Posts Tagged ‘no limit horse’

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No Limit H.O.R.S.E. at the LAPC – Say What?

February 2, 2019

Honestly, I was skipping this event. I love HORSE. It’s my favorite game. But I don’t love no limit. I prefer limit structures, for all sorts of reasons, but mostly because I’m way better at them. Also, this tournament starts at 4 PM on a Saturday. Considering what I can make in a cash game on a weekend night (more on that later), why would I want to fire in a $350 tournament that starts late and might even last two days?

I wouldn’t. I would not want to do that.

But then I was at The Bike yesterday and someone recognized me from the LAPC and lured me into his conversation and asked me about the NL HORSE. I said something along the lines of “I’ve never played no limit for most of these games” and his friend that he was talking to (that was playing in the huge NL game on Live at The Bike) said, “yeah, that’s a good reason not to play it. I’ll take the under on 5% of the field having played a hand of no limit Razz.”

That basically translates to: don’t be such a pussy.

Okay, fine. I’ll be there.

The more I thought about it, the more excited and intrigued I got. It seemed like people would be flying out of this tournament because they’d be going all in in terrible spots or just because they are totally lost and I thought it would be a good idea to have unlimited rebuys until registration closed. Sure enough, there are unlimited rebuys.

Good. Now if I do something really stupid, I can just buy back in. I’m not going to be looking to punt my stack around and hope to get lucky, but I am willing to fire up to four bullets in this thing if I’m enjoying myself.

I also got to thinking about all the ways the big bet structure could change how the various games are played.

Let’s imagine a Razz hand. Someone opens with a 5 up and you look down at A2-3. For simplicity sake, let’s assume all cards are live. Pretend your opponent has 34-5. How big of a favorite do you think you are?

Here’s the answer:

You have the nut starting hand and you’re basically coin flipping.

Even against a rougher hand you’re not a huge favorite:

I’m not really sure how this should affect my strategy in a big bet structure, but against a large field of inexperienced and unpredictable players, I don’t think pushing small edges is going to be ideal. If someone opens and you 3-bet, they are unlikely to fold and look how big of an impact 4th street has on the equities:

Just like that, you go from a slight favorite to a sizable dog – even when your opponent catches a mediocre card like a 9. Unlike in limit, where you should usually still call here, they can bet enough to make your continuing decisions much tougher.

So the question is… when the stacks are deep, do we want to be bloating the pot on third street?

I don’t know. I think I’m going to be playing cautiously, mostly because I expect my opponents to have no clue what they are doing and that unpredictability is drastically going to increase everyone’s variance.

I feel like Hold’em, Omaha 8, and Stud Hi should come somewhat naturally to me in the big bet structure. Big pairs are going to be boss in Stud Hi.

Stud 8? No clue. I have a hard enough time trying to play that game well with a fixed betting structure. Honestly, my goal in this variant will just be to avoid losing heaps of chips. I’m just going to fold all the hands (not really)(but seriously, maybe).

I’m going to spend the next hour or so continuing to run sims in the various games to get a better grasp on my equities in certain spots.

But first, let me tell you about yesterday.

I checked in to The Bike just after 4 PM and immediately got a seat in a $40/$80 limit Hold’em game. Kiddie gloves are off. With a good amount of equity coming our way from the sell of our previous house, I don’t feel like I’m taking a shot at this level. I can play in it. I mean, shit, I haven’t even really gotten used to the swings at $20/$40 yet, but whatever.

Before I had chips, I was down $250. I played another pot in my first orbit and flopped a pair against an underpair but they turned a set… in a 3-bet kill pot.

Before I posted my first blind I was stuck $850.

Before I posted my second blind I was stuck $1400.

Before I won my first pot, I folded 44 to a raise and then watched the action go off multi-way and get 3-bet only to see this flop roll off:

That’s a pretty sick feeling when you’re stuck a rack and a half already, still looking for Pot A.

I started having flashbacks to my first $40/$80 session ever when I lost almost $2300 in less than two hours and rage quit because my body was literally shaking from tilt.

The good news was… I didn’t feel anything like that. I mean… I wasn’t thrilled about being stuck a mortgage payment in my first 15 minutes of play, but I was thinking about reloading, not bolting for the door and spending the next day walking around Disneyland by myself.

I didn’t buy more chips and I started winning a pot here and there but I was still stuck about $1500 three and a half hours into my session when momentum started to swing my way.

I picked up AA in a kill pot and it got raised in front of me. I jacked it up and the killer and raiser both called.

Flop was 992 with two spades and they both check-call a bet.

The turn is the 5 of spades and the killer leads out. The other guy folds. I’ve already established that the killer is the loosest (and probably worst) player at the table, however I did see him check-call flop in a similar spot earlier and then donk the turn with flopped trips. So I know he’s capable of having trips here (and probably flushes) with this line, but I also know he’s not be trusted. I call.

The river is a very unfortunate 4 of spades, putting four spades on the board and none in my hand, and he bets again. But I’m not folding AA in huge pots for one bet to a wild player, so I pay it off and he can only show a 53 with no spades and I drag a big one.

Then I get moved to the main game and one of my first hands I pick up AJ of clubs in a 6-way raised pot and flop the nut flush draw on a T76 board. I get three bets in on the flop and five of us see a turn that gives me the nuts. That clears the field down to three and my hand stays nutty on the river and I get one caller.

