May 20, 2010

When I am playing my C-game I...

Following on from my previous post about when I am playing my A game, I have decided to do a post which summarizes the errors I habitually make, both technically and psychologically, when I am playing my C game.

The reason I want to do this is because if I can zone in on repeated areas of weakness, I can eliminate them more effieciently and avoid similar spots in the future.

The goal of these posts is for myself to come to an understanding of the state of my mind when I am playing both my A game and C game and be able to recognise when I should play longer or stop playing for the day entirely. This will = more €€€€€€€’s won when I’m playing well and more €€€€€€’s saved when I’m playing badly.

When I am playing my C-Game I…

1. Overplay TPGK deep

Prima Network $100.00 No Limit Hold’em – 4 players
The Official Hand History Converter

SB: $307.56
BB: $104.09
Hero (CO): $191.51
BTN: $168.61

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is CO with A Heart K Heart
Hero raises to $4, BTN calls $4, 2 folds

Flop: ($9.50) 7 Spade 5 Club A Club (2 players)
Hero bets $8.50, BTN raises to $22, Hero raises to $60.50, BTN raises to $164.61, Hero calls $104.11

Turn: ($338.72) J Diamond (2 players)

River: ($338.72) J Heart (2 players)

Final Pot: $338.72
Hero mucks A Heart K Heart
BTN shows 5 Spade 5 Heart
BTN wins $335.72
(Rake: $3.00)

Here I open AKs UTG and an aggressive reg calls. I hit a nice flop and cbet big to get value from worse Aces and flush draws as well as hands like 88-JJ. I get raised, and rather than think of his likely raising range (sets, big combo draws, pure bluffs) I think of the absolute value of my hand TPTP and 3bet the flop. This is bad for a number of reasons. First of all we are deep, so he can still call with his combo draws profitably. His weaker aces will fold here, as will his pure bluffs. The only part of his range he can continue with here are combo draws, flush draws and sets. Against this range deep I am doing terrible. A better play would be to flat the raise and see the turn to make a decision there. This would keep in his pure bluffs, his weaker aces and flush draws and I can evaluate what to do on the turn depending upon what falls. When 4-bets the flop I feel like I have to call it off, but in all honesty his range now can only be sets and huge combo draws like 68s89s64s, and against this range I am crushed. Especially given the fact that I am playing relatively tight and my range is essentially face up to him as AK+. 100BB deep this is a pretty standard AI on the flop but 165BB deep this is spew.

2. Overplay TPGK on dry board + Level myself vs reg

Prima Network $100.00 No Limit Hold’em – 6 players
The Official Hand History Converter

BB: $179.04
UTG: $112.52
MP: $189.50
Hero (CO): $120.65
BTN: $122.86
SB: $223.80

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is CO with K Diamond T Spade
2 folds, Hero raises to $3, BTN calls $3, 2 folds

Flop: ($7.50) 5 Spade T Heart 5 Club (2 players)
Hero bets $6.00, BTN calls $6

Turn: ($19.50) 6 Diamond (2 players)
Hero bets $15.00, BTN raises to $37, Hero raises to $111.65, BTN calls $74.65

River: ($242.80) 6 Heart (2 players)

Final Pot: $242.80
Hero shows K Diamond T Spade
BTN shows 7 Diamond 5 Diamond
BTN wins $239.80
(Rake: $3.00)

Honestly – this hand is painful for me to watch. Tight reg flats IP and calls my large cbet. Here I should slow down and c/f and at best c/call. His range is AT-JT, 5x and JJ+, random floats like KQ and AJ+ are still possible, but overall his range is strong. I bet the turn, which I don’t hate as I protect my hand from his floats and get value from JT and QT, but when he raises he I am ALWAYS beat by JJ+ 5x and even ATo. Instead I level myself into thinking he is bluffing and shove. Even this makes no sense. Because if I think he is bluffing I should just call and see the river to evaluate. Shoving folds out all his bluffs, and even folds out hands like JT, T9 and QT which could possibly be bluffing the turn. Instead I skew his range to hands that only have me beat when I am called. Bad bad bad.

