Warm Up

Sometimes I feel like I need a tweak to my game, or perhaps a little extra preparation.  Maybe I don’t even know what it is, but with a bigger game to come, I want a little warm up before the real thing.  With the Coven dispersed and my eyes dry from the computer, an unscheduled session was in order.

To get away from the rut, I went to a 2/5 game that for the most part I really don’t enjoy.  I will admit that the most part of it is a mental block, a bias I have created and reinforced.  Yes, some of the most disgusting people in my player pool play there.  Yes, it is a higher crime area.  Yes, it is the only place I see softplay bordering on collusion.  However, all that said, it’s an active casino with a very big player pool.  For all my whining about it, my win rate there is respectable.  That’s a triumph of data over experience, because in my mind I’m always getting sucked out on and slowplayed to oblivion.

It cost me twenty bigs overall, this warm up session, but I saw a recurrent leak in my game that has hurt me since June: a slight indifference to results that makes me tune out my superpowers and fall into traps.

This hand is a recurrent theme for me during this long struggle since Vegas:  I three bet a consistent opener, the third hand in a row, with KQo.  He swoons with frustration but I don’t register its meaning.  After all, it would be frustrating to have an aggressive player on your left, and the weak-tight table is atwitter with the action.  This, nitty, mostly skillless player pool is the equivalent of a bunch of grasping, ugly prostitutes, and a LAG is like a sailor with twenty four hours leave.

We see a caller’s board of J87, and since he is call happy, I can’t cbet. He gives off one of those imbecile Well that’s entirely strange, why didn’t he bet there, this hand is quite the intriguing mystery chaps looks that poker players simply can’t stop emitting like isotopes from their quarter-life souls. The Q falls and he bets into it, which is really problematic. Not only does he have range advantage, he’s threatening stacks. However, he seems like a guy who would bluff- he’s got that hardened life look that’s involved either service, bad women, or bad family- so I go into bluff catcher mode – soft strategy, and call this bet, and the next.

I lose to aces.  (Must have been just bad food.) I hate myself for not identifying the source of his swoon, and the fact that he’s not likely to use this board against me.  The truth is that requires skill, and in fact, AA is the bottom of his range here.  I beat nothing. I know better, but blindly call down because against a player it’s optimal in some vacuum.  (Can you imagine this distant multiverse where everyone is bluffing you all the time?)

But players, ironically, don’t act.  Aha.

Tough guy value bets all night and had the goods every time at showdown. He clenches his fist when he makes the nuts again, as if he accomplished it through pure bad boy will.  How wrong I was about him. Hopefully, I learned my lesson. I want to play hard strat, and respect the board. I can fold the turn or insanely bluff it with QQ/QJ blockers, but what I can’t do is call down.

So, warm up worthwhile so far.

In another spot, I miss a great x/r because I thought that an old guy in a poker hat after putting in half his stack would never fold, yet in giving up, I let another guy bluff him out with pure air. Sometimes a fish is just a fish, and nothing makes sense.  Yep, small warm up lesson, more of a reminder: I just have to play hardball with these clowns.  I have to have the will to do so every hand. The fact is, if you wear sunglasses at the table, 99% chance you are an idiot, and I am tired of giving these goofs more credit than they deserve. Begone, peon: pressure coming.

Meanwhile, a more amusing hand takes place where I make a button open with 76o and felt a nit on the river.  The ugly hooker players go absolutely crazy over this one, their fake eyelashes dropping over the table in shock and disgust that anyone could open 76o. I am given some sort of reverse needle wherein they tell me it was “connected” over and over, as if I can’t get the joke.  I am one part indifferent, one part amused, and one part of me wants to turn over the table and throw them out of the room, like Jesus with the bankers in the temple.  Being lectured by tramps and charlatans is too much. When one pats me on the back, condescendingly suggesting that I am alright and I will learn, you can imagine what my left elbow really wanted to do. However, I remained in control, while my victim the nit victim immediately went on tilt and widened his range shockingly, spilling face/low combos out of his purse all over me; I guess they beat 76o, heeheehee.  Pretty dramatic reaction from these poker pansies who got their garters kerfuffled.

Aside from this, I also wanted to expand my pain threshold game.  I’ve been on board with large sizings for a long time, but I usually just stop at some point, like 7x.  Last night I went bigger and bigger and the result was really interesting.  First off, these guys put the girl pushups in weak tight, so it’s going to be a shock to them.  Three X raises are the protocol at Poker Dump Central; buy ins are scant in a depressed area and small ball the rule.  So when I started opening 6x and got snapped by four players, I had to stop and readjust my thinking about this place.  I went bigger and then bigger, and found that 8x was the point where they thought about it- but I never got to the true whiner’s pressure point as a whole, other than being called a “bully,” to which I simply said, “true.”  I was a little shaken by how quickly they called- clearly I have been playing their game out of slowplay fear for too long.  I knew they were awful, but last night revealed the truth: nittiness as a cover for incompetence.

A good and enlightening rehearsal.  Now for the real thing.

6 thoughts on “Warm Up

  1. Excellent post. It is hard to have the courage to open big enough sometimes at calling tables.

    Easy to theorize about, but losing all callers with an AA & an 8x raise sucks as does trying to balance that large raise size with worse holdings like 910cc. That can feel really vulnerable. Unless you adjust your raise size to your holding and try to design suitable SPRs, which also poses some serious risk of transparency.

    Will you balance a very large opening sizing or adjust it for SPRs and expect that callers aren’t paying attention?

    Defense, is if you can open big enough to make all speculative calls a mistake, but that requires short stacks.

  2. When we break the boundaries of the normal game with big sizings, funny stuff starts happening with the SPR. Where we thought we wanted a really high spr with 89ss, now we can play it for stacks with top pair against a draw from the 60 bb fish who called with A4cc, or just get in AA super easy when before we couldn’t vs the big stack.

    In other words, I do my best to have everything my way… but probably make some errors. The key is to play really great post and I am just not entirely where I want to be, hence the pay off against AA here. I keep track of the effective stacks and don’t raise into shorties… but I also balance the fact in my mind that these guys aren’t short stack savvy and won’t be using their leverage or Cosbying me that much except from UTG.

  3. I remember getting lectured at that joint for 3b AQ. Nevermind that the opener had AT. I lost the hand so that’s what counts.

    They had 5/10 going again there recently as well as at the place up north.

  4. I’m finally, I think, getting a handle and a triangulation on the elements of their game: softplay, slowplay, nittiness. I tried to bust down the doors with aggression before, but now that my game is more sound, I think I can add it to one of my watering holes.

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