Marathon Monday: An Ugly Losing Session

November 14, 2017

Since I’ve started making regular blog posts I haven’t been doing much losing which has been pretty nice. I know it’s been overdue. And even though the end of this session doesn’t look horrible, it was actually quite brutal.

I got off to a pretty good start. After 3-4 hours, I was up around $500 total and I was getting really strong preflop holdings. I already had AA, KK, QQ, and JJ multiple times each and I did pretty good with them except the one time my KK ran into AA.

I had another hand where I raised in LP with AT with the T of diamonds and decided to peel one when I got donked into on the J32 two diamond flop with one caller in between. The turn was the 7 of diamonds and I overcalled another bet. The river was the K of diamonds and now the caller in between leads out? I call, the other player folds, and I beat his set of threes. Eh. I wonder. Peeling this flop with the A of diamonds might make sense, but the T of diamonds might be too optimistic. Or maybe folding getting 10-1 is too weak? I don’t know. A spot worth examining more. That line with a set though? LOLOLOL.

An All-Time Classic – Super Torch

This is another hand that occurred during the first few hours of the day and, oh boy, was it a true gem. The action folds around to the button – a player that has become a recent regular and has a rather insane and unorthodox style that frequently includes absurd aggression as you’ll see. In this hand, he open-limps the button, I look down at A4 of diamonds in the small blind and raise it. The big blind – a player I would describe as overly aggressive and borderline maniacal – three bets it, and now the button turns his open-limp on the button monster into a 4-betting hand. Okay.

Andrew Neeme would probably describe the flop as “favorable:” 532 rainbow. The flop is capped and I put in zero of the bets or raises. I just knew these guys were going to go off and I wouldn’t have to reveal my hand strength until the turn.

The turn completes the rainbow with a Ten, the big blind bets and the button comes forward with two stacks of 8 chips lined up about to raise and then decides at the last second, right before the betting line, to just call. Technically, with a forward motion rule at this casino, one could enforce a raise here, but that’s definitely not my style. I enforce it the old fashioned way – by making it two bets myself. They both call.

The river is an 8. I bet, the big blind calls, and now the button raises! I am not afraid of the nuts here, so I have an easy raise, except the button only has three chips left after making it two bets. Obviously it is better for me to just call and let the big blind put in eight more chips than it is for me to raise him out of the pot, so I just call. And since I’m sitting in seat 9 and the button is in seat 8 and the big blind probably can’t hear me from seat 1, I quietly tell the button I still have him beat, so that my sudden passivity doesn’t make him think he’s won the pot. The big blind calls and I fast roll my straight. It’s good.

For whatever reason, the button decides to table his hand and shows… 82 of clubs.

Now go back and read that hand again. Enjoy!

$499 Jackpot! Club Straight Flush

As I’ve noted before, the reason Mondays are so popular now is because every jackpot that is not a Royal Flush is worth $499. On this hand, the cutoff open-limps and I look down at 54 of clubs on the button. I call? I raise?

Three players to the 732 flop with the 7 and 3 of clubs. There’s some action and we see the 6 of clubs on the turn – straight flush! Jackpot!

All of this is true… except one thing:

I folded before the flop.

I think one could argue that I could play this hand in this spot, but it’s really an unattractive situation. If I do play, I’m going to be raising to isolate the limper and use my position to try and win the pot, regardless of whether I hit the board or not. There are a lot of hands I’d do this with – 5 high is typically not one of them. The jackpot overlay isn’t enough to sway my decision. I wouldn’t even think about playing hands like 52s or 84s here and I don’t think 54s is doing much better.

Interestingly enough, the limper ended up winning this pot with 52 suited and that makes her an absolute prime candidate to isolate on the button with any reasonable holding. If I had seen this showdown before this situation arose, I may have won an extra $500 yesterday.

AK Is The Nuts, Right?

A player opens, I three bet with AK and we head to a flop with 4 or 5 players. It’s a pretty one: AK3! I bet and one or two players call.

