Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Calling to Re-Evaluate

Just quit it. Or at least stop misapplying it.

Evaluate: to determine or set the value of;
Re: A prefix added to the start of a word. Indicates "again;"

25NL – 100BB stacks
Hero is dealt Ah Ks on the BTN

Preflop: Unknown UTG calls $0.25, 5 folds, Hero raises to $1.25, 2 folds, UTG calls $1

Flop ($2.85): Ad 9s 4d
UTG checks, Hero bets $2.25, UTG raises to $7, Hero ???
Hero doesn’t know what to do, so he “calls $4.75 to re-evaluate the turn?”

George: Should I call and re-evaluate on this table?
Jerry: What do you need to call and re-evaluate for?
George: Call and re-evaluate is now the number one line in poker.
Jerry: You know why? Because people like to say "call and re-evaluate." "Excuse me, do you want to call and re-evaluate?" "We should call and re-evaluate here." "What? No call to re-evaluate?"

Based on the definitions above, re-evaluating implies that we are going to determine the value of our hand again. This means we would have already thought about the value of our hand at some earlier point.

How do we evaluate our hand?

Step 1
- Put villain on a range.
- Compare our hand (or more accurately, our range) to villain’s range.
- Determine how to maximize value (or minimize loss) against that range.

Step 2
- Figure out how villain’s range will react to your action.
- Decide what you’re going to do based on his anticipated reaction and his range.

You already know what’s going to happen a high percentage of the time in the hand posted above:

Turn ($16.85): x
UTG shoves, Hero???

You’re exactly in the same spot with exactly the same information as you were on the flop. But you went ahead and put money in without a logical reason for doing so – your only plan, if you can call it that – was to fold to a shove because $17 is scarier than $7 and you thought folding the flop was weak. If you’ve played any amount of poker you know that’s what he’s going to do probably 80%+ of the time. That’s not calling to re-evaluate. That’s spew.

Calling to re-evaluate requires that you are going to gain new information that will help you make a better decision after villain’s next action. In the above example, you already had all the information you were going to get. c/r flop = strength/air and lead turn after c/r flop = strength/air. If you cbet and then don’t know what to do when you get raised, you have failed to think through Step 2. If you’re reading this, I assume you at least always think through Step 1.

So how do we use call and re-evaluate effectively? We use it in situations where villain’s future actions will give us information that will help us make better decisions.

25NL – 100BB stacks
Hero is dealt JJ in the BB

Preflop: UTG fish raises to $1, TAG BTN calls $1, Hero calls $0.75

Hero calls because he wants to keep UTG fish in the pot and doesn’t want to play a big pot OOP against BTN who probably has a decently strong range of broadways and PPs with some SCs.

Flop ($3.90): Qh 9s 4d
Hero checks, UTG checks, BTN bets $2.75, Hero re-evaluates turn and calls $2.75, UTG folds

Hero knows that BTN will stab here with 2nd pair, an OESD and overcards based on reads and stats. Hero also knows that BTN will not continue to stab with those hands on the turn and will only bet for value with TPTK+ and check behind everything else. Hero knows that BTN will call down for showdown with good 2nd pair type hands when weakness has been shown and our line looks bluffy.

Hero’s plan is to c/f to any turn bet (non-J of course). If villain checks behind turn, Hero will valuebet/fold the river because 9x/77-88/TT will call along with the Qx hands that beat us.

Notice how hero logically re-evaluates the turn even before he makes the flop call. We all know that betting or raising purely for “information” is a terrible reason to put money in the pot. Calling purely for “information” is far worse.

Any time that you are in a spot where you don't know what to do, "What do I do now?" is not the important question. "What did I forget to think about at a prior point in this hand?" is the important question. If you consistently plan your hands, you can avoid nearly all of these situations where you don't know what to do and put an end to the practice of using poker cliches to justify your actions.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Home Game Trip Report: Part 2

Final Table

Clockwise around the table:
Blinds: 40/80
Me: 3700
Structure set-up guy: 1300
Weak-Tight Nit: 1200
Agro Reg: 2300
Tilty Host: 700
Loose-Passive Reg: 800

So I decide I'm going to start abusing my stack right off the start. 2 hands in I raise AJs UTG. It folds around to Tilty Host and he sits there looking like he's steamy and ends up shoving. I snap since it's like 450 more and he flips QQ yet again for the 3rd time in 20 minutes. I spike an A and he's quite tilty until he re-spikes a Q on the turn.

Blinds get traded around for a bit until a funny hand comes up:
Folds to Structure Guy on the BTN who limps, Nit folds, and Agro Reg checks the BB.

Flop is 998, Agro Reg checks, Structure Guy checks
Turn is 9988, Agro Reg checks, Strucutre Guy checks
River is 99889, Agro Reg checks, Structure Guy laughs and says "all-in" jokingly while having a Tilly moment.
Agro Reg falls out of his chair laughing as he calls and flips the case 9. gg Structure Guy!

