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April 10, 2008

Two re-curring “behind-thinks”, those things that flash in the background, unspoken, unworded, even in your own mind. I stole the term from “The Chrysalids“, one of my favorite novels from when I was a kid.

First, I am currently still folding a lot of hands to raises preflop. Even in position, KQ, AJ, sometimes even AQ on occasion. I’m really looking for hands that I can re-raise rather than call, the exceptions being pocket pairs and LAG shortstacks that I will re-raise with some of the weaker holdings. I don’t see much value in calling behind a raise and then folding to a flop bet when I miss, or, getting in a tough situation when an Ace flops and I’m holding AQ/AJ, wondering if he’s got AK.

I also have seen myself shut down against aggression from players that I don’t read as being loose or overly aggressive. In a recent post I wrote about backing up my aggression in a weak SnG with 99, but that’s against weak opposition with a decent holding and a chip lead. It’s different playing ring games with 20x that particular SnG buyin.

I am aware in these circumstances of my adrenaline level rising and my heart rate increasing. I’m thinking, what the hell? This is my hand, what does he think he’s doing? (fight or flight), and I look for reasons to come over the top; a short stack, or loose-aggressive statistics. Then I look for valid draws that I may have. If I don’t find anything, I’ve lately been able to fold these hands.

I may have given up some hands where I was ahead, but these are hands where I have something but it’s not a huge something. The player I’m up against doesn’t show overly aggressive stats or the pot is getting too big relative to my hand strength (usually top pair on the flop). I try to consider the weakness of the tables and the fact that they will often interpret a check on the turn as weakness rather than pot control but I’m sure I’ve given up a few pots where I was ahead. I hope that it’s outweighed by the chips I would have lost the times I was behind.

One mistake I made last night was calling a shove from a short stack (25 BBs) BB when I 3-bet from the SB a raise from the button. I didn’t have many hands on him but what did show was standard stats for my limit, no indication of a LAG shortstack. Plus, AK is better with initiative, not calling someone else. Not the worst play, but given the information at the time I think I should have saved my chips until I had a better read. Hmm, now that I think about it, I’m not so sure, given his stack size and the fact that I’ll get to see all five cards.

Otherwise, I took one stack relatively early with a hand I can’t remember, lost half a stack to a LAG when he min-reraised my UTG raise, I called with AQ, flopped a Ace with two of a suit, donked into him, hit a Q on the turn but the 3 flush filled, I shoved, he called with JJ one J of the suit (I’m a 75-25 fav) and he rivers the 4 flush. I got the chips back from him though when he limped TT, I raised QQ in the BB, T high flop which I led and he called, Q on the turn and we got all in.


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