KKing David

Ruminations on poker

Archive for the month “May, 2013”

Daily Debacle – 15 steps to full raging tilt

Two brutal sessions on consecutive days:  first at $1/2 NL, then dropped down to $0.50/1.00 NL online.  Things that might make you go on tilt:

1.  You have Ah Js in the hijack seat.  After playing super tight for a long stretch, you open raise and the button 3-bets.  Your pissed about not hitting any decent hands and shove, he calls with Ad Ks and neither hand improves.  $163 in the pot.

2.  Your 99 gets into a 3-way pre-flop all-in with Qc 7c short stack (huh?) and KK even shorter stack..  The board comes out 7d 2c 6h 7h Jc and the Q7 hand scoops the pot.  $250 in the pot.

3.  You limp in with Qd 9d, and call a 3x raise.  The flop is 2d Td 6d.  Yahtzee!!!  The turn and river are 8h 5d.  Still Yahtzee!!!  All the chips get in and villain shows Kd 7d.   $293 in the pot.

4.  You get AA in the small blind and raise to 4BB’s over one limper, who calls.  The board comes Qc 5s 2h 9c 8c.  All the chips get in on the turn and villain shows Qd 9h.  $317 in the pot.

5.  On one table, you go 40 consecutive hands without winning a pot.  Total “invested” is $86 during this strecth.  Later on the same table, you go through 53 consecutive hands during which you win the blinds only on 3 hands.  On the 54th hand, you get Qs Td and the board comes Qh 8c 4c Ts 7d.  Villain shows Th Tc.  With your holding one of the Tens, he had only one out in the deck at the flop.  $507 in the pot.

6.   You have 9s 8s in the cutoff.  Board comes out 7h Qc 9d 9h Jh.  Villain called your pre-flop raise from the button, and shoved his short stack on the turn with Ts 8d.  $98 in the pot.

7.  You have Ah 7h on the button and call a min-raise.  Flop comes 6s 4h 3h and you raise all-in.  Villain shows 3d 3c and none of your outs come.  $89 in the pot.

8.  You call a small raise from the cutoff with 5c 3c.  (Don’t ask why!)  Board comes out 8c 6c 4d 3h 7c.  Villain made higher flush with Qc Jc.  $133 in the pot.

9.  You call a min-raise from the hijack seat with Ts 9c.  Board comes out 2h 7d Jc 9h 8c.  Villain in the cutoff shows Qh Td and his nut straight beats your 2nd nut straight.  $172 in the pot.

10.  Short stacked and pissed, action folds to you on the button with Ac 9h.  You raise, SB 3-bets (re-stealing?) and you ship it all-in.  His Anna Quornikova holds up, actually making a Broadway straight.  $78 in the pot.

11.  You have TT in the big blind, and raise to $4 over two limpers.  One of them (with a short stack) check-raises on a flp of 5c 3d 2h and you call.  The turn is Jd and he goes all-in.  You call.  He shows 5s 3s and his two pair prevails.  $87 in the pot.

12.  You have As Kd in the cutoff seat.  A middle position player limps after 2 folds.  You raise to $3, the button calls and everyone else folds.  Now the limper 3-bets to $15.  You are short stacked and 4-bet all-in.  Villains shows KK and they hold up.  $60 in the pot.

13.  You get AA on the button.  After a min-raise and call, you 3-bet to $5.  Both players call. The board comes out 9d 9s 5c Js 6d.  Villain makes a full house with his Jh 9h.  $133 in the pot.

14.  From the small blind, you make a pot-sized bluff on the river when a scare card comes, on a board of Ad 6c Js 3d 6d.  You are representing a flush but have nothing whatsoever.  Villain, however, does indeed have a flush.  $59 in the pot.

15.  You limp/call a raise from the hijack seat with 8h 6c.  (Tilt already setting in, any surprise after what’s happened so far?)  The board comes out 6s 7h 9h Th.  A straight plus an open-ended flush draw.  Villain has Ah Qh.  River is a brick.  $130 in the pot.

Let’s review:

1. AJ suited loses to AK off suit in pre-flop war.

2.  99 loses to Q7 suited, in pre-flop war.

3.  Flopped Q-high flush loses to flopped K-high flush.

4.  AA loses to Q9 making 2-pair.

5.  QT making 2-pair loses to set of T’s.

6.  Trips lose to a straight.

7.  Nut flush + gutshot draw loses to trips.

8.  Small flush loses to big flush.

9.  Straight loses to nut straight.

10.  A9o loses to AQo in button vs. blind pre-flop war.

11.  Pocket TT loses to 53s flopping 2 pair.

12.  AK loses to KK after pre-flop war.

13.  AA cracked by J9s.

14.  Bluff representing flush loses to actual flush.

15.  Straight + open-ended straight flush draw loses to A-high flush.

All in two sessions in the same weekend.

