Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Easy Reader

Captain Obvious, from BlueLine Comics (click to visit)Little post here about a recent hand of PLO. Won’t take long, I promise.

I’ve been splitting my time between PLO25 (either six-handed or full ring) and 1/2 LHE (full ring only), sometimes actually sitting at one table of each. Might seem odd to be playing both at once, but I’m finding the PLO (where I’m playing most of the hands) is enabling me to be more patient at the LHE table (where I’m playing very few).

Have been running well in both games here of late. Probably a bit better in Omaha. Have been experimenting a bit with preflop raises, intermittently putting in small raises with marginal hands from late position. Try to avoid such applesauce with badly-coordinated hands with little potential, but will put in the small (e.g., 3xBB) raise with something like Js9c7d6s. A good number of players automatically put you on aces with any sort of preflop raise, so for some these raises create a bit of misdirection before the flop which can pay off nicely if the flop hits my hand. These raises can also help disguise it when I do have aces or something else worth raising. Strategy seems to work best in short-handed games, or sometimes in a very tight full ring game.

Anyhow, the hand I want to share with you requires just a bit of background. Don’t fret. I’ll be quick.

Was at a six-handed PLO25 table on Full Tilt and after sitting there a good while (100 hands or so) had built my initial $20 up over $40, perhaps loosening me up just a bit. Players had come and gone, but I’d had one player -- MrSkeptic -- two seats to my right for the entire session. He’d been up and down a bit and was sitting at about even, I believe, for the hands we’d played. Appeared to be a fairly straightforward type who occasionally took chances but mostly just waited for big hands. We had vied for a few pots, but nothing too dramatic.

Then came a hand where after a bunch of checking I found myself heads-up on the river with MrSkeptic. The pot was around four bucks. The board read 4d2h7s4c7d. What did I have? Qd3c9h Tc. That’s right. As Norman Chad would say, I had squadoosh. (No, I didn’t preraise this one.) MrSkeptic checked to me and I quickly bet $3.50. After a long wait, he called and took the pot with a pair of kings.

A silly play, sure. But stay with me here.

About fifteen or so hands later I get dealt 3sAcAh4d on the button. Now I had been putting in the smallish raises from the button and cutoff over and over, but this time I just called, joining the two limpers (including MrSkeptic). I could’ve certainly put in the raise, as it wouldn’t necessarily have signalled aces, but I didn’t. However, not raising also makes aces seem unlikely -- especially from a dude who does sometimes raise preflop.

Frankly I don’t like aces that aren’t suited or have strong straight possibilities to go along with ’em. I am also fully capable of letting them go if the flop doesn’t work out for me -- which it almost always doesn’t for a bare pair of aces. So if I miss this flop I’ll gladly toss ’em.

But I don’t. Flop comes QdAd2s. I’ve hit my set. Checks to me, I bet pot (75 measly cents), and both my opponents call. Coupla draws, no doubt. The turn is the Kc. The blind checks and MrSkeptic quickly bets pot -- $3.25. I call, knowing full well my man has the straight. I’m also thinking the blind might stay in with the flush draw, thus giving me not-quite-but-decent-enough odds (I suppose) to chase my boat. He folds, though. Oh, well. The pot is $9.50 and the river is good to me, bringing the Qh. MrSkeptic checks.

What would you bet here? Two dollars? Four dollars?

I bet pot -- which on Full Tilt actually means a little more than pot (in this case $9.75). Why would I make such a ridiculous overbet?

A couple of reasons. He can’t have me on aces. He might well have me on a lesser boat, but why would I overbet so much? He obviously has a straight, and has played the hand in such a way that he clearly knows that I know he has a straight. Thus a pot-sized bet seems even more likely not to want a call -- as if I have just a set or two pair or something. Or nothing, as I had in that hand just a little while ago . . . .

MrSkeptic is thinking. A good sign. Thirty seconds pass. He starts typing. An even better sign.

MrSkeptic: watch this a boat on the river for you i bet

He calls. He’s got the straight, all right. And I’ve got the nearly $30 pot.

MrSkeptic: exactly
MrSkeptic: easy read

I allow myself to type “haha” but resist asking why the hell he called if it were so easy a read. He nonetheless gives me an answer (of sorts):

MrSkeptic: if this really matters i would of folded there

Jack Nicholson as George Hanson in 'Easy Rider' (1969)I hear ya, man. Can’t be a slave to the dollar. Just like George says, it’s real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace. Nik-nik-nik-nik . . . SWAMP!

Actually I don’t believe it was MrSkeptic’s cavalier attitude toward small stakes that encouraged the call there. It was picking off that earlier bluff. No way he pays me off without that earlier hand having happened.

Not saying I’m doing everything right in this hand (or in general). But I don’t think I’m being as easy a read as MrSkeptic here. Whaddya think?



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