Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WPBT '10

The highlights of the annual blogger trip to Vegas were a victory in the Last Longer Challenge, a 10th-place finish in the tourney, showing my wife the town for the first time, and of course hanging out with distant friends that I don't get to see often enough.

It was a blast as always, and I miss it as soon as I leave.

I'll start with the WPBT group itself. Everyone is fantastic, welcoming and fun. There's always someone who wants to drink, talk, play table games or even play poker. I'm thankful to be a part of a group originally bound together by poker blogging that has since evolved into stronger friendships. While many people don't blog as much anymore (I'm guilty), the group remains solid.

Team Roach took down the Last Longer Challenge for the second straight year when Bayne and I made the final two tables. Along with new team member Garth, we split the prop bet money and the added online cash. Thanks PokerStars!

The Aria poker room and its staff impressed me. They were accommodating, ran a good tourney and kept everyone happy by doing the little things right, like keeping steady drink service and allowing me to charge my cell phone at their desk. Aria provides a comfortable gambling environment, which makes the experience more fun.

My poker room rankings for WPBT tourneys are:
1. Aria
2. Caesars
3. Venetian
4. Orleans (aka The Dump)

During the tourney, Avoque was seated to my right for a few hours before he busted and I won a cool bounty of clear red dice labeled "I busted Avoque. WPBT 12/2010." As he prepared to leave and dusted off a drink, he put five $1 chips in front of me, saying he'd bet me that I would break CK. So I would win the bet if she lost to anyone else, and he would win if she went out to me. At the time, I was rolling along and accumulating chips.

Sure enough, I had top pair on a Qxy twotone flop, and CK shoved. I called and she showed a flush draw, which didn't get there on the turn or river. Hours later, I surprised Avoque by returning his chips for his win of the side bet. I didn't remember until later that I should have paid him an additional $5 for the bet. I owe him next year.

I won't attempt a lengthy summary of the good times I had hanging out at the Geisha Bar, shooting craps and seeing shows like "Blue Man Group" and "Ka" with my wife. Mixed games at the MGM looked like fun, but I just hung out at the bar. I misread a board badly during a 1/2 game at the IP, leading to me losing some chips and quitting the game early. I won money at Bellagio and Caesars.

When you combine gambling with cool people from across the world, it's always a good time. Thanks, and I'm looking forward to next year.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The problem with 4-bet shoving preflop

If you're up against an opponent who 3-bets too frequently preflop, it stands to reason that you could profitably 4-bet shove against him because a large portion of his range would be forced to fold.

I don't know exactly how high an opponent's 3-bet percentage needs to be to make a 4-bet shove profitable, but math and PokerStove indicate to me that it's somewhere between 15 percent and 20 percent, according to a couple of scenarios I wrote out. I think it's fairly safe to say that you can 4-bet shove profitably against someone who's 3-betting more than 20 percent of their hands preflop over the long run. CTS also mentions the possibility of 4-bet shoving in his famous 3-bet post.

For a week or two, I tried 4-bet shoving against opponents who reraised too often. I put my 4-bet shoving range around 88+ and AQ+. My relatively small sample showed negative results.

There are a few problems with 4-bet shoving in shorthanded NL cash games:

_ If you 4-bet shove all the time instead of making smaller 4-bets, you can't ever 4-bet bluff. 4-bet shoving limits your range and your options. jcl touches on this point in his excellent CardRunners series, "Making the Jump."

_ It only really works when you're out of position. A 4-bet in position narrows your range too much, especially if you ever want to be able to call a 3-bet. However, out of position 4-bets may be more reasonable than in position 4-bets because you should pretty much never be calling a 3-bet out of position. It's a raise or fold situation.

4-bet shoving has its place, especially in some players' heads-up strategies. But it's applications are limited in shorthanded and full ring games, and it detracts from a well-rounded overall strategy.

Resolutions '10

I need to find a way to play as well as I used to. I don't know how to do this except to do it. It starts with becoming more disciplined and making better decisions. I learned a lot last year, and now I need to plug the leaks that seem to have kept pace with my improvements.

I'll stop making hero calls. I'd better have a damn good reason for calling down multiple streets besides the thought that I simply don't believe my opponents. Too often, I lose money when an opponent's line doesn't make sense. I should realize that these days, strange betting lines are far more likely to be the nuts than air.

I'll quit playing the first time I curse at the computer. I'll keep playing when I'm on my game.

Those are my resolutions for 2010, and I plan to stick to them every day of the year.

Good luck this year!