I don’t get it.
I watch the very best poker players in the world displaying their art; I get inside of their heads, and I write about the game non-stop seven days per week.
So why haven’t I won a major title?
I know. I’m crap at poker. Or am I? Probably. Who knows?
Simon Deadman is Dead Good
I know I will ask someone who is dead good.
UK poker pro Simon Deadman is dead good and he very kindly volunteered (I begged him, really) to go through the hands I played at the recent WPT500 at Dusk till Dawn (DTD).
Lee Davy: The button opens to 400. I have no reads on him as we have only just started. I defend K5 in the big blind and I fold to a c-bet on an ace-high monotone club board.
Simon Deadman: This is a standard defend from the big blind, and also a standard check-fold on the flop.
Lee Davy: I open to 300 on the button with A6 and both blinds call. The flop is J54 and I c-bet 450 when it checks to me; only the small blind calls.
The turn is the 2 and we both check. The river is the 6; he checks and I don’t see the point of betting as I expect he has a lot of Jx hands in his range.
I check back and he shows K5 for the pair.
Simon Deadman:This hand is very opponent dependent. Against some tighter players I would c-bet here but with no info, this early in the tournament, I would definitely check back the flop.
We have two backdoor draws and one overcard so taking a free card is fine. As played, I would definitely consider value betting the river.
But again, this early, with no info on your opposition, checking back is fine although I would expect to have the best hand a decent amount of the time.
Lee Davy: I open deuces to 300 in mid position and the big blind defends. Although early in the tournament, this guy has been raising and re-raising a lot of hands.
The flop is 1034. He checks and I decide to check back. I did this because I felt I was always going to get called by him and didn’t want to blow my chips off.
I was satisfied with getting to showdown or folding. The turn is the Q and he checks again. I check back. The river is the 2, giving me a set.
He leads for 400 and I am slightly surprised. I don’t think he has a flush, as I believe he would have bet the turn. This makes me think he is just stabbing with air or he has a Qx type hand.
I raise to 1,200 and he re-raises to 4,500. I assume he has 56x, A5x or the flush (perhaps he was going to check-raise the turn) and fold my hand. A few levels later the table saw him check-raising the river with a bluff.
Simon Deadman:Firstly, I like checking back the flop, and turn too. It doesn’t sound like your opponent is folding often so we are wasting chips if we bet with no equity.
When we raise the river I expect him to call with all hands that are worse than ours and only raise with flushes. I like raising on the river as it makes little sense and we should get paid quite often here as we are only really representing the hand we have.
I think we can rule out A5 and 56. You have raised the river with three clubs on board so we are expecting him to just call with these hands. So when he takes this line, on the river, he polarizes his range to either a strong flush or a complete bluff.
This really comes down to live reads and feel. What does he want you to do? Figure it out and do the opposite.
But as played, with no reads, I would also fold the river as your raise on the river looks strong, therefore for him to re-raise is super strong. If you think he’s just a crazy player, who could have anything, I would almost never fold here.
I played this tournament too and I saw one or two crazy unexpected hands turned over.
Lee Davy: The cutoff opens to 300 and I call with 54 in the small blind. The flop is A103 and I check-call a 600 c-bet.
The turn is the 10 and I check-fold. I find myself in these spots a lot and feel like I am wasting chips. But on the other hand, if I hit my hand and he has a big ace, then it’s worth it – interested in your opinion on this.
Simon Deadman: The pre flop call is fine, but only as deep as you are. I wouldn’t be calling from the small blind with this hand later in the tournament.
On the flop, I would just fold. If the c-bet was a more standard size, of say 350, I would call and see the turn but when the flop c-bet is so big, and we have a gutshot out of position, I would just fold.
Position is very important. On the button, I would call this c-bet as we have more options on the turn, as we get to see what our opponent does first.
Lee Davy: I open A2 in middle position and the big blind defends. The flop is J43, he checks, I bet 350 and he calls.
The turn is the and we both check. The river is the 9; once again we check. He shows 56o and I take the pot.
Simon Deadman:This hand is fine. I am surprised we won as you’d expect your opponent to lead the river, as he has six-high. I would play the same with A2.
Lee Davy: I defend 97 in a single-raised multi-way pot. The action checks to the turn on a board of J944.
