Thursday, May 5, 2016

It Only Takes One Mistake To Ruin a Good Session

I was playing at the Linq, the 1/1 game.  I was having an ok session and then….

One of the first hands I had was pocket Queens.  I was in the big blind and the small blind made it $4.  I just called.  Three of us saw a King-high flop.  No one bet.  Another King on the turn, this time I bet $10 and took it down.

I raised to $6 with Ace-10 of clubs, only one caller.  I flopped the flush draw, bet $10 and took it.

I limped in from the button with King-10.  It was 5-way.  I bet $6 on a 10-high flop, two players called.  The turn was a King and first to act donk-shoved. It was about $75 and after the next guy folded, I called.  I had him covered (I buy into this game for $100, typically).  The river was a blank.  All he had was King-Queen and my two pair was good.

I got pocket Aces and a guy led out for $5, another player called.  I made it $20 and no one called.  But the player who called said, “Come on…show.”  I shook my head.  “You gotta pay to see,”  I said it light-heartedly, I’m sure.  But the guy got pissed.  He was a novice player.  He seemed to know poker ok, but was clueless how to play in a casino poker room.  He didn’t really get posting blinds.  He would bet or raise out of turn.  Even when he was the blind (which are both $1), he’d try to bet $5 instead.  He would say “I want to raise” when there was no bet facing him.  He also liked to shove a lot.  Sometimes he’d take the pot, but when called he appeared to be bluffing or shoving very light a bit more than half the time.

Anyway, he was not happy I didn’t show.  It’s true, he showed a bunch of his hands when he didn’t have to.  But I certainly never agreed to reciprocate.  He said, “OK, be nasty.  I’m gonna get you.  I’m gonna get all your money.  I’m gonna play every hand you’re in.”  He was playing most hands anyway.  Now, this didn’t really put the fear of god into me.  It wasn’t like this was Phil Hellmuth targeting me.  Still, I found it a little offputting.  Even if a bad player is targeting you, it makes you uncomfortable.  Plus, knowing he might shove any time just to prove a point made me wary.  I didn’t get any money from him (nor him, from me) but I was happy when he left.

I called $2 with pocket 3’s, five of us saw the flop.  It came 10-5-3, rainbow.  I bet $6 and it was down to three.  I bet $25 on a blank turn and got one call.  The river was a 5.  I bet $50 but didn’t get a call.  I did show my boat as they have cash drawing promo at the Linq, a bit similar to the ones they have at MGM.  They always pull two tickets and each is worth $100.  The drawings are at 5PM and Midnite.  The nice thing is that you don’t have to be playing to win, you just have to be there when they pull the tickets. Also, you don’t fill out a ticket, they are like those raffle tickets at a carnival with a long number on it.  So if you leave and your ticket is pulled, you’ll never know you missed out.  I think you only need a straight to get a ticket and you get three tickets for a full house.

I raised to $8 with Ace-Queen of hearts.  Two called.  The flop was King-7-4, two hearts.  I bet $15 and got one caller.  I checked a blank turn.  There was a Queen on the river.  This time my opponent led out for $21.  Sigh. With the Queen I made the crying call.  He had flopped a set of 4’s.  Hmm….I couldn’t understand why he just called the flop, especially with the heart draw out there.  And checking the turn?  Well, there, he might have been assuming (hoping?) I would bet again so he could check-raise me.  I guess I lost the minimum and he didn’t really get much value for his set.

I had gotten my stack up to close to $200 (which would have been a double up) and then managed to piss away some chips in the way one usually does.  I might have been down to about $140 maybe $130, when the disaster hand happened.

In late position I had 10-9 off.  Someone raised to $3. I called (trying to play a few more hands from late position).  It was five way I believe.  The flop came Jack-9-8, rainbow. The preflop raiser checked, but someone bet $5, I called and it was three-way.  The turn was a Queen.  This time the guy who bet the flop checked.  It was on me and I bet $20.  The last guy hesitated for quite awhile and then called.  The other guy folded.

The river was a blank low-card and I bet $40.  Yes, I knew that King-10 was a better straight than I had.  But I was trying to overcome one of the major weaknesses in my game—not getting enough value, especially on the river.  So I bet with the second nuts.  Especially since I had interpreted his hesitancy on the turn as deciding between a call and a fold.  Yes, he had fiddled with his chips.  I see that all the time from players who think about folding—and then do fold. They want to see what a call will do to their stack if they call and lose.

My opponent took a few moments and then announced, “all-in.”  Damn.  Our stacks were pretty similar, it was a bet for my remaining stack, give or take.  This guy hadn’t gotten out of line the entire time I was there, which should have been my first clue—or maybe my second. I convinced myself he didn’t have King-10.  He maybe had a 10, maybe two pair, but no way did he have King-10.  With my river bet, I had put close to half my stack in, if not a bit more.  After tanking a bit, I called.

