Friday, August 10, 2007

Losing hand analysis

I've been going through a few hands that cost me my stack during this recent poor run on Full Tilt. They cover a broad range, including bad beats, poor play, setup hands and failed bluffs.

Let's take a look at a couple of them that stand out:

In a $5/$10 NL full ring game, two early position players limped in, and a middle position player with a $717 stack raised to $55. I woke up with AA and reraised him to $175. Both early position players folded, and the middle position player called $120 more.

Naturally, he had a pocket pair of 6s, flopped a set, and then check-raised me all in on the KQ6 flop.

Was this hand preventable? I don't believe it was.

I'm happy with my re-raise preflop because I gave my opponent very poor odds to continue. He had to call $120 when he had $662 left, and he would only flop a set about one out of eight times. Even though he busted me, he didn't get paid off enough for his call to make money in the long run.

Then on the flop, the hand played itself. I bet $300 into the $385 pot, and he check-raised his last $542, meaning I had to call $242 more into a $1,227 pot, which is an instacall in my book. He could so easily have AK or something stupid like a flush or straight draw. The pot was laying me roughly 5:1, so even if I had been up against KQ I would have to call with a 27 percent shot of sucking out, according to twodimes.

OK, maybe that hand was a bit pedestrian. But I feel better having reviewed it.

The way I played this next hand might be a bit more controversial:

In another 5/10 game, an UTG player limped, I raised from early position with AJo and got called in three places. That's not good, and when that happens, I usually figure that I'm done with the hand unless I flop huge. I'll be out of position, and most of the hands I can improve to will be second-best.

So what did I do? I got myself into trouble.

With $195 in the pot, the flop came QK9 with two diamonds. All four players checked.

What is going on here? I would have thought that anyone with a real hand would have bet considering the dangerous board texture.

The turn brought a 2, putting two clubs on the board to go along with the diamonds, and the UTG player bet $75. It seemed like a very weak bet. I had a gutshot straight draw, and no one had shown strength. I chose to raise to $275 in hopes of taking down the pot right there.

But then one of the middle position players cold called my $275! Huh? I figure this guy, a loose calling station, must have been on a draw. Any strong made hand would simply have had to raise in that spot on such a draw-heavy board in a multiway pot. The other MP player and the UTG player folded, putting us heads-up.

Based on my read, I decided to push my last $680 if the river came with a non-threatening card.

The river was just what I was looking for: another King, to make the final board QK92K. None of the draws got there, and I'm in good shape to represent at least trip Kings, if not a boat. So I follow through with my plan and push all in.

The MP calling station Hollywooded the call for a few seconds before calling with 22, for the turned set and rivered boat.

Looking back, I think my biggest mistake in this hand was raising AJo from early position in the first place. I got myself into trouble in a multiway pot out of position with a hand that's very vulnerable.

I like my no-bet on the flop because I had nothing against three opponents on a dangerous board. I also like my turn raise, which I made based on a correct read that the UTG player was weak.

Since I put the remaining player on a draw, I also don't mind my river all-in bet. Against anything but the near-nuts, I would have taken down a large pot with a big bluff. Instead, I got stacked because I made an incorrect read based on the turn flat call by the loose-passive MP player.

Even though I can defend all of my plays in this hand, I don't feel good about it. I could have gotten away from it on any street, but instead I busted without even a pair.

On the other hand, I made what I thought were strong reads and acted aggressively based on my reasoning. Criticism on both hands is welcome.


Alan aka RecessRampage said...

I actually admire that strength in the second hand. 1st hand, nothing you can do, IMO. I'm not too crazy about the board of KQ6 when I have AA but again, what can you do? AA vs set stacking is almost unavoidable.

2nd hand, like I said, I admire the shove. You went with the read. Nothing you can do about the turned set.

jamyhawk said...

I don't think I could have gotten away from hand number 1 either. You will win that play more times than not.

I really hate playing marginal hands like AJo. That is the exact trouble you get into. I like the check on the flop and the bet on the turn, but I would be afraid to bet on the river. That's just me. If your opponent is a calling station then he could be on any pair, which would have me beat. I would have tried to minimize my losses on the turn and I am sure he would have bet out on the river and I would have folded. I think if I was ahead at the river, then he would have checked it down after the K came. That just my opinion.

JL514 said...

I probably would have dumped AJo from UTG+1. Notice how you followed your instincts at the turn/river -- ask yourself why you didn't follow them preflop?

AJ is notoriously a trouble hand, ESPECIALLY out of position. Sometimes following your head isn't what you want to do when not following your head got you there in the first place. Subconsciously, you might have told yourself he was on a draw to justify being in a tough spot with AJ to begin with.

That being said, don't get too down on yourself. You're a good player, you know it, you'll bounce back. Everyone needs to step back and call themselves an asshole a few times before they jump back on the horse :)