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Gareth's Blog

/Jan/2013

On the road, to improvement

By: GarethC23 @ 11:26 (EST) / 726 / Comment ( 1 )

Hey PSO!

I am writing to you from Vina del Mar, Chile. That's where I spotted the headlining graffiti. I think graffiti is great. It can make you chuckle, pause, or recoil -- graffiti is good for a reaction. And its free! I may not be the best poker player, but that represents some good value to me. 

Last night I had a good session at the local casino here, in a 2/4 game. I think I misplayed one hand (AK, naturally) but apart from that made some good decisions. One of the best decisions I made, I think, was my decision to quit early, despite being ahead in the game. I'll get to that, but first my mistake!

I had raised AK preflop and got called by the player to my direct left and another who was an early position limper. The flop came J73 and I had the backdoor nut flush draw. I continuation bet, got called by the player in position, the limp-caller folded, and the turn came another 3, which put out a second flush draw. 

In theory this is a bad card to barrel. It does not improve my real equity in the least, I didn't add a flush draw, or a gutshot, or a pair. It also doesn't add any fold equity. A pair is even more comfortable calling on this card than it would be on most others, especially a pair of threes. I also continuation bet in a three-way pot, not one that was heads up, and (again) in theory, that means I should be more reluctant to continue bluffing. 

I think I should have (semi) bluffed here. The reason is that my opponent's range to call the flop is so wide. It probably includes any two diamonds, any gutshot, of which there are considerably many, and even some overcard combinations like KQ. So I felt my decision to check was a bad one because I do not feel comfortable check-calling a bet, and my opponent happened to make an 85 dollar one at that. 

This was the biggest mistake I made in my session, which I suppose, is forgivable. But still not the type of mistake I want to make consistently. 

I later won some of that money back against the same opponent. Again I had AKo in early position and raised. He called next to act and we saw a rare heads-up flop, QT3 with two clubs (I have Kc). I decided to check-call in this spot for a few reasons. First my opponent had shown a propensity to bet without purpose, so I expect him to fire pretty much his whole range in this spot and I expect to be ahead of that range. I think I just have a strong hand in this spot, one that benefits from seeing the turn more than my opponent's range benefits. I expect to be able to play better on future streets out of position and to make good decisions. 

As it happens my opponent made a small bet, 20$ or so, which was smaller than my preflop raise. I called and turned an offsuit ace. I check-called another bet of the same size from my opponent. The river was an offsuit 7. I checked a final time and again, the same bet size, 20$. I decided that it was overwhelmingly likely that I had the best hand here and that my opponent was likely making a bet with a weaker ace or a hand with showdown value that probably could not expect to be called by worse, a hand like JT comes to mind. I decided to raise to 95$ and I got a call reasonably quickly, and was good. My opponent didn't show, but held his cards face down, trying to piece together what had happened. I am not sure what his issue was, to be honest, my Spanish isn't good enough to understand things muttered under someone's breath. 

That brings me to my best decision -- to stand up shortly after midnight and call it a session. The mark on my left busted, flush over flush, to a young tight player. I was left with a seven handed table. The four people on my right where poor postflop players, but none of them were much interested in spewing away money. One was simply waiting for the nuts. The two people on my left were young, about my age, and sharing ear buds. One was tight and the other was the best player of my competition. 

There was only one other table running and it was six handed. While none of those players looked spectacular, none was visibly inebriated, irritated, or otherwise signalling that they wanted to give a lot of money away. I didn't see any big pots going down at that other table and it didn't seem like chips were flying. In short, everyone looked like they probably played here four times a week and just bled money out. The biggest mark had gone home. So one thing you should always ask yourself is, where is my value coming from? Surely I thought I could beat this lineup, but for how much? And with no clear incentive to wait for the tables to combine, I thought it was best to get to bed on time. 

I won about $300 last night in the game, which is of course a great result. You might say, well couldn't it have been better? Maybe. But I woke up fresh today and can always go back tonight! In fact, I think I just might. 

Buenos diaz y suerte 

Gareth

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