Total of these pots lost = $2,655.

Year-to-date online results:  (- $1,470)

Month-to-date online results:  (- $961)


Daily Debacle – Fold QQ vs. pre-flop shove?

To appreciate this post, please be sure to read my immediately prior post, about folding KK pre-flop in a live cash game.  I also posted that hand on a Two+Two forum to get some feedback (good, bad and insulting) from the broader poker community.

Two days later, I’m playing $1 / 2 NL online and dealt QQ in the cutoff seat.  We are 8-handed, and the UTG player opens with a raise to $7.

Everybody folds to me.  I’ve been playing extra tight lately, part of which includes not 3-betting open raises from UTG with less than KK.  I’ve run into UTG AA’s several times lately.  So I flat call $7, leaving $155 behind.

The small blind also calls, and then the big blind re-raises to $32.  So much for getting to see the flop cheaply!  BB stats are VPIP=11 and PFR=2 over 183 hands.  Super tight, so his raise suggests he has premium cards.  He has $204 more behind.

UTG now quickly ships all his chips in, a total of $120 including his original bet.

If there is ever a clear-cut fold of QQ before the flop, this is it.  I cheerfully fold, anticipating which player has AA and which one has KK, and pat myself on the shoulder for being a good thinking player.

The big blind calls and turns over KK.  UTG shows AA.

The board runs out like this:  6s Qc 9s 3h 7h.

Had I called, my gain on this hand would have been $280-ish.

Later in the session, I lose a huge pot ($500+) when one villain hits a one-outer on the turn and another huge pot ($290) when a different villain and I both flop flushes, mine Q-high and his K-high.

Why do I have to cry myself to sleep every night?

Year-to-date online results:  (- $1,107)

Month-to-date online results:  (- $598)

Daily Debacle – Fold KK v. pre-flop shove?

Playing in a private cash game last night, $0.25 /0.50 NL.  $50 buy-in for all players, with 9 players in the game.  All are regulars.

We are still very early in the session, having played no more than 2 orbits.  I’ve won one decent pot and up to about $60.

In this hand, I’m the SB and look down at pocket kings.  So I’m salivating for the action to get to me.

The UTG player (I’ll call him “Brian”) opens with a raise to $2.50.  He plays mostly ABC poker but has been working at opening up his game a bit in selected spots.  Still, Brian’s range for an UTG raise is pretty tight and strong.

Middle position player calls.  He’s pretty loose and likes to see lots of flops.  He’ll call with just about any two cards that connect in any way – suited, connected, 1- and 2-gappers, etc.

Cutoff also calls.  She also likes to get involved in multi-way pots, and will 3-bet with very strong hands.

Everyone else folds to me in the SB.  I decide to slightly overbet, to $15.  Brian might spazz out here with AK, QQ or JJ and call or shove.  MP might put me on a move of some sort and also call.  He tends to suspect everyone else to be bluffing often.  If either Brian or MP calls, the cutoff might also call so as not to miss out on a large pot.

BB (I’ll call him “Mike”) fairly quickly announced “I’m all-in!”  WTF?  He is a very strong tournament player who is less comfortable in cash games and therefore tends to play a bit tighter in cash games.  I’ve played with him in many tournaments and a few cash games.  I’m sure he would make this move with AA, given my raise size.  He’s also astute enough to know that Brian’s range is strong, and that I also know that and therefore my range is super-strong.  While I’m perceived as capable of making squeeze / steal moves pre-flop, I’m not nearly as likely to do so after Brian raised from UTG.

I’m trying to figure out what Mike would shove with other than AA.  Maybe AK suited?  (Only 2 combinations since I have KK.)  Maybe KK (only 1 combination).  QQ?  I doubt it, given UTG’s and my actions.

Now Brian, MP and Cutoff all fold.

I’ve never folded KK pre-flop.  Never.  Can I do it here?  Should I?

I stare at Mike for a few seconds and ask if he has Aces?  He shrugs.  I’ve seen that same shrug once before when I asked the same question in a tournament last year.  That time, I called and he did have Aces.

Since we’re also good friends, I ask if he’ll show his cards if I fold and also show my cards.  He agrees to do so.

