Sunday, May 22, 2016

Back in the Days When I Could Have a Good Session...

I assume that most of my loyal readers memorize everyone one of my blog posts.  You do do that, right?  But for the one or two of you who don’t, I will refer you back to the post here from last December.  Now that post was about a session from a year earlier.  And in it, I mentioned that I had then recently discovered a number of “nice” sessions from that time period that I had never written up for you and hoped to present to you in the future.  Well, the future is now—at least for one more of them.

There were a couple of reasons for me to go back and grab a report from the not so recent past.  For one thing, with my trips to Vegas having been reduced both in frequency and in length, I’m running out of recent material.  But also, I was getting tired of writing up losing sessions as I have mostly done lately.  I remembered that I had some old sessions that I thought were worthy of blogging about, and that most likely meant they were winning sessions.

And then I started to wonder if maybe I could learn something reviewing a report on a old session.  Clearly my results lately have been disappointing, to say the least. I’ve been getting some great feedback from you guys on where I need to improve (so many areas!).  And I also got one comment that I wasn’t playing the way I used to.  Maybe I could find something important from an old session that would make me go, “Damn, why don’t I do that anymore?” So I was digging for information that maybe could help more as much as anything.

Reviewing this session I’m writing up, which took place around Christmas time in 2014, I don’t think I found anything that will help.  Except that just revisiting (and then reporting on) a session where I had a nice win might help me with my confidence a bit (possibly) and at least will be more fun to write about.  So here we go….

The first hand I made note of was against a guy with a big stack who I said (in my voice notes) looked familiar.  Based on the description I had for him, I think I now know who this player is, a player who became an MGM regular I ran into a lot during the heyday of the MGM Invitational. (freeroll).  I dunno how many times I mentioned him by “name” but I did call him “Dave” when I needed him to have a name.  So let’s assume this was that Dave.

In this hand, I had Jack-10 in the big blind.  No raise.  The flop was Queen-9-x.  I checked, Dave made a small bet. Another player called, as did I. The turn was a King, and there were now two cards of the same suit each on the board (and I had no cards in either suit).  I checked.  I wish I had explained to myself in my notes why I checked there with the nuts, but I didn’t.  It’s possible that I was, by this time, pretty sure that Dave would bet.  But it remains a mystery.  Dave did fire, a bet of $27.  The next guy called.  With two flush draws out there, I check-raised to $100 (guess I started the hand near my original buy-in of $200, and as I indicated, Dave had me covered).  Dave then shoved, the other guy folded, and I snap called.  Dave had Jack-10 too, but his was suited in one of the suits on the board.  So he had a freeroll.  Either he hits his flush and takes the whole pot, or he misses and we chop with the same straight.

Lucky for me, he missed his flush, and we chopped it.  Phew.  But Dave did ask the guy who folded if he would have called if he only called my $100 instead of shoving?  He said he would not have.

I raised to $8 with pocket 7’s and got only one call, the guy on my immediate left.  The flop was 7-4-2, rainbow.  I checked, as did he.  The turn was a Jack, no flush possible.  I bet $10 and got a call.  The river was a 7.  I bet $30 but didn’t get a call.  It’s tough to get paid for quads.

A few hands later I raised to $8 with pocket Jacks.  Same guy was the only caller.  The flop was Jack-4-2 (too bad no one was playing the Grump on either of these hands).  I checked, as did he (guess I was more into slow-playing sets back then).  A 9 on the turn and I bet $10, he called.  Another 9 on the river, I bet $25.  No call.

From the small blind, I completed with Jack-8.  The flop was 9-7-3.  I called a $5 bet. There were still three of us left.  A 10 on the turn filled in my gut-shot.  I led out for $25 and got a call.  The river was a blank and I didn’t get a call to my $40 bet.

After winning a small pot with Ace-Queen (raise and a c-bet on an Ace-high board), I looked down at pocket Aces.  I opened to $8 and then someone three-bet to $21.  It folded back to me, I bet $48.  He called, it was heads up.  Harmless looking board of 8-7-2.  I bet $75 and he folded after tanking for a bit.  He showed two Queens.

With pocket Queens myself, I called $10, it was three-ways.  The flop was King-Jack-5, I called $30, the last guy shoved for $67.  The original raiser called, but I folded.  Probably shouldn’t have called the $30.  The shover showed King-Jack, which looked real good when a Jack hit the river.  The original raiser never showed.

With the dreaded pocket Kings, I opened to $8, only one caller, a guy who was a bit of a Crazian.  The flop was Queen-high, I bet $12, he made it $40.   Hmm.  I thought he could easily do that with just a Queen.  I called.  We both checked a blank turn.  Interesting.  The river paired a 7.  He bet $60.  I tanked.  I almost folded.  But I had a hard time believing the second 7 helped him and if he was that strong without it, why didn’t he bet the turn?  I decided I had to call.  As soon as I put my chips out, he folded instantly without me even having to show.  Guess he didn’t even have a Queen!

