Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Maintaining a ROI of Over 200% (HA)

Well the streak continues my friends. Just took down #5 out of 6, boosting the ROI for $10 games to nearly 241%. It was another solid victory in what has been an incredibly hot run. Hopefully this post will be followed with a 6-out-of-7 celebratory announcement.

Also, this past game provided me with some interesting hands to reflect on, particularly when it comes to playing pretty tight-passive opponents in short-handed or bubble situations. Some of these would seem like pretty bizarre moves, but when you take the reads I had on these players into effect, they not only become a little easier to understand, but you can see how some of these moves were essential in nailing down the win.


Full Tilt Poker, $10 + $1 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 40/80 Blinds, 6 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

BTN: 2,130
Hero (SB): 1,365
BB: 3,730
UTG: 1,180
MP: 1,700
CO: 3,395

Pre-Flop: (120) Ts As dealt to Hero (SB)
UTG folds, MP raises to 160, 2 folds, Hero raises to 420, 2 folds

Results: 400 Pot
Hero mucked Ts As and WON 400 (+240 NET)

So here you can see we're down to 6-handed, with blinds at 40/80. This is a common middle-stage setting to find yourself in, and a point at which I feel little trick plays really start to make a difference. By this point you should have some solid reads on your opponents, and I generally use the early stages to take record notes about each player at the table.

As you can see my stack wasn't great, but I wasn't exactly in need of life-support quite yet either. At this point I had only come into one pot, raising before the flop with QQ (50 to 175, 1 limper) and taking it down then and there. To the other players, I was probably seen as a pretty tight-solid type.

The MP player had min-raised before the flop like this a number of times, with or without a limper or two, and on most hands he seemed to miss the flop and slowed down quite a bit rather than making continuation bets. I suspected he was putting the min-raises in with a variety of mediocre hands like middle pairs, weak aces, and any two paint cards. For the most part he seemed to have loose-passive tendencies when leading the betting, but very tight-passive when meeting resistance.

My raise from out of position here, particularly when combined with my tight play up to this point, is meant to signify strength. While it is quite likely that I do have the best hand, it tells the MP player that I definitely have him beat, and that he should fold and save his medium stack for a better spot. At the same time, it serves to get the BB out of the pot, which would be less likely if I had smooth-called. So instead of getting in a 3-way pot with a mediocre hand in the worst position, I manage to take down a decent-sized pot before the flop with a little aggression. I should note though, that without my read on the MP player, and gut feeling that he'll most likely fold here, I would most likely call here and see the flop.


Full Tilt Poker, $10 + $1 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 60/120 Blinds, 6 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

MP: 4,980
Hero (CO): 1,775
BTN: 3,560
SB: 800
BB: 1,290
UTG: 1,095

Pre-Flop: (180) 9c 7c dealt to Hero (CO)
2 folds, Hero raises to 280, 2 folds, BB calls 160
Flop: (620) 7s Ad Ah (2 Players)
BB checks, Hero bets 220, BB folds

Results: 620 Pot
Hero mucked 9c 7c and WON 620 (+340 NET)

Still at 6-handed here, and although my stack isn't spectacular, it's doing better after the aforementioned re-steal and another quick blind steal in between. We also have 3 stacks that are fairly crippled and may be looking to make a move with the blinds now at 60/120. Here we have two such players in the blinds, and each player has been very tight-passive during the last few stages. We also have a big stack right to our left, though for the most part they have been content to stay out of hands and may just be waiting things out. There have been almost no re-raises before the flop, with most raises resulting in winning the blinds, or a quick call and check-bet-fold on the flop.

My hand here is nothing spectacular, but I hadn't put a raise in for a few hands, and was relying on the passiveness of the blinds to pick up some extra chips and keep pecking away at them. Still there is the possibility that either player will pick up some sort of hand and will come over the top of me. So I don't want to raise too much and commit myself to what will most likely be doubling them up. At the same time I'm a little weary of the big stack to my left, and I don't want to commit too much of my own stack in taking a stab at this. A raise to 280 is just a little above a min-raise and could do the trick given the blinds extremely tight play, while it'll also allow me to get away in the event of a push.

Our BB, who is the same player as the MP guy in Hand #1, makes the call, and checks to me on the flop. Thus far we haven't seen him slowplay or check-raise anything, so it's unlikely that he has an Ace. Likewise, we paired our 7 and quite possibly have the best hand right now. Let's put out a bet that's part semi-bluff and part value-bet. My bet of 220 is about 1/3rd of the pot, and really is meant to say "I hit trip Aces and am hoping to suck you in." Against a player that hasn't shown to be very tricky, or most likely just doesn't have much of anything, this bet is often going to work. At the same time, the small size of the bet allows us a little wiggle room if we feel like getting away in the event that the BB check-raises and throws his remaining 1,000 or so into the pot. Fortunately he does just what we want, we continue to chip up and chip away at the short stacks, and we don't have to sweat those Aces.


