Advice for keeping it together and folding high pocket pairs?

doakwolf

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Hey guys and girls,

Need a bit of advice, please. After a long dry spell of no poker at all (mainly due to friends having kids etc) I'm back in the game now. Last month I got invited to a birthday game (friend of a friend) - a 2 table tourney - and managed the win getting me keen again so I've had a couple of home games since then. Been playing well. But I have this problem. A problem I've always had. I find it hard to fold AA or KK (Hold'em, obviously).

I don't know why.

Friday night I went to the casino. First time in a long time and cashed in $200AU at the $1/3 NL table. Played OK with no big risks, just waiting for opportunities ('twas a loose table) and after about 90 minutes had around about $550 in front of me. Next minute my girlfriend text me to say she's leaving and wanted to meet for a quick goodbye drink. She was coincidentally at the casino with some work friends. Dealer is shuffling and I'm BB. Instead of walking away and posting the blinds upon my return, I decide to play "just one or two more hands" so the blinds pass and I feel like I'm socially pleasing the table. Well, big mistake.

Post my BB and get dealt KK. SB raises to $20. I re-raise to $50 (at this table I'm telling him I have either AA, KK or QQ with such a re-raise). He thinks about it and calls. Flop comes 3,5,J. He checks. I bet $75. I just want to get the hand over and done with. He raises to $150. I instantly call. Wait, what? Didn't even think about it. Turn comes an 8 or something. He goes all in for $300. Again, I call without even thinking. He flips over JJ.

Needless to say, no King on the river.

Why did I do this? LOL

It's unfortunately common for me. I'll grind it out, play smart for hours and then in one swift moment of complete stupidity (or greed?), just flush my entire bankroll and it's almost always with AA or KK. Queens and Jacks I can throw away in a heartbeat.

Anyone got strategies? Am I just a complete noob with heaps to learn?

Cheers :D
Jeremy.
 

DrStrange

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After the preflop action there is $100 in the pot and $500 effective stacks. That makes a Stack to Pot Ratio (SPR) of 5. I am not sure that Hero should be trying to fold an overpair in that circumstance. We don't know the suits, so perhaps there is flush draw possible. We don't have villain reads either. That line from an "old man, coffee" is death. That line from a drunk spewtard tourist is top pair / good kicker.

This hand would have made an interesting strategy thread to see how many people find a fold and why. Not now, since we already know to fold ASAP.

DrStrange
 

spikeithard

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Tough spot... Ya its my somewhat weakness as well to call like a robot with an overpair like that. KK AA will win you a bunch or lose you a bunch. You got caught in the lose ya a bunch spot this time.
The Dr. said it well though
 

Mojo1312

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The check/min raise on the flop after deliberating the pre-flop call is a red flag. The all-in shove on the turn should have definitely slowed you down. Credit to the Villain. He played his hand well IMO.

Look at the info you self admittedly provided: "Post my BB and get dealt KK. SB raises to $20. I re-raise to $50 (at this table I'm telling him I have either AA, KK or QQ with such a re-raise)." Villain has a good idea of your holdings. The flop is Jack high. He min raises you, and then gets it all in before the river card. So the important question is: How would you have played his hand?
 

abby99

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This sounds like entitlement tilt. We wait patiently for a premium hand, and when we finally get one we feel entitled to win the hand, especially if we've flopped an over pair. Unfortunately we block out or stubbornly ignore all the signals that we're beat, even when our opponent sends us lots of strong signals that we should fold. I've done this more times than I care to remember, and from what I've read I'm not the only player to do this. My advice is to be aware that you do this, and to take a moment to think it through before snap calling or snap raising.
 

Mr Tree

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This sounds like entitlement tilt. We wait patiently for a premium hand, and when we finally get one we feel entitled to win the hand, especially if we've flopped an over pair. Unfortunately we block out or stubbornly ignore all the signals that we're beat, even when our opponent sends us lots of strong signals that we should fold. I've done this more times than I care to remember, and from what I've read I'm not the only player to do this. My advice is to be aware that you do this, and to take a moment to think it through before snap calling or snap raising.

Probably not a wise piece of info to float with this cast but I have been very guilty of this in the past.
 

doakwolf

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Agree with Dr. Strange, I should have better remembered the suits too so we could examine the exact hand. My memory was rainbow flop. I'd have probably been more cautious if I saw a possible flush. Especially because some people at that table would call the $50 re-raise with AKs etc.

I think Abby has hit the nail on the head for me. Entitlement tilt. The check-raise and instant all-in at the turn were absolutely red flags. Every other player at the table would have known this guy had JJ except for me. I just hoped he had AJ or QQ and I was about to walk away with $1000.