Just like that, I go from -$1500 to +$1200 in about 15 minutes!

Sick swings in this game.

I lost some dumb hands every now and then after that, but it was mostly smooth sailing for me the rest of the night.

My final score? +$5035 in 11.5 hours!

That’s good for my second best cash game session ever.

What a great start to my trip and a great first day of February, right on the heels of a +$10k month of January.

Feels good man.

Alright, it’s 2:15 PM right now, so I’m going to study up for the next hour or so and then get ready to head to Commerce.

Check back here after 4 PM for stack updates in the NL HORSE tournament and I’m sure I’ll also have some hands to write about.

4:11 PM: Might be hard to blog this. My table is 4-handed. There are 8 players in the tournament total. 😂

I can say I won 6 of the first 8 hands, all in Stud Hi, and two of them were pretty sizable.

Starting stacks are 12.5k but blinds are 25/50 with a 25 ante and 25 bring in with 20 minute levels.

A third table just got cards in the air. Looks like we are up to 15 entrants!

5:25 PM: Steadily building. I feel very comfortable with the format and my table draw. There are six levels before the first break so I’m just going to type up the most interesting hand I’ve played real quick.

Stud Hi, 25 ante, 75 bring in… I start with K6ss-9s and someone limps in front of me with a ten up. There’s a king and six up, but all the spades are live. I make it 300. The king and ten up call.

On 4th street, the king catches a 5 of spades and leads out for 600. Ten catches a blank and I get the four of spades. I like it. I like it a lot. The ten folds and I decide to just flat. Maybe I can raise to get it in here, but we feel too deep still.

On 5th, I catch the ace of clubs and he gets another small spade. That’s annoying. I check to him and he bets 2000, leaving himself with around 8-9k behind. I think this is a pretty silly bet when I catch an ace because… I stuff it in his face.

How much do you like a pair of kings here? Shoot, how much do you like kings up?

He tanks for a while and says “kings up no good” and mucks it.

Sims coming…

Interesting. I would have thought I’m a bigger favorite on 4th street. When I get it in on 5th, I certainly don’t think I have an equity advantage, but the ace is such a good card to bluff with. He said he had two pair, and maybe he did, but it’s worth noting that my equity on 5th jumps up to around 41% if he just has a pair of kings.

First Break: 16.9k

Coming back to 75 ante (in all the games!), 200 bring and 250/500 blinds for the flop games.

Registration is closed and I’m healthy on bullet #1! Leggo.

Second Break: 6800

I’m pretty sure I didn’t win a hand for the entirety of those four levels.

Oh wait. That’s not true. I was all in for my tourney life in Razz with 92-4J7T against a board of xx-J78J and I had bet somewhere around 2.5x the size of the pot. I have a board lock, but it’s pretty obvious he’s drawing to an 87 here and you know what? I don’t want to be called. If I make a normal sized bet and he calls, I could find myself in a really weird spot on 7th street. He doesn’t know I have a 9 buried, so that’s nice, but still… I don’t want to face any pressure or lose this pot with another card.

It’s probably a good thing I jammed because he tanked for like two minutes with his junky board facing a huge oversized bet.

Of course I got short just in time for Stud 8. It seems like I should be jamming my whole range, but it’s weird because the starting pot size is smaller in the Stud games.

I’m basically trying to survive until Hold’em unless I find a super obvious spot to get it in.

I folded K3-K under the gun with only one small card out, but it was an ace. I’m probably supposed to get it in here but I don’t know, so I fold.

Then a 5d opens and a 5h calls. I have Qh2h-Ad and I don’t know what to do, so I fold.

There are two hands of Stud 8 left after the break and then I will have the small blind in Hold’em with approximately 4-5 bigs (unless I bust or double first).

67 entrants, 35 left, 9 cash, with $6250 for 1st.

I have about 25% of the average stack so…

Let’s run it up?

8:00 PM: I make it to Hold’em and I have 4.5 bigs after posting my small blind. Someone opens to 2.5 bigs, I jam with 66 and he calls wi-

Wait. He’s tanking. Wtf? Am I really going to win this pot without running the cards? What does he have to think about here? Nothing. He has nothing to think about. It’s a snap-call.

But he folds and I double up without a showdown. Holy shit.

Very next hand he opens again and the cutoff jams for slightly more than what I have. I look down at AK of spades and with my 10 big blind stack there is nothing to think about here. I put all my chips in. Opener folds and I’m in a race against…

AA.

Goddammit.

I don’t know why, but I feel pretty good about it and then I flop a flush draw and feel like I doubled up already.

But then… I brick out? How is that even possible?

Sigh.

Flipper convinced me to make a road trip to Vegas for Super Bowl Sunday and lured me with MLB Futures betting possibilities and, I mean, I’m not capable of saying no to that, so that’s what I’m doing tomorrow.

Which means I’m done playing poker today. We are probably going to be leaving pretty early, so I’m going to take it easy and go catch The Green Book at the theater and then head back to my spot.

No idea what my poker plans are tomorrow but I’ll be back in LAPC action on Monday for the $570 Omaha 8 or Better tournament.

Bricking is so fun!