My Biggest Downswing

What’s going on guys? It’s been another rough week, both in terms of achieving my goals and results. I played for just under 30 hours, studied for five, ran once, and meditated three times. Not to make excuses, but I did come down with a sinus infection that kept me away from the tables for a couple days and made running a bit difficult. A deal is a deal though, so I will be donating $25 to an organization called the Absolute House, a non-profit that specializes in addiction treatment and recovery.

Poker Trip to D.C.

This week, I’ll finally be venturing out to Washington D.C. to check out the new MGM National Harbor Casino. I’m leaving Wednesday the 8th and heading back on Sunday the 12th, so any readers who will be out there in that time frame should definitely hit me up in the comments section. Since my time there is going to be somewhat limited, I want to capitalize as much as I can on the no-doubt juicy 2-5 NL action. For this reason, I’ll be switching up my goals a bit for this week and will be putting an emphasis on volume. My main goal for the week is going to be putting in 40 hours at the table. I’m not going to completely neglect my other weekly goals, but they will be secondary to volume.

Variance is a Bitch

As stated, this week went very poorly for me results-wise. Variance has been absolutely brutal to me over the last week and a half or so, and it was definitely throwing me off my game a bit. It was also crushing my motivation, to the point where I was almost glad I got sick as I felt I needed to take a day or two off from playing. It’s not so much that I was playing badly (although I certainly wasn’t always playing my A-game), but I was just miserable at the table. I really didn’t even want to be at the casino, and was just pushing myself to put in my daily 7-8 hours so I could go home and not feel guilty about slacking off. This is the first time I can remember not being happy to play poker, and it’s not surprising that this feeling came in what’s proving to be my biggest downswing thus far. After having taken the last two days off, however, I’m beginning to feel the drive again and am super stoked to crush it in D.C.

Clicking Buttons in 2-5

The hand I want to talk about this week was a result of a deviation from my A-game and resulted in a mistake that could have easily been avoided:

Game: 2-5 NL, 9 handed

Hero: (850) with AcTc on the button. Hero has a pretty losing image and is in the game for about $2000. V1 has history with hero and likely views him as a solid, aggressive professional. Hero’s AA were cracked a few hands ago and is likely pretty frustrated in the eyes of the villains.

Villain 1: (625) on CO. 25-30 year old regular. He generally plays somewhat tight-ABC game, but is capable of occasionally making moves and has been unusually active in this particular session. Hero has seen him 3bet 99 OTB vs. another reg and then bet flop and turn on a TJ6T board before checking back on the river and losing to QQ (something I’ve not seen him do before). Prior to this, hero has not seen him 3bet anything less than QQ+/AK

Villain 2: (2000+) UTG +1. 40-50 year old who has been absolutely running over the table in the 2+ hours he’s been there. Has been talking about how he usually plays in a 25-50 home game and doesn’t like playing at the Jack because the games are too small (and I think he’s being truthful). The money clearly doesn’t mean much to him but that doesn’t mean he’s going to happily give it away, as he’s clearly competitive. He seems to be an experienced LAG who loves to put pressure on his opponents. Plays far too wide preflop and is likely aware of his image.

Preflop: (7) Folds to Villain 2 who opens to 15, folds to villain 1 on CO who 3bets to 40 (standard 3bet sizing for him), hero calls, Villain 2 calls.

This was a bit spewy and is a call I wouldn’t have made had I not been slightly tilted. Having the button and Villain 2 in the hand makes it a slightly more attractive spot to get involved, but overall I just don’t think I can call here given how ABC villain 1 tends to play. Although we’ve seen him 3bet lighter in this particular session, I still think a hand as weak as ATs should be folded in this spot. I think his 3betting range looks something like 99+, AQ+, possibly some AJ and KQ, and very rarely some sort of random tilty bluff. Against this range our particular holding isn’t going to be doing very well. Cold calling in this spot also opens up a pretty nice 4betting opportunity for villain 2 which would obviously be a disaster.

Flop: (120) KcTs7c. Villain 2 checks, Villain 1 bets 80, hero calls, Villain 2 calls.

I think this is somewhat standard. When V1 bets, I think his range is mostly AA, AK, and KQs. He also is sometimes betting QQ/JJ (although he shouldn’t), and occasionally bluffing with a hand like AQ/AJ. The only argument for raising would be to fold out V1’s QQ/JJ and set ourselves up to barrel him off some of his better 1-pair hands. That said, I don’t turning our hand into a bluff is going to be more +EV than taking a more passive approach. By flatting here, we allow V2 to continue with worse draws and give him to opportunity to make some sort of bluff-raise.

Turn: (360) As. Villain 2 checks, villain 1 bets 165, hero calls, villain 2 folds.

Again, this decision seems pretty straight forward to me. While we have now improved to 2-pair, I think raising would be a pretty big disaster and will likely allow our opponents to play pretty close to perfectly (i.e. raising will fold out all worse hands and get called only by stronger ones). Flatting again gives V2 a chance to bluff and very likely keeps his dominated flush draws in the hand. At this point, I think V1’s range is pretty strong. It probably looks something like AA, KK, AK, and possibly some AQ/AJ, though I think those are significantly less likely even though there are far more combos of them.

River: (680) 4h. Villain 1 jams 340. Hero tanks… and makes a crying call.

Before the river came out, I was planning on folding to a jam on rivers that didn’t improve my hand. Once villain jammed in game and I realized I was getting 3:1, I let my tilt get the best of me and convinced myself that I had the appropriate odds to call it off. I thought it was possible (though somewhat unlikely) that villain was value betting a hand like AQ or AJ, and also convinced myself that villain could possibly be tilting himself and bluffing with a frustrated QQ/JJ or possibly another random hand. As it happened, Villain showed AK and scooped a nice 200+ BB pot.

After having thought about it away from the table, however, I think this is a pretty easy spot to make an exploitative fold. I’ve never seen villain 3barrel bluff (let alone 3barrel bluff in a 3bet pot) and don’t think he’s the type to go for some ultra thin-value with just Ax. I think an overwhelming majority of the time, villain is going to show up here with AK+. It is possible that I’m good here a very small percentage of the time, but nowhere near the 25% needed for this to be a break-even call.

This was the first time tilt clouded my judgement enough to cause me to make an error I’d seldom make while playing my A or B games. Fortunately, I was able to recognize that I was way off my game and picked up my remaining chips directly after this hand and called it a day. I was (and still am) pretty disappointed in myself for making such a spewy play, but I will say that writing this post and thinking it all through has helped a bit. That’s all for now, be sure to send me some run-good in D.C. Thanks for reading, I’ll talk to you all next week.

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