An aggressive player in mid-position bets 400 and I call, as does the original raiser. The river is the A.
The original raiser checks, the aggressive player bets 2,500, I fold and the original raiser folds.
Simon Deadman:I would fold the turn. This is a multi-way pot and we have a weak bluff catcher. Even aggressive players don’t try to bluff in a multi-way pot. We have players behind us also.
Even if we are ahead now, I’d expect the guy who bet to have a hand that had decent equity against us - like flush draws or QT etc.
Lee Davy: There is a limper under the gun. I call from the cutoff holding A4, the button raises to 400 and we both call.
The flop is 467 and we all check. The turn is the K. The original limper checks, I check, the button makes a delayed c-bet and we both fold.
Simon Deadman: Your pre flop play is fine depending on the players behind. If this is a passive table I would prefer that you make it 400 yourself and isolate the limper and try to play a heads-up pot in position.
That said, suited aces do play well multi-way so it isn’t a problem if we get more callers. As played it’s totally standard to check-fold the turn. We don’t need to be getting the hero cape on this early!
Lee Davy: Another multi-way pot and I call with K9 in the small blind. The flop is 1096 and I decide to fold to a c-bet after everyone else folds.
Simon Deadman:Standard check-fold; again multi-way pots with players behind. We just have second pair on a draw-heavy board - definitely a fold.
Lee Davy: A player in early position opens to 400. I call in the cutoff holding 76; the button calls, as does the big blind. The flop is Q63 and I fold to a c-bet from the player in early position.
Simon Deadman: The standard open on your table seems to be quite big - 4x in this case - so I would be wary of how light we keep calling these opens as it’s easy to bleed of chips if we’re not flopping well in these multi-way pots.
Having said that, calling from the button, or cut off, with 67s is fine. Same as before - the flop is a fold because of the players behind in a multi-way pot. Heads-up I would call though.
Lee Davy: A very tight player opens to 450 in early position. I look down and see queens (also in early position).
I think about raising to isolate but feel the raiser's range is very narrow and I don’t want to be re-raised. In the end I call; a very aggressive player calls in position and the big blind calls.
The flop is J96. It checks to me and I bet 900. The aggressive player in position raises to 2,300 and everyone else folds.
I put him on perhaps AJ or KJ, 78x, and I consider QT, but don’t put too much weight behind it because I am holding two queens. I decide to call and let him continue firing away.
The turn is the 4; I check and he bets 4,000. I call. The river is the K.
I don’t like this card at all but I have told myself that I will call because of his loose aggressive attitude and the fact that I have blockers to the straight. He shows QT and take the pot.
Simon Deadman: Once again the open is very big and I agree against a tight player we don’t want to be inflating the pot too much when were are not sure if we have the best hand.
I would play the same post-flop, but I would take my time on the river for sure. The king is a very bad card for us. I’d now expect him to check back AJ as value betting this on the river is quite thin.
8k seems like a value bet to me. We now lose to a lot of the hands that we could previously beat like QT & KJ, so really on the river we only beat a bluff as any worse value hands than ours are likely to check back. The only bluff we think he might have is 78s, so the river seems like a fold.
If he doesn't give you any other reason to call I would fold here. Sometimes people feel like they have to call because they have slow-played their hand and they are under-repped, but remember it’s just another hand. If we think we’re beat, we fold.
Blinds 75/125 a25
Lee Davy: I open AJ in the cutoff to 350, the big blind three-bets me to 1,025 and I call. The flop is Q95 and I fold to a 1,200 c-bet.
I would open to 400-450. In the early levels, as we're not opening too many hands, the ones we do are generally good ones so it’s better to charge them a bit more and also avoid getting into multi-way pots. The rest is standard to call pre and fold on this flop.
Blinds 100/200 a25
Lee Davy: There is a limper in early position. I call in the cutoff with 76, the button calls and the big blind calls.
The flop is Q58 and the action checks to a very aggressive player on the button who bets 900. The big blinds calls, a player in early position calls and I call.
The turn is the 9 and it checks through to the button who bets 1,600. The player in early position folds. When it’s on me I move all-in for 8,300 and he folds. I thought raising from this stack size looked stronger than the shove.