3. Too Happy to Get in Aces Up on Monotone board

Prima Network $100.00 No Limit Hold’em – 4 players
The Official Hand History Converter

SB: $130.67
BB: $78.70
CO: $179.24
Hero (BTN): $118.31

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is BTN with T Club A Club
CO raises to $4, Hero calls $4, 2 folds

Flop: ($9.50) T Spade 9 Spade A Spade (2 players)
CO bets $7.00, Hero raises to $20, CO raises to $175.24, Hero calls $94.31 all in

Turn: ($238.12) 3 Diamond (2 players – 1 is all in)

River: ($238.12) 8 Spade (2 players – 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $238.12
CO shows 7 Spade 5 Spade
Hero mucks T Club A Club
CO wins $174.19
CO wins $60.93
(Rake: $3.00)

At first I dismissed this as a cooler. However, reviewing this hand I realize that this spot is way way closer than I originally thought. I flop Aces Up vs an UTG raiser. Lets think about his range for getting it in here. He can have any AK, AQ with a spade, set of 9’s and flopped flushes and thats about it. I’m not doing super great against anything but AK no spade. Here I should flat and evaluate on the turn. Instead I raise and only skew his range to hands that still have great equity against me, instead of keeping in hands like AJhh-AQdd etc which I have crushed and hands like QJ JK KQ with one spade.

4. Don’t let go of big hands dispite what villain and board texture are telling me.

Prima Network $100.00 No Limit Hold’em – 6 players
The Official Hand History Converter

UTG: $179.50
MP: $105.13
CO: $142.75
Hero (BTN): $103.08
SB: $108.50
BB: $31.99

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is BTN with Q Diamond Q Spade
3 folds, Hero raises to $3, SB raises to $9, 1 fold, Hero raises to $24, SB calls $15

Flop: ($49.00) K Spade 3 Spade J Spade (2 players)
SB bets $24.00, Hero calls $24

Turn: ($97.00) 5 Diamond (2 players)
SB bets $60.00, Hero calls $55.08 all in

River: ($207.16) K Club (2 players – 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $207.16
Hero mucks Q Diamond Q Spade
SB shows A Spade A Diamond
SB wins $199.24
SB wins $4.92
(Rake: $3.00)

I open the button and a reg who 3bets 4.4% overall and 3bets 9% in the SB raises. Instead of flatting and keeping in his worse range, I 4bet and then scew his range to 5bet shoves with TT+ and AQs+ or him flatting with monsters like KK AKs and AA. I dont think he flat calls 4bets OOP with anything less. The flop comes out K3J monotone and he donks. There is no hand he is pure bluffing here. At best he has AQo with Ace of spades. I level myself and start to think he could have the AK no heart, and decide that because I can hit a BDFD I call. However, its almost always a fold. If I call I have put in 50% of my stack and I will feel committed on most turns and think I have the right price to call on most turns. He shoves and I should fold, but crying call. What I should have done in this hand is flat his 3bet pre, call his flop Cbet and fold to a turn bet. I kept on picturing bottom ranges instead of thinking about his entire range. Poor play gets punished and I deservedly lose the pot to AA with the Ace of spade.

5. Give villain too good a price to draw and big IO when I dont know where I am in the hand

Prima Network $100.00 No Limit Hold’em – 6 players
The Official Hand History Converter

BTN: $257.05
SB: $103.05
Hero (BB): $101.00
UTG: $80.25
MP: $40.50
CO: $114.15

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is BB with A Club J Diamond
1 fold, MP calls $1, 1 fold, BTN raises to $4, 1 fold, Hero raises to $10, 1 fold, BTN calls $6

Flop: ($21.50) 3 Diamond 7 Spade 4 Heart (2 players)
Hero checks, BTN checks

Turn: ($21.50) J Heart (2 players)
Hero bets $10.50, BTN calls $10.50

River: ($42.50) 5 Club (2 players)
Hero checks, BTN bets $236.55, Hero calls $80.50 all in