I cannot believe this… I fold my KK face up.  Against an unknown player or several of the other players at this table, I would have called.  But I know Mike too well.

Mike shows AK suited.

The dealer flips over the flop, turn and river just for grins and I would have won this pot.

Year-to-date online results:  (- $582)

Month-to-date online results:  (- $74)

Daily Miracle – Yes, Really…

Got all-in pre-flop on this lovely hand.  While this blog is all about bad poker, every once in awhile something good happens, no matter how hard I try to prevent it:

Quad aces

Daily Debacle – It’s a “Daily Double!”

Playing $1/2 NL online.  I am UTG +1 with JJ and open raise to $6.

The button calls and the big blind also calls.

Flop ($19):  Ts 7d 7s.  I have an over-pair on a drawy board.  Not wanting to give up the aggression yet, I lead with a 1/2 pot bet of $9.50.

The button calls and big blind raises to $23.

Time to examine this situation more carefully.  I have a somewhat short stack of $83.50 at the beginning of this hand.  I got the short end of JJ v. QQ early in this session and decided not to replenish my stack.  I’ve played 42 hands and my stats are VPIP=17 and PFR=12.  Tight and aggressive.

The button started with $99 and plays like a classic fish, with VPIP=40 and PFR=8 over 40 hands.  He could be slow playing a 7 on this flop, with A7, 87, 76, or might have a T for top pair, or might have a straight or flush draw.  His range is still pretty wide.

The big blind started with $198 and also has been fishy.  VPIP=50 and PFR=19, over a small sample of just 16 hands.  More importantly, just 4 hands earlier he raised on a flop of Q-5-5 over an opening bet and raiser, then called the raiser’s shove with A-Q (and lost to 6-5).  Based on this play and his stats (as limited as they are), he appears to be the sort of player who will overplay top pair.

You should go with your reads as often as possible.  My read here is that the big blind has a T and button has some sort of draw.  I shove all-in.

Button folds, big blind calls and turns over J-T.

Ba-da-bing!  What a read.

The turn is another ten.  Ba-da-bulll-l-l-l—shit!!!!!

There goes a pot of $180.

A few minutes later, the following hand occurs, where I have AA and the villain shoves pre-flop:

Daily double















There goes another $312.

Year-to-date online results:  ( – $308)

Month-to-date online results:  + $201


Daily Debacle – Blind and Sloppy

My first hand at this table, playing $1/2 NL online.

I am the big blind, with 6c 2s.  Total shit, if I may be blunt.  The player two spots to my left makes a minimum raise to $4 and the button and small blind both call.

What the heck, now there is $14 in the pot and it will only cost me $2 more to call.  I’m getting 7-to-1.  At a live tournament a couple nights ago, my friend Robert was in a memorable situation, where one player limped in, another player shoved all-in for 1.25 BB’s, I called from the SB and he held 6-2 off-suit in the BB.  Might as well call.  Then he flopped 2 pair, which held up to win a rather decent pot.

So I call.

Flop ($16):  9s 6s 3h.  SB checks, I check and the original raiser checks.  Looks like everybody missed.  Then the button (VPIP=39, PFR=7 over 28 hands) bets $6.  Obviously he’s trying to steal it.  A strong check-raise can win this…  right???

The small blind folds and I re-pop it to $20.  The original raiser also folds.  And THAT’S WHEN I NOTICE that he only has $23.50 behind after his initial bet.  If he shoves all-in over my check-raise bluff, I’ll be getting 6.9-to-1 odds, and my hand – while embarrassingly bad – does have a piece of this flop.  I cannot fold it.

If I’m going to bluff (or re-steal) in this manner, I should have check-raised enough to put him all-in straight away.  That maximizes the pressure on him.  If I do get caught with my pants down, it is on my bluff rather than on my call of his shove which is much more laughable.  And check-raising that large would be overkill.  Any play at this pot is a terrible move; his small stack size makes it even worse; my failure to notice this is inexcusable.

He shoves.  Ugh.  I call, hoping all of the other players have gone to the bathroom or are engrossed in some other distraction.

He turns over Ts 8s, for a multi-way draw plus two overcards.  Any spade, any 7, any 8 or any 10 helps him.  I have one spade blocker, so that leaves him with 17 outs and two cards remaining.  Although I’m ahead at this point in the hand, he is a59% favorite to win the pot.  This is probably the best I could have hoped for when he went all-in.

The turn is 7d, completing his straight, and the river is Js, rubbing a little salt in the wound by making his flush.

What a spew!

