Archive for November, 2009

Almost a year ago today I posted an entry entitled “I’d rather be lucky than good“. It detailed a potential big win (by 2008 standards) night out at the Empire that finished as a reasonable loss after a succession of outdraws.

Regular readers will note that 2009 seems to be a bit of a turn-around on the variance front. Certainly I’ve played stronger poker than I ever have in my life, but equally I seem to have been blessed with a healthy dose of luck.

Banked a modest £370 win last night at the Baron homegame, and I have to admit that luck played a fairly big role. Just a few big hands of note, I’ll relate tham as best I can recall.

Hand 1
My poor play doesn’t give luck a chance early in the sessionl. I flop a set of queens vs Nemo on a AQJ board. He check calls my bet, and a turned ace deludes me into thinking that I’m now ahead of his range. He bets, I shove and he calls with AJxx to stack me. I made an amateur error misreading my queens full as the second nuts, however in retrospect I think I’m getting the stack in against Nemo anyway, as there’s a reasonable chance he’ll bet trip aces or a straight on the turn, and he’s then pot committed to call my last raise.

Hand 2
Holding AQs I call a raised pot in position, flopping top pair on a Q87 board with 2 diamonds. Tom checks, I bet and he shoves into the £90 pot for another £350! I’ll normally pass TPTK in this spot, however something doesn’t feel right about the hand. It’s a very drawy board, and I think there’s more of Tom’s range that I can beat than is ahead of me. I make a do or die call, and the board bricks out. My top pair holds against his Qd9d, however in the post hand analysis we realise that I’m only 53% to win the hand against his big draw.

Hand 3
Omaha now. Tom and I get it all in on a three spade turn. My jack flush holds against his set of aces. My 75% edge holds up.

Hand 4
By the end of the night we’re reduced to three handed, myself versus the comedy duo of Jimbo and Tom. We’re playing Turbo Holdem with just ten seconds to make any decision, and are all several hundred big blinds deep. Tom hasn’t touched his time bank since we started playing turbo, and Jimbo and I have a final 30 or so seconds remaining each. The boys are playing like nutters, as is appropriate for three handed. We’ve continued to allow the single live straddle, and from the button it’s virtually mandatory, racking the game up a level to 1/2/4. After some cagey play for me, letting the boys snap at each other a few times, I find KK in the big blind. Tom raises, I limp, and Jimbo calls behind. The flop comes Q84, leaving me with just the overpair. Tom checks and I lead out for £25, Jimbo makes it £75, and I’m left with a stack commitment decision. Would normally think through ranges carefully before making my play, however my time banks depleting, so I pop it up to £175. Jimbo insta-shoves for about £200 more. I have just a few seconds to act, and just elect to shove it all in without too much faffing around.

Inevitably he’s flopped top two with Q8, the turn bricks and it looks like curtains for me, however my night is saved by a second 4 on the river, counterfeiting his winning hand. I’ve come back from the dead on a 25% shot to send Jimbo to the rail.

Lots of discussion post this hand. Tom’s fairly sure that Jimbo’s shove indicates I’m beat and that I should pass. In a normal game he’s absolutely right, however I’m not so sure given that (a) we’re three handed, (b) we’re under immense time pressure, (c) Jimbo has been playing all sorts of rubbish vs the Baron, and maybe he hasn’t adjusted to my tighter line sufficiently. I’m certain that Jimbo has AQ in his range (despite the no raise pre-), possibly KQ/QJ too, although the other boys disputed that at the time. They’re probably right.

Not that it’s justification for my poor mistake, but in the real final analysis as I write this blog, getting almost 3:1 on the final call it appears my overpair almost has the odds vs anything other than a set. So as it turns out I guess it wasn’t ever a huge error.

So all in all, a winning night created through a mixed combination of bad play and good play, but with a healthy dose of good fortune thrown in to keep the bankroll topped-up. Just as I finished my November 2008 posting, once again I’m left quoting that old poker mantra, “I’d rather be lucky than good“. Unlike last year however, this time around at least the luck was on my side…