Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I Barely Know You

This poker blog cracks me up. I sometimes think something I write is really cool and it gets no responses, or I write something I think is basic poker and I get a zillion responses and start a 7-blog flame war. Yeeesshhh.

Anyway.. here is a question I have been thinking about. Put on your caps if your a good player and answer this: What make a good call good?

Is it the fact that you won the hand? If that is our criteria then every donkey who sucks out on us is a brilliant call maker. Is it having the best hand when the money goes in? I am not sure this is it either. If I am playing 600NL and I know my 68o with an 823 two spade flop is the best hand.. do I call the 600$ raise the bluffer with KQo makes? Perhaps he has A4 spades? A4 clubs? Is this a good place to get all my money in? Can I outplay him bad somewhere else?

I am such an intellectual that I have to think about these abstract concepts. Just ask Ick, he always tells me I am wiiiicked smaaaaaattt. The reason I bring this up is that I made two calls I won with. One was interesting. One was stupid. Were either ones good reads? Possibly. Good plays? Who knows? Good calls? You decide.

I am in the middle of a 90-person SNG on FT. I am doing pretty well with over 4K in chips. There are 57 people left. I look down and see AQ. The flop comes Axx. I call a small raise into the pot. The flop comes Axx and it is 3-handed. The initial better leads out with a bet. Our second hero calls. I think I am good here so I float a call and see what the out of position c-better does next. The turn is a Ten. He checks. The next guy checks and bet out $400. This is a pot sized bet and there are 2-hearts on the board. The original raiser bows out and now I feel alot better about my hand. The middle guy thinks about it for a while and cold calls. The river is a second ten. I decide I will check here and hope he does not have a ten. He immediately pushes all in. My initial reaction is "Aww fuck I let him catch trips". I then rethink the hand in my head. He waits and calls with the turn card which brought a flush draw. He saw me lead out weak on the river. If I listen to my MiamiDon and other various people who have told me this over and over it smells a hell of a lot like a huge bluff on a missed flush with a scare card. I will have 1200 chips left if I lose. I end up making the call after replaying the hand in my head. Was it a good call?

The next hand you already know about but I might as well rehash it. I have 24c in position and call a small raise from Penner. He leads out on a two-club flop and I decide I will cold call. He then bets the pot when I make my flush on the turn. I decide to milk him and cold call. The river brings the horrible fourth flush card. He pushes in and it is 7$ out of my $25 original stack to call. Pot odds potentially dictate a call. However I am sure I am beat. I say to myself "Fuck this you can have my last $7 I quit".. and then I make the call. Was it a good call?

Now remember what you were thinking when you read the end of these hands. I ended up winning both hands. I was correct in both hands in the fact that I was ahead. I do not think that this in itself makes these good calls or bad calls though. I also know I misplayed both of these hands at least somewhat and if you want to comment on that you can but I am more interested in the concept of what makes a good call.


Blogger DuggleBogey said...

It's so cute that you think the result has anything to do with the quality of a call. Adorable.

11:35 AM

Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

"Is it the fact that you won the hand? If that is our criteria then every donkey who sucks out on us is a brilliant call maker."

Apparently along with being totally useless and having only bad things to say you can not read. Wow! Your awesome. How about some feedback on what you think is a great call or what goes into that? It is after all the point of the post.. No? Just like to take the easy route. I understand.

11:42 AM

Blogger BadBlood said...

A good call is one where you've successfully put your opponent on a small enough range of hands such that by calling your expectation is > 0.

11:58 AM

Blogger Michael Albert said...

If I'm not mistaken, both the calls you reference are calls on the river. For river calls, and river calls only, I can't see that there is any objective criterion other than results.

12:00 PM

Anonymous Absinthe said...

What blood said. Though sometimes a good (or great) call comes when you realize that your opponent's potential range is such that you might as well be playing against a random hand and act accordingly - it's not exclusively about narrowing the range.

12:02 PM

Blogger jjok said...

I'm confused. You concede on the 24sooooted hand that the river screwed you, you think you are beat, and make the "awfuckit" call.

But then the next paragraph you refer to yourself as being correct that you were ahead in both hands......

Get your facts straight fucker.....

Just messing....


My personal opinion of a good call is one where you are facing an aggressive bet with a semi-decent non-nut hand for your holding. You think about the play so far, you consider your opponent and his/her history, and make the call knowing you could be absolutely creamed here.......under the guise that you think you are ahead.

12:21 PM

Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Sort of a take on Blood's and Absinthe's thoughts, but a good call is one in which you act with a particular purpose and read. If you are going to call, you have to be able to justify it. You might not be right all the time, but if you can justify why you called and it is consistent with the information available to you, then it is a good call. The same goes for any poker move, really. If you can back it up with actual reasoning and some supporting information (i.e., your opponent's betting patterns, the board, his table image), then a play can be good regardless of the outcome.

Or, I could just say that you are a silly goose for being results oriented, but that would be neither helpful nor accurate.

