First off, congratulations to my friend JLW and his teammates for making the semifinals of the United States Bridge Championships. The link to his bridge blog is on the right in the blog list.
Let's move on to poker for now. My main game is Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo 8 or better. However, I will play some NL Holdem for fun, even though I don't think I have the patience to be consistently profitable at the lower stakes. The following was an interesting hand in that I made my decisions off time-based tells, which may seem foolish at first in an online setting where people multi-table regularly. However, I do find that there are some players who give off these tells and don't think about them enough because it is online and it is often only one table among many.
In a .5/1 NLHE 6-max game, hero has ♦3♣3 on the button. I'd raised preflop a lot during this 6-max game, and after three folds to me I continue the trend and make it 3 total. The small blind now reraises to 10. I call.
The flop comes ♦10♥7♣4 and the small blind bets out 10 rather quickly into the pot. A quick bet off the flop is often the sign of a continuation bet. Something that was planned ahead of time. It made me curious enough to call.
The turn comes ♣6. A bet of 25 came that wasn't as quick. Often, I find that someone trying to protect a big hand will often bet quickly and aggressively on the turn. The slower bet and the smaller bet size relative to the pot made me even more skeptical. It seemed to me that if you had an overpair, you'd need to protect against hands that picked up a straight draw or flush on this board. I called.
The river comes ♠K. Villain bets out a quick all-in of 68.5 into the pot. Again, the quickness is often indicative of a premeditated action, such as a bluff. I ask for time and go through his range. I still think that an overpair would have been more anxious to protect on the turn. AK and KQ/KJ were certainly possibilities, but so were AQ, AJ, and even QJ suited. While I know that I can only beat a stone bluff, I thought the range possibilities were not too far off from the pot odds I was getting, so I called. Villain showed ♠Q♠8 and started talking about how idiotic my call was.
Well, if you also thought my play/call was idiotic, then let's move on to PLO8, and let's see what you think of my thought process on this hand.
In a 15+1 turbo 9 handed sit n go with starting stacks of 1500 and initial blinds of 10/20, I held ♦A♦9♣4♥3 in early position on the second hand of the sng. UTG minraises and I call along with 3 others behind me. The blinds fold. The flop came ♦10♣8♦2. A pretty good flop for me as I have the nut low draw, the nut counterfeit low draw, and the nut flush draw. So what would you do after it goes check to you?
I can see the argument for betting pot, and I can see the argument for check raising pot. People like to be aggressive and get it all in when the EV is in their favor. However, I tend to take a different approach. First, it is important for me to maximize the chips I can take so I will let people freely draw to second best hands. However, since I know I am much better at this game than the average player, protecting chips also matters to me, even if I become a short stack.
So how did the play go? It checked around to the penultimate player who bet 180 into the 230 pot. The preflop raiser called. I also just called. The turn comes the ♠J. The preflop raiser checks and NOW I bet out the pot. From my point of view, if I get raised all-in, I'm in the same position as if I check-raised the flop. There is very little fold equity on the flop in a multi-way pot in PLO8. But by playing this way, I might get the best high hand on the flop to fold (I still haven't made a hand yet), or I could maybe bet him off it on a blank river. In PLO8, it is more important to have the aggression on the turn than on the flop.
Only one caller as the preflop raiser folds. The river is the ♦5 and I bet the rest. The other player quickly calls with a worse low and a worse flush and I scoop. This looks like it probably would have been the result no matter what I did, but I liked my line of play more. Thoughts?
Ok, back to bridge now. I'm not a big fan of opening borderline two-suited openers at the 1 level in general. In most of my partnerships, I tend to open sound. I also believe that most of the time, passing first will allow for a better description of the hand later, often by means of a two-suited bid in competition. One of the things that people use to determine whether they open is whether they have the master suit, spades. I was thinking about this and thought that perhaps another suit is important too. The club suit. If your two suiter contains the club suit, perhaps you should stretch to open too. It seems to me that it's very easy for your opponent to have a balanced opener and bid clubs, making it very hard for your side to get back into that suit. So what I'm suggesting is that perhaps with the 6-5 borderline opener with hearts and a minor, one should stretch to open with clubs but hold back with hearts and diamonds.