Considering All of Your Options

What’s happening Just Hands Nation? The swings have been real this week. I went from being up about 3k after that 2-5-10 game I mentioned last week, to down about 1k, to up about 6k. Multiple 3k+ swings made for a somewhat stressful week, but I’m thankful and happy I was able to come out on top and book one of the most profitable weeks of my career. I played for a total of 55 hours this week, smashing my old PR by over 10 hours. My degenning was not something that was really planned, but more a result of finding myself in a handful of dream games that I just couldn’t part myself with until the guys giving their money away were gone. My ability to play longer sessions and not quit when the game is great is something I’ve definitely improved upon since I first started playing. I used to just put in my 7-9 hours and call it quits almost regardless of the quality of the game. The reality of the situation is, however, that these dream games rarely assemble in Cleveland (especially at the 2-5+ levels) and when they do, I shouldn’t really ever be leaving them (assuming I’m playing my A-game or close to it).

Tournament Study Time

For those who aren’t aware, the Just Hands Across America Tour began yesterday. Jack and Zach are driving across the country to play both poker and music, meet up with listeners of the podcast, and promote the Just Hands brand. The tour is ending on the west coast and I’m going to be meeting up with them in Vegas at the beginning of May, and then again in June during the WSOP. Assuming my bankroll doesn’t take any major hits prior to then, and that I’m able to sell off enough of my action, I’m planning on taking a shot at a couple of the daily deep stack tournaments that run out there, and possibly even some of the smaller buy-in WSOP events. I’ll likely be posting a package on Stake Kings or another staking site in the next week or so and will post a link on the blog for anyone looking to invest in a piece of me. To prepare for this, I’m going begin focusing the majority of study time on tournaments. I’ll likely subscribe to Tournament Poker Edge and also plan on checking out the Run It Once MTT curriculum.

Betting Small to Induce?

The following hand took place in another 2-5 game that turned into 5-10 that I played in a couple days ago. This was the first hand played after changing the game to 5-10.

Game: 5-10 NL, 4 handed

Villain: (~1400) UTG. 30 year old maniac. He sat down in our short-handed 2-5 game at about 2:30am. He can’t help going for any pot in which he senses weakness. VPIP’s roughly 35-45% of hands and PFR 25-30%.  Villain often triple barrels. He is capable of going for thin value as he is likely aware of his image. Villain also occasionally bluffs with hands that have enough SDV where they could and should be played as checks IMO (I know this sounds a lot like the villain from last week’s post, but he is in fact a different person).

Hero: (3000) BB with AcKh. Probably viewed more on the TAG side in villain’s eyes. Hero has already bluff-caught successfully in 2 out of the 3 significant pots vs. villain, and overall has a very winning image.

Preflop: (15) Villain opens to 55, folds to hero who 3bets to 185, villain calls.

Not too much to discuss here. His opening size is standard for him. I think I could and probably should go for a slightly larger sizing as villain is rarely folding.

Flop: (375) As6s4c. Hero checks, villain checks.

I checked here for exploitative reasons. Because villain is so aggro, we can adjust by taking this hand which would normally be bet for value and play it more passively as a bluff-catcher. While I do think there is value to be had when villain has Ax, he will always be betting those hands himself, so we’re not really losing any value from them. I think villain as a lot of air on this flop and will very frequently bet when checked to, even with little to no equity, while those hands would fold when facing a bet.

Turn: (375) 8c. Hero bets 225, villain calls.

When villain calls here I expect him to have a lot of gut shots (many of which also have a pair), some 8x, some 6x, possibly some 4x, pocket pairs like 55-TT, and some club FD’s as well. I rarely expect to be beaten when villain flats, as he tends to fast play a lot of his strong value hands due to his wild and crazy image.

River: (825) 4h. Hero checks, villain bets 350, hero calls.

In game, I thought checking here would induce a lot of a bluffs from villain’s draws that missed (which I think are more combinatorically abundant relative to hands I can value-target). While I do still think this is the case and believe checking is better than betting purely for value, I failed to consider a third option: betting small to induce. It’s really rare to come across a spot where betting to induce is actually a viable option, but I’m beginning to think this may have been one of those spots. I think I like making a small bet, somewhere around 150-250, with the hope that villain interprets the smaller sizing as weakness and decides to go for a bluff-raise or jam.  

As expected, villain quickly mucked his hand and I scooped a nice $1500 pot. I’m certainly not complaining or sulking, but I think could have quite possibly left a few hundred dollars in EV on the table by not considering betting small to induce. I think it’s important to have those kinds of obscure lines in your arsenal, especially when playing with villains like this one. I’ll be sure to put into effect next time I get the opportunity. That’s all I’ve got. Thanks for reading! Until next week, may the run-good be with us all. Peace!