Year-to-date online results:  (- $308)

Month-to-date online results + $200


Daily Debacle – Bubble Considerations

Last night I played in a live tournament with $35 buy-in and 21 players.  This is a private game where I know most of the players fairly well.

The payout goes to the top 4.

We got down to 5, and I had a slightly below average stack, with M of approximately 7.  (M is a calculation of your stack size divided by the sum of blinds and antes.  This is a no ante tournament, so the math is easy.  M represents the number of orbits of the deal around the table that you can last without entering any pots.)

Under the gun, I get KT off-suit.  Not great but not terrible.  The next hand I’ll be in the big blind, then the small blind.  I don’t want to get so short stacked that I lose my fold equity.  In short table situations, I know that the effective M ratio is smaller, as I will be in one of the blinds 40% of the time with 5 players.

This is a classic bubble situation.

Despite being UTG, there are only 4 players after me and a good chance all of them will fold if I shove here.  So I do exactly that, knowing I’m behind any Ace-rag hand, any pair, etc.  Basically this is a bluff, as I should be behind any hand that calls me.

Everyone folds to the big blind, who also has a big stack.  He calls and shows KK.  A flop, turn and river later, I’ll out of the tournament and out of the money.

I could afford to wait.  Having a below average stack during bubble play warrants tightening up more, unless there are only one or two players behind.

Year-to-date online results:  (- $460)

Month-to-date online results:  + $49

Daily Debacle – Unconventional Wisdom My Ass

I was watching a poker instructional video last night on “Unconventional Wisdom.”  Two professional poker players, Vanessa Selbst and Dan Sensei, put together 8 hour-long videos showing hands they played in an unconventional manner to achieve excellent results.

They do point out the need to be very careful trying this at home, noting “remember, we are professionals” and “we had to spew away a lot of chips playing hands this way to get a few that actually worked.”  In other words, playing unconventionally is bad, even though sometimes you get away with a big bluff when the villain is relatively weak.  I’m not convinced they ever got another player to make a truly big laydown with one of their naked bluffs.

But sometimes unconventional play only has to be mildly deceptive to work.

After the video ended, I was playing $1.00 / 2.00 NL online, and down about $80-100 when this happened.

I am in the cutoff seat with JJ.  A player 2 seats to my right open raises to $7.  Over 28 hands, his VPIP and PFR are 21 and 11.  I have $186 on the table and he has $111.  With position on him throughout the hand, I decide to just call and everyone else folds.

His range should be something like:  66+, 98s+, QJ+

Flop ($17):  Jh Tc 6s.  Cha-ching!!!  Top set on a rainbow board.  He checks.  The unconventional play I decide to make here is a very small bet of $4, less than 1/4 pot.  This is intended to look very weak, as if I’m just asking if he has total air.  He then check-raises to $10.  Cha-ching again!!!  I have a chance to win a huge pot here.  I pause a few seconds and call.  Hopefully he’ll try to take this pot away on the turn.

Turn ($37):  Ad, completing the rainbow.  If he has exactly KQ, I’m in trouble.  Otherwise this is a great card as he has many aces in his range.  He leads out with a bet of $33.  Hmmm…  Now he’s got $68 behind and I have him covered.  If I call, the pot will be $103.  If he bets the river, getting him all-in will be easy.  If he checks the river, I can ship all-in and hope he views it as some desperation stab at the pot with a weak hand.  On the other hand, if I put him all-in now, he very well might fold as I would be representing much greater strength.  Unconventional wisdom is our theme, and I call.

River ($103):  Ks.  He very quickly shoves all-in.  Ohmygod.  My big hand has just turned into a huge nightmare.

With his large turn bet, AQ is a big part of his range.  It fits every street.  I also consider he might have AA or TT.  Or KQ.  When he bet big on the turn, it narrowed his range considerably.

I think I’m going to puke.  I have a history of calling in this type of situation, where my read is that he has the nuts, only needing a queen for a broadway straight.  Is it AQ or KQ?  Does it really matter?  With aggressive flop (or turn) play would he have folded either of these (obviously not KQ on the turn)?  Did I ever want him to fold on this hand (emphatically not!)?  I’m having hot flashes.  Some profanity drools out of the side of my mouth.

Hey you snarky professional poker player / instructional video producers… not what???  Why don’t you just produce a couple of videos on the merits of ABC poker, especially at this level?  I don’t like high variance.

What if he’s bluffing?  Could he turn TT into a bluff here?  Has my awkward / unconventional play so underrepresented my hand that he concludes a snap-shove will move me off the pot here?