Me and Agro Reg start to chip up and everyone else is just folding and folding. Finally I minraise JJ on the BTN and SB Weak-Tight Nit shoves his last 5 bb in. I call and he flips TT and does not improve.

Tilty Host eventually blinds out with most of his chips going to Loose-Passive Reg and it's down to me, Agro Reg, and Loose-Passive Reg. I start stealing every single time I'm on the BTN. Finally Loose-Passive Reg catches on and starts shoving over my raises 4 times in a row.

So I decide it's time to adjust.

Homegame - 40/80
Hero (BTN) is dealt Ah5d

Hero: 5000
Agro Reg: 3500
Loose-Passive Reg: 1500

Preflop: Hero limps 80, Agro Reg folds, Loose-Passive Reg checks

Flop (200): 2h3c9h
Loose-Passive Reg bets 80, Hero calls 80

Turn (360): 4d
Loose-Passive Reg bets 80, Hero raises to 300, Loose-Passive Reg calls 220

River (960): Td
Loose-Passive Reg checks, Hero bets 1150, Loose-Passive Reg calls 1120 all-in

Loose-Passive Reg shows JJ and says "I didn't know you could use an Ace as a low in a straight!"

Hero: 6500
Agro Reg: 3500

So now Agro Reg wants to win this thing and starts going crazy on me at first. Then I start shoving back and he slows way down and starts folding to all my cbets. His next adjustment is to start floating me and shoving every time I check the turn or bet 1/2 pot.

Homegame - 50/100
Hero is dealt Ac 3c on the BTN

Preflop: Hero raises to 300, Agro Reg calls 200

Flop (600): 2c 9c 7d
Hero bets 300, Agro Reg shoves, Hero has him covered and calls - Agro Reg flips up J6o no club.

Turn: Jd

River: Ts

I say nh.

He continues with this strat and tries to be very tricky:

Homegame - 50/100
Hero 3000
BB 7000

Hero is dealt Ad 8s on the BTN

Preflop: Hero raises to 300, BB calls 200

Flop (600): Ad Ts 9d
Hero bets 250, BB sho--- Hero Hellmuth calls ---ves all-in

BTN shows KK. I say nice hand, very sneaky. He doesn't improve. He feels kind of silly for flatting preflop.

Final hand for the tourney, Agro Reg appears to be getting tired of it since we've been HU for 1/2 an hour. I left the option up to him if he wanted to raise blinds or not once we got HU. He declined to raise blinds for obvious reasons:

Homegame - 50/100
Hero 6500
BTN 3500

Hero is dealt Qd Ts

Preflop: BTN calls 50, Hero checks

Flop (200): As Qs 9s
Hero bets 100, BTN shoves, Hero tanks for 2 minutes and calls - BTN flips up Kd2s

Turn: 2d

River is... a K... of spades!

gg guys. Ship the $80. Unfortunately I missed 3 hours of LAN Halo 3 due to feeling like I should win this thing lol. But they had moved on to NHL '09 which was fun - I haven't played an NHL game since '06. My team managed to win all 3 games including the last which ended in a 15 round shootout. Shootouts are too hard imo.

I loled on my way out of the city while listening to more Krantz and Whitelime at 4am. The slogan on the Thank You for Visiting sign is "It's worth the trip!" Good times!

ty to Tilty Host for providing beverages and an awesome cubed cheese and SlimJim platter! Snap into a SlimJim! Oooohhh Yeaahhhh!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Homegame Trip Report: Part 1

We finally got a home game together again. Our regular one hadn’t run in a while since 4/6 regulars moved to another city an hour away last year. So I made the trip over there and we had 10 people show up. This turned out rather nice as we got 2 shorthanded tables going where we normally only have 1.

On the way, I listened to a couple of DC podcasts to break the boredom of miles and miles of snow covered fields and found the interview with Krantz quite interesting. I just signed up there and think it will compliment my Stox subscription quite a bit. Can't go wrong for $29/month amiright?

When I got there I stopped in at their Staples store and picked up a new Acer 23.5" Widescreen LCD which is perfect for multitabling with less overlap and got a nice deal. Everyone else was sold out and I think this was the store display model but, meh, got a good deal at $229. 24" and up are $500+

Had some interesting spots come up in the homegame so I’ll write a report. You all love reading about home games don’t you? =)

General Rules:
A non-reg and I decided on 1000 bb stacks and 5/10 blinds which is much better than the normal 38bb or some odd shortstack number we usually start with after dividing out all the chips in the case and assigning random chip values. Fortunately everyone else thought that NASCAR > figuring out optimal structure this time.

Blinds normally increase whenever we feel like it, but we managed to put in a ½ hour time limit this time, yay this game won’t take 6 hours.

Each table starts with 5 and runs until they are down to 3 people and then waits for the other table, which freezes blinds at that point, to combine. Sort of a shootout I guess.

There’s 1 rebuy allowed until the tables are merged and all rebuys get tacked on to the winner’s payout.

