em. It folded to me in the cutoff seat where I’d been dealt TsQd. I called (fish-like, no?). The button and small blind both folded, and the big blind -- HowDareYou -- checked.

Now I’d only played about two dozen hands with HowDareYou to this point, but he’d already established himself as an aggressive player. Looking at Poker Tracker afterwards, I see he voluntarily put money in the pot over 59% of the hands I played with him. I didn’t know this exact figure while we were playing, but I could see that HowDareYou tended to play a lot of hands and didn’t shy away from pressuring opponents to fold when he thought he was good.

The flop came 9h6c8d and HowDareYou led out with a bet. I assumed by his bet that he'd caught some part of that flop. Influenced equally by my overcards, draws, and position -- and, perhaps, simple-minded inertia -- I decided just to call. (Narrating this now, after the fact, I see that a raise from me was certainly in order here. See why?) The pot was a modest $2.25. The turn then came the Ks and HowDareYou bet the dollar. My sense was he probably didn’t have the king and was hopeful I didn’t either.

I could’ve let this hand go. In fact, that was precisely my first instinct. The pot wasn’t really big enough to get too excited over. My pot odds weren’t so hot, either -- only 3.25-to-1 to call. But I reconsidered when I thought about what river cards would give me the hand. I still had my double-gutshot draw to a straight. And I believed my queen was probably live, too. (The ten I was less sure about.) So that was eight outs for the straight, plus three more should the queen arrive. There was no flush draw, so all of the outs appeared reasonably clean.

So I called. I might’ve even raised, actually, though I decided the only purpose that would serve would be to build the pot, since HowDareYou wasn’t going anywhere. He’d call even if he thought I had the king, I was sure. And if I made the pot too big here, there was no way he’d fold to a bluff on the river should I fail to hit anything.

Luckily enough, the river was bingo for me, the Jd. HowDareYou bet, I raised, he called, and I took down the $7.85 pot (minus $0.40 for the rake). “Nice runner runner,” HowDareYou sarcastically chimed in the chat box. I didn’t respond. I tightened up for the next round or two, hoping to take advantage of my newly-fashioned image as an unthinking calling station, but the table broke up too soon for it to matter much.

During the next hand I looked in the hand history to see that HowDareYou had held 9s4c. Not to say I played the hand particularly well -- indeed, the act of describing this hand shows me pretty clearly I wasn't at my best here -- but here's someone calling a late position river reraise with a pair of nines while staring at two overcards and a possible straight on the board.

The fish are still biting, all right. Come drop in a line and see how it goes. By the way, if you happen to pull out a brown, medium-brimmed fedora, that's mine . . . .

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You say you looked at the HH afterwards and that you didn't know his VP$IP was 59% until you checked after. Is it safe to presume that you're not using Poker Ace HUD or the Gametime+ software? I personally think these are a Godsend and a must to anyone with Poker Tracker.

Nice runner-runner my firned ;o)

9/18/2006 6:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

terrific blog. will become a regular reader

9/18/2006 11:31 AM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Thanks, guys. That's right, yorkshire, I'm not running other programs (nor am I running PT while playing, even). I know I can get a lot more out of PT than I am currently. Thx for the tip.

9/18/2006 4:21 PM  

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