Ouch!  Oy!  Yuck!  Grrrrrr…  Ugh!  Aaaarrrgh!  Aaiiyyeeeeee!  #$^%#$%!

I fold.  Unconventional wisdom my ass!

Year-to-date online results:  (- $403)

Month-to-date online results:  + $105

Daily Debacle – It’s Only One Pair

One pair, even a pair of aces, can quickly become very weak after the flop.  Even the strongest pair is still ONLY ONE PAIR.  Top pair with top kicker is ONLY ONE PAIR.  An overpair to the board is ONLY ONE PAIR.

What beats one pair?  Glad you asked…

Two pair





Straight flush

“Gee KKingDavid, that’s quite a lot of possibilities that are better than one pair.”

On Sunday I was playing in a live tournament with about 45+ players.  Thanks to a suckout on a hand I played rather badly (by going against my read on another player), followed by some decent play, I had slightly more than double the starting stack.

On level 6 of the blinds, I got TT while in the big blind.  I have about 35 big blinds left in my stack, one of the largest (possibly THE largest) stacks at my table, and well above the chip average.

The player to my immediate left was a young, new guy.  Prior to the beginning of the tournament he politely introduced himself and said this was his first time playing at this venue.  For several orbits he was very tight, passive and appeared not to have much confidence about his play.  Since then he has opened up a bit and accumulated a pretty good stack, about 30 big blinds, while showing down very few times.

The blinds just went up.  He attempts to open for 2.5 BBs, based on the previous level.  His raise is actually too small for even a min-raise at this level, so he adds a couple extra chips to make a minimum raise.  Everyone folds to me in the BB, and I call.

Perhaps I should have raised here, but I have great respect for UTG raises, no matter the player.  I’d like to see the flop and evaluate.

Flop (4.5 BBs):  Qh 4c 3d

Only one overcard.  I decide to donk bet (i.e., lead out into the pre-flop aggressor) and hope to take down the pot if he whiffed.  I bet 2.5 BBs.  Villain:  “Whoa, I didn’t see that coming.”  He squirms visibly, tanks a bit and finally calls.

His range is narrowed a bit now, but still includes:

Overpairs: AA and KK (6 combos each)

Monster:  QQ (3 combos – if his squirming was an act of deception)

Pairs below QQ:  JJ-77 (6 combos each)

Unpaired overcards:  AK (16 combos)

Top pair:  AQ, KQ (16 combos each)

What else could call here?  (NOTE:  Not doing this at the table, only now after the fact.)

I think I can push him off this pot.  He has a big enough stack to lay down here and still comfortably continue.

Turn (9.5 BBs):  Jh  Another heart.  JJ gets there.  I decide to fire another barrel.  Now I’m basically turning my TT into a bluff, unless he has AK or a pair lower than mine.  What am I representing?  Given the very dry flop, about the only bluffs I can effectively represent are 44, 33 and QJ.  I bet 7 BB’s.

I don’t think his hand reading skills are likely to be good enough to put me on one of these specific bluffs, but I do think the pressure is building, the pot is getting too big for a one-pair type of hand – his most likely holding, and surely I’ll fire a third barrel on the river if I have a really big hand.

He squirms some more.  He counts out the chips to call, holds them, and looks over his remaining stack.  He tanks again and looks ill.

Then he calls again.  If he had either of the monster hands (QQ or JJ), surely he would re-raise here.  Nope, his anxiety is real.

He would fold AK, KQ, 99, 88, 77 here.  His remaining range must be AA, KK and AQ.

River (23.5 BBs): 9h.  While this fills certain straights and flushes and makes the board more scary looking, it really changes nothing.  My actions are not consistent with a straight or flush draw.  Nor are his.  Nor his remaining range, which is quite narrow.

I take a very long time to decide, alternating between waving the white flag with a check and putting him all in.  He has about 18 BBs left and I have about 23 BBs left.  Surely I am behind.  Can I make him fold?  Will he call and put his tournament on the line with only one pair?  Can he interpret my actions as a small set?

I shove all-in.

He looks likes he’s going to pee in his pants, starts to call, then fold, then … (tick tock, tick tock) … he calls and turns over AQ off suit.

Several other players comment on his amazing call, and note they would have folded with the same cards in the same situation.

On the very next hand, I get sent to the rail.

Daily Debacle – Hated to Yield

I open-raised this hand to 3 BB’s, then the short stack to my immediate left shipped his entire 28 BB stack.  Then next player called.  I had to fold.  Aaaaaarrrgh!

Folded preflop


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