We hear from Gargamel, who is back and playing lights out in 2017. I ask him some questions at the end. - P.
I love going against the player in this hand I'm about to describe. He's the type to give you 75 bbs with six high. He's arrogant enough to play a bunch of hands and think he's going to bluff 1/3 players to victory. This is your forum poster that is so good, he calls from the blinds with trash and shallow stacks against strong early position raises because he is "going to outplay everyone postflop".
On to the hand. He open limps the cutoff and I raise [5x][5x] to $18 from the button. One of the blinds calls as does the limper so it's a 3 way pot with $54 in.
The flop is [7x][4x][2x] rainbow. The blind checks and the limper donk bets $25.
The vast majority of donk bets at this level are top pair/marginal one pair hands and draws. The reasoning behind these leads usually consists of betting for info, protecting (nothing scares a grown man like the presence of a flush draw), and stealing. We already know this player likes to play a bunch of hands and bluff his way out of garbage. I'm ahead of the straight draws and can perhaps get [7x] to fold so I make it $95. The other guy folds and our limper calls.
The pot is $244. The turn is a [9x] and he checks. I check back.
The river is [kx] and he leads $120.
When you think about it, this bet/story doesn't make sense. Let's go through the categories of hands.
No flushes are possible. Straights missed. Sets are rare and I can expect him to raise [7x][7x] preflop given his raise frequency. Donk betting with sets is also rare. He would also presumably 3b the flop with some frequency with a set. There are not many two pair combos and the same thinking with donk betting applies.
This leaves us with one pair hands and bluffs. The one pair hands are mostly centered around [7x]. I simply think
this player at least knows better than to try to hang on with [7x] with 100 bb stacks. He'd probably just get it in on the flop if he really thought it was good. I'm getting 3-1 on a call. Although my hand blocks combos of his primary bluffing hands ([5x][6x] & [3x][5x]), there are no missed flush draws.
The bet is too nonsensical to fold. I call and he shows bitterness and [5x][6x]. He said "nice hand, we want you to make that call every time".
Yeah, I can see how it's pretty frustrating when someone runs circles around you in a 1/3 game.
Persuadeo: There's been a number of hands in the forums recently, and really, since the beginning, where low pocket pairs have caused players grief. On the other hand, they've also been extremely aggressive with them, and as you won't forget, you've had other notable hands (I'm thinking of one particular spot in a home game versus one of our bankroll challenge rivals) where taking the preflop lead with a weak pair gave you a big result. What do you think of your isolation and can you comment on this play in general?
Gargamel: So, I think you're referring to a spot in which I also had 55. Our competitor raised the button, either in an unopened pot or after 1 limp. He figures to be rather wide in that situation. Hell, it's a home game after all. Effective stacks were in the vicinity of 100 bbs. I 3b because I could then put him on the defensive and likely had the best hand as well. I don't necessarily want to get our hands to showdown. The flop came out paired - 996r. This is one of the great flops that doesn't nail a 5. If I was ahead pre I'm very likely ahead now. I cbet and he called. So, he can and probably did call somewhat wide here since I can just be continuing with ace high and shutting down on the turn.
The turn was a blank, but added a backdoor flush draw. If I bet out again, he'd fold his hopeless hands and usually flat with decent equity (I wasn't otherwise getting out of line so I don't think he'd make a move). Basically, my thought was betting wouldn't get worse to call, better to fold, or shut out his equity. So my plan was to first rep overcards by checking. I figured he'd likely take a stab to which he complied. If I then flat, he can put me on a range of 1 pair hands that are trying to get to showdown and maybe big aces. He can play rivers pretty well in position against that range. Even if he only has 6 outs with unpaired hole cards, he would have an opportunity to freeroll me. So I check raised allin, he snap folded, and asked if I had QQ. I'll be out with my "How to Play Pocket
5's" video soon!
In trying to isolate with small pairs you basically have to be careful and know your opposition. It can be tough to pull off at times below 5/10. Once one of several limpers call, it can set off a multiway pot odds bonanza.
P: I like your reasoning on the flop - you certainly are capitalizing now given the range you have him on, but it seems problematic, I suppose, that he will fold 7x, given his profile. Do you still expect him to fold 7x, looking back? If 3bet, is the hand simply over? What happens on the river if he does not bet and what might it mean?
G: Well he might not fold 7x to me now. I certainly thought there was a chance at the time the hand was played. If I get 3b on the flop, I'd pretty much have to fold. Thankfully the donk then 3b flop line, particularly without a flush draw is extremely rare as a bluff. If he checked the river, I was probably checking back. I mean if he hung on with 7x to begin with it means he's inclined to call most rivers. He'd have to put me squarely on ace king to fold the river and people prefer to put me on that hand when they can beat it.
P:You've had a remarkable run of results since coming back to regular poker in 2017. I know you've made an interesting mental game adjustment - tell us about it.
G: I have an anger problem and my play would decline when I was getting beat up in a session. Since I'm obsessed with my stats, streaks, and records, I decided that I would turn not playing a single hand while tilted into a streak/record to be obsessed about for 2017. So now if I recognize that I'm at the roid rage level, it's time to take off. So far, so good this year.