Thanks for all the input. Gives me lots to think about. I'll head back on Wednesday night and put this to practice :)
 

Mental Nomad

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It might be helpful to call your hand properly.

At the flop, you should call your hand (in your head): "One pair, kings. ONE PAIR."

Pre-flop, the kings are a monster. It's the second-nut two-card holding. But on the flop, unimproved, it's just one pair, even when it's an overpair, and I find that reminding myself it's just one pair helps make sure I think about it properly.

Like the Dr. said, this situation isn't necessarily an auto-fold... but it's not an auto-call, either. Sounds like you didn't think, because you were still in "monster mode" from pre-flop instead of "one pair mode" on the flop.
 

bivey

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Doyle Brunson: Win a small pot or lose a big one with AA (which of course often applies to KK as well). I think in tournaments, less so, but in a cash game, I do not get nearly as excited about AA or KK. Too easy to go busto.
 

grandgnu

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I decide to play "just one or two more hands" so the blinds pass and I feel like I'm socially pleasing the table.

You owe the table nothing as far as pleasing them socially in this manner. It's a cash game, you can leave whenever you want. Not to mention, you're going to be leaving and possibly coming back. When you return, the players may have changed, you may wind up at a completely different table, etc. And even if you wind up at the same table with the same players, you haven't committed a grievous faux pas.



Post my BB and get dealt KK. SB raises to $20. I re-raise to $50 (at this table I'm telling him I have either AA, KK or QQ with such a re-raise).

You may be projecting your own interpretation of what bets and raises mean onto your opponents. This is pretty common, but not all opponents will think the way you do about a hand. Their bets and raises can mean vastly different things from yours.


Flop comes 3,5,J. He checks. I bet $75. I just want to get the hand over and done with.

why do you want to get the hand over and done with? Sounds like you're playing scared, which is exploitable and never amounts to anything good. You should want to maximize your win and minimize your loss.

I'm fine with a c-bet of $50-70.



He raises to $150. I instantly call. Wait, what? Didn't even think about it. Turn comes an 8 or something. He goes all in for $300. Again, I call without even thinking. He flips over JJ.

One thing I've been learning from a coach is that at these stakes, players don't bluff as much as you think they do. Abby hit the nail on the head with the "entitlement tilt". Hell, I've been guilty of it plenty of times.

It's unfortunately common for me. I'll grind it out, play smart for hours and then in one swift moment of complete stupidity (or greed?), just flush my entire bankroll and it's almost always with AA or KK. Queens and Jacks I can throw away in a heartbeat.

Anyone got strategies? Am I just a complete noob with heaps to learn?

Cheers :D
Jeremy.

Phil Ivey folded a flush he didn't realize he had on a televised WSOP event, even the best make mistakes. Hopefully you've learned from it here and it will help you down the line (i.e. at these stakes, players aren't bluffing nearly as much as you think they are)
 

bivey

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I've tightly held on to the belief, right or wrong, that it's better to make a mistake in folding than in calling. I rarely have the discipline to follow all the "rules."
 

doakwolf

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why do you want to get the hand over and done with? Sounds like you're playing scared, which is exploitable and never amounts to anything good

In this case, mainly because I just wanted to go meet my partner who was waiting for me. I can't help but wonder if karma got me for putting poker before her :p

Thanks heaps for all this input, everyone. Gives me loads to think about to help improve my game :)
 

abby99

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I've tightly held on to the belief, right or wrong, that it's better to make a mistake in folding than in calling. I rarely have the discipline to follow all the "rules."

This reminds me of Steve Dannenman's notes for the 2005 WSOP ME, in which he finished runner-up to Joe Hachem. (Dannenman claimed to be the fourth best player in his home game.)

“My Notes,” he said, as he tried to iron out and flatten the paper, to make it readable. “Number one; Have fun. Number two; you have nothing to lose. Number three; Play tight.”

Dannenman turned over the note and on the other side it said, “Not calling a raise is only a small mistake.” As he read aloud that Number 4, ‘Not Calling a raise is only a small mistake,” he folded his hand much to the chagrin of Mr. Hachem.
(quoted from interview here)
 

grandgnu

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Lol, Abby, you're using my line in your sig! (if I show, will you fold?)
 

Mr Tree

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I've tightly held on to the belief, right or wrong, that it's better to make a mistake in folding than in calling. I rarely have the discipline to follow all the "rules."
One of my regulars loves to say "it's only a small mistake to fold."
 

