« Kevin Ngo

Poker Sess.25 - $5K Dance

19 May 2015

Achievement unlocked! $5000 profit logged since playing live poker. A grindy +$130 session put me over the line as I controlled a four-handed table. Now I look at getting to $10K, and hopefully reaching there within half a year. I’m playing nightly after work, and it’s healthy; it keeps me from burning out, and it gives me a reason to code something I need. So here comes another session of blogging. The only reason why I’m writing this post now and not playing is there weren’t enough runners at 10pm at the club tonight.

Let me take a second to do a little dance: I’ve played 95 poker sessions (a tournament or cash game sitting), made $15K revenue with $10K investment, totaling out to $5K.

Poker Passion

Why do I enjoy sitting at a table of mostly guys that smell like cigarettes passing around cards and chips? I love:

It’s playing a video game except being able to make serious money. You start at level 1 at the small tables, and you strengthen your way up. And if you’re going to have fun with something, have an activity to relax with, study something you love, why not bring home some cash while you’re at it?

Cash Games vs. Tournaments

I am seriously running under EV after busting deep in a $50K tournament getting sucked out on with Aces, I took the hit and kept on trucking through a long break-even period.

Cash games have been much kinder on my soul. I don’t have to go through with playing perfect for hours at a time to have it all go to waste on 50/50 race. Good decisions pay off immediately in cash games.

Although, I think my tournament game is better than my cash game, not having all that variance is a load off. I’m confident in my preflop game, honing that through tournaments, and my postflop game is getting better as I make strides on hand-reading and putting people on ranges.

+$130 Session - Four-Handed

This was what I thought would be a big night. It was Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Finals, Warriors vs. Rockets. Everyone would be at the club watching, drinking, playing. The game would be soft like a drink, and I’m drinking Pepsi. When I arrived, there were already four people waiting so I had to wait about an hour for a seat.

A table started up with about 5-6 players, eventually dwindling to 4. I chose my seat, wanting position on whom I thought would be the tougher opponent. I went off of looks, but ultimately choosing an unideal seat. I ended up having position on someone I really didn’t need it on, and was out-of-position against two villains I would be faring off with all session. A couple of old dudes, one in a cowboy hat.

Defending Against a Donk-Bettor

We played four-handed for about an hour. I went down -$110. I was playing aggressively seeing how everyone was passive. I raised A7s on the button, cowboy villain calls. He had the propensity to donk bet almost every pot, so I was trying to figure how to defend against it. He donk bet a flop where I had a backdoor flush, an over, and position, so I called. Turn came an Ace. He led out, and I raised wanting to get value from the possible straight draw. He called. Then he donk-led out big on the river. I didn’t have enough information, he could have easily had two-pair, a bigger Ace, or he could have been bluffing a busted straight. So I folded.

Though I got involved with him in a later hand, but this time I was better armed with information. I raised on the button with 76o, he called. I hit top pair on the flop, and he donk-bet. I planned to check-call three streets. So I called the flop, and his subsequent turn bet. River gave me two-pair, but put our a 4-card straight. He made a large river bet. I though for a while, and deduced that it was improbable he could have made a straight given the action, and possibly he was value-betting an overpair or like A7. So I nutted up and made the call. He wasn’t going to get me twice. He showed the bluff, and I took down the pot.

Pot Control Line with TPTK

Weak-tight player on my right limps. I raise with AQo. He calls. Flop comes Qxx, two-tone. I cbet, he calls. Turn completes the flush. So here I had the decision whether to barrel. This is where I take a strong pot control line. If I barrel, I often fold out weaker hands especially with the flush out there, and mostly flushes call. So I check back with the intent to call a river bet or make a river bet. Villain leads out seeing I showed apparent weakness on the turn, and I call. Villain shows KQ, I take the pot.

Trust the Beluga Theorem

There’s a theorem in poker called the Beluga Theorem which started in the forums. When faced with a raise on the turn, strongly re-consider one-pair hands. Well, I should have listened. I checked the BB with 92, making top-pair. I bet out the flop and turn, getting raised on the turn. There was a possible straight draw out there (789) he held a Ten and was semi-bluffing. But he was a passive calling station type. I incorrectly called with a one-pair hand. The river put out the straight, which saved me from calling another river bet as he showed town 97 for the two-pair.