Of course, he turned over King-10.  Turned out he just barely had me covered and I went from in the black to down a buy-in.

Ugh.  It turns out my pal Don was sitting right next to me.  I told him and I didn’t think he had it and he told me he did think he had it.  He interpreted the guy’s fiddling with his chips on the turn as deciding between raising and calling.  He figured the guy finally decided to just call to see if he could get the third player to come along.

Another bad tendency I have to cure myself of.  I just default to thinking a guy tanking and then calling was thinking of folding.  I never give enough credence to the player deciding between calling and raising.

I should have been able to have made the read Don did.  Then I could have checked the river.  He probably wouldn’t have shoved without my $40 out there.  He bets a smaller amount (maybe even $40) and if I call I don’t lose everything.  Maybe he bets too much for me to call and I fold.  If I had been smart enough to not bet the river, I would probably have been smart enough not to call a shove.

So I was felted and had to buy another stack of $100.  I managed to lose some more chips, didn’t note how, but I did win a couple of hands. 

I got the dreaded Kings and raised to $6.  There was only one caller and the flop was Ace high.  Undaunted, I bet $10 and got a fold.  Just a few hands later I had pocket Queens and raised to $8 I think. It was three-way this time.  Another Ace-high flop.  I made another c-bet.  Amazingly, that too worked and I dragged the pot.

It was getting close to Midnite, drawing time. I hung around for it, with my three tickets in the drum.  Shockingly, I had one of the winning tickets.  So I got $100 for that.  That cut my loss for the night down to about $30, almost saving the night. 

But….all it takes is one mistake to ruin a session.  And I definitely made one.


  1. Don't get too down on yourself. Also don't be discouraged by the "value bet" on the river. Here's a consideration though. When I talk about value betting rivers, I've seen the problem you usually have is when you're in position and you check through rivers rather than like above, when you're out of position and betting. My point to you usually is when you're getting checked to on a scary board, your opponent is MOST OF THE TIME (like a HUGE amount of the time!!!) trying to get to showdown cheap and has not nutted on you. That's why when you check a river through on a 3 flush or 4 straight or whatever board, you can usually bet a small value bet that will get looked up where you'll be the winner. At any rate, you missed a read and got your stack bruised up a bit. You're playing 1/1 so take a very cheap lesson from it - check / call what looks like a stone nuts or bet / fold. Pay closer attention and watch for the chip fiddling. Be aware of player actions and tells.

    1. Thanks, PM, always appreciate the free lessons. I definitely have to work on my reads as well as the value betting. I swear I will focus on this my next session.

  2. Enjoyed reading the session summary. One thing that seems much different than MD poker is the size of the initial bet...or is the difference due to being 1/1? Most bets I see pre/flop are $10,$12,$15 but you are facing $8 or less a lot. And A+ for the photo.

    1. Definitely affected by the lower stakes, the fact that it is 1/1. You sometimes see raises to $2 or $3. But it gets wacky too....sometimes you see opening raises to $15 or $20.

      In a regular Vegas 1/2 game, you see raises anywhere $7 to $15, maybe $20 or $25 in extreme cases. But I guess $8-$12 is the center of the bell curve.

  3. I lol @ PMs comment, "when your opponent is trying to get to show down cheap and ( has not nutted on you)".
    I dont think many male players would enjoy that, either way.
    Also, your most interesting blog content-pics- are only getting better.

    GL sir,
    Big L

    1. Thanks, Big L? Well, OTOH...I sure don't want him to show me his nuts!

  4. The discipline to b/f is key to getting more value. You should be happy you went for it and just think about what you beat when raised. Fiddling with chips is neither here nor there compared to fundamental strong play; focus on your true strat for long term best results. Raise (and get used to 3betting) the QQ from the big blind; that's getting more value too. Nice post!

    1. Thanks for the advice and kudos. Appreciate it.

      Yeah, bet/folding is definitely an area I need to improve (there are so many areas....)

      The QQ hand early was like my second or third hand at the table, and I didn't have much of clue of how the table was playing--or how the person who raised was playing. A few more orbits under my belt at that table and I would have much more inclined to three-bet.

  5. Replies
    1. No politics on the Robvegaspoker blog, sir!

  6. most $1-1 players more experienced online than $1-2 or $1-3 players, making them tougher opponents. i used to play it when broke in the old days at bills it had lots of nits in it.

    with KT on the river, i shove every time. the smaller straight calls any size bet everytime.

    1. The 1-1 game at the Linq has its share of nits, but also guys who like to buy in for little and shove a lot. A mixed bag.

      ReL KT? How do you know they call every time. If the fold a smaller straight and don't show, you don't know it.