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Plastic Pearl

The poker musings of a micro stakes newbie.
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$4.40 4max Hand History Review - Part 1

By: PlasticPearl @ 10:19 (EST) / 192 / Comment ( 1 )

So I played a $4.40 4max tournament in December, not a format I had really played before. I found it very interesting: with only 4 players at the table, and relatively deep stacked, you really get to see a lot of other player's games. This opportunity to exploit weakness is not usual in microstakes MTTs, where players normally bust so frequently and table moves are so often that you don't often get to see the villain's game. So for someone like myself who is still relatively new and wants to practice observing villains, it is a great format.

And there is a lot of dead money in the pool! Many players think "oh it is 4max, I need to be hyper aggressive and widen my range", but they do it completely out of proportion and try to win every pot, particularly in the early stages. So ironically, I found the natural thing to do was tighten up and just wait for them to gift me their chips.

Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself! This might be a long series, as in such a short handed format when you are deep stacked you see a lot of hands. I am aiming to review maybe five-ten hands in each blog, so it is quite lengthy. And not meant to be instructional either as I am in no position to instruct others. But it should give some food for thought, and also help me with my thought processes. Off we go!

Very first hand of the tournament with 150bb so no reason not to see a flop, and we have bottom pair with a draw to the nut flush and backdoor straight draws so I call the c-bet. I think calling on the turn is better than raising: against an unknown in the first hand, I doubt he is folding any hand that he has bet twice with on such a dry board. I also don't think I have the implied odds, as even if I hit the flush it is highly unlikely I am getting paid unless he has the Qc. I hit my flush, bet small, he folds. Nice chip up but a bit unnecessary raising 10% of my stack on the first hand like that.

Really not sure what happened in this hand. I flop trip 7s with an ace kicker, c-bet half pot (too small). Then on the turn I check to show weakness, which I like, and they bet half. And then I raise 7x to 680! Either that was a misclick, or I thought villain was spewy and if he had any kind of hand he would put the chips in. He was 42/0 over 12 hands so far, and typically passive post flop. One to put down as a really bad play and missed value I think. And I should definitely be betting the flop bigger: effective stack is 150bb so we need to build the pot.

24 hands in and this was our first double up, blinds still at 10/20. I 3x from EP, and our 44/0 passive villain minraises. A bit scary given how passive he has been, but a really silly raise that you see a lot here and definitely not folding. But then the big blind open shoves 166bb! He is 19/19 so far over 23 hands, but is the third hand he has gone all in with: previously he has 3bet all in with Q2o and AQo so a loose cannon. I consider passing given how deep I am and I don't really fancy coin flipping, plus the minraiser may have a monster. But this guy has shown he can shove 150bb with Q2o so how can I fold? I call, the raiser folds (!) and the BB turns over 59o! Utterly bizarre. Even with AKo I am only 66%. Thankfully I hit a full house and we safely double up. The blinds increase to 15/30 and I have 212bb. A few hands later the villain shoves his final 13bb, I cal with 66, he again turns over 59o, and I take him out.

This is an example of a hand I think I really played badly. Still 223 bb deep, I open 2.5x on the button with Q4s and am called by SB and BB. Fine - I want action as the blinds aren't worth stealing. Flop comes QQK which is about as good as it gets for my hand. It's checked to me and I bet 150 into 225, the SB calls and the BB folds. Again, fine. I could maybe bet bigger given stack depths but I am vulnerable to a bigger queen so I think this is ok. Turn is an ace. Villain checks and I check behind. What! I guess I thought I was pot controlling to protect against a bigger queen, or maybe I was scared that an open ended JT draw just got there. But there are so many worse hands I can get value from. Any ace-x hand is likely calling otherwise what did they float the flop for? And maybe even KJ/KT. Plus there is now a flush draw if he has KJs, and any jack also now has a gutshot. So betting a decent size here is mandatory I think and checking behind is a big error. Plus any king, ace, jack, ten or spade on the river is a big scare card. And then the ace does come on the river so basically all I am beating now is air or a king. As I didn't bet the turn he could well have an ace. Villain checks to me, deciding value has gone, I check behind. Villain shows KT and I pull in a tiny 525 pot. Winning only 250 when you flop trips, when the villain holds top pair, is really poor.

Hand 68 and we still have 191bb. With 66 I open 2.5x, called by the button, and raise 3.2x by the SB who is 39/30 with 57bb, and he hasn't 3bet in 66 hands. I optimistically call, which I think is bad: I don't have odds to flop a set given his stack is only 6x the money I have put in pre-flop. On 788 board he bets 360 into a 1000 pot which looks weak to me, and all his big Ax hands have missed this board.  I minraised to 720, the button folds, and the BB shoves the remainder of his stack in, which is 2.5x my raise. I think I actually like the raise on the flop as this flop misses a lot of his range and if he has AK/AQ I am well ahead. When he shoves I should be insta folding, as post flop he has been quite passive so far. Regrettably, I call and he tables KK. I go runner runner on the turn and river to make a straight, take down the 4905 pot, and boost my stack to 257bb. So yeah, I dislike calling the pre-flop raise and I dislike calling the flop shove, but I like my flop raise.

Now 133 hands in and stack size is similar but now worth only 97bb. I open AdJs on the button, am called. Flop is 7h8sKs. Checked to me I c-bet just over half pot and am instacalled. The turn is Qs completing a flush draw although this does now mean I have a draw to the second nuts, as well as a gutshot and one over. I decide to fire again, along with this villain (48/9) I am aware suited cards are a big part of his range. Again, just over half pot (523 into 98 and am called. The river is the ace of spades which is the absolute best card for me in the deck as I now have the nuts. Checked to me again, I am now hoping he has a flush! Maybe I could go bigger here? I bet 772 into 2034, and I am called. He has 6sTs so I sucked out on him on the river. Knowing what he had, I think he would have called bigger, especially as he is a bit of a station. I actually quite like my play on the majority of this hand though, apart from my bet sizing on the river, and scoop a 3578 pot which is about 50% of my starting stack. 

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