The turn is a Q and now the original preflop raiser check-raises me. Interesting. I feel like he rarely has JT here. He strikes me as the kind of player that would typically limp JT suited. So he’s repping AQ, KQ, or QQ – and maaaaaaybe AK. I feel like he would bet or raise the flop with AQ or AK, so I’m somewhat discounting those hands. So this is an exercise in hand-reading and recognizing available combos. There are only three combos of QQ. There are four combos of AK, six combos of AQ, and six combos of KQ. Out of his most likely hands (and there could be some spazzy AJ or QT type stuff too, though unlikely) only three out of 19 possible combos beat me. Even if we add in four combos of JT suited, that’s 7 combos out of 23 possible and we are still doing very well against his range. Using hand-reading, I’d say his most likely hands are QQ and KQ and going off his preflop flat call of my 3-bet and check-call on the flop, I’d lean towards KQ – and there are twice as many combos of that hand as there are of QQ anyway. So I think this is a pretty easy 3-bet all things considered.

I raise and he calls and now I feel better about my hand.

The river is a blank, I bet again, he calls, and I lose to QQ.

A Painful Fold

In this hand, there’s a button straddle, the small blind calls, and I just call with A8 suited in the big blind. I think in this situation, I prefer to encourage other people to enter the pot rather than try (usually unsuccessfully) and isolate from one of the worst positions with the whole field left to act behind me and the button basically never folding. I think the small blind calling with help create a multiway pot as well. The under the gun player three bets, another player calls, a maniac calls, and the button, small blind and myself all call.

The flop is K86 with two diamonds. This pot is large and I have enough of this board that I want to create the best chance for me to win the pot. I think that’s by donking into the preflop raiser and hoping he will force the rest of the field to call two bets cold. So I bet, but he just calls, so do two other players and the button raises. If I can get heads up here, I think it drastically improves my winning chances, so I three bet in the hopes of narrowing the field. It doesn’t go well: the PFR and maniac stay in and the button caps it. We all call.

The turn is a 4 and everybody checks. My hand seems better now.

The river is a 7 and it checks to the maniac. He bets and the button calls. Hmmmm. I had the button on a draw when he checked back the turn after capping the flop, but this call is perplexing. This is one of those spots where it’s okay to take some extra time and really think it through. The maniac can literally have anything and if the button didn’t call, this would be a snap for me. Unfortunately, I didn’t think about it long enough and I made a hasty fold. The maniac shows A6o and the button shows J6 of diamonds before tossing his hand in the muck. In retrospect, the button’s hand made perfect sense and if I really thought about it, I think I can recognize that he flopped a diamond draw that paired at some point. It’s possible he could have 64dd, 76dd, or 74dd – all of which made two pair – but the rest of his flush draw hands end up with one pair only – and he would certainly bet the turn with 64dd. UGH.

The rest of my session was a rollercoaster of variance that ended with a plummet. I went from +$500 early in the day, to close to even, back to +$250, close to even, back to +$500 and then at 10.5 hours into the session, I was stuck for the first time all day after my AQ ran into AA on an A high flop in a capped preflop pot. It never got better for me after that hand as I was whiffing flops and draws pretty much every time I got involved.

And suddenly I felt really exhausted. I had been up since 7:15 AM, it was midnight, and I had been playing for around 12 hours. This was no different from last week except that I was now running absolutely terrible and it my alertness and focus was rapidly disappearing. I had been taking breaks every 90 minutes all day long and for the last 3 or 4 hours I hadn’t gotten up to clear my head and it occurred to me that my A-game was gone, the variance was taking a toll on me, and it was time to go home. I picked up at my lowest point of the day and booked a $303 loss. All in all, an incredibly disappointing session that could have been much better if I had played a 54 of clubs or called with that A8 and a reminder to keep taking those breaks and not get complacent deep into my sessions.


  1. It would depend on who the limper is and who the blinds are, but I am probably opening that 54s at a much higher rate than you. There are so many opportunities to leverage your position in those games against weaker opponents. And if you’re able to isolate the limper you can win the pot without improving often enough to make this work.

    I’m sure you already know this about me though 😛

    • Yeah… I mean, I’ve raised this hand in this situation before, but if it’s profitable – in a vacuum – it’s barely so. However, having seen how weak she is limping, it certainly is justifiable here.

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