Following the yellow brick road

I have spent the last two months grinding $1/$3 cash games at the Caesars Poker room. When I first started to play live games, there was a lot of thought that went into picking where I would continue to go grind cash games. I went around to a few different poker rooms, but eventually I would end up going back to Caesars. I finally made the decision to just stick to one room. My logic was that one room was like one site, if I kept bouncing around from room to room it would be a little difficult for me to get an idea of what my stats were. If I kept going to one room and played through the variance then I could start to get an idea of what it was like to play against certain players, get a feel for them, and adjust. All the while, I met people and maintained a 17% ROI. I feel like it worked out for me, and I learned a lot about how my poker game is evolving.

There were many late nights. So many people! Drunk people, maniac gamblers, nits, and friends. I had some bad nights where I had to book a loss and some great nights where I had the biggest chip stack at the table. Some nights, poker felt like the easiest game to play and it seemed like I could not miss a flop if I even tried. There was even a night where I joined in on some birthday shots with the table. We were all laughing and having a good time. Through it all, I paid attention to what I observed and took many notes, both mental and physical notes.

On one of my sessions I met a player from out of town. She frequently travels to Las Vegas and plays a lot of poker. The first time I had met her was on a night I was having a bad session. I could not get anything going and it just seemed like it did not matter what kind of bet I made. It would not be the last time that I played with this player. The more we played together, the more I learned about her play style. She was extremely friendly with all the staff and seemed to know everyone. I do not recall her raising very often unless she had a premium hand. Most of the time when she did have a hand, she would bet it.

About a month had passed since the last time we met. During this session I had been running good! I had flopped quad sevens and by the time she sat down to the table I had ran up a stack to a little over $800. We said hello and exchanged some small talk. She jokingly asked me if I had talked about her in my blog yet and I chuckled. It did not look like she was having a good session and by the time this hand that I am going to share happened, she was starting to play with a short stack.

I was under the gun with about $850 in my stack and she had about $200, probably a little more. I look down at my hand and it is a premium, strong, towards the top of my range. I open to $10 and the player to my left calls, she calls from the button, and both the blinds call. The flop comes out and it is the nine of diamonds, an off suit four, and the nine of spades. As expected, both the blinds check, I think about my hand and the board. This board is not great for my perceived range, but I decide to make a continuation bet anyways, I bet $20. The player to my left folds, she calls, and both the blinds fold. We end up going heads up into the turn, the entire time I am trying to figure out what she could have because she called my bet a little quickly. Did that mean anything? In theory this board could be better for her range.

The turn is a nine of clubs. Now my mind starts to race, should I bet? Does this change anything? I think that I should still be ahead most of the time, right? I begin to count the pot in my head and count that the pot should be ninety. Five players preflop who each put in $10 and then two players on the flop who each put in twenty. I decide to go slightly over half pot and bet $50. She asks how much it is and then puts out a raise to what looks to be $100. I do not like this bet, because I feel like it does not provide me with very much clarity. I think this bet makes her range very polarized because of how much she has left behind. On the other hand, is she really going to make a play at a pot like this with a weak full house? She must know that I have a strong hand in this spot. I start to construct her range in my thoughts. I know that from the button or late position that she likes to play a lot of Ax hands, this means she can easily have all the A4 and A9 hands. As I continue to think about her range, I start to realize that she has a lot of 9x hands, K9, Q9, J9, T9, and 89 hands are all possible hands that would call from the button. I eventually folded my hand because I knew if I called then I would have to call the rest of her chip stack if she jammed.

Later, she would tell me that she had a pair of fours. She mentioned how she has been on a bad run and in that specific hand she needed chips. I am inclined to believe her because she has no reason to lie but its not completely unreasonable to think she just made up what she had. I just really did not see a good reason in the moment as to why she would make up her hand. I still think that she is extremely polarized but as I thought through the range that could be calling from the button, I found more hands that could beat me than hands that I could beat. Do I think I made the right fold? To be honest, I thought it was the better decision in the moment, but I probably should have called.

Bizzy’s 2021 Gains: $985.68

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One thought on “Following the yellow brick road

  1. 42lugnut says:

    Bizzy what on earth did you have in that hand??! 9949 and you bet flop and now somehow you bet turn and get raised and can’t call??! Wtf do you have? Anyways, it is great to see that you made a new friend at the table and you seem to be doing great! It is awesome to see your exceptional transition back into live poker. I’m sure the solver work during quarantine is now paying off. I’m so happy to see your persistent hard work paying dividends. I see now that your profits for 2021 are almost into 4 figures!!!!! That is fantastic to see. Good continued luck on your poker journey. Looking forward to the next blog.

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