The importance of regular play part 2

Last week, I went through two types of mistakes I made at my first session after a long break. For the second part of this post, I detail a hand where I miss hundreds of dollars in value! Usually I tend to value bet probably a tad too thinly but I rarely don’t make the big overbet or shove when warranted. I try emphasize on the podcast and in coaching sessions how most don’t value bet too thin or to go for unconventionally large sizings. But I’m not perfect, and I found myself making this common mistake a few times.

Something I’m normally good at is knowing when I can exploitably use large and overbet bet sizings to get max value with my good hands. Often, my image is such that I can get called down fairly wide even when the bets are relatively big. While I wasn’t making this mistake the entire session, I think I made a fairly common mistake a few times: my desire to just get paid and win as much as I could in this individual session clouded my judgment for making the correct play. I was just so happy to make another $100-400 on the river when I had a value hand that I often wasn’t thinking about specifically what I’m value targeting and what is the absolute largest sizing I could get away with. As all of you know, of course it’s better to get an overbet of 1.5x pot called 50% of the time than to have a half pot bet get called 50%. Given how aggressively I was playing, especially at my second table, I easily left a thousand dollars of value on the table. I bet 2/3 pot in a few river spots where I could have gotten away with my ‘standard’ overbet shoves in polarizing spots.

Here is a hand where I missed about $400-600 in EV:

I’ve gotten a serious run of cards in my first two hours at this table. Combined with how passively everyone is playing, my VPIP after about 50 hands was probably around 40%, and people are already making comments about my play and ‘whispering’ about how they’re going to trap me. One player who I was sitting next to for the first hour seemed to be a regular and play a very straightforward game. For whatever reason, after a big hand he played he asked me about it seeming to respect my game in the way he asked. By the time the hand in question comes up, I haven’t gotten to showdown a lot given how many hands I’m playing and once I had a medium strength value hand and the other time I had a flush draw that missed in an all in situation.

Villain (1500) opens to 25 UTG+1, loose fish (400) calls in MP, Hero (covers) calls OTB with A4d, nitty old BB (400) calls.

Flop (100)


Villain bets 75. In this spot I know he is never bluffing but given my backdoor flushdraw, two pair and trips draw, and position, I think I have a profitable call after MP folds and the BB looks uninterested in the hand. I call and BB folds.

Turn (250)


Turn is the beautiful 4 giving me top trips and he checks to me - I think his range in this spot is primarily AA, AK, and KQ, and maybe the occasionally oddly played sets of 2s and Kings where he thinks it is more profitable to let me bluff. I opt to bet 225 to set up a big river bet and to make my betting look polarized. I think he thinks I’m capable of floating or turning an underpair into a bluff so I want him to think he’s way ahead or way behind. He thinks for about 30 seconds and calls, but does so in a way where it was clear he was never considering folding.

River (700)


He now has about 1200 behind. The spade draw missed and the 5 is one of the biggest blanks possible. In game, I thought that despite his obvious willingness to bluff catch with his top pair and overpair hands, with an overbet he might just begrudgingly fold putting me on a set of deuces or a four. He certainly was one of the more solid players at the table and players like that don’t come to the casino to lose 300 bigs hero calling. The problem with this line of thinking is that despite the fact he doesn’t want to hero call, with my image he’s going to have a really hard time folding. He saw that I was capable of making a big semibluff and in my experience, if people feel that I am targeting them for whatever reason, they’re very likely to call down with a very wide range, even with large bet sizings. And to be fair to him, most players wouldn’t play a value hand this way. In the past, when I successfully pull the trigger in these spots, after the fact he starts complaining to tablemates something along the line of, “It just didn’t make sense! Why would he bet so much if he wanted me to call?”. While a shove for 1200 effective seems crazy at first, given I have a very few fours in my range and sets are really hard to make, I don’t think his calling frequency will be that different when I bet 620 (what I ended up betting) versus the shove.

The silver lining in all of this is that I really only felt rusty my first day of my three day stop in Maryland. By the third day I felt my normal confidence at the table and couldn’t identify any major mistakes made. So for whatever reason you end up taking months off at a time, don’t fret, the first session or two might not go smoothly but you should be back playing your normal game in no time.

What are some of the biggest mistakes you find you make after taking a long break? Join the discussion in the comments below or feel free to shoot us an email with questions or opinions anytime.