Final Pot: $203.50
BTN shows 6 Diamond 8 Club
Hero mucks A Club J Diamond
BTN wins $42.45
BTN wins $157.05
(Rake: $4.00)

Villain is a loose aggressive player who has been giving me trouble OOP. I think mistake number 1 is 3betting AJo here. I am ahead of his range here but I don’t want to make the pot big when I have a hard time getting it in with him OOP when I am ahead. I should call and aim to keep the pot small. When I 3bet and he calls I know he has a wide range but it doesnt help me much as I can only really be happy on an AXX or JXX board. He checks back the flop and I hit my J on the turn. I feel like I am ahead so I know I need to bet, the low raggy board hits a part of his range and the 2 flush turn will keep him in with wider hands. I should bet closer to pot here. Instead I bet 1/2 pot which when he calls doesnt give me any more information about the strength of his hand as he can have any J, any flush draw, and gutshot and so I need to charge all these hands way more. He calls the bet and now I dont like to bet fold so I check. Hoping he checks back. He shoves and I level myself into calling, again picturing bottom ranges like missed flush draws and worse Jx hands. However, upon reflection he would not turn Jx into a bluff here as he has showdown value and although he will bluff with missed flush draw into a bluff, its unlikely he has the will to jam it, he would go for a smaller bet to save money when he is called. Too many hands like 35 45, 67, 57 63 have made two pairs and straights here. It should be a check fold. Writing this out has made me realize that a common theme here is levelling myself.

6. calling down too light in obvious installment plan spots

Prima Network $100.00 No Limit Hold’em – 6 players
The Official Hand History Converter

BB: $188.40
UTG: $100.00
MP: $137.43
Hero (CO): $100.00
BTN: $220.86
SB: $35.55

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is CO with J Heart Q Heart
2 folds, Hero raises to $3, 2 folds, BB raises to $10.50, Hero calls $7.50

Flop: ($21.50) 9 Club 6 Spade J Club (2 players)
BB bets $15.00, Hero calls $15

Turn: ($51.50) 6 Heart (2 players)
BB bets $32.00, Hero calls $32

River: ($115.50) 2 Heart (2 players)
BB bets $43.00, Hero calls $42.50 all in

Final Pot: $200.50
BB shows Q Spade Q Club
Hero mucks J Heart Q Heart
BB wins $197.00
BB wins $0.50
(Rake: $3.00)

I open in CO with QJs and BB tight reg 3bets 7%. I call. Flop is J high and he cbets, I call. So far the hand has played out standard. He can have AQ+ here aswell as TT, I have blockers for QQ and I can be ahead a good portion of the time. The turn here is where I need to decide what I am going to do with the hand. He knows I have a strong hand because I have called his 3bet and called his cbet. At this point he will shut down with AJo+ and TT and only continue with QQ+ and ATcc+. Against this range QJhh is doing terrible. Considering stack sizes one more bet in this pot is effectively a committing bet, so when he bets this turn I have to fold. instead again I picture bottom ranges and ingnore the vast majority of his range and call. When he shoves river I know I am beat a majority of the time but crying call anyway and self talk myself into calling as the 2o is a blank. Even though I only have to be right around 1/5 of the time its pointless when your villain is NEVER bluffing in this spot. I should fold here and save my €’s for another hand. Better yet I should have folded the turn because when he bets its clear that villain has me on the installment plan. Sigh..

7. Refusing to let go of big flopped made hands dispite when the turn card is terrible.

Prima Network $100.00 No Limit Hold’em – 6 players
The Official Hand History Converter

Hero (UTG): $101.31
MP: $263.46
CO: $111.70
BTN: $100.00
SB: $108.00
BB: $94.85

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is UTG with K Diamond Q Heart
Hero raises to $4, 1 fold, CO calls $4, 3 folds

Flop: ($9.50) Q Spade K Spade 9 Heart (2 players)
Hero bets $7.00, CO calls $7

Turn: ($23.50) A Club (2 players)
Hero bets $15.00, CO raises to $30, Hero calls $15

