Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Tale of Two Tells

Poker baby.  This is going to be all about poker. 

I played in the $300 bounty tournament at Foxwoods last Wednesday and it was one of the worst showings that I can remember.  Perhaps that's why it took so long to write about. :)  15K in starting chips.  My modus operandi was to try to see alot of flops on the cheap and early.  My guideline for these cheap flops was that I had to hit better than one pair to keep going otherwise muck after the flop.  I'd won a couple of early hands and then I was dealt J-10 of hearts.  Bing! As much as I wanted to raise, I limped in to see the flop on the cheap.  The flop had 2 hearts.  I checked, villian bet 200 and I called.  I know I'm not supposed to chase flushes but it was  only 200!  no heart on the turn so I checked again, and so did he.  heh.  Had he bet, the mighty jack ten would've been hitting the muck, but he checked too. I hit my flush on the river and bet 600 and he called with tpck (top pair, crappy kicker). 

As that was my 3rd win in the first 10 min of the tourney, the guy to my left said "You're on quite a heater."  I disagreed and told him he ain't seen nothing yet.  The play for the next hour or so was pretty uneventful.  I was getting a feel for the other players and watching their betting habits.  I saw who was in  more pots than they should've been and who was aggro.  My next big hand was against a young aggro guy seating 2 spots away from me.  Very aggressive.  I was on the button and limped in with 6-10 (remember my MO about seeing alot of flops!)  He was the BB and checked.

Flop was A-A-6.  He bet out 500.  I just called.  I probably should've raised there as I did not put him on an ace.  He was too aggressive not to raise in the BB with an ace with me limping in.  I knew this.  And besides, I had better than one pair on the flop, didn't I?  That was my rule for hanging around to the turn.  Anyway, I only called. 

Turn was a 10.  (yes I took notes on this hand)

I like this.  I KNOW he doesn't have an ace, and if he has a 6 I have him crushed with my tens.  He cannot possibly put me on a 10.  So I check.  :)

He bets 900 and I just call.

River is a 4 (blank).

I bet 1,200.  He raises it up to 4,200; 3k on top.

Ut oh.

Maybe he does have an ace?

All of a sudden my cheap flop has cost me alot of chips and I'm cursing myself for playing a shitty 6-10.  I am just about to fold my hand....yet....he's looking kinda nervous while I'm thinking.  Just for shits and giggles I ask him "How much do you have left?" There is no way in hell I'm considering an all in;  I'm just looking for a reaction, obv.

He looks like I just told him his dog is spending the weekend at Michael Vick's house.

Now remember, it was 15k in starting chips.   3k is 20% of the starting stack which is a huge bet so early on in the tournament.  But.....I remember Waffles telling me that if I can't commit to trusting my reads, I can't be a great poker player.  So do I trust my read or not? 

I throw my chips in and say "Call.  What do you have?"

He says 'Nice call' but doesn't flip it over.  I paid and I want to see it and I ain't jumping the gun to show him my cards.  Finally, he turns over K-2......crapola.

I go into the first break with about 23K in chips, which is ideal imho.

And then the wheels fall off.  I lost a huge pot when I flopped trips.  I'd made a 5xbb raise preflop and got one caller.  I flopped my trips (and 2 diamonds) so I bet more than pot.  He called.  Turn was not a diamond and I thought fuck it.  All in!  He called with 2 diamonds and hit his flush on the river.

I had more than him, but how does he make a call like that for the whole tourney?  I dunno, but fuck.  fuck.  fuck.  Then I lost with K-9 when the flop was K-9-x.  Betting big all the way only to be rivered by a guy with an inside straight draw.

Now I am fuming.  I'm playing for a little while longer, making bits and pieces back.  Not getting great cards, but I'm making them work for me, and yeah, I'm steaming and angry.  I know it's all part of poker but it got to me.  I hate being the short stack and I am mad at myself for losing all those chips.  I was in great fucking position chipwise and now I'm the polar opposite of that. omfg.  I get 4-4.  Guy in 3rd position raises to 3xbb (standard raise) and everyone folds to me with 4-4.  At this point the blinds are pretty big, the antes are in the pot too, and that along with his 3xBB bet means I want to steal.

I'm not so shortstacked that calling an all in from me is easy.  I figure him on A-J, or maybe K-Q.....nothing he can call an all in with so ALL IN!

Believe me, both Poker Grump and I KNOW this was a stupid shitty and unnecessary move. I had plenty of time and chips to wait for the right opportunity to double up, or just chip up slowly, like I know I can.  All I can say is I was disgusted.  I only told you about 2 of the suck outs, and believe me there were more.  Maybe I was so upset because I had plenty of chips, winning them all with skill and certainly not with great cards.  I think that jack ten and pocket 4s were the best hands I'd seen in 3 hrs of playing, while all around me there's people getting A-A, K-K.....speaking of which.

That guy called my all in with K-K  Oops!

GG Very Josie! (except not really) It had potential and then went into the shitter.  So it was onto the cash game to get my buy in back.

Which I did, because I rock.  Oh and because I'm awesome.  However, I did lose about $500 in one hand at the cash game.  Wanna hear about THAT?  To put it into perspective, this was when I was playing with XKM and had a HUGE stack of chips.  He'd left to play some dumb game (stud 8 or better) and I just kept adding to my big stack.  I probably had over $900 in chips when I lost the $500.  But still.  $500 in one hand.  That is a new world's record for very josie; one I hope not to break.

Perhaps such a story is better left till Monday morning.  :)  Even though it's the second tale about a 'tell' which kinda makes the title of this post obsolete.  Oh well, I'm too lazy to change the title.

Until then, play smart, my peeps.

