Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Fantasy Baseball and the Bellagio

I'm a commissioner of a private fantasy baseball league on Yahoo and I need one more player to complete the league. This is an advanced 14 team 7 x 7 league and I'm looking for an experienced player. BTW it's free. It's mostly guys from Florida that I've been in leagues with for a few years but there are a couple bloggers that are also playing. The draft is March 30 at 9pm EDT. The other two requirements are that you can make the live draft and that no matter how good or bad your team may be you play for the whole season. If you're interested email me.

I played at the Bellagio yesterday and went on a nice run. 4 hours +$950. Won a few pots beating donks with only TP, won a couple other pots getting priced in and hitting draws, and won a couple pots on bluffs including one semi-monster where I put this kid on mega tilt.

My table was a good mix. A handful of donks, a couple regulars/trying to be pros, and one other solid player. One of these regulars is this aforementioned late 20s kid from Grand Rapids, MI (start stereotype here) who just thinks he's the shit both as a player and a table captain. I love playing against guys like this, in fact maybe even more than Internet tournament donks who think they can play live cash.

This kid gets good timing by limping pre-flop UTG with AA and winds up getting all-in with the button who has KK. He has about $800 in front of him and I have $650 when this interesting hand comes up.

I have ThTd in the hijack and I call a $15 raise from MP. CO, this kid on the button, and the BB all call so five of us see the flop of TdJdKs. I bet out $50 on this scary board and get called by the button donk and the original raiser. Okay nobody re-popped me so I'm thinking I have the best hand but I'm facing two draws. Turn is the Ac. Oh well there goes this hand. Check, check, check. Okay interesting, is somebody slow-playing the Q or are these two on the flush draw? Either way I see a free card.

Turn is the Kd. This can be really good or really bad. I beat the flush draws but I'm in trouble to KJ or KT, both hands these two might play. MP checks. Do I bet at this pot or just check it and hope the button checks and my hand is good? There's $225 in the pot and I just can't see not taking a shot so now the question is how much to bet. I toss out a $100 bill and four reds for a $120 bet. Button boy starts counting his chips like he's going to make a play and finally calls. I turn over my hand and he gets pissed. He shows Qd6d for the flush.

Right away he starts ranting about how lucky I am so I ask him why the fuck did you give a free card when you turned the straight? I answered it myself by saying you got greedy hoping someone would bet into you, like I did, and you'd make more money. Had he re-raised my river bet I would have been faced with a really tough decision and if he raises the turn I'm gone.

Anyway this kid wins a few pots but along the way he's bragging about some lay downs he's making which of course I file away for later. Soon enough I get 88 in the cut-off, there are two limpers ahead of me so I make it $35 to go. He calls the other two fold so we are HU. Flop comes Td4d3c. I bet $45 he smooth calls. Now I think I'm in trouble but I'm actually hoping for a scary board as I hope to outplay this dude if thats what happens.

Turn is a 2h. I check and he thinks for a minute and says to me, and I still can't believe this, you're drawing huh, well you'll have to pay to see it and bets $100 into $173 pot. I put him on an over pair but I'm thinking a 5 or a diamond and I can represent either a straight or a flush and hope to push him off what would now be a $375 pot. I call.

My reasoning is, I'm ahead for the session and I can afford to gamble and I'm convinced this kid thinks I'm drawing and I really want to tilt him which could pay off for me either in this session or in the future where we are sure to meet again.

River is perfect not only a 5 but a diamond. So now there is four to a straight with me only needing an Ace and a flush on the board and I just give him the biggest smile I can. Almost instantly I bet $200 into the $375 pot giving the appearance of a value bet. As soon as I put the money in I can see the steam coming from his ears.

He says, "Fuck! Do you have an Ace or the diamonds?" I answer with a slick smirk, "Perhaps both." He thinks for only about 10 seconds and starts again with how lucky I am that I drew out on him blah blah blah and mucks face up TT for a flopped set. I can't resist. I show him my 88 the table erupts with wows and gasps and he goes ballistic. It all came together like clockwork, the perfect board, the perfect time, against the perfect player. I can't wait to play this kid again as I'm sure he'll be gunning for me and I'm also sure he will still be over-evaluating his play.