River: ($83.50) 5 Spade (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $42.00, Hero calls $42

Final Pot: $167.50
Hero mucks K Diamond Q Heart
CO shows 9 Spade A Spade
CO wins $164.50
(Rake: $3.00)

I open KQ UTG and a 47/8 calls. I flop toptwo and cbet he calls. Lets think about his range here. He can have any flush draw, hands like KJ, QJ, AJ, QT, JT, Q9, K9, A9, AT. The turn is an Ace and I bet again for protection and value. He min raises. Now lets think about his range. As a loose passive player, his raising range becomes MUCH stronger here. Hands like 99, A9, Ax spades, JT are the ONLY hands he raises here. I am crushed vs this range but then again the call is not terrible as I have Full house outs which are clean and Ax spades I still beat. I call and the 5 spade drops. I should be check folding here 100% of the time hoping it goes check check. I check and he bets 1/2 pot, I again make the mistake of working out my pot odds, but its only worth doing if your opponent can EVER be bluffing here. You can be getting 10/1 on a call but if you are up against a range where you have 0% equity its never worth even considering your price.

8. An ahhha moment

Watching SSNL disease this last week I realized I have been obsessing with “my big move up to 100nl”, making the outcome of the game matter too much emotionally and hence getting into silly dynamics with regs and always picturing bottom ranges, WISHING they have bottom ranges instead of working through the hand logically like I would @ 50NL. The big ah-ha moment I had was when terp said " You are NOT a 50NL/100NL/200NL player, you are a POKER PLAYER." The thing that stuck out to me about that was it made me realize what a poker player is. It isn’t a video game, where you have “levels” to complete. It’s about making correct decisions given the info you have on the villain, their range, the board and your perceived range. 5NL or 50NL or 5000NL this is the same game. you want to play against players you can read better than they can read you, and you want to decieve players who cant decieve you as well as you can decieve them. This is poker, and the money involved should not change it when moving up.

To summarize:

When I am playing my C game I..

  • Overplay hands OOP
  • Overplay hands deep
  • Level myself into making incorrect plays
  • Picture villains Bottom Ranges, instead of see whole range in context
  • Find it hard to fold big hands dispite bad board texture and villains actions
  • Give villains too good a price when I’m not sure about their range

Tomorrow I will review these last two posts and come up with a coherent strategy for the rest of the year.


Posted By Acombfosho at 11:14 AM


Tags: when I play my C game


R0ut3 66 posted on May 21, 2010 at 22:16 PM


As I read this I wasn't sure if your analysis was correct on every hand because of my lack of knowledge of the game.
The one thing that I kept thinking while reading every hand was that this is exiting to read.

I stopped reading the progression of each hand and tried to figure out what the player had before I would continue. I also wanted to see what conclusions I would draw verses what you had concluded.

This made reading your post even more exiting!

I think this post and a variation of this post would benefit a lot of players in the forums.

The varied post would include the HEM stats of you and the villain so people would understand the dynamics of the table.
I would leave out the winner of the hand and the villains cards until a latter date and inform all posters that the end results will be posted on XYZ date.

Post hands that you played poorly and won and hands that you lost.

I would encourage readers not to read others posters thoughts of the hand until they have posted there thoughts.

I really enjoyed your analysis of your hand


Acombfosho posted on May 23, 2010 at 08:42 AM


thanks, good luck in your pkr jounrney

MindGuru posted on May 24, 2010 at 00:42 AM


Great post again, enjoy your in dpeth thought patterns when analysing your play!!
Keep moving forward everyday and becoming the best Poker Player you can be.
Easier now Im sure you are aware of what that actually means:)

Int20h posted on August 10, 2010 at 10:02 AM


Hey Acombfosho,

this is a great post. Thanks for being so open in sharing your mistakes. This is truly helpful for me as a player as your experiences and explanations help me grow as player.

I only have one sugestion. I would post your thought process first and the results after. That way it also forces the reader to stop for a bit and think the hand.

Once again, thank you so much for such a great post.

Kind regards.


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