Simon Deadman: I actually prefer to bet this flop myself - 450 into 1,000 would be ok. This way we take the lead in the pot, our draw is more disguised, and also we define our opponent’s hands more when they act.
If we just check-call the button’s bet then he could still have anything and we have no real idea what it is. As played, once it’s back to us and both other players have called, we kind of have to call as the board is rainbow and we're now getting a good price for our eight outs.
Nice turn card by the way. Now all we have to think about now is how to extract the most value. We only have 8,300 behind and there is now 4,600 or so in the middle so really we should be getting a full double up here at least.
The fact that two players called a large pot bet on the flop would suggest that your table's playing a little bit loose and crazy so we need to figure out how to get maximum value. I think I would bet the turn when it’s checked to me; perhaps 2,300.
I think with the action that went down on the flop this is likely to get called in at least two spots, then on the river were all in for 5,100 into 15k and very likely to get at least one caller.
If we check the turn there’s a very good chance the button will check back so it’s a lot tougher for us to get full value. As played, when the others fold on the turn I would either raise small or just call and decide what the best line is on the river.
You could either lead or check-raise all in. But leading the turn is definitely the best way to get the most money in the pot.
Lee Davy: There is a limper in early position and I raise to 800 with AQ. Both blinds call.
The flop is Q68; I c-bet to 900 and an old guy in the big blind snap-calls. The turn is the 4 and the old guy checks super quickly.
I put him on a weaker queen or a lower pair and bet 3,600 – his money is in the pot quicker than mine. The river is the 10 and he checks very quickly.
He just looks at me. For the longest time I was going to check back and then I foolishly tried to get value from a very small range of QX hands. I bet 2,500 and he put me all-in. I folded and suspected he had hit a set of tens.
Simon Deadman: Your bet sizing is a bit all over the place here. Pre is good, flop is fine too.
I agree it seems like he has a weak one-pair-type hand so we need to keep getting value from these. I think 3,600 is a little big and I prefer around 2k as we don’t want him to fold.
On the river I think we have to value bet as so many worse one-pair hands are calling us and realistically we only lose to QT or TT. But does he limp tens pre?
So really only QT is making this a 100% value bet unless we have another reason not to. I would bet around half the pot and be very confident we have the best hand.
When he sets us in in it’s a super-easy fold. There are no draws that missed and all worse one-pair hands than ours are just going to call.
Blinds 200/400 a50
Lee Davy: I open to 800 with pocket eights off a 9k stack and fold to a very tight player in the big blind who three bets me to 3,500.
Simon Deadman:Standard and fine to fold with this read.
Lee Davy: There is a limper under the gun and the action folds to me in the small blind. I have close to 9,000 and I call with 95. The big blind also calls.
I know I should have folded this hand and was tilted slightly. The flop is K74 – giving me the diamond draw – and I check. The big blind checks and the limper bets 1,200.
I decide to take one card and then fold to any non-diamond river. Again I think this is a mistake. I didn’t want to move all-in because I had a feeling I was going to get called.
I call and the big blind calls. The turn is the 7 and I move all-in. The big blind folds and the early position limper folds KJx.
Simon Deadman: Your hand looks like a flush when you do this so I don’t expect many hero calls. And if KJ is folding, we’ve definitely made a mistake.
I think I would lead small on the turn; checking is also fine. It’s very important not to get over excited when you make a good hand.
You have to consider your opponent’s range and what they can actually call with before deciding on your sizing.
Pre is fine though. We have around 23bbs and there has been a limp before us; we are in the small blind so we are getting a very good price to see the flop as long as were not expecting the big blind to raise too often.
Blinds 250/500 a75
Lee Davy: I have 20bb, look down to see AJo in first position and I fold.
Simon Deadman: This is fine. It very much depends on how your table is playing but the way you have described yours I would fold this.
We have too much to jam and any opens are going multi-way; AJo doesn’t play well multi-way. I would wait for a better spot where we can three-bet jam and have lots of fold equity and dead money in the pot.
Lee Davy: There is an open to 1,050 from mid position, I move all-in for 9,000 holding AJ and get called by aces. Five cards later and I am out.
Simon Deadman: This is a much better spot for us; ok he had aces, but most of the time we get this through or we get in a flip to double up. Or we just get there against kings! Or is that just me? ;-)