$10 (lol) buyin. $70 / $20 / $10 payouts.

My table:
Out of 10 people total, there is 1 reg that understands the game, and from what I can tell early on, there are 2 non-regs that do as well. As we are getting set up, 2 non-regs request the hand ranking card out of my deck, lol. Both of them are at my table. For some reason after 2 years of home games, no one realizes that I actually play quite a bit and play online. Even when we use my chip set and a deck from Stars or FTP.

So to my left is a nitty weak-tight non-reg that would actually do well at 25NL imo. Next is one of the donks (Donk #1) that requested the hand rankings, he has apparently played 1 time. Next is the other hand ranking donk (Donk #2) that has absolutely no clue. Last to my right is the host, a tilt-prone reg.

Tilty reg, weak-tight nit and myself take on dealer duties obviously.

We try to explain the check/fold/call/bet/raise situations but Donk #1 absolutely can not grasp the fact that he can check and starts firing random sized bets into the pot with anything whenever it’s checked to him. Not so surprisingly this actually works out for him. Plus he starts to river weird 2 pairs in large pots where most of his money went in as a 4:1 dog. Donk #2 continues to call down with 9 high until he runs out of chips.

Donk #1 manages to get the host on tilt fairly easily after A9o no pair no draw rivers an Ace vs host’s QQ.

Very next hand, I pick up KK after running card dead for the first 45 minutes and generally avoiding the gong show of bottom pair call downs.

Homegame – Blinds 10/20
Donk #1 UTG: 1700
Donk #2 CO: 400
Host BTN: 700
HeroSB: 900
Nit BB: 1300

Hero is dealt KK
Preflop: Donk #1 raises to 40, 1 fold, Host shoves 700 all-in, Hero calls 700, 1 fold, Donk #1 folds

Host shows QQ and gets up to go get money for a rebuy before flop is even dealt

A few hands later after Donk #2 has busted out with J high, saying “This game is all luck, this happens every time I play.”:

Homegame – Blinds 20/40
Donk #1 BB: 2100
Host CO: 1000
Hero BTN: 1600
Nit SB: 1300

Hero is dealt Ad 8c
Preflop: 1 fold, Hero raises to 100, 1 fold, Donk #1 calls 60

Flop: As 8s 4s (220)
Donk #1 bets 100, Hero raises to 350, Donk #1 calls 250

Turn: 4d (920)
Donk #1 bets 100, Hero shoves 1150 all-in, Donk #1 calls

River: Tc (3220)

Donk #1 shows AJo, no spade

I busted him a few hands later TT > 99 AIPF and we went to the final table. Someone found a chiprack to help me carry all my chips to the other table. I laughed but said ty.

to be continued in Part 2...

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Back to spewboxing

It's kind of funny how I mention I'm not spewing and then go and do exactly that. I've been running kind of card dead and getting drawn out on a lot the past couple of days. Add the fact that I really haven't had too many opportunities to stack people either with a flop set of 4%.

So I ended up donking off 3 buyins at 100NL yesterday on stupid bluffs and tilt. Running 3 buyins below equity didn't help either. Then I sat out and sat there for about 15 minutes trying to figure out what was going on. I decided that for some reason or another I had gotten back into spew mode and needed something to keep me in line.

So obviously move up to where they respect my raises ldo. That wasn't my reasoning but I did go and sit at 6 200NL tables for about 1/2 an hour to force myself back into playing solid, spew free poker. Guys like threads13 who I was sitting with will put you back in your place pretty quick if you get out of line. I managed to survive the 1/2 hour for a profit of $0.04. =)

So tonight my goal is going to be a solid 2 hours of spew-free poker.

And this game is incredibly addicting. And oddly relaxing. I think it's the music...

Play Games at AddictingGames

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Continuing to play well

I've been playing pretty decently for the past few weeks now without any major downswings, almost all of it at 50NL and 100NL. I'm keeping my sessions a lot shorter which helps since I've noticed I tend to plateu after about an hour at which point the downswing is inevitable.

Sometimes I'll just close the client, and other times I'll take a 5 minute break and fire up new tables. I think one of my biggest problems is leaving tables once they became unprofitable with too many regs and/or shortstackers. So since I suck at table selection while playing, I just automatically uncheck my blinds on all tables regardless of whether the table is good to stay at or not after an hour. I'm thinking about adding a 2nd monitor where I can keep the lobby open at all times to spot good tables to possibly fix this leak of mine.

And I've been in the non-spew state of mind which plagued me a bit during February and December. I finally thought, "You know what? It's not personal when they 3bet you. It's not personal when they float you. I do it to other people not because I'm trying to tilt them. It's all just strat." And that seems to have gotten me out of the tilty-spewy mode that I sometimes find myself in. Filter your databases to see how profitable just calling river bets and raises is. Then filter to see how profitable calling turn raises is. It's quite an eye opener.

And on a political note, I found this interview quite interesting: