The table was fully 9 handed with chips stacked between 100 and 700+. I sat down with the max buy in, 300.
I’ve been working on my ring game lately. I’m reading ‘Harrington on Cash Games’ by ‘Action’ Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie. Like the rest of the Harrington on…series it’s terrific. Highly recommended. And one of the aspects the book teaches that I’m working hard to develop in my game is putting everyone involved on an accurate range of hands.
Just a few hands into this session I look down in late position at AA after its limped 4 or 5 ways to me. In case you haven’t played EOH Poker, almost every hand is limped from every position until someone min-raises or goes All In. That’s about the gist of it. I espoused earlier in my blog about how maddening this is but I have evolved. I don’t want my opponents to learn why this is terrible play…I want to learn to better exploit it. I want these kinds of tables and I want to adjust my game to beat it.
So, AA and I pop it up to about 16 or 20. The raise gets called in 2 or three spots and the flop comes 7, T, 4 rainbow (or something like that). Check, check and I bet about 3/4s of the 70 chip pot. [estimates based on poor recollection throughout all hand history]
Fold from the BB and min raise from the early position limp/caller, fold in mid and back to me. The check raiser has more chips than me and although I’m not deep here I hate to lose a stack early. So I quickly put this hand back together. This guy open limps from early position and flat calls my late position raise pre-flop. So he doesn’t have a huge hand but he could have a small pair or big connectors. There is no obvious straight or flush draw. So, worse case I’m staring down a made set. Could he have T7 or some other weird 2 pair? Yes. I don’t know him at all. But, I decide that regardless, the range of hands he could have that don’t beat me and the range that he’s ahead but I could still overcome justify staying in. I shove and he hesitates but calls…turn and river blank off and he shows JT off suit for top pair medium kicker. AA holds up.
I start to watch players to determine what kind of hands they open with, what kind of hands they raise with and what kind of betting they do when in a hand. There is SO MUCH info to be gathered and interpreted but making this part of my game is critical.
Most of the players at this table limp with anything. They are seeing greater than 50-70% of hands when they can limp in. A couple of players are ‘tight’ and see less than 30% or even less than 20% of hands. These are very rough estimates as this is my first time seeing most of these players and I’ve only watched a few orbits.
In later positions I’m limping along with the crowd with suited connectors and Ax suited. I will even come along with trouble hands like QJ or KJ for cheap. When I play hands like these my goal is not to hit a pair. I will fold QJ when the board pairs a Q high and I encounter a lot of action. Why? Because these players will limp AQ the same as Q7 off….you have to be cautious. What I’m really looking for is straight, flush or 2 pair at the very least against an aggressive stack with at least 25-30+ big bets behind.
I don’t find too much of what I’m looking for and my stack dwindles down to close to my original buy in.
Last couple of hands I get QQ back to back. The first time is in early position and I open raise to 16, I think. It gets called by a mid position player that fits the LAG profile I described above and gets called in the BB by Q. I tell myself that if over cards flop and I meet resistance these bitches are hitting the muck. Flop: A, blank, K with 2 spades. Bleh.
I think Q checked and I probably checked here too…but the mid position caller led out and Q called. That’s all I needed to know…bye bye Hilton Sisters. And it turned out to be a good fold as both players held strong-ish Ace and King hands. Folding big hands like this is something I’m learning to do more and more. It’s a vital step in a beginning player’s repertoire.
Last hand and the very next deal I get the girls right back, QQ. Limped in a couple of spots and back to me…I raise it up to 20 I think. I get called in a couple of places and the flop comes rag-rag-Ace. There is around 70 in the pot. (I’m actually last to act here because the blinds for some reason skipped me due to player changes).
Check, Check and it’s to me. I know very well that either of these guys could and would call with any weak ace. I decide, however, that this fact does not justify a weak check behind given my hand. So I bet out 2/3rds of the pot with the expectation that if I get called I’m backing off this hand. But they both fold and I turn up the girls and call it a night.
Now, before I close this entry I want to try to relate one hand I saw Q play when I was not involved. He has about 400+ in stack and the pot gets limped into from an early player then a mid position player raises to about 12 chips and Q in the cutoff re-raises to about approximately 40+. I have AJ clubs and realize that this hand is probably behind…fold. Early limper folds and mid position raiser flat calls.
The flop comes ace high and the mid position player checks to Q. After a few moments of hesitation Q shoves over 400 chips into a pot that holds less than 100. All this while I’m trying to put people on hands. I originally put Q on a very strong hand but now I’m re-assessing. What does that monster over bet say? It does NOT say, I have an ace and want you to call. In fact, it screams I don’t have an ace….please just give me this pot. I don’t think there was an obvious straight or flush draw but I could be wrong.
After a few more moments in the tank the mid position player calls with KK and takes the pot when Q turns up 88. I’m learning more and more to rebuild the action in a hand in my head and interpret what it means about a player’s holding. This is so vital.
And it’s necessary as I was describing to Mynxee that next week my employer is sending me to Las Vegas for a 5 day medical management conference. How nice! I’ll be at the Mirage for 6 days and I’ll be trying to jot down notes and blog some about live action.