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Check-Raise: Moving Up To $8-$16

August 6, 2011

I’ve been bankrolled for $8-$16 for a while now, but due to my day job and location, I haven’t had a chance to move up in stakes… until last night.

Side note: I sat in the $4-$8 game for 20 minutes waiting for my $8-$16 seat and cracked it for +$233 (that’s a $706/hr win rate! lol)… and that includes calling a raise HU from the BB with AdKh against my friend and check-raising him on AhTh5d3h turn and getting 3-bet by 8h2h (uhhh… nh Matt, you weirdo) and paying off on river (-$44). Turned top set with QQ in huge multiway pot. Flopped top set of 9s on 94343 board–sorry, we’re not chopping. Turned nut flush vs. 2nd nut flush against my friend. Sick run. Also folded As8s first hand against a raise and would’ve flopped nut flush vs. set on unpaired, 3-spade board (also against my friend). With one cold-call in front of me, I would maybe call in that spot in my normal games, but being the first hand I got dealt at a new casino, I had no idea how the table was playing yet. Folding seems best.

Even though I’ve played as high as $20-$40 online regularly (way back), it’s always a little rattling moving up to a new limit and playing in a new casino. I definitely sat down w/ the intentions of playing much tighter than I would in my typical $4-$8 until I got a really good feel for the table. For a while, I didn’t think there was any real weak spots at the table, but 3 of the players were $20-$40 regulars and started playing like the game was beneath them, spewing chips. I was willing to give higher stakes players the benefit of the doubt, and even though there were a couple people in the game I thought played good, by the end of the night, I felt like I might be the best player in the game.

I finished +$187 and I got pretty unlucky in 3 pots.

My first pot I play, I pick up AA UTG and raise. 5-ways to J53 rainbow flop. I bet, 2 callers. Q on turn. I bet, two calls. T on river. I check-call HU and lose to JT. Not a good welcome to my new limit, but I felt like I read the situation perfectly.

I have Qd3d in BB. Several limpers, the spewiest $20-$40 player raises, I call from BB in 6-way pot. First limper (JT from previous hand) 3-bets, everyone calls, original raiser caps. I get trapped for 4 bets with my weak hand in a huge pot. Flop comes KdJcTd. Gin draw! I check-raise the field. Turn is 7d. I bet and get 3 callers. River is another diamond. I check-call and lose to the 3-bettors red Aces. Groan, but nh sir.

Same villain limps in 3rd position, folds to SB, he completes, I look down at AsJs and raise. Both call. Flop comes AAT. I bet, thinking I’m never getting action here. My nemesis raises, I 3-bet, he caps. I check-call turn and river and he shows AT. Yay! I can’t beat this dude.

Another weird pot: I raise a couple limpers with 99 and we see a J84, two heart flop 4-ways. It checks to me in last position, I bet and the SB raises me. Everyone else folds. This player hasn’t been particularly aggressive, but there’s a reasonable chance my hand is good and I have the 9h. Since my opponent isn’t all that aggressive and I plan on calling, I decide to make it 3-bets and get to the river for “free.” He just calls and checks to me when a small heart turns. I check behind. River gives me a 9-high flush and he checks again. I don’t see how my hand is ever not good here, so even though I obviously have good showdown value here, I think a value bet is in order. I’m rather shocked when he calls and shows two red Kings. Whoops.

I flopped a set of 3s in a raised pot from the BB but didn’t get a huge amount of action. I lead into the field on the flop, hoping to 3-bet the OG raiser, but I just get a couple callers and the preflop raiser pays me off through the river for a single bet on every street. Oh well.

Another decent pot, I limp in OTB with one limper holding 9d8d. 4-ways to 644, one diamond flop. I bet when it gets checked to me trying to pick up the pot… and the SB calls… I’ve already pegged him as a tricky, trappy player. Throughout the session, he flopped trips out of position at least 8 times and got away with a turn check-raise 75% of the time. Turn brings the Td, giving me the flush draw. He checks to me and I check back (betting isn’t bad against a passive, predictable player, but I’d already seen this guy’s movie several times) River is Ad. He checks to me again, I bet, he raises, I 3-bet and he calls with K4 and tables it in disgust. Odd line on the river and nice try sir.

And here’s the only reason I finished up. I’m stuck about $100 at this point and haven’t had a playable hand in forever. Two people limp in front of me and I begrudgingly limp with KJo from MP. My friend immediately punishes my first weak limp of the night by raising from the next seat, the $20-$40 spewer 3-bets w/out looking, my friend caps and we see the flop 7-ways in capped pot. Board comes QT9r and gets capped 4-ways w/out me ever betting or raising. SB leads into me on turn, I raise, my friend (the flop capper) folds and I clear the field, he 3-bets, I cap. I’m starting to think we have the same hand. I’m still the nuts on the river, he disappointingly checks to me, I bet, he raises, I 3-bet almost sure we’re chopping and he finally figures it out and calls. He doesn’t show and I’m good for about a $550ish pot. Question preflop decision-making on my part, the hand played itself postflop, and I was lucky to get 7 BBs on the turn and river before my opponent figured out I wasn’t playing. Huge pot, but not really expert play from me. Just luck.

I was happy with my play overall. I won that one big pot that saved my session and got unlucky in most of the other big pots I played. Most importantly, I didn’t feel outmatched at the table and came out of the session thinking I should be able to beat that game on a regular basis. Time to move on up!

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