Fun Spot in Four Handed 2-5-10 NL

What’s going on guys? This week was pretty slow for me poker-wise. My girlfriend was in town for a few days and I hadn’t seen her in about six weeks, so I wanted to spend as much time with her as possible while I could. I also had a couple other personal/family related things going on, so that took up some time as well. I put in just 12 hours at the table, studied for 4, ran once, and meditated thrice. I also did pretty well to meet my additional goals, as I did a good job not lying around in bed and was successful in preparing a healthy meal and just eating slightly better in general. I feel pretty guilty not having put in much volume at all over the last two weeks, almost as if I’m taking advantage of the fact that I’m living at home and thus have little to no worry about living expenses. If I were living on my own, there’s just no way I could afford to take as much time off as I have been. All that said, it was very nice to spend some quality time with my girlfriend and my motivation to get back on the grind is definitely sky-high.

My 5-10 Debut

Somewhat unexpectedly, I played in my first 5-10 game this week. It started out as a full-ring 2-5 game that eventually got down to a 4-handed game consisting of another professional, a semi-serious recreational player, and a mega LAG-whale. We played very late into the night with a mandatory straddle on for the majority of the time. After having spewed off a couple of full 1k buy-ins, the mega whale asked if he could buy-in for $1500. Obviously, the dealer said he couldn’t, but the other pro at the table was smart enough to suggest switching the game to 5-10 which has no cap. We all agreed to bump it up and ended up playing for about an hour before the mega whale busted again and said he had to drive 20 minutes to his bank to withdrawal some more money. It was like 5:30 AM at this point and I (and the others) were exhausted so we ended up just breaking the game then. I was fortunate enough to run pretty well (especially against the whale) and ended up booking a monster win of just over $3k :).

Facing a Pot-size Jam OTR

The following hand was played in the 2-5-10 portion of the session described above. The hand itself isn’t that interesting IMO, however, some game-flow considerations and exploitative play caused me to take a somewhat non-standard line.

Game: 2-5-10 NL, 4 handed

Hero: (1500) in the BB with JhTd. Hero has been playing his usual LAG style. It’s possible that villain looks at hero as slightly on the tighter side as hero is a nit relative to villain’s hyper-LAG strategy. However, hero showed a bluff for the first time all night in the hand prior to this one where villain cbet a Qh6s2s board and hero check-raised with KhTh and got the fold.

Villain: (1600) on the straddle. He is a mid 50’s recreational player who I’ve never seen play 2-5 until today. His decision to play 2-5 was likely a result of recently having chopped the top 4 prize money in the Jack Poker Classic for a $40k profit.  Villain plays an extremely LAG style, particularly post-flop (i.e. we haven’t seen him 3bet bluff). He tends to shut down when he faces aggression unless his holdings have significant equity. When he perceives an opponent to be weak, he can’t help pulling the trigger. He’s been caught making big bluffs OTR multiple times tonight and frequently over-bets. In our sample with him, his over-bets seem to be unbalanced and weighted towards bluffs.

Preflop: (17) Folds to a pro who raises to 30 in the SB, hero calls, villain calls.

Flop: (83) ThTs9c. SB checks, hero checks, villain bets 60, SB folds, hero raises to 185, villain calls somewhat quickly.

Villain is betting here quite frequently when checked to and thus it’s hard to say exactly what his range looks like. He certainly would be betting all of his Tx’s and 9x’s, all of his straight draws, and likely some little to no equity hands as well. This was a kind of interesting spot due to the game-flow implications from the prior hand. It’s a little weird because I don’t think villain would expect me to check-raise as a bluff here after just having shown a check-raise bluff last hand. Still, I think we can confidently value-target all of his Tx (villain does have plenty of worse Tx’s here), most or all of his 9x, and some of his higher-equity straight draws as well. When villain calls, he has basically the range of hands we’re value-targeting, and occasionally can be slow-playing a hand that’s beating us.

Turn: (453) Kd. Hero checks, villain bets 300, hero calls.

The Kd was not a card I was looking to see on the turn. QJ gets there obviously (although we’re blocking it) and its going to be pretty ambitious to continue looking to value target villain’s 9x. On the other hand, betting would allow us to value-target some of villain’s KJ/KQ type hands that have now improved to top pair. However, I think with game-flow taken into account, those hands may be slightly more inclined to fold (disclaimer, I could be leveling myself here and the opposite could be true. I just think most people don’t expect someone to make another big bluff after having shown a bluff the hand before). Ultimately, I decided to check to induce some bluffs from villain’s 9x’s, SD’s, and possibly some random-air that he elected to float with OTF. Once villain bets, we have a very clear call.

River: (1053) 3s. Hero checks, villain jams 985 effective, hero calls.

This is pretty straight forward IMO. We have a very strong bluff-catcher as we block both QJ and some of the full-houses that villain can be value-betting. That said, we can probably just call with all of our Tx here exploitatively as villain is very likely to be over-bluffing in this spot, but I think having the J in our hand makes this spot a slam-dunk call. As for results, villain mucked and my hand was good.

After having written it out, this hand really doesn’t seem all that interesting lol. Sorry about that, due to my lack of playing this week I really didn’t have many from which to choose. Hopefully I’ll have something good for you guys next week. Until then, peace, much love, and happy grinding.