I'm back already, and the journey continues... Hand #1 EVENT: NAPT RD 1 Free Roll. (on P-Stars, of course) Table Dynamic: Still realtively early in a Free roll for a rd 2 Seat to the NAPT, and there are around 3650 runners remaining. I have built a big stack early by taking advantage of a couple of people who must have had places to go, but that was at another table. I have moved to this table about 10 hands before, and the only hand I have shown down (or voluntarily entered a pot on) is a K9d I had entered the pot with from the Cut off seat, behind 4 limpers in that hand. (I flopped the ooe Str Draw with a 7/8/J rainbow board, and took a free turn. The Turn put a K on board, and I check/raised a short stack all-in for about 1200 on my top pair/draw hand. My K was enough.) My new table has 2 other big stacks, and this seems to have led to a tightening of start standards by the short stacks, and looser limp in standards by the bigger stacks. Post-flop, the big stacks definately are taking pots from each other and the small stacks, and as it is almost certain any big stack in the pot will fire something on any flop. The key thing is that the Big stacks both seem to realize each is doing this, and while flop bets (especially those of half pot or less) are highly likely to get called by 2nd pair/drawing hands, more solid bets and turn bets are less likely to get action. The big stacks seem loathe to tangle with each other, but are willing to "take shots" to bust the shorties. This really is a pretty "solid" standard of play in my opinion, as the big stacks have little to gain from big pots with each other, and a lot to lose. While the blinds are still small enough to have little utility as additions to the big stacks from overly frequent steals, if a raggedity flop DOES hit a big stack hard when he is playing a small chance, there is a chance to add 10%+ for a minimal risk. My Start hand standards have tightened considerably, after my 1 x "luck box" win with the suited K9 versus a short stack. The reason I do this here is because I feel the highly frequent entries by the other 2 big stacks can lead me to pick up substantially LARGER pots by waiting for hands which stand to be at the high end of the ranges being played by the other 2 big stacks, as when I pick up a pot it will be more likely to include the limp-in's plus the blinds, as well as the money my inital raise (if called) adds. I want to be sure to have start hands at the top end of the ranges of the other 2 big stacks simply because I am almost certain to have to fire AT LEAST 2 bullets, even on a miss, to win my pot. So my current start stanards are: EP: rarely enter pots for a raise/re-raise. RE-RAISE AKs/AQs pp JJ+ RAISE to open any pp 99+ or AJs/AQ and AK, FOLD any pp 88- since I cannot be certain to see a pot with limps behind, nor win outright. CALL any pp 88- with 1+ limper, otherwise fold small pp. CALL Raise with AKo/pp JJ+ only MP: RE-RAISE AKs/AQs pp JJ+ RAISE to open AJ/AQ/AK, pp 88+ CALL limpers with any pp, AJ/ATo/KQ, and T9s/JTs/QJs/KJs CALL Raise with AKo/AQo pp JJ+ only LP: RE-RAISE AKs/AQs pp JJ+ RAISE to open AJ/AQ/AK, pp 88+ CALL 1 limper CALL limpers with any pp, AJ/ATo/KQ, and T9s/JTs/QJs/KJs CALL 2+ limpers no gapped connectors to 56s, and 1 gappers (suited) to J9s CALL Raise with AKo/AQo pp TT+ only I am pretty sure this is tight enough to keep me out of serious trouble, but loose enough to net some decent draws for possible big pots. PokerStars Game #46395966030: Tournament #283022219, Freeroll Hold'em No Limit - Level IV (50/100) - 2010/07/05 18:35:09 ET Table '283022219 69' 9-max Seat #7 is the button Seat 1: ramsfan61 (2175 in chips) Seat 2: gfozzie (1305 in chips) Seat 3: AcesHigh66 (14280 in chips) Seat 4: catsclown2 (1530 in chips) is sitting out Seat 5: YanToy (14587 in chips) Seat 6: ballz444 (13640 in chips) Seat 7: chuch24 (1420 in chips) Seat 8: chainsaw101 (1205 in chips) is sitting out Seat 9: sylef555 (1300 in chips) is sitting out chainsaw101: posts small blind 50 sylef555: posts big blind 100 *** HOLE CARDS *** Dealt to YanToy [Kh As] I'm in the high-jack chair, when we get our old friend AK! ramsfan61: folds gfozzie: folds AcesHigh66: folds catsclown2: folds YanToy: raises 200 to 300 My standard raise. I prefer to open for the same amount, no matter what I hold, as this tends to prevent "reads". I do also tend to be relatively loose overall, so my raises garner little respect much of the time. This dictates that I try to avoid OVER raising, since I'm going to get callers anyway. Here though, I have been trying to present a tighter image, but the few hands I have been seated for do not really back-up any hope that this attempt has had time to take root. So a standard raise it is. I CAN make an arguement for making my standard raise be to a total of 4x the BB, since my "goal" is to enter fewer pots, but pick up slightly FATTER pots than those picked up by the others at the table. The problem of a slightly bigger raise is that any Continuation Bet I have to make is then also going to be larger. ballz444: calls 300 There is the expected call, and does very little to help narrow down my read of his hand. With my gr #1 AKs though, I stand to be a favorite enough her that his call doesn't worry me. chuch24: folds chainsaw101: folds sylef555: folds *** FLOP *** [4s Ts 9h] This flop is pretty coordinated, and it could EASILY be right in