Hi, thank you for welcoming me to the group and I look forward to being able to contribute in the future. 

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Warren, i’m 37 (soon to turn 38… 25th Dec isn’t just for the baby jesus).  I live in Norwich and as a proud Norwich City supporter, I had a few reservations about being a “Blue Blood”, especially after representing Suffolk in the recent APAT Counties event!

As my “blurb” says on my profile, I’ve always taken poker as a hobby and never particularly studied the game in great detail.  I’ve never maintained a bankroll or monitored results although after a relatively successful 2019 at the tables, I think its a good time to review my game and perhaps take it more seriously.  Within the year I’ve felt a bit out of my depth in a couple of spots and I know there are weaknesses in my game that I know need addressing.  I’ll discuss these in future blogs.

So for 2020, I’m going to give it a go and via the medium of blogging, bringing you guys along for the ride!  To begin with, I’m going to put £1,000 into a bankroll (I’m not concerning myself with bankroll management at this stage).  I’ll blog every couple of weeks, summarising the poker that I’ve played in that time, cash +/- and some hands or situations of interest.  Feedback on these hands and the blog in general will be appreciated!

I’d like to use my first blog to discuss a tournament I recently played at a local casino and the first (of many) weaknesses.  This particular weakness is how I play against super aggressive players. For example, in the FT of the Main Event of the WCOAP this year (thin brag apologies!), Riewert Fleer who was the eventual champion was on my right and being very active pre flop.  This was the first time I’d found myself that deep in that sort of tournament.  I ran amazingly well for 2 days straight to be chip leader going into the final 9 and I have to admit, I felt completely out of my depth.  It’s a good job the live stream didn’t show hole cards! Going into the final 3 we all had about 1.8m chips and blinds were 40k/80k.  Up to that point I hadn’t had any hands where I could get involved with Riewert but knew that I couldn’t afford to let too many blinds get stolen.  With the regularity of Riewert’s preflop raises, I knew his range was pretty wide but from playing a lot of Day 2 with him, I knew he had a fairly wide 4 bet shove in his locker.  With the relative stack sizes I really didn’t feel comfortable making a sensible 3 bet so I massively opened my 3 bet range and every time made it a shove. Which worked for a while until I got it in with K5 < A7. GG.

Anyway, the tournament in question is a £30 rebuy and much of this is going to be around a player that I had the misfortune of spending most of the tournament sat next to.  You normally get about 30 runners in these games and a good number of these are regulars.  I’ve rarely played there myself so I don’t know many of the players but on my starting table the Villain was on my left and starting to rub me up the wrong way a bit.  Many of the dealers are inexperienced and he was being consistently negatively vocal about them.  On one occasion he tried to chop a difficult 3 way all in pot himself because he got fed up with the dealer taking his time.

I’d identified the Villain as super aggressive early on and didn’t feel comfortable with him on my left.  About an hour or so in I opened from mid position with AcQc and got 4 callers pre flop (including the Villain). The flop came 10c 7x 4x, it checked around to me, I did the same and last to act was the Villain who bet 2,500 into maybe a 4,000 pot.  There was one caller and with overcards, backdoor draws and the knowledge that he could be completely on one I also called.  The turn put out the Jc. It gets checked around and the Villain shoves. The other player folds and I need to put my last 9k in to call. A quick calculation tells me I don’t have the right price for the royal/flush/gutshot draw but considering the range of hands I have him on there’s a good chance an Ace or Queen would win it for me.  Plus I hadn’t had a rebuy yet so I don’t mind a marginal call.  The club hits the river (he had 88) which is met by a retort of “nice to see it’s amateur hour” and questioning my call on the flop.  That was one of the few aggressive actions I made in the first 4 hours. The tournament offered a double add on during the first break so I could afford to be patient.

After a few hours the table breaks but we soon find ourselves paired again, this time with the Villain is one seat to my right.  The other difference is that all of a sudden, I’m hitting cards left right and centre. One particular hand, I 3-bet an UTG raise with AA from late position. The other player open folds TT and asks whether I had that beat. After I nod and say “Aces”, the villain gets involved: “Probably not, he didn’t show them did he.  He was sat over there with me for the best part of 3 hours and barely played a hand”.  There were other comments that I forget but its clear I’ve got under his skin.  We get to the final table in seat 1 and 3rd in chips  Top 7 are paid but its decided to take an amount off of top two to pay 8th and 9th.  Unfortunately, the Villain is in seat 2.  Sook-Hee (more about her another time) busts in 9th and shortly after, the Villain and I find ourselves in a blind vs blind situation.  Now, against an aggressive player, this is where I really don’t feel confident.  I look at 5c 3c in the SB (blinds 5/10k, ave stack about 240k, i’m on about 300k, villain 200k) and decide that my approach will be to limp and call the inevitable bet and as I put him on pretty much anything, my hand hits a lot of boards and he’s very likely to continuation bet, I can re-raise if I hit.  The board comes 7 5 4 rainbow, I check and he shoves.  I figure I’m ahead of the vast majority of his range so I call.  He shows Q8 but turns a Q.  I lose the remainder of my chips a few hands later with a pocket pair.

I found myself reflecting on this for a while after (and still do).  The key points I come back to are:

1. Doing the maths, against the majority of his range I’m only 65-70% to win the hand if I hit the flop and he hasn’t.

2. I made that call with pretty much the exact situation that played out in mind.  Considering the maths, did I need to adopt a strategy that has a reasonable chance of me losing the majority of my chips at a time when I’m probably 4th in chips and playing well against the rest of the table?

3. If we eliminate fighting aggression with an aggressive strategy, what becomes the right way to play this guy?  Should we just accept he’s going to nick a few blinds and adopt the aggressive approach when we get short handed (if he’s even still in)?

4. Did I let my previous with this guy affect my judgement?

Appreciate there’s a lot in my first offering, but would be interested in your thoughts on my approach against Riewert and the Villain.  Also any feedback on my plans for the future blogs.

Warren 🙂

Warren Brooks

Author Warren Brooks

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