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LHE with Friends!

November 12, 2017

I spent Thursday playing $8/$16 at Palace after catching a matinee of Jigsaw (review coming soon) and I don’t have a whole bunch to say about that session, but I did coax my friend Daniel into playing some LHE with me, which is notable because he’s a NLHE player and has been pretty open about his distaste for limit hold em poker. I even made a joke, tagging him on Facebook, saying that watching him play LHE was like seeing someone stuck in a Jigsaw trap.

Daniel basically stayed out of my way as I smashed flops most of the night, but we did play one very interesting – and oh so close to horribly devastating – pot together. In this hand, Daniel was a preflop raiser, there may have been another raise, there were lots of players, and I happily joined all that action with the JT of clubs from the small blind.

I got a very good flop of JT3 rainbow. Daniel lead out, a player or two called, I check-raised, Daniel called, now the latest position back-raises, I cap because this kind of play frequently checks back the turn, and we wind up getting all the bets in at least four ways.

Now here’s where things get interesting. The turn is a King, which is definitely one of my least favorite cards. Daniel could possibly have KK – although he got passive on the flop after leading initially – and he can certainly have AQ, and that hand makes a lot of sense given his line. Also, any of the flop callers can have Q9 or KJ or KT, plus AK and KQ aren’t far behind now. With all of this in mind, I think checking is my best play. So obviously I bet. Daniel immediately punishes me with a raise and now everyone else folds. His hand is so blatantly obviously AQ that I can hardly wait to fold my hand face up on the river if I miss to show how smart I am.

I call and the river does brick and before Daniel does anything, I turn my cards over. And then he turns QQ over in tempo and I can hardly believe the massive mistake I was so eager to make. I mean I’m still sick sitting here typing about it over three days later.

This is one of those massive errors that seems to revisit me every once in a while and you see so many “smart” players make over the years. They narrow someone down to one hand and then they act on that read and completely disregard the pot size. I’ve done it multiple times and I almost never do it now, but goodness was I ever ready to do it here. Thank you Daniel, for checking and saving me a lot of pain and heartache.

Now let’s talk about Daniel’s line. The thing I forgot is that Daniel basically never plays LHE, so narrowing his range down so thinly just can’t be wise – he might make plays that don’t make any sense to me. In NLHE, raising the turn here can make a lot of sense because he has QQ and is severely blocking the nut hand (AQ) and can easily represent it, with little fear that anyone else can have it. The problem in LHE is that, even though the blocker effect is still in play, you simply can’t apply the necessary pressure. All I have to do is call two big bets and I get to showdown in this massive pot. Plus, he’s underestimating the stickiness of the other Palace players – they just don’t fold.

I think if we were heads up, his turn raise makes more sense, because he can have straights and I really can’t, so I likely will never three bet and he can just showdown on the river when he misses and bet when he improves. The problem here is that we are still multiway on the turn and any of our other opponents can easily have hands like Q9, KJ, KT, KQ, etc. that are never folding.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think either of us played this turn well and I can’t believe how close I was to losing this whole pot out of sheer stupidity.

Another crazy pot happened later in the night when we had a round of button straddles going and I had K7 of hearts on the button and had to put in four bets before the flop.

I got a reasonable K96 with two spades flop and really liked my hand when everybody checked to me. The small blind (preflop 3-bettor) check-raised me, two others (including the preflop 4-bettor) cold called and I just called.

The turn was a pretty nice looking 7 and they all checked to me again. If I hadn’t improved, I might’ve checked here, but turning two pair made me a lot more confident about my hand. But then the small blind check-raised again, the next player called, and now the preflop 4-bettor wakes up with a check-three bet on the turn?!!? What?

I don’t often go into the tank in LHE but I was flabbergasted. My hand’s too strong to fold and I’m plenty confused, so I’m wasting time thinking, but sometimes I like to make sense of things before I proceed. The action seems pretty scary. I shouldn’t have the best hand.

But let’s think about that three bet. This player four bet before the flop. Then, second to last to act on the flop, he checked and cold called two bets after it was bet and raised back to him. Now, on the turn, it’s checked to him again and he risks giving another free card by checking to me. Okay, so he is putting in a cold three bet here – which is normally super strong – but I think it’s safe to assume this player does not have us beat.

The small blind could have us beat and the other player looks like he’s drawing but he could also be hanging on for dear life with a better two pair. But really, it actually looks like multiple players are going crazy with hands that are worse than mine.

So I call. Everyone else does too.

The river is the Jack of spades, completing the front door flush and improving QT and KJ as well. Everybody checks to me again. I’m pretty happy to show down at this point and somehow my hand is still good.

I wasn’t planning to write about this session so I didn’t keep any notes, but I do recall one other fun hand where I opened with AA and got raised on the turn on a Q74J board and then check-called the river when the J paired and they had… A5 offsuit. Gotta love that creativity!

All in all, a pretty sexy Thursday night session to the tune of +$1025.

I went to Fortune the next day for some $20/$40 and even though I didn’t write notes for this session either, I feel it’s important for me to mention how great the game was because the last two times I’ve posted about the Fortune $20/$40 it has been pretty negative. The game this Friday was amazing. One of the best I’ve ever played in. There were two fun, loose players at my starting table and then when I migrated to follow them later I found myself on the left of two guys that were playing every hand no matter what the action was to them. One of them played rather reasonably after the flop, but the other guy was recklessly aggressive, betting and raising when he had any piece of the board, no matter how little it was.

Here’s a typical example: they both limp in, I raise with JJ, the flop is A65 and the crazy guy bets, I call; the turn is a 7, he bets and I call; river is a blank, he bets and I call; he shows 73 offsuit.

I got off to a rough start and found myself in the game for $3500 pretty early in the day, but fortunately I was eventually able to take advantage of the favorable situation and had enough hands hold up (and I lost a bunch of sick ones all day!) that I was able to make a complete come all the way back and even booked a solid win of $1409. It really did feel like I was running bad most of the day, but the game was so good that when I did win the occasional pot, it was almost always massive. I also won $63 in NLHE waiting for my seat for a total win of $1472 for the day.

Pretty fortunate start to November so far!

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