Mojo1312

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In this case, mainly because I just wanted to go meet my partner who was waiting for me. I can't help but wonder if karma got me for putting poker before her :p

You didn't provide much information about the Villain except to say that he hesitated for a moment before calling your re-raise, and that your pre-flop action should have indicated to him that you likely had an over-pair. Based on the action after the flop. I am putting him on A,J. The all-in shove on the turn is going to make me wonder if he hit a set.

I have had many conversations with some of my fellow poker players about not being greedy and quitting while you are ahead. A case in point: one of the regulars at our local casino whom I respect won $850 in three and a half hours at the $1/$2 table a couple of Summers ago. I tried to tell him that his rate of return was unlikely to improve going forward, however, he wanted to play longer. He put in a marathon session and cashed out 9 hours later with less than half of his winnings.

You did well, and you knew you were done before the cards hit the table. One less reason to put yourself in a situation where you are playing for stacks with an over-pair to the board.
 

bivey

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This reminds me of Steve Dannenman's notes for the 2005 WSOP ME, in which he finished runner-up to Joe Hachem. (Dannenman claimed to be the fourth best player in his home game.)

(quoted from interview here)
Good read. I'd like to sit down with him and have a beer! One of the good guys.
Thanks Abby!
 

Ben

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I've tightly held on to the belief, right or wrong, that it's better to make a mistake in folding than in calling. I rarely have the discipline to follow all the "rules."

One of my regulars loves to say "it's only a small mistake to fold."

I'd say the biggest mistake the "average" player makes (i.e. your standard casino TAG) is folding too much and giving up too much equity in marginal situations. I certainly fall on the other side (getting it in and looking like a giant doofus too often) but overall results seem to indicate that that is better than the alternative.

In the above hand, I'm certainly calling the minraise which could easily be top pair "seeing where he's at" and expecting a turn check if I'm ahead (or I could smash a K on the turn and put this guy on insta-life-tilt.) Then the turn is a pretty clear fold.
 

CHP TD

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I read these posts with great interest. I love the game and read to enhance my play. Sadly I'm usuallay playing low stakes and busting big pairs is a funny pastime for some in my group. In my games you don't have to be worried about callers since they are usually 1st level players. They only think about their cards and how they matched the flop. And I think this is how allot of players are. I've gone to our local casino and bet so opponents are not getting correct odds to chase and it becomes a parent that their gut feeling is much more powerful than pot odds.

Big pairs post flop are tricky when you have callersrs that don't understand the messages you're sending. The main thing I know is the slower I react to a situation the better. Also understanding tells can help a lot too. Do you look at your opponents when your not in a hand. You will be surprised how many tells are out there. It's not a perfect science but it can help decision making. They boil pretty much down into self soothing behaviors or strength behavior. And usually the less experienced the player the more honest they are in their tells.

Overall this game fascinates me. It's not a card game for me anymore it's a people game and we use cards to play it. Most of the time poker reveals a persons character. Understand their character and then u understand how they play.

This reminds me. I'm going to start a "Tells of the voice" thread. I can get people talking at the table but it's sometimes not clear what info your getting...

OK Aussie Geoff signing off from this thread to start another one. Again thanks all for this (Ann other strategy) THREADS!
 

grandgnu

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I have had many conversations with some of my fellow poker players about not being greedy and quitting while you are ahead. A case in point: one of the regulars at our local casino whom I respect won $850 in three and a half hours at the $1/$2 table a couple of Summers ago. I tried to tell him that his rate of return was unlikely to improve going forward, however, he wanted to play longer. He put in a marathon session and cashed out 9 hours later with less than half of his winnings.

My belief is that if you are playing well and the table conditions are profitable, you should remain and take advantage of the situation. This "being greedy" concern is laughable. You're playing for money, GREED IS GOOD!

If the regular had played longer and won another $500 we wouldn't even be hearing this story as a warning against greed.

Your win-rate is not going to be consistent each time you play. There will be days you are significantly above or below your median win-rate, but combined they will arrive at said median.

I could be at a profitable table but running bad, doesn't mean I should leave when the table conditions are favorable. Likewise, I could be at an awful table where the only way to make any money is to be on the positive side of a cooler, and killing the game, but I should leave because the table conditions are unfavorable, regardless of the present results.
 

bivey

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I'd say the biggest mistake the "average" player makes (i.e. your standard casino TAG) is folding too much and giving up too much equity in marginal situations. I certainly fall on the other side (getting it in and looking like a giant doofus too often) but overall results seem to indicate that that is better than the alternative.

In the above hand, I'm certainly calling the minraise which could easily be top pair "seeing where he's at" and expecting a turn check if I'm ahead (or I could smash a K on the turn and put this guy on insta-life-tilt.) Then the turn is a pretty clear fold.

