Just like buses

Posted: November 16, 2008 in Cash games

It’s been an absolute age since my last posting, so thought I’d drop in a quick update before 2008 is all but passed.

With Katrina away in Copenhagen for the weekend with the girlies, I figured I’d dedicate my Saturday to the poker tables. Having abandoned my frankly doomed attempts at LAG play, I’ve determined that tight/aggressive is the style that works for me, or at least the style that I can make pay most consistently. Took this approach to a six hour afternoon session with the Baron at The International, netting a healthy £350 profit, primarily in the Omaha playing a field that in general weren’t able to make the laydowns that are necessary for a solid game.

Joined some friends for dinner, and then decided to see if I could continue my run at The Empire in an early hours session at the table, only taking the profit with me figuring that I would freeroll the evening.

Started the first 30 minutes at a £1/2 self-deal waiting for my seat in the main game, folding the whole period while enjoying the attentions of an extremely attractive ‘Ibiza Angel’ tableside masseuse. My upgrade to the dealer table came soon after she’d finished unknotting my neck, and I sat into a hyena’s den that seemed to be owned by a gang of four talented young Sikh lads. One was running extremely hot, building a stack of well over a grand, at one point picking-up AA, KK, JJ, AA consecutively. Good grief!

My seat proved to be somewhat less hot, the next four hour’s dragging past in a haze of unconnected offsuit junk. I quite literally found myself having to pass almost 95% of my hands, rather unfeasibly out of the approximately 130 hands dealt picking up one pair of fours, one pair of sixes, the trappy ATo twice, AJo once, and just three suited connectors the entire period. Used this powerhouse collection of hands together with my image to bluff steal some small pots to slow the inevitable demise of my starting chip stack.

Finally around 4am, resigned to dumping the remaining £60 of my initial £150 stack in with any two cards so I could split, I kicked-off the hand with my first straddle of the night. Called and folded around to the button, who pushed. That’s annoying I thought, I wanted to get the last bet into the pot. So look down expecting to see the usual crap only to be surprised by AK of spades. “Yippie, a hand, I call”. Rest of the table folds, but unfortunately I can’t win the race against TT and am stacked. However, perhaps this is finally the end of this card-dead torture, so I rebuy for another £100 in the big blind. There’s a small raise mid-table, a caller including the small blind, and I peek a look when it comes to me to see glorious AK again. Raising the pot to £25 I only pick-up the small blind caller this time, however once again the fickle  gods of poker conspire to cold deck me, and I get it all in on a flop of AQT only to be shown KJo for the stone nuts. Great call out of position with a trap hand, well done that man…

Seems I had small blind covered though, as there’s £50 change coming to me from the pot. In the small blind this next hand, it’s folded around to the button who opens for £20. Having waited four hours for a hand, it seems that just like buses three have come along at once, and against an over-betting late position raiser, my 55 looks fairly good for a race, and may even be ahead to some of the ace-small combinations in his range; but is not to be as he calls me with JJ to send me packing just after 4am, for a net £250 loss and an irritatingly small £100 profit on the day.

As I was saying to the Baron in the car on the way home earlier in the day, I believe the weakness of my TAG style in these low limit cash games is that I need to hit cards to make money. In a loose game like the Empire on Saturday, I think it’s rarely profitable to bluff. The average opening raise in this game is 6X, and even that tends to have half the table calling. Typically three players go to the turn, and with this field of gamblers, far too many hands are shown down at the end to warrant getting your money in light.

The Baron has a patented move of getting his first stack in blind sometime in the first hour to establish a reckless table image, and in a nitty game I think that one move can pay by increasing your equity for a good long period on the rest of your decent hands. However again in a loose game like the Empire I see the table spewing chips at each other regardless. It seems to me that it’s hardly going to help to encourage the fish to call down even lighter than they seem to be already?

Although my 1H2008 run of ridiculously bad cards has come to an end, I really can’t seem to have a session with anything approaching a ‘normal’ distribution of hands, and either run fully hot or cold. Maybe I need to give some credence to the luck-factor and start walking away from games after the first hour if things aren’t going my way. That’s certainly how I built my bankroll in the early few years…

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