Week 1 Recap

We’ve been in Vegas about a week now. I’ve played 42 hours of poker — not beast mode, but not embarrassing either. I got off to a great start with four winning sessions in a row, then lost some of it back. Going from Detroit to Vegas is a pretty big adjustment. It’s more common to see someone just spewing off money, but you also have to go up against tough players, which basically doesn’t happen in Detroit. The challenge is to harpoon the whales while avoiding the sharks. It’s more interesting, at least.

Today we went on a cooking spree so we wouldn’t have to leave the casino to eat or pay through the nose for the food there. Chicken with quinoa, deviled pork chops, Greek salad, pasta salad, and Mexican rice, all stowed in tupperware, ready to go.

A hand from 10/20 at Aria:

I open T8o to 60 in the CO. An older, somewhat fishy guy calls in the big blind. The flop is AK8r. He checks, I bet 80, he min-raises to 160, I call. Turn 5, he bets 200, I call. River 5, he bets 450, I jam for 1400, he thinks forever and calls with A3o. asl;kdjalkdgj!!!!!!!!

I think this was actually a good spot and opponent to run a big bluff on, but I could have taken a better line. The opponent was a pretty experienced, but not great player. He’s the kind of guy who mostly bets the strength of his hand, so a small bet is a pretty good hand, a bigger bet is a better hand, etc. He’s not the kind of fish who will just blindly call any amount with Ax. So when he check-minraises that board, I think he has a king or weak ace. He would 3bet AA, KK, or AK preflop and I have a blocker to 88, so it’s almost impossible for him to have a hand that’s happy playing for stacks. I took the call, call, shove line because I thought it most credibly represented nutted hands, but stack sizes weren’t quite big enough for that; it was too easy for him to talk himself into a call with so much already in the pot. I was also a bit unfortunate that the board paired, so he could tell himself he might be chopping. The line I prefer would be to call flop, minraise turn, and jam river. If I make it 400 on the turn and he calls, there’s 1300 in the pot with a 1200 shove left for the river. My line looks very strong and I think it’s quite likely I get him off Ax. Of course, folding the flop would have been okay too — you don’t have to bluff your stack when you know you have the worst hand.

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4 thoughts on “Week 1 Recap

  1. Jeff Alson says:

    Nate, I think you are right that the pair on the board might have been enough to convince him to call, since he can chop against a stronger A. And you are right that a lot of players never would have taken your approach with 10-8o. But, another way to play this hand aggressively, once you put him on a K or weak A after his minraise, is to re-raise on the flop for, say, $300. He then has to think long and hard about calling with Ax, as you are representing a strong A or possibly even two pair. And you are sending him the message that he will likely have to commit $1800 to call you down. If he does call your re-raise, you will probably at least get a free card on the turn, and you can decide whether to continue to bet strong or back off.

    Good luck on the rest of your trip.

    • grindrewind says:

      Absolutely, 3betting the flop is a great option. This is a type of situation where I still haven’t fully adjusted from online to live play. A competent online player knows that after just calling in the big blind he can’t really represent a monster on this board, so he’ll check-raise rarely if at all. When he does, it’s probably 88, A8s, or nothing. (Maybe a tricky, aggressive player would check-raise something like AT to try to induce exactly the play I made, but that’s pretty rare.) Whereas a certain type of live player will raise small with a lot of marginal hands. In other words, online players tend to check-raise a polarized range of monsters and air, while some live players check-raise a merged range of medium to strong hands. In position against a polarized range it usually makes more sense to call than raise, because all raising accomplishes is to fold out their bluffs. Against a merged range, it makes more sense to raise, because they have a lot of marginal hands that can’t stand heavy pressure.

    • grindrewind says:

      This video has a similar spot between two very tough players (starting around 4:40):

      It’s a bit different because it was limped pre-flop, but Robl plays his weak top pair fast and induces a huge bluff.

  2. KFay says:

    Nate, I agree with pretty much everything you said, including the turn raise to make the river shove more powerful.

    I doubt he has a king for his actions, though, unless it were K8, which he wouldn’t have played in the first place.

    The chop issue is really important and I think you’re underselling it. You had a strong line. But when the pair comes you just have to abort, man. Or at least don’t shove: I think the shove was really poor considering the development.

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