Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Plugging Some Holes

Ok, this post doesn't involve Mrs. Blood.

With that said, I began to look over some of my results from the early stages of 2005 to see what I could discern about my play. As mentioned previously, I've moved my regular game from the $25NL tables to the $50NL tables. The question I had for myself was "how is it going?"

Well, it's going. I can say that the caliber of players at this level is a bit higher than I've previously experienced; but there are still a slew of sub-par players that can be taken advantage of. Early indications show I'm in the black this year at this level, but only a couple of buy-ins. (Ed. note: Rather than use poker tracker -which I probably should be doing - I've got my own home grown database that logs my results.)

I've found that I've become enamored with the "I'm going to take this pot away from you" play. Here's how it should work. You call a pre-flop raise with either a low pocket pair or even Ace-high. The flop comes rags - or even has 1 single high card. You cold call the post-flop bet and if another rag falls, you either check raise or bet out a significant amount. The hope is that either the high card is a scare card to your opponents lower pocket pair - or the flop simply flat out missed them.

Sometimes this works, sometimes this doesn't.

When it works, you feel like Johnny Fucking Chan. When it doesn't, you feel like the biggest dolt on the planet.

Here is an example. I called a pre-flop raise with Q,J suited on a short-handed table and saw a real raggedy flop that must have been about 7-high. The turn was a 10, and it was at this point I check-raised my opponnent from $10 to $20. There was that pause indicative that he may have been taken aback by the raise. However, he simply called. This is a red-flag. The play is designed for a fold here, so calling was not anticipated. The river was a second 10 and I pushed. Unfortunately for me, the guy was holding A,T. Doh! I had really put him on AK, AQ, or AJ. In chat, the winner actually said he liked my play and we discussed it a bit. He would have folded had he held any of the above hands, I simply guessed wrong.

I also didn't have enough of a stack to make the guy really think about folding either. Another caveat to this play working is having enough chips to make the other guy really consider folding. In this case, it just wasn't going to work, but when you outchip someone by a 2 or 3 to 1 margin, you can bet half their stack and really put them to the test. There are some good players out there willing to lay down TPTK.

That's another caveat. You have to watch the table for a while to determine who is capable of making a laydown. Good players can do this while the spastik "click call" players won't.

My problem was overusing this play. So last night, I played the solid game of which I'm capable and only used that move when the following conditions were met: opponent is a decent player, I have opponent greaty out-chipped, and I'm looking for a fold on my turn raise. I only found one opportunity to use the play and I was 1 for 1.

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