Full Tilt Poker, $10 + $1 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 80/160 Blinds, 4 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

BB: 6,320
Hero (UTG): 2,295
BTN: 3,060
SB: 1,825

Pre-Flop: (240) Th Qh dealt to Hero (UTG)
Hero raises to 400, BTN calls 400, SB folds, BB calls 240

Flop: (1,280) 7d 2h 8s (3 Players)
BB checks, Hero checks, BTN checks
Turn: (1,280) 6d (3 Players)
BB checks, Hero checks, BTN checks
River: (1,280) 8d (3 Players)
BB checks, Hero bets 800, 2 folds

Results: 1,280 Pot
Hero mucked Th Qh and WON 1,280 (+880 NET)

Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures, and this hand is one such example. We're playing 4-handed now and things had still been fairly tight-passive, with most of my opponents playing pretty straightforward poker. I put in a little steal attempt, but get a not-so-great call from the Button player, and then an ensuing call from the BB that could've been pretty easy to make with the odds he was being offered. No signs of incredible strength from anyone, but I'll have to tread lightly since both players have me out-stacked.

The flop is a barren desert of hope for me, as I completely miss. Chances are my opponents also missed though, especially if they're on paint cards. I decide to be a wuss though and abandon my steal attempt rather than trying to follow it up with a foolish continuation bet into this 3-way mess. However, after all players check through the flop and turn, I'm starting to reexamine things.

No one seems to have a piece of any of this, unless someone's seriously slowplaying something, or if the 3 diamonds made a flush for someone. But even a flush or straight draw would have probably put out a bet on the turn, and the 8 on the river most likely helped no one since they would have bet with top pair on the flop. Chances are we're all sitting on air here. At the same time I don't think my Queen-high is going to take it down. This is a fairly sizable pot that my opponents don't seem very interested in, though it would greatly help to boost my stack. I decide to put out 800 of my last 1,800 or so chips - a bet that either player will find hard to call with just Ace or King-high. Given that only one player was yet to act, and that it had been checked through to this point, I had to man-up and take a stab at this. It's just one of those hands where you forget what you have and look at all the cues that your opponents are giving you. My opponents actions here told me to bet and I took down a very significant pot that boosted me into 2nd stack.


Full Tilt Poker, $10 + $1 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 100/200 Blinds, 4 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

SB: 5,555
Hero (BB): 3,475
UTG: 2,600
BTN: 1,870

Pre-Flop: (300) 6c 7d dealt to Hero (BB)
UTG folds, BTN raises to 400, SB folds, Hero calls 200
Flop: (900) Js 8h Td (2 Players)
Hero bets 400, BTN calls 400
Turn: (1,700) Jd (2 Players)
Hero bets 1,200, BTN folds

Results: 1,700 Pot
Hero mucked 6c 7d and WON 1,700 (+900 NET)

So you're probably thinking something along the lines of "W...T...F?" right now. Well let me try to explain this one. First of all - the pre-flop call. I called here since our opponent (same as MP in Hand #1 and BB in Hand #2) has been doing these little min-raises all game and will quite often give it up after the flop to a little resistance, even a little probe bet should do. So that explains the call and the little bet on the flop. Normally after he makes the call on the flop, I'm totally done with this hand, and will check-fold it down. Against a tight-passive player the one quick stab is usually worth it, but after that it's pretty hopeless without a hand.

However, the Jack on the turn gets me thinking real quick. I've seen the BTN here make small calls on flops with overs and draws, then fold it to a bigger bet on the turn. I also can assume by his flat call that he really didn't hit much on this flop, and that he certainly doesn't have a Jack, otherwise he would've raised the flop. He could be on AK, AQ, possibly KQ, A9, A8, or some sort of weak but not entirely hopeless on the flop type of hand. The Jack on the turn, coupled with his tight play, gives me the green light to go ahead and put my instincts to the test here. I have him covered by a good bit and am putting his bubbly tournament existence on the line... he'll be hard-pressed to make a call with any of the variety of overcards and draws that I put him on after the flop. Against a looser player that's become pretty reckless around the bubble, I'd be much more cautious, but I feel comfortable putting the pressure on here since I'm able to disregard my own hand and narrow in on what he may have. I don't make very many moves like this, but this is one instance in which I feel I really had the read to make such a bold bet.

So thanks to hands like these, love em or hate em, I was able to eventually take down the tournament. The above hands mainly helped to boost my stack and put me in a good position when we got down to 3-handed. Then after I hit the ridiculous flop below, it was pretty much over...

Full Tilt Poker, $10 + $1 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 120/240 Blinds, 2 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

SB: 7,355
Hero (BB): 6,145

Pre-Flop: (360) Ks 6s dealt to Hero (BB)
SB raises to 600, Hero calls 360
Flop: (1,200) Ts Js 9s (2 Players)
Hero checks, SB bets 800, Hero calls 800
Turn: (2,800) 4c (2 Players)
Hero checks, SB bets 1,800, Hero raises to 4,745 and is All-In, SB calls 2,945
River: (12,290) 5c (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 12,290 Pot
SB showed Kh Kd (a pair of Kings) and LOST (-6,145 NET)
Hero showed Ks 6s (a flush, King high) and WON 12,290 (+6,145 NET)

So I definitely got a little bit of help there, but I think my play overall is improving, and should hopefully help me to keep this 200%+ ROI streak going...

Do I hear 6 out of 7?

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