Monday, February 06, 2006

I must still be doing something wrong; (-$50)

Back in LA this week, and I've spent a lot of time last week, and on the plane down, reading Sklansky's Small Stakes Hold 'em. After my last visit to the $1/$2 no fold 'em tables (net result: about -$100 over three losing sessions), I knew I had to do something to play better. Tight but agressive didn't work. Super tight didn't work. Insane loose isn't something I'd dare to try -- the reason I'm at the $1/$2 tables is because I treasure my measly bankroll, and the variance would be too much playing hands like 83o every time.

After reading Sklansky, I realized that part of my problem was my tendency to fold hands that will very frequently lose, even though the pot odds said stay. For example, Sklansky writes:

For example, say you have 8d7d in the big blind. Four players limp, and the button raises. The small blind folds. You call, as do the limpers (12.5 small bets). The flop is Th7c5c

You check, and everyone else checks to the button, who bets. You should raise. You have middle pair and a [runner runner] backdoor straight draw. You estimate its worth at about five outs (the two-flush and the coordinated nature of the board lower the value of your hand somewhat). For a five out draw, you need the pot to lay about 8-to-1 to continue. Getting 13-to-1, you clearly should at least call. ... When the pot is large, invest extra bets if doing so improves your chance to win.

He later continues:

In small stakes games where many of your opponents play too many hands and go too far with them, the pots will often be big. This means that hands that will win only a small percentage of the time are still frequently good enough to pay off on the river, and some questionable raises can also be correct.

Several times, I got decent starting hands, ended up with overcards on the flop, the pot odds to six outs were good on the flop and river, and they never paired.

I won two hands all night (three hours). I sat down at a newly opened table, and got dealt KK in middle position. I bet it agressively, and ended up +$12 for the hand when my final opponent folded on the river.

The other winning hand I got dealt A9o on the small blind, and the flop came A99. My mistake on that hand was failing to raise it on the flop, hoping to keep people in (a mistake that Sklansky points out repeatedly). The turn and river were rags, but the guy to my right was the only other person in at the river, with AQ.

Otherwise, hands that I played the pot odds with never came through. Six times I had a flush draw on the turn and river; I hit it twice. The first time it hit I lost to a bigger flush. The second time I lost to a full house (fives over threes).

My pocket tens lost to pocket kings (mostly low board with a scary but ultimately harmless Q on the flop). My AKs and AKo never hit.

And my final hand, Qd9d, hit the flop which came 8Q3 rainbow, which I bet agressively in late position after it was checked to me and raised by the under-the-gun. Several players stayed in for the turn, but by the time it got to my final $3 all-in on the river, it was me and the UTG (one to the right of the button), who turns over his 83o for two pair. Sigh.

That's my bankroll for the week. It'll be a while before I hit brick and mortar play again.

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