Some PokerStars Home Game Hands Reviewed
Usually, I use this space to go over big hands from no-limit hold'em tournaments. While there are still plenty of hands I've seen in recent months that deserve a look, I'll be doing something a little bit different for at least today.
Mixed-game fans rejoice, for we'll be taking a look at some non-hold'em stuff.
Recently, I've had the opportunity to play in some tournaments hosted on PokerStars Home Games. A free-to-play option provided by PokerStars, PS Home Games gives players the option to create and manage their own poker clubs, with the currency of choice being play money chips.
Many game options are available, one of which is 8-game tournaments, and that's been the battlefield for "Mixed Feelings 2.0," a club in which I've participated over the past few weeks. Mixed Feelings schedules three tournaments per week across three weeks, with a points leaderboard giving players something to chase over the course of the events.
Sad to say, things have not gone particularly well for me outside of one second-place run that will pay for almost all of the rest of my bricks. Other than that, it's been frustrating finish after frustrating finish, including one in which I bubbled the final table of six after sitting second in chips with seven left.
I'll bounce around a few hands in different games in which I think I made some mistakes that I'd like to clean up heading to the final round on Sunday.
8-game tournaments are just one of many options on PokerStars Home Games. Head on over to PokerNews' guide to PokerStars Home Games to find out how you can get started on getting your home game up and running online.
Along with no-limit hold'em, this has been the game where I felt I've been able to make the most hay, and it hasn't been that surprising because I feel for the most part, limit players are hesitant to play big pots without a huge hand in big-bet games. They just don't want to undo the work they've done grinding it up in the limit formats.
That's exactly why I blew it in this hand.
I opened K♦4♦Q♠10♠ second to act and got three-bet to pot, I think to something like 350, by Donnie Peters in the small blind. Now, Peters is exactly the type of player who isn't looking to play big pots in PLO, admitting to me that he has "no clue" what he's doing. Peeling a solid double-suited hand in position against very likely and AxAx hand is a dream spot with plenty of money, about 3,700 I think, left to play.
The flop came J♠5♠3♦ and Peters bet around 550. Easy call with my draw and backdoors. The 9♠ turn brought the flush home and Peters bet 1,100. It's a little concerning that he'd fire big again on this card, but nothing I can do besides call with the flush and a straight flush draw. On the brick river, Peters shoved for the last 2,200 or so.
In this spot, against a player capable of running a big bluff, I think it's fine to call with a strong flush. Even PLO neophytes know they're supposed to be bluffing here with the bare A♠, while more experienced players may also barrel off holding the K♠ with something like AxAxK♠4x, betting flop with an overpair and a gutshot.
However, I know this opponent isn't looking to play big PLO pots and probably just has the nuts here almost always, with small chance he has the bare A♠. He might not even be three-betting aces that aren't suited. I should have just let him have it.
Instead, I called and got shown the A♠Ax6♠4x for a flopped monster.
Here, action folded to Max Pescatori in a steal position, second-to-last to act with A♦ up. He completed and I defended by bring-in with Kx8x/7x. Here's our boards ran out with Pescatori keeping the betting lead to sixth:
With kings and a gutshot, I opted to raise Pescatori's bet on sixth. I figured there was a chance I have the best hand, and worst case, I'm almost certainly able to win if I catch a ten or king on the end. I wish I could remember which cards were dead, but I assume I was likely very live attempting this play.
I like to make this play when I have a hand that's going to call a river bet anyway. I get an extra bet in the times I make my hand because my opponent will usually check to me. When I don't improve, I just check and the pot is the same as it would have been if I called a river bet.
Unfortunately, it blew up on me this time as Pescatori fired in a three-bet. Nothing to do but peel it at this point, and I missed on the river. I think it went check-check and Pescatori showed 6x6x in the hole for a set on fourth.
I think with a hand that had solid showdown value against an experienced player representing aces, this may have been too optimistic of a raise. If he has aces up and reraises and I improve on the river to kings up, I'd pretty much be obligated to call a bet, and I'd lose even more than I should have.
Undoubtedly my worst game in the mix, and probably because I'm making too many plays that are applicable to no-limit hold'em. That's what happened in the following hand.
A player under the gun — I can't recall who it was — opened for a raise and action folded to me on the button. Against an under-the-gun opener at a full table, I think I'd just fold [a5s], but keep in mind that these are six-max tables so they can be much wider.
Given that, I opted to three-bet, and my opponent called. We saw a 5♣3♣2x flop and my opponent check-called. I think the turn was a 9x and we both checked, bringing a 3x on the river. My opponent checked, I bet, and he called with 7x7x to win the showdown.
I think I just need to be more weighted to value with my holdings here both preflop and on the river. Preflop, this is fine to three-bet in no limit, but here, my limited...limit experience tells me A♠5♠ doesn't satisfy the gap concept — that is, I need a stronger hand to come into the pot than my opponent did to open.
My flop bet is fine, but I'm not sure about turn. I think standard is to usually bet, but when I get checked to on the river, I thought it was a clear bet. In a cash game, I'm definitely always betting here and trying to get called by AxQx or some such hand.
In a tournament, I'm not so sure because saving bets can be a little more important. It might be better to just try to show my hand down in case I'm beat as I was here, if I feel not many worse hands are calling me. Overall, this is the hand I'm least sure about, but that fits the bill for the game in the mix in which I'm definitely weakest.
Hopefully, I can clean up some of these issues and finish strong on Sunday.
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