Rough Day at the New NL Table

For a time, my employer was trying to get a yellow chip limit Hold’em game going, so I ended up getting paid to play $15-30 Limit Hold’em with a kill. I loved this because I had already logged over 1000 hours of experience in that specific game. The game helped my bottom line for the time period that my casino was actively encouraging it, and I’m sorry to see them give up on it.

Still, it’s hard to deny the appeal of no limit. It’s what everyone sees on TV and what everyone wants to play. I feel I’m developing some skill at the game, but I miss the protection of limit where the bets and calls are fairly automatic most of the time and where your liability when you get drawn out of is just one more bet. So here are a couple of hands where I lost some money today.

I had about $500 in front of me, and I pick up AK of diamonds in early position. I raise it to 3 big blinds (my standard preflop raise) and get called by Tom, a somewhat reckless prop who can sometimes be easy to read, and a lose called who’s be playing a lot of hands and has more chips than I do. It was hard for me to imagine a better flop for my hand when I saw Ac 10s 7h. An ace high flop without a flush draw. The loose player checked to me, and I checked as well since the board was fairly safe. Tom bet $30 into the $45 pot and got called from the loose player, I raised the bet another $70 when it was my turn, to make it an even $100. Tom shoved all in for the rest of his stack, which was another $150 over my bet. The loose player folded. I felt obligated to call give the strength of my hand and the fact that I was now getting pod odds of $150 to $450 or three to 1. As it turns out, Tom had flopped bottom set.

I get sucked into the pot odds and the strength of the hand, but Tom is a donkey and I should not have paid it off. I’ve played with enough donkey’s to have mastered certain axioms of have they play. For one thing, a donkey may make a bet with nothing to steal the pot, but I’ve never seen one raise with nothing after the flop. A donkey can see the ace on the board, and figure that my check raise (particularly combined with my preflop raise) equated to a big ace. If they are still giving you action, you’re in trouble. I should have just laid it down there.

The other hand I played was against the loose player. He tended to play most every hand, and sometimes come in for a big raise preflop. He raised it to $30 preflop and I called him with Ah Js. It was a loose call, but he was a loose player and I had position on him. The flop came Ks 10h 8h. He checked to me, and I bet $30 which he called. The turn can with another rag heart. I checked it to me and I bet $50, he check raise me $100. Going back to the first rule of donkey poker, if they are raising you after the flop, they have a hand. That much I knew, but I also knew that I had the Ace of hearts, so he couldn’t have the nut flush, so I had some outs. It was possible that he could have had a flush, but since I had the Ace of hearts I couldn’t imagine that many suited hands he would make it $30 with before the flop, so I figured my straight draw was good too. Nine hearts in the deck, plus the 3 extra queens is giving me 12 outs. I wasn’t sure if my hand would have been good if an Ace hit, but I did figure that those extra ace outs had to figure for something. I decided that the hand was good enough to continue, and the pot odds offered on the call were three to one on odds of roughly three to one. But I figured, mistakenly, that this might be a good opportunity for a semibluff. So I shoved all in for the rest of my stack, a raise of another $250 which he called.

He had a set of 10s and I get no help on the record. This has led me to not the second rule of donkey poker: if a donkey could make a good laydown, he wouldn’t be a donkey. It’s OK to make a bet as a semibluff because they might not have much of a hand, but if they are raising you they not only have a hand, they have a hand that they are not going to let go of. Do not attempt any fancy plays from that point on. If the odds are there to try to draw out on them do so knowing that you have the implied odds of the rest of their entire stack because the simply can’t let go of the hand at that point.

Anyway, what a rotten run of cards. Still, it is nice to play a game that demands my attention. A worthy investment of my time.

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