Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The internal debate

Man, I'm running hot at the cash games lat -

Internal voice: What are you doing?

What do you mean?

Internal voice: "I'm running hot?"

Um, well, this IS a poker blog. Sorta.

Internal voice: Yea, and...wait a minute. You were going to write a BRAG POST weren't you?


Internal voice: Are you NUTS? Write about how your full house lost to a full house at the Bodonkey! Write about how your Razz hands sucked in the Skillz. Write about how sore you are after your good half marathon race! Write about your girls' poop! Anything but a BRAG POST!

But I whine all the time! I wanna write about how good I am!

Internal voice: Fine. Can I kiss your bankroll good-bye before you post?
Look, you're really not that good, OK? Write about why you THINK you're running well but don't just brag. No one cares, and you're inviting the doom switch.

OK, three reasons why I'm running well:
1. Bodog players continue to be horrible. They call way too much, meaning Overbets work wonderfully.
2. I can put players on a hand now, and I'm not afraid to put all my money in the middle to act on them. Patterns have emerged: Paired boards are ripe for picking off bluffs or weak hands, top pairs are transparent, and not many players know how to control a pot.
3. I'm not afraid. I have a sense of calm, even if I lose a lot of money in a night, because I know, eventually, I'll win it back.

And one question:

I'm reading Harrington's cash game books, and as you can probably tell by my style, I'm a Harrington follower. But early on in his first volume, he advocates controlling the pot when you have a pair by checking the turn and betting the river, even with a draw.
I disagree. I much prefer to bet all turns to make players pay to see the river and then check the river if I still have top pair. It does leave me with a decision sometimes, but I've been able to sniff out bluffs more often than not lately.
What do you all think?


kurokitty said...

Plus a river check can induce a bluff...

Gnome said...

Obviously it's situational, but there are many many times when you must bet the turn to avoid giving a free card. You also have to bet the turn for value, to improve your aggressive image and to be able to fire a two-barrel bluff later one.
Checking the turn in these spots sounds like a pure pot control move. If you have the best hand, why would you want to control the pot size?

HighOnPoker said...

Peaker, the key to determining whether to check or bet the turn is to first figure out your goal.

In tourney poker, it is usually to protect your superior hand, so betting the turn is good, since you may win the hand right there, protecting yourself from potential suckouts.

In cash games, you want to maximize your superior hands. Sometimes, giving a player one-off isn't terrible, especially if you have a good read on what he has. In those situations, checking the turn may make sense because it can keep your opponent in the hand and hopefully cause them to overplay the river.

I haven't read Harrington's cash game book, but that's just a snippet of my thoughts on the subject. Of course, it all depends and in many, many situations, I'm inclined to bet the turn.

Ameretto said...

Peker, bqck enjoying your blog after a lay off frompoker for about 12 months. (Well apart from the odd SnG) Problem I now have is that there is so much less limit games going on, so I'm looking to start out again in the NL cash games. I've read Harringtons books on tourney poker, is his cash book as good? Especially for shorthanded NL games?

pokerpeaker said...

Ameretto, check back in a couple weeks, when I'll discuss some of the finer points of the book. I think it's a good one, but I have some mixed feelings about it.