Saturday, April 26, 2008

FCPC cash game highlights

Every so often, my local poker group holds a cash game as a change of pace from the rotation of weekly tournaments. (I expect a recap of some of the action here.)

Yesterday, we had two tables of seven players engaged in a fairly deepstacked .50/1 game. My table featured many of the more successful regulars, with nearly everyone buying in for the maximum 200 BBs. That led to a lot of fireworks and a lot of money on the table as 3 players rebought in the first 90 minutes. True to form, this fine player, who was sitting a couple of spots to my right, spewed away his chips early on before mounting a comeback once he bought more chips. (As I recall he managed to grind out a profit of a buy-in or so by session's end, mostly because he kept getting premium hands whenever he straddled. It was ridiculous; I suggested at one point that he should only play UTG or on the button!)

I played several notable hands. Early on, I was dealt black aces and was able to check-raise Fuel and Joanne (she didn't flop quads on me this time for a change!) on a non-threatening flop to rake in a nice pot.

I scuffled a bit as I had to consistently fold some second-best hands as Bill ran hot, running up his stack to nearly a full $400.

I took down my next big pot of the night when I raised A3s (diamonds) from the button, and, as expected, five players saw the flop (roughly $30 in the middle). I saw two diamonds on board (J9x) so I was clearly drawing to a nut flush. It was checked around to me and I made a pot-building bet. In standard club fashion, this elicited a series of calls (check-call is the strongest play in poker, right?!) Simon called (and I got a strong impression he was drawing along with me to a lower flush), Bill called (I put him on a pair) and then Eman, who was short, announced a check-raise all-in but he was only able to put in a short raise. The rest of us were only able to call his additional $10 raise without putting in a 3-bet, so that left us with a main pot of $100+, with a lot of money behind to build a side pot. The turn was an offsuit ten and the three of us checked around. The river was the beautiful Qd and I made the stone cold nuts. Somewhat to my surprise, Simon checked (I put him on a made flush here) and then Bill bet $20. I tanked for a little while and then announced all-in for a total of $120 or so. I didn't really have a good raise size to make since the main pot complicated matters, so I just stuck it all-in whilst attempting to look weak. Simon tanked for a good five minutes or so before he reluctantly folded (I was praying all the while hoping he couldn't fold the second or third nut flush) and then Bill flashed a king-high straight before he also folded. So I scooped the main pot but sadly wasn't able to extract any additional value.

The hand of the night was soon to come, and it continued the welcome trend in the club's occasional cash games, which has me regularly scooping up a lot of chips in the monster pot of the session. At this point, I had about $365 in front of me. Bill had me covered. I decided to try a variation play. The typical preflop opening raise ranged from $3.50 to $7 on average. I pulled out a rainbow series of chips, but slipped in a $25 chip along with a $5 chip and a $1 chip, making it $31 to go. Joanne on my left noticed the raise size as I commented "oops, so much for making it $6.50" (which would have been 1 $5 chip, 1 $1 chip and 1 .50 cent chip). She quite properly insisted that my bet amount should stand and Simon agreed. As they both were speaking, Bill woke up with a hand and flat-called as everyone else got out of the way.

Whee, we had a big pot brewing! (31x2 + 1.5 = 63.5) Unfortunately, I was out of position but I figured to have the advantage preflop. Would I be outflopped?

The flop came down a raggedy T32 rainbow. I led out with a 1/2 pot-sized bet of $30. Bill called. At this point, my heart sank in my chest as I studied him. I surmised that Bill could not have aces -- he would almost certainly have re-raised me preflop with them to punish me for my large preflop raise in an attempt to commit me to the hand with an inferior holding. The other hands in his range which were most likely were kings, jacks, or tens. Two of those three hands beat me. If he had made a gutsy, pure set-mining call preflop in position with 33 or 22 (not impossible nor incorrect given how deep the relevant stacks sizes were) he was also way ahead. I had $303.5 left in my stack, and I would likely lose a bunch of that if Bill went to valuetown on me on the turn and river streets.

The turn was a breathtaking queen. (GIN!)

I did my best to look uncertain. I peeked at Bill and saw that he was still confident that he was trapping me. Pretty quickly I announced that I was all-in (praying that my OBFV would work). Sure enough, it took Bill less than 2 seconds to utter the words I was praying to hear: "I call."

I turned over my queens in a flash and he winced, shaking his head as he dejectedly flipped over two tens for one of those rare massive confrontations of top set vs. second set. My hand held up and I raked in a massive $700+ pot, which is a personal best for me in a headsup pot in a live cash game at these stakes (remember, this was a .50/$1 game!).

I should stress at this point that I don't think I could get away from a set of tens here. I might take more than two seconds to commit that many chips, but barring a ridiculously strong read of my opponent, I'm not folding the second nuts there either. The way the cards fell it was just a classic setup.

The rest of the night was a downward spiral as for the most part I went completely card dead and my pocket pairs failed to hit sets and were outflopped. Other players won some notable pots as I bled away chips with second-best hands here and there; I correctly made proper laydowns when I was beat (eg. when Joanne check-raised 3 players when I had an overpair to the board) or paid off given proper odds with my holdings. So my stack dwindled slowly but surely from its dizzying heights as the night wore on.

All in all, it certainly was a fun and eventful night of cards, and I was able to walk out of the club yet again as the big winner for the night (+2 buy-ins) and bragging rights over Fuel.

It's too bad we didn't have any prop bets going on the side. Now there's a bad beat!

In closing, I have to ask: does my OBFV qualify for Fuel's contest? Shoving 303 BBs into a 120-ish BB pot and getting called for the full amount is surely a good score!

NB. The OBFV ratio is a 'paltry' 0.62.

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