A Costly Mistake vs. a Fellow Grinder

The Return of the Run-Good

Hello all! After a minor slip last week, I’m happy to say that I’ve moved back to the positive side of variance and was able to book another winning week. It really is a weird feeling to have had so much success up to this point. It honestly doesn’t feel real at times and I just want to emphasize how grateful I am to be doing well and to have had all the support from my family, friends, girlfriend, and of course to all of you readers as well. Aside from still living at home, I feel as though I’m living the dream, and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me in the upcoming months and years.

As for my weekly goals, I definitely slacked off a bit this week. I played a little over 30 hours, studied for four, didn’t run, and didn’t meditate. I also didn’t run or mediate last week, so this week I’m going to make an extra effort to get those things back into my routine. It’s easy to stay mentally strong when winning, but as soon as a downswing hits, I know my mental game will be affected. I feel as though running and meditating are two of the most beneficial outlets for combating the effects of negative variance on my mental game, at least for me personally. Everyone’s different, obviously, but I believe having some balance in life is essential to success in poker.

A Comeback for 2-5 at the Jack Cleveland?

My transition to PLO has taken a bit of a halt, mostly as a result of the 2-5 NL games at the Jack being so good and running so frequently as of late. I’m not sure what exactly is causing this to happen, but even as I write this now on a Monday night, Bravo reports that a 2-5 game is in fact running, and this has been pretty common over the last month or two. 2-5 games never used to get off during the week (with the exception of Wednesdays because of a High Hand promo that drives a lot of traffic), and now it seems as though there are more days where it runs than days it doesn’t. I’m seeing more and more 1-3 recreational regs taking shots at the 2-5 game, which is super encouraging and makes me think that 2-5 at the Jack may be on the verge of a comeback. Let’s hope that this trend continues onward.

Going for Thin Value vs. a Pro

The hand I want to talk about this week occurred in a 2-5 game towards the end of a 9 hour session that I had been playing while somewhat sleep deprived. I made a pretty bad play here on the river and would like to think that I wouldn't have played the hand the way I did had I been better rested. 

Game: 2-5 NL, 9 handed

Hero: (1600) with QsTs UTG +2. Hero has a winning image and has been playing somewhat LAG. Villain knows hero is a pro and writes this blog. I think villain views hero as someone who is generally a bit too bluff-heavy.

Villain: (1200ish) in LJ. Villain is a pro and thinks about the game well. He plays a pretty TAG strategy and rarely gets out of line. He recently moved up to 2-5, but that’s not to say that I think he’s at all intimidated by the size of this game, as he seems very experienced.

Preflop: (7) Fish limps UTG, hero raises to 25, villain calls, folds back to fish who calls.

Flop: (75) 9s7c4c. Fish checks, hero bets 50, villain calls, fish folds.

Not much to talk about here. On this kind of board texture I’m going to be c-betting this hand all day, especially with a winning image. This hand makes a good c-bet bluff candidate as there are many turns which improve its equity. I plan to barrel the turn on any spade, 8, J, or K. 

Turn: (175) 8h. Hero bets 115, Villain calls.

As planned, I go ahead and fire the second barrel with my open-ender. I think this card is slightly better for villain’s range than it is for mine, as he likely has hands like 78 and 88 in his range where I don’t. There are only 5 combos of those hands though, so I don’t think his slight range advantage means villain can abuse me my raising my turn bet at a high frequency. When villain calls my bet here, I think his majority of his range consists of some 9x, a good amount of nut flush draws, some other flush draws (although a lot of these are combo draws at this point so at least some would be bluff-raising the turn), and some 2p+ type hands that are electing to slow-play.

River: (405) Qc. Hero bets 235, villain calls.

This was not a river I’d made a plan for, and as a result I wasn’t exactly sure what to do here. Being tired didn’t make the decision much easier. I didn’t really like the idea of check-calling or check-folding (although I now do think this is a spot where I can pretty confidently check-fold), and thought there was a reasonable chance I could get called by worse. After thinking about it the next day after a good night’s sleep, however, I do not think this is the case at all. I’m actually pretty confident that villain folds all of his worse 1-pair hands when I fire a third barrel here, as he has plenty of flushes, some straights, and some 2-pair/sets with which he can call. I do think this hand would be a lot different had the river been a non-club Q, as I think the likelihood of me getting looked up by some of villain’s 1-pair hands increases tremendously. As it turned out, villain showed down 88 and scooped a nice $885 pot. Well played sir, if you’re reading this.

This was one of the more obvious and costly mistakes I’ve made over the last few months, and I think it just goes to show the importance of being mentally sharp, focused, and well-rested at the table. I guess the moral of the story is to call it quits when you feel like lack of sleep could be affecting your game. Live and learn, I suppose. Until next week, happy grinding, and thanks for reading!