Oh, before I sign off, I'd like to call your attention to the blog roll ON THIS BLOG.  Yes, that's Very Josie listed FIRST on the blog roll.  Unlike, SOME PEOPLE, I could mention, who listed me fricking third. 

I <3 Duggle Bogey! even though he doesn't have sense enough to be a Red Sox fan.  I assure you I can change that.  He's also the guy who sent me this:

High Roller, The Stu Unger Story, along with that Red Sox suck note, but you know what?  I will forgive him because he doesn't know better.  Besides, I really enjoyed the movie.

Play smart and send me stuff like Duggle Bogey.



Memphis MOJO said...

I was on the button and limped in with 6-10

You can raise with anything when you're on the button -- hell, you can raise with anything.

Josie said...

Well yeah, but the plan was to see cheap flops in the first couple hours.

Rakewell said...

You didn't ask for my advice, but I think that is a lousy plan.

One of the best gems of poker wisdom I've ever come across is this, from John Vorhaus: "There's nothing more expensive than a cheap flop." (

The first problem is that if somebody raises behind you, you are faced with choosing between (A) abandoning the chips you already put in, or (B) playing a weak hand against a raiser from out of position. Not a very attractive pair of options, is it?

The second problem is that you are relying on hitting a hand in order to win. So is everybody else limping in. You have no better chance of flopping a monster than anybody else. Playing this way levels the playing field and eliminates whatever edge in skill you might have. You're turning a poker tournament into a game of bingo.

The third problem is that the great majority of the time you will not flop a monster, and you'll have to fold. This is a big leak of chips. Ever seen a water bill when you had a leaky faucet you didn't know about? Drip, drip, drip, one big blind at a time, your stack leaks down the drain. It is mathematically demonstrable that over the long run you will not win enough when you hit to make up for all the small losses you take along the way.

As a general rule, calling (preflop or postflop) should be your LAST option. There are definitely situations where it is the best route, but you should always first try to find a reason for an aggressive action (bet or raise), secondly consider folding, and only if it's clear that neither of those is optimal consider a call. You are turning that basic, sound, universal strategy on its head by making a call your first choice.

I defy you to find any well-regarded tournament strategy book or successful tournament player who advocates the approach you're describing. I'd bet you $100 you can't find one. There's a reason for that: IT'S A TERRIBLE STRATEGY THAT ONLY WEAK, LOSER PLAYERS EMPLOY!

Don't be one of them.

Josie said...

Wow and wow. Your comment is very enlightening to me. I never even thought of the second problem: The second problem is that you are relying on hitting a hand in order to win. So is everybody else limping in. You have no better chance of flopping a monster than anybody else. Playing this way levels the playing field and eliminates whatever edge in skill you might have. You're turning a poker tournament into a game of bingo.


I am not a limper by any means but was trying this out.

ty ty ty for the advice. I will be rereading it alot.

Rakewell said...



Can you please teach Cardgrrl how to say that? :-)

Josie said...

I'm sure Cardgrrl has thought that statement many a time even if she doesn't utter it. trust me.

matt tag said...

Listen to Rakewell, he knows what he's talking about.

There are a few situations in a tourney that you can take a flier on hitting hard with a speculative hand. When blinds are low and you're in late position, and other people have already limped, for example. Personally, I need ALL THREE to be true. 56s goes into the muck in early position, and into the muck if I have 20 or fewer blinds in my stack. If I'm in late position and there are no limpers, then I'm raising (and hoping for folds, hitting a hand is my backup plan).

Turn folding into a game - mentally pat yourself on the back for folding JTo, KTs in early position. Fold ATo from under the gun. Fold offsuit connectors (89o) late also. Fold, Fold, Fold.

Pass the time by watching other players play, looking for tells. Save your chips so when you finally get a hand, your stack is still scary to people.

One other note on the AA6 hand - you were pretty sure the villain had no ace, so you thought about raising. Why? Wouldn't you make more money overall letting him bluff his air for three streets? Yes, he would spike a king every now and then, but the math usually works out that you win more in the long run calling down someone you KNOW is bluffing than blowing him off his bluff.

Rakewell said...

I'm just joking. She is actually more willing to admit when she is wrong than anybody I've ever known.

edgie212 said...

To play a little devil's advocate, and to elaborate on Ed Miller's perspective, there's been very little discussed about position in this thread. In cash games as well as tournaments in the first few levels, you can find yourself at a slightly better advantage overlimping in late position with a speculative hand, especially at a table you still know very little about. I find that while it can be informative to sit around and watch how others play, you can learn a lot more about hand ranges and betting patterns when you're in the actual hand. If you do decide to just raise, when you don't know if someone is a massive 4-better yet, then where are you at? And perhaps in a metagame sense, you can often use overlimping as an advantage against someone who is possibly thinking at a higher level, by limping in front of a habitual raiser with a monster hand. I'm not devaluing any of the comments made, just trying to say that sometimes overlimping is the best move to make depending on the table you find yourself at. The best way I know how to say it is to use limping as a weapon and not a habit.

Josie said...

Edgie, I am NOT a limper. The play described in this post is nothing remotely similar to how I normally play. this was an experiment albeit a failed one on how to play a bit more conservatively. blah. nevah happen again.

and you're right about position. i was just discussing position with a buddy of mine and wrote this:

"the thing about the 10-6 hand is i was on the button and i am all about position, regardless of the cards....well maybe not regardless of them, but i'm trying to make the point that position is uber important post flop. and i know if i have position i can out play the majority of my opponents post flop. alot of people don't know how to play to win post flop imho. but normally if i wanted to play 10-6 because of the position and because of the action or lack thereof before me, i'd do it by going in raising."

Rakewell said...

Yah, position. I hear that there are even some people who will put in a reraise with 10-7 offsuit if they have position.

Josie said...

Grump, you fucking whore!