Friday, May 13, 2011

Nautical voyage

Run good continues and I’m not ashamed to say that makes me happy.

Trudged down to Nautica on Wednesday. Took the same 10 seat at the same table as last Wednesday. Active early, winning some medium-size pots but went into lockdown mode for the last hour of a three-hour session thanks to crappy cards. I’m okay with that. Call me a nit. Until I learn otherwise, my strategy for Nautica’s $1/$2 game is patience and value extraction. Good at the former and need work at the latter

Left some money on the table Wednesday. Here’s an example:

Raised to $14 from the SB with queens after some limps. Three callers. Flop is Q-5-5. Checks around. I fire $25 at the turn. All fold. Crap. Should have led the flop. May have gotten the same result, but I suspect that line would have given me a better chance of getting more out of the hand.

I’ve started thinking a bit more about image. I'm guessing I'm viewed as a middle-aged guy who plays pretty tight preflop, who usually comes in for a raise when he does play and typically c-bets the flop. I hope they see someone who is friendly and non-threatening, someone who has some kind of clue but isn’t a shark by any means.
The trick here is to exploit that image by inducing folds to pick up the random $30-$50 pots that make live poker profitable. Snagged a few of those Wednesday, which led to a decent-sized win (+$280) without much stress.

Leaving after just three hours Wednesday may have been –EV. I had a goof on my right who was in for around $500 and had rebuilt to nearly $700. He played a ton of hands, liked to bluff and seemed clueless overall. I kept waiting in vain for an opportunity to take a chunk out of his stack but found none. He did fold to me a couple of times early, which made me wonder how he would play against me with some of the hands he showed others.

I left because I had grown tired of the (volunteer) left-handed dealer who practically elbowed me whenever she dealt my end of the table and because I wanted to check out Jen’s $1/2 game in her office downtown. Skill-wise, I knew the lineup of Group regulars at Jen’s game would be tougher, but I was good with that.

We got to 12 players soon after I arrived and split into tables of six. Played much different than Nautica with button straddles and few unraised hands preflop. I was not uncomfortable, but the table helped raise awareness of the need to improve and expand my game.

One hand of note. I raise to $8 with A-Q and got one caller, a guy named Bill who I’d never met before, calls behind me. Flop comes Q-J-6. I lead for $15 and he raises to $40. Huh?

Here’s my read. Don’t think he’s raising here with two pair or a set, so I call.

Turn is a blank, completing a rainbow board. I check. Bill bets $65. I ponder. I think I’m still ahead and call. Is my check-call weak? Probably. River is a 6. I moan that that’s a bad card, but really don’t believe it. I'm pretty sure he doesn’t have a 6, but I check hoping to get to showdown without committing any more chips. Bill foils that plan by betting $100. Shite. The pot is ~$250. I take a minute and throw in a chocolate chip. Bill immediately states, “Good call,” and mucks.

This hand bothers me a bit despite the good result. I’m not comfortable playing pots that big with one pair, but given the pot odds at the end and my read, felt the call was justified. It’s not a spot where I want to find myself often, however. A more aggressive line would have meant a smaller profit in the hand, but passive, check-calling lines seems spewish in the long term.

Day off today, so headed to Nautica soon to play a couple of hours, followed by a $40 Group tournament at Linda’s. Will try to post this weekend. For anyone reading, sorry about the longish posts. Need to come up with a briefer, more reader friendly format.

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