the wheel house for the table dynamic. K/Q/J kickers with a T can be here, as well as 2nd pair hits to something like an A9/K9. Any of the 3 ooe end draws, 78/QJ/J8, could be here, and I cannot even put it past someone to call as lite as a gutshot draw unless I fire a VERY solid C-Bet on this miss. Of course flush draws with an A over card are also strong possibilities, and these types of hands likely call ANY bet up to, and including pot size. My goals here are to: 1) Firm up my read a bit more 2) Try to represent a BIGGER hit on this flop than my AK over card draw. YanToy: checks MY check here can either buy me free cards if he checks behind, or can lead to some pretty interesting things... ballz444: bets 300 YanToy: raises 500 to 800 ballz444: calls 500 Ok, he bets out rather weakly (his 300 is less than half of the 750 pot), so this has lent little clue to whether he holds a pair o a draw, or absolutely nothing. Now the most typical thing to do after raising pre-flop is a Continuation Bet, but in certain situations I prefer to "add strength" to my C-Bets by going with a check/raise instead. I credit being made aware of this line of thinking to an old PSO'er player named "Svidgailov" (Kenny = real name). I don't know if he got it from a book by a pro, or came up with it himself, so I will just say the thought belongs to Kenny... Kenny talks about a "hierarchy of aggression on the flop", where a lead bet is the LOWEST level of aggression. One step up is the check/raise c-bet, and that is what I do here... The plus of this check-raise, rather than a standard lead C-Bet, is that with Straight draws and Flush draws possible here, it would be highly unlikely for me to FAIL to bet out on a top pair hit. Since I've exhibited a certain amount of "poker knowledge" (at least I am hoping my opponents have seen that!), I may get more credit for a big over pair or a flopped set with the check-raise. Even if he does suspect me of check-raising on over cards only (as is actually the case) this gives me a stronger possiblity of lead firing a BIGGER turn bet as my "second barrel" of bluff, and selling the SET/OVER PAIR "story" even more. This also may well buy me "scare card" fire chances if he puts me on a DRAW check-raise. The draw check/raise seems pretty common in these free roll/mcro stakes games, plus, the only hand I've shown down at this table had me CALLING on a draw with an over card, and then firing when I spiked top pair; If my opponent remembers that hand and is acting on that info, any h or striaght card may be enough to get him off even a top paired T. Plus, the worst case is I get a "free card" to spike one of my over-cards. When he calls my check raise, I have actually firmed up my read to the point I think he is probably on some kind of FLUSH DRAW, or the higher end of the Straight draw. I also believe it is slightly more likely he has a paired hand here, especially something like an A9 or QT. I've not totally removed 78 form the range of possibilities, but first calling a raise with that hand, THEN callig a check-raise on the "dumb end" of a straight draw, would be pretty loose and risky indeed. Afterall, my check-raise and his call has bloated this pot up 2350, and if he calls on a drawing hand and MISSES, I can potential charge him almost 20% of his remaining stack on a pot sized bet. *** TURN *** [4s Ts 9h] [6s] The 6 fills a possible straight here and the possible flush, and gives me semi-bluff outs to the nut flush. Now the DANGER of betting this as a "scare card" is that HE may be on the 78, and has caught HIS straight, or he flushed already. Again though, if he hit his straight or flush here, I can release with no more lost, so I MUST fire something... YanToy: bets 1900 ballz444: folds I knew I needed to come firing pretty HARD at this pot, since I had elected to make the check-raise on the flop. And since he has enough chips that he could probably CALL on a 1 pair hand for about 700-1000 without it hurting much, I had to use the scare equity I bought. A "weak bet" when not truly STRONG will only really work when you are SURE the opponent is aware enough of betting patterns at the table to get a whiff of something a-miss. I couldn't bet much LESS than this. I was FAR from sure this player could fold a top pair T, even as strongly as I played this, and he probably HAS to let me know if he has made his draw (with a re-raise), or he risks ME being the one drawing for a higher flush and out-drawing his straight or flush; remember, I had the As, so he ould not possibly be on the nut here. So 1900 more was ALL I could possibly lose in this hand... So that's all she wrote, and it was a good start to this blog indeed! Uncalled bet (1900) returned to YanToy YanToy collected 2350 from pot YanToy: doesn't show hand *** SUMMARY *** Total pot 2350 | Rake 0 Board [4s Ts 9h 6s] Seat 1: ramsfan61 folded before Flop (didn't bet) Seat 2: gfozzie folded before Flop (didn't bet) Seat 3: AcesHigh66 folded before Flop (didn't bet) Seat 4: catsclown2 folded before Flop (didn't bet) Seat 5: YanToy collected (2350) Seat 6: ballz444 folded on the Turn Seat 7: chuch24 (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet) Seat 8: chainsaw101 (small blind) folded before Flop Seat 9: sylef555 (big blind) folded before Flop Any comments on my play decisions are highly welcome, and check back soon for the NEXT TIME I get to play AK! See ya!