I think there is a lot of truth to this and something I struggle with. Essentially, it becomes a lower variance move to fold in the borderline situations, but I know that I get run over a bit at times. Funny, how close it can be. Sometimes I loosen up (attitude and approach, not hand selection) and the games plays differently for me. It's a thin line and a topic that if we could all figure out, we'd all be in Vegas as pros!

I read these posts with great interest. I love the game and read to enhance my play. Sadly I'm usuallay playing low stakes and busting big pairs is a funny pastime for some in my group. In my games you don't have to be worried about callers since they are usually 1st level players. They only think about their cards and how they matched the flop. And I think this is how allot of players are. I've gone to our local casino and bet so opponents are not getting correct odds to chase and it becomes a parent that their gut feeling is much more powerful than pot odds.

Big pairs post flop are tricky when you have callersrs that don't understand the messages you're sending. The main thing I know is the slower I react to a situation the better. Also understanding tells can help a lot too. Do you look at your opponents when your not in a hand. You will be surprised how many tells are out there. It's not a perfect science but it can help decision making. They boil pretty much down into self soothing behaviors or strength behavior. And usually the less experienced the player the more honest they are in their tells.

Overall this game fascinates me. It's not a card game for me anymore it's a people game and we use cards to play it. Most of the time poker reveals a persons character. Understand their character and then u understand how they play.

This reminds me. I'm going to start a "Tells of the voice" thread. I can get people talking at the table but it's sometimes not clear what info your getting...

OK Aussie Geoff signing off from this thread to start another one. Again thanks all for this (Ann other strategy) THREADS!

+1 to this post. Very true. I often play mostly 1st level thinking with a table full of donks simply because the easiest way to profit is to make fewer mistakes and over a long session of no fold em. (Which I suppose is how every player makes $$, according to Sklansky) This type of play really goes a long ways in a game lime O/8 in which many players wander into pots.
 
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The min check raise on the flop in live low stakes is the nuts 99% of the time. Especially on such a dry board in a 3! pot. I'm not folding to it, but I'm checking back/ folding to shoves/ PSB rest of way.

TPTK like AJ probably donks into this flop (because lol liveaments)

If v is getting cagey trying to check raise bluff the flop it won't be a min raise. If this were a wetter board we could give a little thought to it being a semi bluff.

As far as folding an overpair, idk. Once you dont smash the flop just think of it as top pair.

It sounds like you were playing pretty snug pre. Don't overvalue premiums when you're this deep. Make sure you're mixing in some good suited connectors/ occasional 1 gappers and lower pairs (in position ofc). You even said that you told your opponent you had QQ+. That's a terrible sign. He knew you had an overpair and stacked you accordingly.

If you haven't read it try Harrington on Cash Games. Its not super technical or high level but he lays out some great concepts and fundamentals that are CRUCIAL to cash game success. I find a lot of guys that haven't played in a while played mostly tournies back in the boom and carry good tournament concepts into cash games which is a recipe for disaster.
 
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Sounds like you're ignoring your read and making a mathematical mistake then.

Lol.

Well that was a bit of hyperbole I suppose.

Folding to the min check raise w an overpair would be terribly exploitable. 99% is an exaggeration for sure.

We're absent any reads here, so I'm speaking in generalities. Given what we have to go on, yes, I'm grunch calling the 75 but shutting it down after that.
 

grandgnu

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Folding to the min check raise w an overpair would be terribly exploitable.

Provided the players in live low stakes are capable of picking up on this and exploiting it (i.e. changing gears and adapting their strategy to their opponent, rather than playing the only way they know how, which is relatively straight forward and loose/passive until they hit a monster)

We're absent any reads here, so I'm speaking in generalities. Given what we have to go on, yes, I'm grunch calling the 75 but shutting it down after that.

But then isn't that exploitable as well? Plus it costs you an additional $75 over just folding. Don't get me wrong, I hate folding to a check min-raise as well, but given the lack of wetness on this board your opponent is painting a pretty clear picture for you.
 
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Like I said I'm just going over the information give.

We have no HH on villain. H has been, it sounds like, one of the snuggest at a "loose" table. If I'm H I'm a bit concerned my image is getting exploited here by an opponent who we've already admitted was told what we hold. Most low stakes players wont fire the second barrel after a check raise bluff. So in case I'm getting exploited, I can flat then check back to showdown with great value.

There are so many scenarios where we fold, flat, and shove here. Its all villain/ hero image dependant and we don't have much to go on there.
 
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