Daily Debacle – Poker After Dark

Sorry I haven’t been posting much lately.  Running so bad, I don’t know where to start.  River suck-outs, missed draws, villains hitting draws, failed bluffs, villains executing bluffs, folding then watching my dream card appear on the next street, bad hero calls, mini-tilt, full-raging TILT, all of the above and more.

The last few weeks have been maddening.

I also noticed my live cash game results were fairly good this year, whereas my online cash game results totally suck.  Why is that?

Then I played in a live cash game about a week ago – the impromptu kind that starts after a few players bust out of a tournament – for $0.25 / 0.50 NL hold’em.  Everything went right for a change, and I won $140 in less than an hour, breaking up the game when I stacked off two other players at once on the last hand.  (Note:  the other players played terribly in this game, but I’ll take the win no matter how it happens.)

So I was thinking about the differences between live v. online cash game play.  More bluffing online, for sure (myself included).  Also I seem to be able to make bigger laydowns live.  Something about seeing the villain’s face helps me accept the fact that I’m beat – or maybe I just don’t want to see him gloat when he scoops up a huge pot.  Also I seem to pay off fewer times when a villain hits a draw (especially flushes).

Then a few nights ago I was watching some “Poker After Dark” re-runs on YouTube.  Notice what happens starting at the 22 minute mark.

Ilari Sahamies raises pre-flop with As 9s and gets three callers.  The flop is 6h 5c 9h. Howard Lederer is holding Jh 8h and check-raises all-in over Sahamie’s continuation bet (he actually has top pair / top kicker) with a combo draw and Phil Ivey still live in the hand.  Lederer’s shove is more than 2x the pot size.  He has a flush draw (9 outs), a gutshot straight draw (3 more outs) and an overcard to Sahamies’ top pair (3 more outs).

After Ivey folds, the graphic shows Lederer as a 54% favorite to win the hand.  But at the moment, he’s behind, with only J-high.

Does he want a call?  Does he want a fold?  Is he indifferent here?

Sahamies folds, and Lederer wins a respectable pot for a net gain of 17 big blinds.

Of course the problem with combo draws like this is that chasing is expensive, especially out of position as Lederer is here.  For the turn card only, the odds about about 2.3-to-1 against Lederer improving.  It would cost him 9 BB’s to call and find out.  If he misses and checks again on the turn, he probably faces another barrel from Sahamies, AND makes it easier for his villain to read his hand as a draw, thus he can deny Lederer any implied odds by folding if a 3rd heart or a 7 appears on the river, followed by an aggressive bet by Lederer.

Getting it all in on the flop gives Lederer the best chance of winning.  He puts so much pressure on Ivey (who also has top pair and a gutshot draw) and Sahamies (“it’s only one pair!) that he wins the pot right away.  Even if he gets called, he’s still a slight favorite, making this a win-win play and avoiding a potentially very tough decision on the turn.

I’ve been too timid in these situations, especially in my online play, and especially when out of position.

Bad, very bad.  Let’s see if I can fix that.  The short-term variance might be a bit larger, but the long-term results should pay off.

Year-to-date online results:  (- $2,067)

Month-to-date online results:  + $11

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