Getting Full Value

A quick recap of my last two months since I have not been blogging at all: June was horrific for my already small bankroll.  I played approximately 40 hours of NLHE and lost approximately $800, bypassing January as my worst month this year.  I have been fortunate enough to notch a win in all other months of the year, so I’m still in the black.  Since I had to bypass my Vegas WSOP trip this year, there’s a good chance I will actually not blow my bankroll this year.

July was a much smaller sample size; I only played 15 hours but managed to win around $650, my biggest win rate for the year at about $43/hour.  For the year I am running at a $13.55/hour over 162 hours (a very small sample size).  I definitely hit some major beats in June with my whole stack in the middle, so I’m not as concerned about that month as I could be, but that just goes to show what a high variance game poker can be.

I have a goal to hit a $20/hour win rate for the year after talking to a couple of friends that are doing much better than that here in Michigan and part of my strategy to hit that goal is to get full value when I get big hands.  Take the following two hands from a session at Mavericks in Port Huron as examples of where I am looking to improve.

In the first hand I am in the highjack position with 9c7c and have about $300.  There is one limper in front of me with about $150, and I raise to $11.  The cut-off calls with about $65 behind.  Everyone folds except the limper, and we go to the flop three handed.

The flop is 9h-7d-3d.  Beautiful.  Limper checks, and I continuation bet $25 into a pot of about $36. The cut-off just calls, leaving him about $40 behind.  Limper folds.  The turn is a 9 of diamonds, bringing the flush and giving me a full house.  I put the caller on a diamond draw or top pair (maybe A9 or T9), so there’s no way he’s folding $40 with $86 in the pot.  I bet $40, and he quickly folds.  He tells me later he had a pair of sevens.  Okay, so I didn’t count on how bad this player really was.  I didn’t hate my play, but I wondered if I had checked if he would have tried to buy the pot by shoving.  I also wonder if I should have checked against any player on such a board since there are really no scare cards that could be coming.  My bet to put him all-in doesn’t seem so menacing on the river after I check the turn even if he checks behind.

The next example I am UTG+1 (one to the left of under the gun).  I have about $350 at this point and I open to $7 with pocket deuces both red.  I get 5 callers, probably because I have been opening liberally at a table that I found easy to read. 

The flop is As-8s-8c.  I decide that if I continuation bet I only get called by a hand that beats me, so I check when checked to me, and everyone checks around.  The turn is the 2c, and SB bets $15 into the $42 pot.  BB folds, and I decide to just call since I’m pretty sure a raise would scare anyone that didn’t have an eight out of the pot.  To my discontent, no one else calls or raises.  River is a Qd, and the SB checks this time.  This player is probably the second best player at the table and reads boards competently.  His play is inconsistent though.  He has some leaks like betting too small or overplaying drawing hands like AK.  I decide to bet $25 into a pot of $72 but only $10 more than his turn bet.  He thinks for a long time and says, “I’m going to pay you off,” and throws his chips in the pot.  He mucks when he sees my boat, so I didn’t get to see how strong a hand he had.  I figured either an ace or an eight.  He probably did not have AQ, although he did play tighter than everyone else at the table.

Again, I wonder if I could have bet more on the river, or if there was another line where I could have made more money.  I was happy with the pot I took down, but I have a feeling that he may have called a bigger bet on the river.  I don’t think a hand that beats my boat checks the river, so I’m very sure that I am ahead of his whole range when I bet.  I didn’t even bet half the pot and that is probably a mistake on my part.  Could I make it look like a missed flush draw if I bet pot or more?  I don’t think he has an eight too often here since he is a tight player, and I didn’t think he would call a big bet with just an ace.

What do you think?  Please comment here if you have any thoughts on whether I could have won more on these hands or not.  What about your goals for the year?  Share them with me in this thread.

About Frank Panama

Frank Panama is the host of the Michigan Poker Monster podcast, a podcast about Michigan poker. He lives in Saint Clair County, Michigan, and loves to play and talk about poker.
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