Level 4 Blinds 75-150
I have always waited until it was my turn to act to look at my cards until I read "Ace on the River," by Barry Greenstein. Greenstein suggests that you look at your hole cards immediately so you can imagine and think through what you would do in differing situations. Having less pressure by planning ahead lends to an easier, more concealed, execution of play.
Notable Hand #4:
I was in the big blind looking a pocket 6's. It took being under the gun for seat 9 to fold; but seat 1 raised the pot to $400. Everyone folded to me. I had already decided at that point I was going to call a raise from a loose player, and fold to a tight one. If I called I was going to execute a similar strategy as I did with my pocket threes, betting out at the flop regardless of how it came.
The flop came 578 rainbow. The open ended straight draw gave me some more confidence with my bet of $400, which seat #1 called with just slight hesitation. The turn was a Jack.
Here is where I need to make a decision. What do I do?
a. I can check, which essentially gives my hand up as it would telegraph how weak I am and surely elicit a bet from this loose aggressive player, who after his call I believe likely has either a mediocre pocket pair or hit the flop with his crappy loose hole cards.
b. I can bet and hope for one of the following scenarios:
1. He folds.
2. He calls with two big unpaired cards
3. He calls with a better pair than me but I make my straight on the river (hoping he doesn't have a better one). If I he calls me and I don't improve by the river I am done with the hand.
I bet $800 into the pot (scary as this brings me close to 2k). He calls. I get nauseated.
River comes a 4...I likely have the best hand.
If the river brought a 9, I would be more cautious, but still confident I had the best hand as I doubt he would call J10 for an inside straight draw.
I revert back to maximize profit mode. I assume he has at least an 8 or a Jack when he called the turn. I deliberated betting out but decided to check, pretending that the straight frightened me. He did not step into my trap and checked behind me. Again I was disappointed with my ability to extract more. I need to get better at this. I should have bet.
I showed my pocket 6's and he mucked in disgust leading me to believe I might have rivered his pair of 8s or Jacks. The pot brought my stack size to over 5k, putting me in a much better spot. You can see my manly hot pink headset in this next pic too!
Seat #1 instantly went into vendetta mode after that hand.
Notable Hand #5:
This hand is just a couple of hands after hitting my straight against seat #1. Seat # 4 raises to $400, seat #5 and 6 fold, Seat #7 calls. In late position I have pocket Queens.
Pocket Queens are a strong pre-flop hand. There are only 2 hands better. I keep in mind Phil Gordon's Pair Principle. Gordon created a formula to approximate what the likely hood that one of your opponents left to act is holding a better pre-flop hand.
C = (NxR) /2
C = Percent Chance someone has a better pocket pair
N = Number of players left to act in hand
R = Number of hands better than yours.
Although this formula is intended to be used mainly when you are first to act it is a reasonable way to get an idea of what the likelihood is that you will be up against a a better hand. (5x2)/2 = 5%.
With 5 people left to act if I make a re-raise, and only 2 stronger hands are possible, that gives me about a 95% chance I have the best holding.
My plan is to re-raise, and if seat #4 comes over my top I might have to strongly consider letting this hand go. The pot has close to 1k in it, and I would prefer to take this hand down without a flop. I over bet the pot raising it to $1200. The button , Seat #9, the button, folds and not surprisingly seat # 1, in the small blind, re-raises me to $2400, throwing a menacing stare my way. Seat #4 and seat #7 fold.
So here my options are to fold, call, or re-raise, probably all in. The reality is I have no idea what seat #1 is holding. I know he is pissed at me and I have seen him make a similar bully play back at seat #9 in the last level with a weak hand. I know he is head hunting for me. In addition I know he is loose. I suspect at best he has a lower pocket pair such as JJs or 10s, or high cards such as AK or AQ. I suppose there is a chance he has AA or KK, but I have too much other historical information to give his move credibility.
Using Phil Gordon's principle, what I knew about my opponent and a pair of very large balls (key ingredient,) I pushed all-in.
Seat #1 sat there befuddled, grasping at his hair and burying his face in his hands. At that point I knew he was beat. I narrowed him down to only 2 possible hands. AK or JJ. He spent at least 3 minutes deliberating and then finally called. He flipped up his AK, and I flipped the sign of the cross praying that Jesus would keep my side of the coin heavy. He missed the board completely, doubling me up to close to 12k, and he went from a solid chip leader to a crippled little loose aggressive girl.
I had a number of smaller hands go on during this level after I became a bigger stack. I had picked up Kings and was able to force out a raise to my right. I also picked up Queens and doubled up a short stack who happen to have Kings. I didn't see this as foreshadowing at the time!
During this round Sklansky was struggling to keep his short stack going, eventually busted and gave all his chips away to seat #7 going all in pre-flop in with KQ VS. AQ.