Finding hero calls in splashy high variance games

The last few sessions I played I have found myself in some very splashy games. A lot of hours were put in to try and collect some of those chips that were getting passed around. These games were the type of games that you dream of and hope to find yourself in. Everyone was chatting and enjoying the game. A few players were drunk, and people were just tossing in chips. The problem with these kinds of games is that the variance can be high. Pots frequently get over $60 – $90 preflop and you must look for spots with thin value to get paid.

The first game was a late-night session. After hanging out with some friends playing some $4-$8 Omaha 8/b I decided to check Bravo and see what other poker rooms were like. I see that Caesars still had 6 tables going at 3 AM and decide to go check it out. When I arrived, I was seated right away but the game I was in just seemed like it was a boring game. The players at the table seemed tight and I it did not look like there were a lot of chips moving around. Since it was late, I saw myself losing interest in the game very quickly. I noticed a few tables over there was a table that had a lot of laughing and from what I could see it looked like there were some big stacks of chips as well. I decided to request a table change to join the game that appeared to be a lot of fun. As soon as I sit down, I recognize a couple of players and see that the big stacks are both drunk and tourists. This should be a good game and I soon find out that it is. These players are making raises pre-flop to $20 -$30 but some of the hands they are winning. So, I make a mental note that they are not completely playing air all the time. One player I notice is making big bets on the flop and then giving up.

I settle in for what I think will turn out to be a long session. This is the kind of game that I am not leaving until they leave. I want as many chips as I can collect. As I start to get some reads and figure out the table, I start to mix it up. There were a couple of interesting hands but unfortunately, they were not with the splashy players. The first interesting hand I find myself in the cutoff with Jack -Ten off suit. I make a pre-flop raise to $15 and the big blind is the only player to call me. He is new to the table, and I don’t really have a read on him when we play this hand. The flop comes Jack, Eight, Six and our opponent checks to me. I make a continuation bet of $10 and he calls. The turn is a brick, and he checks again. I think about it for a second before making another bet, this time for $30. Our opponent thinks about it for a second and jams. I go into the tank hard and think through the hand. Does he jam with a set? I don’t think so, he most likely calls me and jams river. Maybe he even checks jam on the river hoping to get max value from me. He can’t have a straight and I block some of his hands that might be drawing to the straight. I decide to call… The river bricks out and I table my hand. We are good and we scoop the pot!

The next day I meet up with my friend who is in town visiting and we decide to go play poker at another casino with some other mutual friends we have that also happen to live in Las Vegas. For some reason I had never played poker in a cash game at South Point. My friend also wanted to join their rewards club and run up some points to get a promotion that they had. The rest of us went to go play poker while he ran up his reward points for the promotion. Again, I was seated at a table quickly but this time I just asked for a table change so that I could join my friends at the table they were playing at. The first table was okay, but I ended up losing some money before I was moved to the other table. I was involved in a hand quickly before I was able to get any good reads on the players. After the hand I realized that there a couple of splashy players at the table. They were playing a lot of hands and making big bets. The difference between this table and the table from the night before was that these players were not drunk and all around the table in general seemed to be a little more knowledgeable about how to play poker.

The hand I found myself in happened maybe the first or second hand that I was dealt in. There was a limper from early position and then it folded around to me in the cut off and I look down at Ten Nine off suit. I raise it to $15 and the action folds back around to the player who limped in, he calls. Flop comes Ten Eight Three and our opponent checks to us. I make a continuation bet of $10 and he looks at me and asks to see my chips, I only had about $225 left behind. He makes a small raise and I call. The turn is another three and there are no flush draws on the board. Our opponent bets $200 into a pot of $80… I go into the tank hard and really go through what I could be facing here. The thing here is that I don’t think his bet makes much sense if he wants me to get more money from me. I showed a willingness to call his flop bet. He could have pocket threes since he limped called preflop, but I doubt it. Its extremely unlikely that he has a pocket pair of tens and I also doubt that he has pocket eights. I don’t think he would try to make this move with a straight draw. The more I thought about it the more it just seemed like he was trying to bet me off the hand. I stack up my chips and realize that I have $210 as I am thinking about what to do. I conclude that he either has pocket threes and just hit quads but more likely has nothing and is just trying to buy the pot. I go all in knowing that he is never folding to another $10. The river card changes nothing, and I table my hand. Our opponent looks over at what I have and has a look of shock and disgust on his face as he annoyingly mucks his cards.

When you find yourself in a splashy game with high variance you must really think through the hands and find your hero calls. Its these thin spots where you can find max value and people may overplay their hand. Even experienced players can overplay and make big bets when they probably should not be. Just remember that if you lose, its just part of the game.

Bizzy’s 2022 Gains: -$2482.30

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