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Saturday, February 04, 2006

Cashing in at Full Tilt

I played some .25/.50 NL on Full Tilt last night. I actually managed to log almost two hours of play, which is more than I've played all week. Jackmama's tip #1 that you don't play enough poker - You are unable to work off a $50 deposit bonus in three months. I've managed to release ten whole dollars from a deposit in December, although I have a couple weeks left to work on it. Another half hour or so will be good for another 5 dollars. Cha-ching.

Well, let's see how much time you manage to log when you have two kids under the age of two.

Matt Matros says to play aggressively with AK. I'm not as smart as Matt Matros, so I blindly obey.

I find myself in late position with AK. It is folded around to me, and I raise to $2. The button calls, the blinds fold. Flop comes 4d 4c Jc. I bet out $2.50 and the button folds, leaving the $4.55 pot to me.

It's entirely likely that my raise not only chased out the blinds, but that it gave my continuation bet more credibility. Matros mentions that many people like to limp with AK and see a flop. If I had done that, the missed flop would have represented a losing hand for me. By playing aggressively, I salvaged an ugly situation, and lived to play another hand.

I don't multi-table. It's just not poker for me. Some people make a lot of money doing it, and more power to them. Some people make a lot of money selling cars. Neither one works for me. When I play the low-limit NL games, I generally pay attention long enough to get a sense of the players at the table, and then I browse the web or pursue other pastimes. Last night, I was handicapping today's races at Tampa Bay Downs. I'm likely to blog some picks and results later, if any of you spambots are interested in following along. If you're actually interested in winning, you should probably see if BG is blogging his picks today. BG > me.

I was reading through the racing form and folding when Mrs. Jackmama asked for a back-cracking. I don't know anything about the health consequences of said activity, but she's a fiend for it. Anything that engenders such addiction in people can't be healthy.

Wait a minute. Don't you have a gambling blog? You not only gamble frequently, but you set aside more time to write about it?

Shut up.

I look down at the computer and see that I'm in the big blind with 8dTd. I click "Check/Fold" and get back to mangling the wife's spine. "Oh my," says Mrs. Jackmama, looking at my computer.

The flop had come 8c 8h Qd. This is why I hate to give a free flop to the big blind. Since I expected to have folded this hand, I have no idea who is still in. It looks like an EP caller and the small blind stuck around for the flop. SB checks, I check, and EP bets $1.50. SB calls, I raise to $5 and EP folds. SB re-raises all-in $19.65, but since he has me covered, it's really another $8.35. I call and he shows 7h8s. Yikes. I had put him on queens and eights, and I'm glad I have him out-kicked. Fortunately, no higher cards or sevens come out, and I take down the $29.70 pot.

I like the way I played that one, even though I missed the read. A set of eights makes for a nice push in that situation, and pushing out any possible straight draws is a good idea.

Usually, slow-playing is wasted in low-limit games, especially micro-limit games on the Internet. It's like Harrington says, 95% of the time, a bet means exactly what it looks like it means. Internet players seem to have a bigger problem with ego than live players--they'll frequently convince themselves that you're bluffing, and stay in a hand even when you bet strongly into them (this can be one of the leaks in my game. Not every time I play, but often enough). Even when they wise up on the turn, it can still be profitable to play the hand straight, and by eschewing the slow-play, you may find that the suckouts don't come as frequently. After all, if you don't give them an excuse to stay in the hand, some people will actually fold rather than suck out.

UTG, I find AcJc, and raise to $2. It is folded around to the button, who calls. Blinds fold. Flop comes 6c Jd 4c. I bet $3 and the button calls. Turn comes Ad. I now have aces and jacks, but there are two different flush draws on the board, clubs and diamonds. In a tough game, maybe it's worth it to check or limp, and hope to hit my club flush or dodge the diamond flush and bet the two pair strong on the river. In these weak games, where the players can literally have anything, why bother? I bet $7 into the $10 pot, enough to make the flush draw a bad call and the button folds. I take the $10.25 pot.

Maybe in a tough game I'd try to maximize that hand, but there's no point in risking the suckout. Take the money, pick some horses until another premium hand appears, and take what the other players give you. It may not be glamorous, but it seems to be working for me in the FTP cash games.

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