Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Part III: Good Runs Require Good Skills to Maximize Profit... WSOP 2010 Event #3 - Level 2

Level 2 Blinds 25-50

With Yang busted out of seat #7 it wasn't long a new player was brought to the table. I was happy to see he was a short stacked with about 600 chips until I considered his volatility. With just 12 big blinds he was in push mode. This generated action with some of the other players who doubled him up including Sklanksy. Sklansky, who hoped to take advantage of the action, was crippled when he lost as a 3:1 favorite doubling seat #7 up. I don't think seat #7's aggression was purely based on his stack size. His count would have been dominate had his reckless and relentless betting not leaked a large amount of his stack.

Notable Hand #2

Seat #7 ~$3k

Me: ~$1.5k

When I am on tilt I am prone to become a loose passive elephant. My tilt music did a great job of helping me avoid this, particularly the GNR song "Patience," helped me tighten back up. Some 30 minutes into Level 2 and I was dealt pocket Kings on the button.

Seat #7 raised to $150 and I re-raised, while in position to $300 and he called, leaving me with close to $1,200 in chips left. We were heads up when the flop came: 10hQhQc

Pot: ~ $675

He bets out $300. I might consider folding this if he had not shown such reckless aggression since he came to the table. I decide not to raise (or fold), since I believe a simple call would slow him down on the turn unless he had a Queen. I call and the turn comes Ace-h.

Pot: ~ $1275
My Stack: ~ $900

Wow what a bad turn for me. My heartless Kings are now crushed to pair of Aces, a straight, a flush, a set of Queens...all kinds of terrible things. The only thing I have going for me is that I have him frightened that I have a set of Queens while he has some pair in the hole that did not connect to the board in anyway.

He checks. I check as well. Betting would make no sense At best he had a pair of Aces that I might be able to push him off of. There were just too many other strong hands out there to even try this.

The King on the river brought joy to my heart as I boat up. I was back in the game, and now I was praying for him to have a Queen, a flush, or a straight. He bet out $350 again, and I re-raised all in.

Pot: ~ $2500

I have a tell that I am well aware of. I turn my hat around backwards when I have a strong hand. I usually don't notice I do this until after the hand when I find my cap backwards. Sometimes I will just put my cap on backwards to avoid doing this. Well I don't remember doing this, but Seat #7 gave a speech before he folded about how I turned my hat around and threw all my chips in. I was mad at myself for leaking a tell that I knew about , but in all honesty I think he missed the board entirely, or maybe hit a 10, as $600 or so more chips should have been an easy call into a $2500 pot no matter what I did with my hat. He might have even called with a weak Ace.

With $2500 chips left my chances of survival are now much better

Notable Hand #3
Seat #6: ~5.5k
Me: ~2.5k

The next hand I am dealt pocket 3s in the big blind and called a pre-flop raise of $200 by the button, my old friend seat #6. We are heads up as Seat #7 had folded. I thought a bit before calling this raise out of position, but ultimately decided to call because:

1. He is a loose aggressive player; unlikely to hold a stronger pair
2. I believe I convinced him that I folded a premium hand in Level 1; this gives me some more fold equity if I bet out on the flop.

Knowing that he will only hit the flop 1/3 times, my plan was to lead out with a bet on the flop 1/2 the size of the pot regardless of what came up. If he calls or re-raises I am done with the hand and still have a healthy stack.

Pot: $425

3spades 7 spades Q hearts

My dreams rekindle when I flop a set. In this situation, and against a single opponent, playing passive is my usual play, especially against one so aggressive. I am not worried so much against a single opponent drawing out on me.

With multiple opponents I get concerned a bit more about a flush draw, but will plan a check raise if the table is on the aggressive side. If one or more players were to check I would bet the turn and expect to win the pot. If a check were to call my turn bet I would get concerned that I was up against a bigger set, or a flush if a spade hit, and likely would check the river and be faced by a tough decision. Against a tight table I am happy to take the pot and bet most of the time, making sure to not give good drawing odds with my bet size.

Here's why I think a check is the right move:

1. He most likely has no draws and no pairs

2. If he has no draws or pairs he will fold to a bet (my original plan if I did not hit a set)

3. If he has no draws or pairs he will likely bet to a check because this is his nature, to steal like the loose aggressive slime he is. Having hammered me earlier also increases his likelihood of aggression. Why not see how much he is gonna give me? Honestly I give his pre-flop raise no cred, and think it is unlikely he hit the flop. So any bet I make has a good chance eliciting a fold.

I check and he bets $350; I call.

Pot: $1125

My Chip Stack: ~$2100

I have about $2100 in chips left; he's got me well covered. The turn boats me up with a 7 of clubs. At this point I am confident I have the best hand. My mind is simply in how to extract the maximum amount. His aggressive behavior leads me to check, and he bets $500.

Now what do I do?

a. Call and check the river hoping he bets again
b. Call and bet the river
c. Re-raise now and hope he calls me with a set of 7s, a pair of Queens or a flush draw.

I re-raise to $1000 and he folded. Quickly.

My fear is that if I just called and bet the river he would fold. In retrospect I feel that was the wrong thing to do. I suspected he had nothing, and it is very possible that even if his hand improved slightly on the river I would not have milked any more out of this. In the back of my brain I had hoped he had some piece of the board and would think that my aggression was an act of desperation. I now believe the right thing to do was to check and give him a chance to improve his hand, and then bet the river.

At any rate I picked up a nice pot that brought me closer to a 4k stack.

In summary I was lucky to have caught 2 nice hands, but feel I did reasonably well maximizing my profit by capitalizing on aggressive play.

Level 2 was good to me, and I can change my play list to normal music now as I enter level 3.

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