Wouldn’t you know it, not very many hands later, I got Kings again.  After a couple of limpers, I made it $12, two callers.  The flop was King-6-5, two diamonds (no diamonds for me).  I bet $25 and got a call.  The turn was another 5.  Nice.  This time I checked behind the other guy.  Hmm….does it make sense to check there if the other player has already checked?  Well, I figured he would likely bet something on the river, based on his play thus far.  Sure enough, on a meaningless river, he led out for $25.  I put out $65 which put him all in, and he did call.  He didn’t just muck (without showing) when he saw my boat—he left the poker room. 

Now if you’re one of those wondering how it is I would take so long to write up a session where I had pocket Kings twice (within a very short time frame) and won with them both times (including a flopped set and a turned boat), you have to get in line behind me.  I can’t believe it myself.  Should have written this blog post before going to sleep that nite!

There was annoying guy at the table for a brief period.  Announced that he had just gotten into town from Oregon.  He announced that repeatedly.  He mentioned it again when he said he had forgotten the drinks are free in Vegas because they’re not in Oregon.  He was one of those guys who just wouldn’t stop talking.

His very first hand, there had been a raise to $10, two callers, and he immediately announced “all-in.” He had bought in for $100. No one called, and he said, “Well, look at what I got on my first hand!” And he showed us his hand.  Was it Aces?  Kings?  Jacks?  Nope, he showed us two deuces.  He complained that people weren’t calling his wild bets and eventually got a table change.

I only noted one more hand for myself.  It was Ace-King, I raised, two callers.  No one called my flop bet on a King-high board.

When I cashed out, I was up $380. Oh, for the good ol’ days.


  1. The highlight of my cash poker career was having quad aces twice in just over an hour and getting paid quite well even after my reraise on the turn and bet on the river (both times I was the small blind). This was $1-2 no limit at HoChunk in the Wisconsin Dells and 5 or 6 paying $8 to see the flop each time. The table was full of action players and bluffers and two young russians that refused to believe I held an ace in my hand the second time I made quads with three aces on the board before the river. I have had quads before that I didn't make good money off of. That night at HoChunk was EPIC...

    1. That's an awesome story, Lester. Wow, quad Aces twice in an hour? That's almost a lifetime of rungood! And to get paid...fantastic.

      Thanks for sharing that.

  2. You can't win every session. I read somewhere on 2p2 that a winning player should average 55-60% winners / losers. You're in a break even / sideways stretch... hang in there 'cause it'll get better. You're undoubtedly going through the phase where you think all the prior winners were flukes and you were just getting lucky. You'll hit bottom and then have some massive winners. Happens every time...

    1. Thanks, PM....I actually don't think my prior winners were flukes....just that I really, reall miss them. Also...when you start to run bad, you start to play bad, and I know on some level my recent bad results are messing with my decision making.

      I didn't mention in the post, but look how I ran in this session....two sets within a few hands of each, one turning into quads and the other a boat. Then winning twice in short order with my jink hand KK. I know it's only a matter of time before the cards fall my way again.

      But I did think there was some good play, I was proud of myself for sniffing out that bluff when it would have been so easy to fold my Kings.

    2. You should be proud of yourself for thinking through the situation in a logical manner and sniffing it out.

      However, I hope you're being dramatic for the blog by saying "you almost folded" and "it would have been so easy to fold my Kings." This is an easy call for exactly the reasons you stated and he bet $60 into almost a $100 pot, we're also getting a great price.

      I do not think anyone in the player pool is ever folding KK in this spot for this price, but they may not be able to analyze the situation as well as you did for why they called.

      I hear guys in my game say they almost folded all the time in spots like this and what they really mean is they WANTED to fold but in reality they were never going to actually fold. They are just afraid of making a bad call and want to save face when they are shown they are beat so they can say "see I knew it, I almost folded."

      Your thought process here was good, execute your reads and the process and you will be just fine.


    3. Thanks, EBUB. Ahem....well, it's been so long ago...but yeah, I have to admit, pretty much every time I see KK my first thought is "Oh, how much am are they gonna cost me this time," or "How am I gonna lose with these this time." So I may actually be looking for an excuse to fold.

      But did I really "almost" fold....well, I did consider it for sure. But probably not quite as close as I may have made it sound.

  3. Rob -
    Been following you for long time now. One thing I seem to have noticed more lately is you say you are getting very few hands to play. I'm sure it is true but doesn't not playing hand after hand telegraph to even the 1 - 2 players that when you do enter a hand you must have something?
    Maybe you need to call a few more small bets out of position with connectors and 1 gappers just so you look like you are playing more than just big hands.

    I play mostly limit here in AZ but even I know the regs who only enter a pot with a top 10 hand.

    And I just went through a weeks long downswing that had me wondering if I had forgot how to play. Half way through my second buy-in last session the cards flipped and I ended up with my best session ever.

    Your time will come. Go play some limit, open up your range a bit. Keep a positive outlook. And have fun, if your not having fun, why play at all?

    1. Thanks, pokerwayne, appreciate the comments. Yeah, I do try to look for spots to get more active, even with the occasional marginal (or less hand). But here's where the mental game comes in...sometimes I think of doing it and my mind says, "Well, you're in the midst of another losing session, try to lose as little as possible, don't waste money."

      I am having fun--usually--and I do feel like I'm "due" to get some cards, some luck, and hopefully I can mix some good play in there too.