Sunday, November 11, 2007

The reality of Filipino players...

Here’s what happened last November 7, 2007 during the Metro 75 Tournament. Because of the Beyonce concert, the Metro 75 turn-out was less than normal. The Metro had to overlay the pot to meet the guaranteed amount. The tournament started with 4 tables with several seats for late entries.

My first table had approximately 7 players. I was always average or little below average stack. Each time I would raise, I would advertise. I would always advertise premium hands. AKo, AJs, and the like.

All late entry seats were removed after the 4th level. The field collapsed from 4 tables to 2 tables. In my table there were 9 players. There was a need to advertise again as there are some unknown players. First hand, I raised 4 times the big blind, no one called, I showed KK. A few hands after, I raised and got 1 caller in a later position. Flop was all diamonds, check, bet, call. Turn was an Ace, check, check. River was I think another Ace or another diamond, check, bet, fold. I advertised JJ no diamond. A few hands after, I raised, no callers, advertised AA. This table was tight as hell. We saw probably 2-3 flops in 2 levels.

Metro 75 Tournament (Php 75,000 guaranteed)
Blind level: level 6 100/400/800
2 tables left
Buy-in: Php 2,200
Hours of play: Almost 2 hours
Sobriety level: 2nd beer
Chip count: Approximately Php 8,000
Position: Small blind
Hole Cards: 44

So, UTG folds, folds, calls, folds, folds, calls, button folds, then it's my turn. There was the big blind who hasn't acted, 2 callers then me. I put first caller in the A9s range. Possibly even 55 or 66. I put the second caller in a worse hand. Probably A5s or A8o, something in that range. I could push for them to add around 7,000 more to their committed Php 800. My stack was big enough to hurt anyone who called. So I pushed all-in. Big blind folded, first caller folded, second caller (last to act) thinks. Then he calls. He was stacked around Php 13,000, a decent stack to play with even if he folded.

He probably put me on a weak hand. Which to a certain extent was true because I only had a 13% chance of winning but the bet was strong and if my reads were true, they really didn't have good enough pot odds to call my all-in bet. Even if they had AA which I'm sure of, they didn't they didn't have pot odds to call all-in. The problem is, he was holding K8s. His read was correct but he doesn't hold freakin' cards. No one in their right mind would call an overbet with K8s.

But... as I will never be able to change the way another person plays, I will just focus on what I can do to improve my game.

Lesson 4: Never think that other players think the same way you do.

Players nowadays play too much cash games. There are not too many tournaments here and half of the tournaments' structure focus on luck more than skill. Probably the most common thought is that pre-flop, any hole cards have the potential to be the nuts. I know that that's wrong especially on a tournament but people think differently and I have to adjust and play smarter.

Thing is, the more I think about that hand, I just tilt. I'll just end it here.

Classes start...

All throughout this Blog, I’ve went on and on about how I’m a better tournament player than a cash game player. I know that my cash game skills are not worth crap and that if I want to make poker work for me, I need to learn to play in the cash game or quit playing the cash game all together. But it seems I really can’t avoid it so there’s no choice but to learn.

So now I will play, pay my tuition, and learn everything I need to know about the cash game.

Stakes: 25/50
Players: 6
Total buy-in: Php 12,000
Hours of play: Approximately 4 hours
Sobriety level: 2 beers drank before playing
Chip count: Approximately Php 11,000
Position: Straddle (Php 100)
Hole Cards: QQ
Dealer: Rudolph

Here’s what happened. I straddled the big blind and posted Php 100. UTG folds, next player folds, button calls Php 100, small blind folds, big blind calls Php 100, action comes to me with no raise. I have Queens in middle position and Php 325 in the pot. I raise Php 300 more. Button calls Php 300, big blind calls Php 300.
Pre-flop: 3 players, Php 1225 total pot
Flop comes T, 9, 4. T and 9 are suited (diamonds or hearts)
Big blind checks, I bet Php 600, button calls, big blind calls.
Flop: 3 players, Php 3025 total pot
Turn comes Q. Q is same suit as 4 (I think)
Big blind checks, I bet Php 500, button folds, big blind raises to Php 1,500 total, I think I raised to Php 2,500 total then he went all in, I called. His stack got me covered.
River comes J.
I have a top set of Queens, big blind has a straight with J, 8.


My pre-flop raise was all right. It was enough to keep players in but still get more money in the pot.

The bet after the flop was too small (half the pot), with 3 players and a possible straight and possible flush against an over-pair. The button only needed 25% pot odds to call and big blind only needed 20% pot odds after button called. If one of them was in fact on a flush draw or open-ended straight draw, they would have had 35% and 31% pot odds respectively. For me to be able to protect my over-pair and to make sure they pay for their draw, I should have bet at least Php 1,500 with the pot at Php 1225. A flush draw would’ve reasonably called Php 1,400. With 2 other players, there was a chance one or both would be drawing. If I bet at least Php 1,500, the button ideally would not call unless he had an open-ended straight draw with a flush draw or any draw with more than 36% odds. The big blind needed to have the same odds if the button folded. If the button called Php 1,500, the big blind only needed 26% odds to validate a call.

Lesson 1: Always make opponents pay for their draws; never give a cheap or free card.

The card on the turn made my over-pair into a top set but would’ve also completed a straight. What happened was that I’ve failed to see that although it made my pair better, it made my chances of winning worse. If there had been an opponent drawing to a straight (which there could’ve been because the flop bet was cheap), I became an underdog and would’ve needed a pair on the board to win.

Lesson 2: Do not get blinded by a set when there’s a made flush or made straight on the board.

The big blind checked and I bet Php 500 with Php 3025 in the pot. The bet was small but it actually didn’t matter as the opponent had a made hand. He would’ve called if I bet Php 50 or Php 3,000. Although his hand was not the nuts (KJ), it was the second best. When he raised my Php 500 bet to Php 1,500, I should’ve just called. I had 22% odds to beat a made straight and his Php 1,000 raise required me to have 17% odds to validate a call.

Lesson 3: Beware of raises – think before acting.

If I had just called, the pot would’ve been Php 6025 on the river. And although I had invested Php 2,600 in the pot, I would’ve been able to fold when there was only one card to a straight when the Jack fell. I would’ve still had a reasonable chip count of Php 8,400.

That ends this day’s lessons. These lessons cost Php 11,000 and should always be remembered.