This will be a shorter blog than usual. Maybe that will lead to some more feedback than the walls of text I usually produce 😉
Last night, more $0.02/$0.05 cash game with $12.50 max buy-in at PokerStars. A friend, who is a good poker player, had given me the advice to play more than 1 table at the same time, so I would play more hands per hour. This would be good to gain more experience faster. I decided to try to play 2 tables at the same time.
One table turned out to be relatively boring. Not many raises, some tight players, and my stack went up slowly on that table. I’ll show you 2 hands from the other table.
The other table was a 6-handed table with some loose players and some multitablers. I stole a few pots, won a few showdowns, and was up from $12.50 to $14.40 when this happened.
I had pocket eights in the big blind. The under the gun 16-table multitabler folded. The guy who was second to act limped in. He had been limping in about half the pots (his VPIP/PFR was about 50/8), and seemed to be a calling station. Let’s call him Steve. Steve’s stack was very small: only $2.65.
The small blind completed his blind, and I raised to $0.30, 6 times the big blind. If I took the pot right there, that would be fine. I wanted to get heads-up against Steve, and hoped to get a good flop, preferably with an 8. That way, I might be able to get him all-in. Steve called me, and the small blind folded.
The flop was 874 with 2 Spades. Excellent! If Steve had something like QQ, JJ, TT, or 99, he would probably call some bets of mine. With two face cards, who knows, he could call as well. I was a bit afraid of the two spades though, so I bet out $0.50 into the $0.65 pot. No reason to let him draw to his Spade flush for free, if he had two Spades in his hand. So I bet here to both protect my hand and to get more money into the pot, because I was confident I had the best hand. Steve called my bet.
The turn was the 5 of Diamonds. No flush (yet). Of course there are some straight possibilities, but would Steve really have called my 6x BB raise with 96 or 63?
I bet again, this time $1.00 with a $1.65 pot. Steve had only $1.85 at this time, so if he called here, it was very likely that all his money would go into the pot. Steve raised me all-in to $1.85. I was pretty confident that he had an overpair. I called his raise.
The river was the 10 of Clubs. Our hole cards were shown, and his cards were the 3 and 6 of Spades. He won the $5.35 pot.
After the flop, he had both flush and straight draws, so it was logical that he called my flop bet. On the turn, he had his straight, so of course he went all-in on my bet.
Was his call of my pre-flop raise any good? Should I have folded the hand at any point? I’m not sure if this was just bad luck, or if I played badly.
About 20 minutes later, I played another hand against Steve, again from the big blind. I was down to a $10 stack, and Steve’s stack was $8. Steve limped in after the under the gun player folded, and the small blind called. He was another limper, and clearly a friend of Steve’s, as they were talking to each other in Dutch, in the chat box. I raised to $0.25 this time. Steve called, and the small blind called too.
At the same time I played this hand, I also played a “big” hand on the other table. This caused a bit of stress to me, because you don’t have much thinking time on these low stakes tables.
The flop was not bad: AJ3. I figured that I had the best hand. I did not think Steve would have limped in with AK, but an Ace plus a smaller card would be possible.
The small blind checked, and I bet $0.55 into this $0.75 pot. Steve called, and the small blind folded.
On the turn, a harmless card appeared: the 7 of Clubs. I still thought I had the best hand, and bet $1.50 into the $1.85 pot. Steve raised me to $3.00. I guess I should’ve seen the warnings signs of this raise, but I thought he was just being annoying. He could easily have AJ, A7, A3, JJ, 77 or 33 and be way ahead. Or even T9 of Spades, with a flush draw and a gutshot straight draw. But I didn’t think of this, and I called his raise.
The river was the 2 of Clubs. I had decided to slow down, because I didn’t want to lose almost my entire stack in case he did have a better hand than I, so I checked. He bet $1.05 into a $7.85 pot. Such a small bet screams “call me!” and players usually bet such a small amount when they are sure they have the best hand. That was another warning sign that I was beat, and I should have folded. However, I went all-in for $3.06. Steve called.
Care to guess what Steve had?
Needless to say, I lost this $18.30 pot. I had 2 chances to fold this hand: on the turn and on the river.
I still think the first hand was just unlucky. It was a good example of a hand where I could have won a big pot if my opponent had a higher pair. However, the second hand was clearly bad. Lesson learned: at these low stakes, don’t play huge pots with 1 pair. Just be more patient, and win a big pot with trips, a straight or a flush.