Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Different types of successes in poker

I've been thinking about one of the answers I gave in my last post. I said that not everyone can succeed in poker. I believe this is true in general but I may have taken too much of a pessimistic tone. When I said some can not succeed in poker, I meant as in playing poker as the only source of income and living a middle class or better lifestyle. Everyone has different goals in whatever they are attempting. Some people can work their normal jobs and play poker on the side and supplement their income, and this would be considered success in their eyes. Even if one was just breaking even over the long run after being a losing player for years, that would be a success. There are lots of online guys that do break even but make enough from the rakeback or vpps to live comfortably and in their eyes probably think they are successful. So whatever your goals in poker may be, go for it, and know that success isn't primarily determined by how much you end up making, but by what you think determines whether you achieved your goals or not (and not what the public thinks...sounds like a metaphor about anything in life as well).

Speaking of success, I thought I'd post a hand I played recently and give my thoughts. Notice I "successfully" managed to lose the minimum whereas most lose their stacks....

No-Limit Hold'em, $10.00 BB (6 handed) - Hold'em Manager Converter Tool from

Hero (CO) ($1146)
Button ($786.95)
SB ($1156.50)
BB ($1000)
UTG ($1137)
MP ($1299)

Preflop: Hero is CO with K, A
2 folds, Hero bets $25, 1 fold, SB calls $20, 1 fold

Flop: ($60) A, 7, 8 (2 players)
SB checks, Hero bets $40, SB raises $111.50, Hero calls $71.50

Turn: ($283) 4 (2 players)
SB checks, Hero bets $145, SB calls $145

River: ($573) 8 (2 players)
SB checks, Hero checks

Total pot: $573

SB had 4, 4 (full house, fours over eights).
Hero had K, A (flush, Ace high).
Outcome: SB won $570

Preflop and flop are standard (for me anyways, not in love w/ villain's flop chkr but don't hate it). Turn is ok but I could've bet slightly more. Riv is where I pwned villain and played it better than most. This is where good hand reading skills differentiate players.

On the flop, villian's chkraising range inc. all flushes, 2prs and sets, and air (44 falls into air here, as I'm sure he was just bluff raising me w/ his hand). When he c/c's turn, I can reduce his range to flushes, 2prs and sets only. Also because I bet the turn here, if I follow through w/ another river bet, villain will probably fold most of the smaller flushes. I'm guessing he'll fold the 6 of clubs and worse, and possibly the T and J of clubs as well. He'll fold the 2 pair hands that did not improve to a full house. So that basically leaves the Q of clubs and full houses that that will not fold the river. There is a chance he folds the Q of clubs as well after seeing me fire 2 barrels on a 4 flush board. So whenever you bet, you should always ask yourself what your bet is trying to accomplish. Here I would be betting the river for value, but I'm not sure there are worse hands except the Q of clubs calling and even that as noted is not for sure. Since his line looks like a flush or a full house now, w/ only the 2nd nut flush that can call profitably (maybe), it's best for me to check it back at the river. Granted vs some villains, a bet is best at the riv but I thought this particular villain wouldn't call me w/ worse than my hand and that made it easier to check back the riv.

I will add that I had a feel or sense that he had 2 pair or a set going into the river that made me check back the riv quickly (I guess this is from experience). Regarding villain's play, I think it was ok because most would bet in my spot (and probably call the riv shove then post it on a poker forum on thoughts about the hand) but he is at the mercy of a great player like me :) .


  1. would reraising on the flop be terrible? top pair with nut flush draw... i guess it's different when the flop is 3 clubs vs 2 clubs and drawing to the nut flush...

    so let me ask you this, if your hand were ak of clubs and the flop came out 2 clubs with an ace, and he cr's would you be reraising?

  2. I think for the most part reraising flop is weak and probably fundamentally flawed. You will be basically folding out all worse hands and only get played back by better hands (usually). Plus I have position and I don't want to negate it's advantage by playing all in on the flop. When villain chkr's flop, he will sometimes follow through w/ a turn bet and that would be a better time to shove if I wanted to play for stacks than reraising the flop. This way you pick up an additional bet if villain was overplaying his worse hand.

    There could be instances when you want to reraise the flop and just get it all in. Usually this involves vs players that spew a lot and willing to get it in light on the flop, eg AJ w/ J of clubs, but for the most part calling the reraise and evaluating turn in position is best way to go.

    To answer your 2nd question, it depends but I'd probably play it like the hand illustrated above. Again I'd want to play as many streets in position as possible. It hurts opponents that have to play streets out of position constantly. If I had a read/sense that villain had a drawing hand himself and was willing to stack off on flop, then obv. I'd want to get stacks in on flop. In today's games, w/ the level of aggression that is being taught, I think calling a flop raise then shoving turn when villain fires turn is best.

  3. I like your thoughts on success in poker. Too often we get too caught up in the $$$ and tilted by the variance, and we need to remember that there are different measures of success. I just posted a similar thought on my blog, inspired by Ed Miller's recent post on his blog. Have you read it?

  4. I agree AW. I did read your blog and Ed Miller's post as well and agree w/ everything you guys have to say. You measure success on your benchmark, not others'. Also, success in poker can just be playing and stimulating your mind. It's up to each individual what he wants to achieve, and it doesn't have to be a monetary thing.

  5. Probably a stupid question, but why wouldn't you raise preflop with the cards you have, no raises in front, and being in late position? Was it your reads on villain? Or are you just less aggressive than that?

  6. I did open raise it preflop. The bb is $10 and I made it $25.

  7. Sorry, for some reason I didn't see that line :)