Sunday, January 09, 2005

Radar Down

YTD: -$1194.25

One of the many blessings, and perhaps curses, of playing online is that you can review key hands. As I have often stressed in this blog, the critical factor is not whether you win or lose, but the quality of the decisions you are making. And boy, am I making some shit decisions. About $2500 of stinkers so far this month. I really find it much more dispiriting and demoralizing to lose a little but play really badly, like I am now, than to lose a lot and know it was just the vagaries of fortune.

Here are some prime examples of poker “skill” in my best game of plo8b:

- I raise UTG with AKK2 and get reraised by a mostly unknown player. So he probably has AA or AA baby. I call and the flop comes T99 two spades. I have the bare A of spades. He bets and I check-raise him allin I nice chunky amount. He improves on his AA to make a small flush. There are so many mistakes in this hand that Sklansky style, I will leave it to others to elaborate.

- I raise in the CO with AJT4 ds and pick up a really bad player caller in the big blind. The flop comes AT9 offsuit and he bets the pot into me. Clearly he either has trips, two pair or a str8 draw, maybe even a wrap. Although the draw is the most likely of these, it also puts me in some considerable harm as it probably gives him a backdoor low too, meaning I have very very few cards to scoop on the turn and river. With this “in mind” I set myself allin to the tune of $1k. His monstrous but not entirely unexpected QJ87 scoops.

- Last, and certainly least in the brains stakes. I call UTG with A247 ds and call a late raise from the most aggressive player in plo8b history. The flop comes 38K mixed suits. I check call. The turn comes a Q giving me a baby flush draw too. I check raise a huge amount allin. Of course there two problems with this play, very different than the allin on the turn coups I have described before. This is that I have no showdown value. I could literally end up with A8 high, which even with this very aggressive opponent will not be winning. Secondly, if he does have a hand, I am likely to get paid off if I hit the perfecta of a low heart. Another meta-game issue is that this particular player has almost never passed to one of my check raises historically, and I knew that as I was doing it. My foe had an easy call with KKQ9 and a nice blank on the river flushed away my $1200.

If I keep on playing so well in my best game, it may turn out to be a long, long year.


Anonymous said...

On the bright side, there are hopefully better times ahead. After analyzing your mistakes, you will not make them as easily again. Good luck...


Anonymous said...

Hiya Dave, Peter B here.

The problem with Llama King's comment is that, if you are anything like me, there are some kinds of mistakes that we do make again and again. We even know that they are mistakes when we make them. I console myself with the fact that the negative EV is not as great as the stark figures suggest, because it means that you are getting paid off more often elsewhere. My own weakness is, if I put in a raise in a limit ring game with KJ in, say, MP2 (no previous callers) and get called behind by a relatively conservative player, plus a defence from the BB. The flop then comes, for example, AJ3 rainbow, giving me second pair and best kicker so long as an Ace isn't out. BB checks and I bet. Now, I have looked at the figures. I KNOW that betting here in this situation is negative EV. But I keep on doing it, because I can't bear the thought of checking with what might one time in three or so be the best hand.

A very curious thing is happening to me on Betfair (and God bless it, I'd be doing very badly if only Paradise and Party were my figures for the year). Although I am happily beating the limit ring games for 2BBs an hour (in fact, 3.5BBs this year so far), I have also been doing well in VERY short-handed games.

I wouldn't dream of playing these voluntarily, but Betfair offers me six quid an hour to play them. Now, this is a bit of a misnomer, because you only ever get two quid before the table fills up. This may take an average of 16 hands, which are played quite quickly and are mostly either heads-up or three-handed. I guess that may share of the rake on those 16 hands is probably $2.50, which means that I am only being "paid" a quid and a bit.

But, if I treat it as a generous rakeback, then I can look at these short-handed exercises as good practice for at least zero rake and sometimes a bit better than that. Anyway, to cut a long story short, my five hours play (made up of 24 sessions) has me in front by nearly 5BBs an hour.

Of course, not having the stats built up, I have no idea what the standard deviation is in this kind of heads-up or three-handed game, but I do seem to have the beating of most of the players who are sitting down. Sheer bloody-minded aggression seems to win it.

On the downside, I'm very worried about Paradise. The quality of the game there seems to have improved over the past six months and I am now beginning to doubt that I can beat it. Some times (say, Sunday morning eastern time) used to guarantee a fair share of passive (either weak-tight or loose-passive) players. But now I have a look at 2pm Sunday GMT and see three games with average number of players seeing the flop at 20%, 21% and 27%. On top of that, these players don't just lay down either pre-flop or on the flop to a raise and a flop bet. They know how to defend against that kind of stuff as well.

Hell, I know plays that I can make that should still beat them, but we are heading into turn and river theory here. Why bother when you can beat the Betfair game without worrying...


Aksu said...

We should learn from the mistakes. Even if the mistakes are made by someone else. In that sense this is very usufull post. And I know too well that these are exactly the kind of mistakes I make in all bigbet games. Especially the first/worst one.

Pete's comment may be aplicable to 2nd and 3rd, but not the fist one IMO. BTW Pete, may I ask you what limit's you play at BetFair. Is the starting game payment enough to compensate horrible rakestructure? They still cap the rake at £$€3 even with 2players, right?


Big Dave D said...

We should learn from our mistakes but perhaps we are "hardwired" to keep on repeating the same kind of ones. My particular pattern seems to be to gamble way to much in big to very big pots. This could be a reaction to playing somewhat passively, or feeling bullied, or my malcontent childhood. The fact is I cant seem to get past it. Maybe I should use cue cards or some NLP?



Anonymous said...

"it also puts me in some considerable harm as it probably gives him a backdoor low too, meaning I have very very few cards to scoop on the turn and river."

AT9 will never have a low.

Anonymous said...

>>AT9 will never have a low.<<

huh ?? runner runner low... makes a low.

Now his hand will never make a low... but his oppenents 87 could and thats what he was talking about

Big Dave D said...

Yes thats exactly what I was saying. Over the table I did consider what possible blanks I could hit next that would allow me to call or bet on the turn. There arent many. Maybe 15-16 cards in total. And these all put on the possibility of a low draw that I can't make. As hard as it was, I should have just passed this hand, but some bizzare macho thing took over and I decided to go all in instead.



Milkybarkid said...

It seems you have a new recruit on the $5/$10 game on Stars. The Betfair game has all but died and i need an injection of Omaha from somehere!

I know you said you Stars name is kind of an open secret but could you give me a hint? I am pretty sure that i haven't encountered you yet.

Big Dave D said...


I almost never play the 5-10 PLO anymore as I dont have the tank for it on Stars. I do play the plo8b though. Is your sig actually Milkybarkid? A clue to mine is that I am a number.



Milkybarkid said...

Ah ok will look out for you. Yeh i am the Milkybarkid on Stars. I don't leave much in any site now. My tilt is too dangerous so i tend to never have more than about $3000.

OnTilt said...

aahh I thought that was you (a no. id seems your style i couldn't figure out the significance though), so its not quite oldham either then :) i think I played with you briefly in some 2/4 PL

anyway I really like your blog, i am even starting my own soon to include some omaha cock ups analysis - good luck.