Re-published courtesy of our content partner Ante Up Magazine.
I often see players my age crafting elaborate lines of action for the sake of balance. I would argue that balancing your perceived range of hands at $1-$2 NLHE is about as awful as it gets. The most crucial aspect of being a successful live cash-game player is betting hands for value. Sounds reasonable right?
You’d be surprised just how many low-limit players bluff way too often or miss extra bets. The primary way we make money in small games, such as $1-$2 and $1-$3 no-limit hold’em, is by betting our strong hands and getting weaker players to call with weaker hands.
I often see players my age crafting elaborate lines of action for the sake of balance. I would argue that balancing your perceived range of hands at $1-$2 NLHE is about as awful as it gets.
The reason online players balance the percentage of bluffs to strong hands in their ranges is so they won’t be exploitable when playing against good regulars. You probably won’t play the same players much if you play $1-$2 in large poker rooms. So why not just wait for a strong hand and bet it all the way against players who are going to call anyway?
Publisher's Note:What a treat to have Massey sharing his WSOP experience with us here at the Chicago Poker Club. Aaron is back to the grind in Chicago, and getting ready to hit the poker circuit around the country. We expect to hear from him as he hits the road, with new posts, and most definitely featured tweets on our home page. Aaron had a successful summer as a professional, but his talent, perseverance, and focus continue to hint at big things to come in his future. That is why this post, his last of WSOP 2011 is merely the End of the Beginning... [Jason]
So I didn’t get it done in the Main Event… and I am beyond disappointed in myself. It’s funny, if I had busted out on day 1 I wouldn’t have felt this way.
I began the Main Event on day 1b and did not get off to that fast of a start. Halfway thru I began to gain traction and got my chipstack moving in the right direction. By the end of day 1 I had amassed 50k in chips from a 30k start. I was feeling great and was very confident and pleased with my play.
My day 2 was a complete grind. I never got much momentum and was completely card dead the whole day. Only once in the entire day did I have a stack over the 50k I began the day with. I was playing extremely well but that’s the way it goes sometimes. I did make 1 incorrect decision on this day, calling a player’s 24k all in with 99. In this hand I had opened for a standard raise under the gun, only to have it fold all the way to the big blind. He didn’t waste much time before moving all in, and after 2 minutes of deliberation I made the call. He had JJ and held up. I was down but not out. I played great no showdown poker and got my stack back up to around 50k just in time for the last hand of the night. In this hand, I opened from the cutoff w 88, only to have John Racener (Runner Up in last Year’s Main Event) re-raise me from the small blind. I thought about it and made an over bet of 40k, which was 80% of my stack, effectively moving me all in. He jammed and I called. I thought I was in huge trouble but he flipped over the 55. I was surprised that such a good player would make such a bad play but I wasn’t complaining. I held up and ended the day with 105k.
On day 3 I got off to a fast start. I had gotten up to 147k only having to showdown 1 hand. I was extremely aggressive and feeling great… then the wheels came off. With the blinds at 8-1600 the player under the gun limped in as did a player in middle position. I had 45 of hearts on the button, and after some consideration of putting in a raise I decided to call. The big blind checked and we had 4 players off to the flop of Q98 which was checked around. Another 9 came on the turn and it checked around to me. I bet 5k into roughly a 9k pot which was snap called by the player who limped under the gun. The river was a J making the board Q899J. My opponent very quickly bet out 17.5K into a 19k pot. I interpreted this as a value bet and knew he was strong, however, I knew he didn’t have a full house. I had put him on a hand like QJ that he is trying to get value out of. So what do I do? I raise it to 50k with 5 hi, representing a full house and trying to push him off what I know is a very strong hand. He thinks for awhile and correctly makes the call with pocket 10s for a rivered straight. I was down to around 80k but I was still in good shape. Unfortunately I decided to go off again 10 minutes later. I made a standard raise w A4 from the cutoff. The button then raised me to 11.5k with roughly 55k behind. I jam all in and he calls with AK. He has me crushed and he holds up like he is supposed to, leaving me 9 big blinds. I jam my last 7 bbs in w A9 only to be called by the AJ. Just like that it was over.
This will be my last blog before my last blog. This one is going to be like the forgotten and overlooked middle child. An uneventful story that is sandwiched in between my last tale, where I final tabled the WSOP 1K, and my next tale where I final table the WSOP Main Event (I Hope..) I have played a few tourneys since my 8th place finish last week. 4 tourneys to be exact, and I haven’t gotten much going in any of them:
I skipped the Venetian 1600 the day before because I needed a day off after my deep run, so I ended up playing this instead. And guess what guys??? I got Kings cracked of course. I had successfully made two squeeze plays within the first 2 levels. I did it a third time and one of my opponents was fed up. He went all in, but I finally had a hand, the KK! I had it setup perfectly. I call and he flips over AQ. He flops an Ace and eliminates your boy from the tourney. Meh.
I come in trying to defend my final table finish in the previous 1K event. I play terrible and semi-bluff my entire stack off in 2 hands. This tournament was simply a waste of $1000 in my opinion.