Friday, August 12, 2005

White Flag?

When to you get to the point at a certain level that you figure out that you just can't compete at the level. Is it like that I was a pretty good high school football player; but I once I looked at a couple of colleges and saw how big and fast they were compared to me, I knew I would be out of my element. That was a pretty easy (but hard) decision because I really loved playing football. I had played for 10 years and it was something that I just did come fall time. Have I reached that same pinnacle in poker. I was pretty good micro limit player; but at the "low" limits, I am getting it handed to me. When do you just throw up the white flag. Now, conversely, my bankroll is in no danger at all. In fact, I could be playing safely at higher levels... according to the 400 big bet rule for managing bankroll. Obviously, it would be insane to increase levels when your are getting your butt chewed at 5/10. I have now played over 29K hands at 5/10 and have lost .68BB/100 ($1,982). Is that a big enough sample size to say that I can't win at this level? The frustrating thing is the level of play I see at this level.. .which I perceive to not be that good... of course that makes it even more frustrating that I can't win. The theory of poker according to Sklansky is to play your cards as if you know what they have. In theory, that sounds great and you might have great reads on players... but if they are still calling you down with K and A high or bottom pair, how can it all work? Perhaps, that theory only works at higher levels.

So as you probably guessed, I had a nice session last night where I dropped $358.. again negating my previous two sessions. I am at a total loss on where to go from here. Most likely, I will continue down the 5/10 path for the rest of the month as that was my pre-prescribed plan for the month.

In an effort to get better, I would like to throw at my biggest losing hand last night to get anybody's comments on them. Perhaps reviewing my biggest losing and winning hands (per advice from the pokertrackerguide), I can get better.

I am MP+2.. and get dealt T9s.. I love this starting hand if I can see it for free and with a couple of callers. I get my wish as I get 3 callers in front of me.. only 1 behind (BB)... So there is $27 in the pot.. The flop comes 3JK rainbow. Not really a good flop; but I do have a gut shot... 2 checks and then EP bets out.... 1 fold.. now to me.. what do you do?
Again, I'm not a mathie... but $32 in the pot.. so about 6-1 to call... but my gut shot is only about 8-1... I think that says to fold; but assuming that I will get a caller or two behind me may justify the call. Anyway I called as did the other two behind me... putting $47 in the pot. My money card came on the turn.. a Q.. 3 checks and I bet out and I get check raised by a rock (tight passive) which scares me. A fold in front of me... $97 in the pot.. what do you do? The last player is a tight aggresive player.
I raised... only to get capped by the rock and we both called... Now, I'm wishing for an Ace to get a split... A Jack comes on the flop.. Now the SB leads out and gets raised by the rock (all in).. What do you do? $197 in the pot?
I called... and now SB re-reraises. What do you do? $237 in pot.
I obviously have to call at this point... TAG turns over J5s (huh?)... for 3 jacks.. so I take a small side pot.. and the rock turned over what was the nuts on the turn. .AT... and he raked in the big $244 pot.

Any thoughts?


GaryC said...

That was at .05/.10 on Party? Just kidding. What the hell was the J-5 guy going? That sounds awfully loose and mirrors the play I see down at my levels.

I think it was safe to assume you were behind after the check-raise, but that is just a weird hand. I don't know what I would have done.

That's another reason I suck at limit. Those decisions baffle me when I see someone turn over j-5 after capping the turn. I'm baffled.


HighOnPoker said...

Here is the problem with that hand, Will, and it isn't your problem. I, too, justify certain calls based on math. According to math, you should've folded on the flop BUT also according to math, if you think others behind you will call OR you have high expectation value if you hit, your call could be justified. IF you made a mistake, this was it. However, thereafter, mathematically, you were right.

Maybe next time you can consider your reads on players along with math. This could have helped you lay down the hand once the rock re-raised. Of course, I don't think this would have saved you any money, looking at the side pot.

Variance is a bitch.

Zerbet said...

Hope this doesn't come across too holier-than-thou, but... what is the point of bothering to develop a read on your opponents if you are going to ignore it at crunch-time?

You knew the guy was a Rock; not only did he raise, he CHECK-RAISED, a very unusual play from a tight/passive player. Your instincts (based on your read and his action) told you that you were beat... and you don't fold, you don't even call... you raise him back.

Great technicians become masters at their craft by transcending their focus on technique (e.g., the math) and relying on their instincts (your read of the player.)

WillWonka said...

You're absolutely right. The capping on the turn should have for sure got me out. Sklansky will tell you that is Ok to raise with the 2nd best in order to drive out others (which in turn gives you a better chance of winning); but that is a real stretch here as there is only one more player and my best hopes is a split.
It is obviously not a surprise that I am an overall loser in 5/10 win I give away over 4 BBs in situations like this.
I appreciate the comment (and kick in the butt.. I needed it). I hope this helps me re-gain my focus.

ScurvyDog said...

In the hand you posted, I think the flop decision to call with the gutshot is where things got away from you. You don't have any momentum and not only are you praying for the gutshot straight, but it's not even the nut straight if you hit it, as played out in the actual hand.

If you decide to continue in the hand, I think you have to raise the flop, as odd as that sounds. If everyone behind you folds (a big if, I know) and the original guy who bet out calls, you'll have position and can take a free card on the turn or river.

I think the turn is fine, as you have to shove as many bets as you can in there, monsters be damned.

You have to make the crying call(s) on the river given the size of the pot, but that played out about as horribly as it could, as more often than not someone has a boat there, if not a bigger straight.

As far as waving white flags, this may not be the advice you're looking for, but 5/10 is one of the hardest limits out there. it's entirely possible to show a net loss at 5/10 after many thousands of hands and move to 15/30 or 30/60 and and be a solid net winner, doing absolutely nothing different.

It ends up being a question of adequate bankroll size and risk tolerance more than anything. Lots of very good players end up at 5/10, due to low risk tolerance, and the fact they can consistently pull down X number of dollars every month, with no real variance or risk to their bankroll. Stepping up in limits, though, you encounter a greater number of dumbasses with too much money, and a proportionally smaller number of full-time pros/semi-pros.

I'm not necessarily advising you to step up in limits, just putting out the notion that the ability to beat 5/10 doesn't really say much about how you'd do at higher limits, as 5/10 is notoriously tough to beat.

WillWonka said...

Thanks Scurvy.. I might start mining some 15/30 or 10/20 games just in case...

kipper said...

I think you answered you own question ...

... "I think that says to fold; but assuming that I will get a caller or two behind me may justify the call."

..."The last player is a tight aggresive player.
I raised... only to get capped by the rock."

I dont play at that limit so not a good judge.


Nick said...

you should have folded on the flop automatically, you are drawing to the non nut straight and only getting 6-1 when you need to be getting about 11-1 not 8-1 to take on off, easy fold

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