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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Harrington Hand Analysis

I came across this hand analysis in Harrington Vol 2 and I so completely disagreed with his analysis that I thought I’d write it up and get everyone’s opinion on it. If you have the book, the hand is 8-19 on page 109. Go get it, read it over, I’ll wait. You don’t have the book? Shame on you, ok I’ll summarize.

“You’re in middle position and it’s early in an online tournament – Stack sizes are roughly equal. You’re dealt 97s, the table folds around to you, first question, should you raise, call, or fold?”

Personally at this stage in the tournament, and in this position, I would probably fold this hand here and wait for a better opportunity to make a play, but a call is acceptable to try to see a cheap flop, but with 6 people still to act, there’s still a strong possibility of a raise yet to come.

“The player decides to call, a new player to the table also calls, and an aggressive big blind checks. Pot is 105. The flop comes Td8c6c. The big blind checks. Do you check, bet $30 (min bet) or bet $50?.”

Harrington argues that a min bet (poor baby Jebus) is the best play to build a pot which you will take down at the showdown.

Here’s my problem, sure you have the best hand, RIGHT NOW, however with 2 suited cards on the board and two limpers, I’m thinking there’s a great chance that one of the players is now on a flush draw which will nullify your current straight.

My question to the masses is this, isn’t it better to take down the pot right away with the best hand (regardless of the pot size at the moment) rather than try to put yourself in to a situation where you’ll have the second best hand at the showdown. In this particular case I think the best play would be to make a pot sized bet to scare away any flush draw chasers, and allow you to take a pot of 3x BB which isn’t bad with a mediocre hand from MP.

The player in this example actually makes a $50 bet and the two other players fold.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

An Absence From Blogging

It's been quite a while since the last time I posted here hasn't it? In that time, much has changed, and much has stayed the same. The biggest things that have changed, and the reason I have little time to blog anymore is that 1: I went out and got myself all married like, and B: I started a new job. Unlike the previous job, where I had HOURS to spend blogging, now I can’t even hit my site from the new office. Needless to say, I have very little free time left at my disposal. Today is the rare exception being that it’s the day before a major holiday and most everyone has already gone. So I decided it was a good day to break out the old pen and paper and scribble down a few things I’ve done poker-wise in the past half a year or so. These included (but are not limited to...)

  • Playing live poker for the first time, ever. I Broke my "cherry" at the Resorts in Atlantic City.

  • Bringing my PokerStars account from just over $1 up to over $50 where it currently idles.

  • Getting $20 Bonus money on Party, building it up to just over $60 playing .50/1.00 Limit, only to donk it ALL away.

  • Reading Small Stakes Hold’Em by Miller/Sklansky/Malmuth

  • The most dramatic change in my life of late is that I am now married. CC and I tied the knot on April 15th up at my parents house in Western New York (Jamestown). Everything went perfectly and we had a wonderful time. On my to do list is to write up a long non poker blog about it and post it over at Vision Knights

    The new job has been going very well, and one of the benefits I received was an including to our office conversion team which consists of traveling to various offices for some on site computer work. My first conversion was Philadelphia and I was done on Saturday by about three. Wifey and come along for the trip, so I checked in with her and we decided to go to Atlantic City Saturday night, spend the night and come home early Sunday morning. We took the scenic route there so it was about 6 by the time we got to our Hotel (Best Western). Wifey (Formally known as CC – Coffee Chick) tried on some clothes she had gotten in Philly, and by about 7:00 or so we were on our way to the Boardwalk. We spend a few hours walking around, checking out various poker rooms, stopping for a bite to eat, getting wifey set up on the slots, then I was finally ready for the tables. I decided on the poker room at the Resorts, it was fairly small with only about 8 to 10 tables, so I didn't feel as thought I was going to get lost in the crowd (or worse, swallowed by the sharks!). I signed up for the 2/4 table, but the line was long and I wanted to play some poker, so I jumped into the 3/6 figuring if I was going to get killed at the 2/4, I might as well get killed a the 3/6. I only played for about an hour to an hour and a half, but when I finally decided to get up and go, I left up about 3BB's or so. Not a huge financial victory, but a wonderful moral one. Despite my inability to sit still for 5 seconds, and what I thought would be world class tells, I was able to walk away with more than I sat down with. I was rather pleased.

    My next "significiant accomplishment" was managing to take my dwindling PokerStars account, and use that to successfully take me up to it's current value of just over $80. The first big win came from my last online $1 there, and took first in a $1 MTT to win $14. Then I won another one a short while later, and took 2nd a couple fo times to beef it up. Just this morning I saw down for a bit before work, and in 30 minutes took my buy in of $4 and increased it 1.5 times sitting at the .10/.20 table.

    My third great accomplishment is actually more of a great learning experience. When trying to kill hands on a bonus, somply play like a rock. Fold Everything (Save Pocket Aces and Kings) . For those that wish for the story behind the lesson, read on. I received an email from Party Poker one day saying that I was eligible for a $20 free bonus, just log in and play. So I sat down at the .50/1.00 table and started to play. I did fairly well that night and over the course of a couple of weeks, I managed to turn that $20 into over $60. I was going to cash out but realized I still needed to clear 44 more hands (it started at 200), no problem, I'll just tighten up and only play premium hands and let the others throw their chips around to build up the pots. Well that lasted all of about 10 seconds and after a horrible weekend run, I had managed to tank it all away. But hey, I cleared those 44 hands!

    Lastly I felt it was about time to run out and pick up a new Poker book, so when I saw Small Stakes Holdem by Miller, Sklansky, and Malmuth I jumped on it and dove right in. I know that there are many others out there that can do this book much more justice than I from a review standpoint, so I'm won't bore anyone with another recount on the book, I do however recommend it as it will remain as one of those books that can be picked up and reviewed time and again.
    I think this should be a successfully long attempt to at a return to blogging, now I just need to spend some time writing more often in between folding hands and avoiding doing stupid things in tournies.

    I also need to apologize for any formatting errors that may be seen as I'm posting this at the office, but won't be able to see the post until I get home this evening. I should be able to clean up any uglies that may pop up then.

    Tuesday, June 13, 2006

    It's Been HOW Long?

    Wow, I didn't realize it had been that long since I last actually threw up a post here. There's sort of a good reason, really there is. I got a new job that is actually a day time job and now, as the last one was, based primarily in the afternoon/evenings/nights. So that's a good thing. The downside is that I can't hit my poker blog from the new office due to security settings (like Poker's a BAD thing) and even if I could, I've been so busy I wouldn't have time to anyway. I have however written a couple of posts that I've been meaning to type up and upload, but whenever I sit down at the computer I get the itch to play poker and all thoughts of writing just fly away.

    I have lots of stories of wonderful pokery goodness to relay to those of you who don't really care, but are kind enough to read through it anyway, and I'll work extra EXTRA hard to get them online soon.