A Solid Week with Not-So-Solid Results

It’s been a long and slightly painful week, but I’m happy to say I was successful in my little experiment and managed to complete three of my four goals. I played for 37 hours, studied for six, ran three times, and neglected to mediate at all. The main reason I haven’t been so good about following through on the mediation is because I really wasn’t feeling too much of a benefit when I was doing it more regularly. This week went poorly for me results wise, however, and I think being in the midst of a downswing is all the more reason to give a more valiant effort towards meditating on a more regular basis. While I don’t feel like negative variance was causing my game to deteriorate all that much, I did notice a slight deviation from my A-game to my B-game at times, which is something I’d like to be able to avoid. I think meditation is one step I can take to help to mitigate this deviation, so I’m going to up the stakes a bit and try to go for four out of four goals this week. Once again, if I’m unsuccessful, I’ll be donating $25 to some sort of charitable organization.

My PLO Debut

In other news, I finally made my live PLO debut. I played two short sessions, and while they didn’t go great in terms of results, I felt I played pretty well (with the exception of making a few spewy preflop calls). In both sessions, I decided to buy-in short, both to reduce variance and because I didn’t feel comfortable buying in full since I’m still learning and don’t think I necessarily have a huge edge in the game (yet). That said, however, I do think that in time I will have a big edge and be able to crush these games. Even after just playing for a few hours, it was easily apparent that the majority of players were making massive mistakes. The most common mistakes I saw were playing way too wide preflop, under-bluffing, not going for thin value, and calling down too light. I’m pretty confident that as I get more experience and studying under my belt, I’ll be able to destroy 1-2-5 PLO at the Jack.

Problems with My Ego

The 2-5 games at the Jack were very dry this week. It’s hard to say why, exactly, but the reason I bring it up is because there were several times I found myself in a relatively tough 2-5 game, but neglected to migrate over to the 1-3. I think it’s pretty important to avoid this kind of thing, especially seeing as I’m not over-rolled for deep-stacked 2-5. If I’m being totally honest, I think part of what kept me in these tougher games is ego, and not wanting to look like a scrub in front of other pros who were likely thinking the exact same thing I was. The bottom-line, however, is that poker is basically my only source of income and thus I should be looking to maximize my EV in every session. If that means moving from a 2-5 game in which half the table are pros to a 1-3 game in which no one else at the table has a clue as to what’s going on, then so be it. There’s no shame in playing smaller as long as I think it’s the more profitable route to take, and I need to stay conscious of that.

Fun Hand at 1-3 NL

Unfortunately, I don’t have any interesting PLO hands to talk about as of yet. I did however take a somewhat non-standard line in a 1-3 game that I’ll discuss:

Game: 1-3 NL, 9 handed

Hero: (300) UTG +1 with KhTh. Hero recently moved to table and has played 2-3 orbits. Hero has been involved in just 3 hands, all of which he opened and saw a flop heads-up. In two of the hands, hero c-bet the flop and took down the pot. In the other, which was against the main villain, hero check-raised the flop before villain angrily folded.

Villain: (300) unknown, 40-50 year old man on CO. Has open/over limped multiple times preflop. Has been angrily folding and complaining about missing flops. Villain likely views hero as aggro-kid looking to push him around. Although we have not seen villain bluff or appear aggressive at all, we view him as someone capable of bluffing given his general demeanor.

Preflop: (4) Hero opens to 12, MP calls, villain calls, button calls, BB calls.

Flop: (55) KcTs8h. BB checks, hero bets 45, MP folds, villain calls, button folds, BB folds.

Not much to discuss here. When villain calls I think he has Kx, Tx, QJ, 9J, 79s, 88, and possibly some Q9s, AJ/AQ, and 8x type hands.

Turn: (144) Ad. Hero checks, villain checks.

I can go either way in this spot. Obviously QJ got there which kind of sucks, but I don’t think that’s something we should necessarily be too worried about. I think betting is good because we can likely continue to get value from KJ/KQ and as well as from AJ/AQ. I don’t think we’re likely to be able to get three streets of value from these hands, however, and certainly not from his Tx or weaker Kx hands. Given the meta-game and villain’s view of hero as someone who could potentially be “bullying” him, I elected to check with the goal of inducing some bluffs. If villain checked back, I would proceed to value-bet OTR.

River: (144) Kx. Hero checks, villain bets 25, hero raises to 200, villain calls and MHIG.

This was a super interesting and obviously great river card for me. The reason I chose to check was to get max value from all of his Kx hands, as we can basically always get 2 bets out of villain by check-raising as opposed to just one when we lead. I also think we can value target some of the QJ that villain’s elected to take this line with (some would likely bet the turn), and possibly some Ax type hands as well. Finally, I think checking turn and river looks so weak that villain should basically always feel compelled to bluff with any kind of busted straight draw and possibly some 8x/ Tx as well, which we would get likely get no value from by leading the river (unless we used a small sizing to induce a bluff). Anyways, that’s all I’ve got. Signing off for now. As always, be sure to leave any comments or questions below. Peace, happy grinding, and may the run good be with us all.