Lately in my cash games both online and live I've been focusing on position, getting to the turn, and timing my bluffs. I've stopped open limping or limp calling in EP with the speculative hands like sooted connectors or AJ or Ax sooted as I've found them to be -EV over time. In position though I raise not limp these hands both to keep the aggression up and too mix up my play so I get action when I do have a premium starting hand.

Also in position, as long as I'm priced in, which is often based on implied odds, I'm calling more flop bets in the hopes of drawing or outplaying others. If someone bets $30 into a $60 pots and there is another caller I'll almost certainly call with as little as bottom pair. To keep mixing it up occasionally I'll re raise for both info and image. Both these plays help if I catch a card to improve my hand or for river bluffs against the right player.

As for bluffs, as I go up in levels I notice the need and beauty of well-timed bluffs. Lately when I say to myself the only way I can win this hand is by betting, and I bet, it's been working well enough that its become a +EV move. Also someone I really trust as a player has taught me not to waste too many bluffs on small pots but to save them for scary boards against the right players when you can bet and force them to fold. He says the game as you move up is about representing hands, attacking the timid players, and balls.

As always my game is a work in progress and I look forward to seeing where my game is after the WSOP in July. The cash action will be hot and heavy for the next four months as nearly all the tournament action is in Vegas and with that brings tons of cash games. I'm prepared to make a big run.

Alright the Big Game is back in April and it's scheduled for 15th. The best way I've found to win tokens is through the token frenzies that FT runs twice a day at 16:45 and 21:45 FT time. It's satellite poker and for $14+1 it's definitely worthy of playing.

10 Comments:

At 12:16 PM, Blogger Fuel55 said...

As for bluffs, as I go up in levels I notice the need and beauty of well-timed bluffs. Lately when I say to myself the only way I can win this hand is by betting, and I bet, it's been working well enough that its become a +EV move. Also someone I really trust as a player has taught me not to waste too many bluffs on small pots but to save them for scary boards against the right players when you can bet and force them to fold. He says the game as you move up is about representing hands, attacking the timid players, and balls.


A truly insightful paragraph - i may blog something about this.

 
At 1:55 PM, Blogger lucko said...

Great post. I generally hate showing, but showing that bluff was awesome and must have been a lot of fun. Wish I was there to see it. NH.

 
At 1:56 PM, Blogger cracknaces said...

I wish I had the heart to bluff more. Since I usually play $1/$2 against people who buy in for the minimum it is pointless I guess :)

 
At 2:55 PM, Blogger smokkee said...

very nice play in that 8-8 hand Don.

 
At 3:48 PM, Blogger pokerpeaker said...

Great post. I've printed it out for my blogging poker tips, and that's a thin folder normally. Thanks and well played.

 
At 5:09 PM, Blogger lightning36 said...

Great post, Don. This is a good lesson for anyone who plays cash games and is looking for ways to enhance his play.

 
At 6:13 PM, Blogger CarmenSinCity said...

My dad won a $26 token for me. I have to win one more to play in the big game right?

I'll join the fantasy baseball league. ha ha - Just kidding.

 
At 3:15 PM, Blogger Drizztdj said...

I want to see this first hand in two weeks...

... just don't bluff me out of pot :)

Would you be up for the $70 Caesar's tourney one night?

 
At 6:22 PM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Great post, Don. There really is nothing like bluffing on a scare card on the river, on those times when you can just tell even before the river comes out that your opponent has already put you on a draw, and then it fills on the end. I love that. Although I almost never show. I like to make it obvious that I hit, but then never show it just so the person still has this much doubt about it heading into the future. Very well written and fun to read about.

 
At 7:17 PM, Blogger Raveen said...

good post man and great read....

 

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