12:22 PM

Blogger Michael Albert said...

Perhaps I was a bit terse (hard to believe, I know). The point I was trying to make was that I'm not sure that categorising river calls as good or bad is the way forward.

That said, there's certainly some virtue in examining unsuccessful calls in particular -- mainly with a view to trying to find the piece of information (or convince yourself that there isn't one) that you didn't take into account when making the call.

I guess that I just don't think that on the river, the adjectives "good" and "bad" attach naturally to "call". I feel completely differently about the situation on all earlier streets.

12:25 PM

Blogger StB said...

To me, making a good call is knowing you are ahead of your opponent. It is taking the info from the hand, reviewing it, and making your decision based on their actions and figuring out if you are ahead.
It is taking information from previous hands played and using it against them.

Ultimately, it is putting everything together and pushing your chips in the middle because you realize that you have them beat and their bullshit bet means nothing.

Winning the hand does not constitute making a good call. Only idiots would say that.

12:56 PM

Blogger slb159 said...

Nice comment on Hoy post. I left one myself.

"Waffles, if you can cite an instance where I limped KK, I'll send you the buyin for tonight's Mookie"

Gl finding one. Thanks for mentioning me though.

1:04 PM

Blogger ScurvyDog said...


Did either of your opponents raise pre-flop on the first hand? What were their stack sizes? I know it's easier to just start on the flop but, umm, there's a round of action before that that usually helps to define the range someone may be holding.

You say that you planned to check the river when the second 10 came but then you say "He saw me lead out weak on the river." when you're talking yourself into calling his all-in. Which is it? How are you leading out into anyone, even hypothetically, if you have position throughout the hand? Did you mean he saw your turn bet, which was pot-sized, and hard to call "weak"? Confused.

Why do you describe the flop as Axx? You realize that the ultimate villain in this hand could have easily had a set of x's, yes? And played them exactly as he played his hand, especially with all his cold-calls? Why fixate on just the A and whether or not your opponents have a better A or don't, or whether or not he caught trips when the second ten hits on the river?

It's hard to answer your question without the data needed to answer your question. In a vacuum, it's less likely that he has trip 10s than a lot of hands you beat. So sure, good call.

The second call is pretty terrible, but I think you already know that. Your play on pretty much every street in the second hand is pretty terrible, but, again, this seems to be the sort of hand that you post solely to stick your hand in a hornet's nest and stir up comments, so commenting seriously on it seems pretty futile.

1:06 PM

Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

I was over-stating a general principle. I know you would not limps kings. lol. Thanks for the comment though.

1:06 PM

Blogger SirFWALGMan said...


I was a little less interested in the actual hands as in what constitutes a good call but anyways.. I guess you answered some of it by saying you put all of the technical aspects of the hand into the mix and decide if your ahead.

The pot was raised pre-flop like I said, the raiser lead out with a bet, and I cold called it. He then checked the turn and when I bet the initial raiser folded but the other fellow called. I was out of position the whole hand.. but the middle guy did not act all all until the river so all the action was mostly on me.

I checked the river with the 3rd ten.. this is what I meant by leading out weak, I guess that implies a bet but I just checked. Obviously inducing the bluff bet.

The second hand I think I misplayed only in 2 spots. The first was cold calling and not raising the turn. The second was calling the river. I think playing 24c to a raise pre-flop is EXACTLY the kind of hand you want to have. A raise usually does not mean the other guy has 82o like Penner did in this situation.. it is usually big pairs or big faces. If I know you have AA and I have 24c I always want to be in the hand with you IF I know you overplay over pairs OR IF I want to find that information out.

I actually enjoyed watching Fluxer play last night. While he made a couple of dumb calls he mostly set the table up to think he was a stupid aggro.. and killed them when he had monster hands. I do think he plays his draws WAYYYYYY too hard.. but that is all part of his style.

1:15 PM

Anonymous mookie99 said...

A good call is when you can look into the soul of your opponent and know you are you would really want any poker advice from me...

2:25 PM

Blogger ScurvyDog said...


The problem with the 2c4c hand (and it's the same problem with all the junky hands like this that you post and then defend, based on the results) is that you're just calling with it pre-flop, praying to get lucky, and then posting the isolated cases in which you get lucky and flop a big draw that gets there.

You can make a very good argument for playing hands like that but only if you're also playing them aggressively and raising/re-raising with them. That way you pick up some smallish pots through brute aggression (continuation bets on the flop/turn when your opponent checks to you) as well as cashing in on the fairly rare instances where you flop a big draw and get there, as in the hand.

But that's not how you're playing hands like that, at least in all the examples you post. You're passively calling, occasionally getting lucky, but more often conveniently ignoring all of the money you lose by making loose calls with hands like that that you insta-fold on the large majority of flops.

Should you always raise with 2c4c in position in spots like that? Of course not. But when you do get a wild hair to play hands like that, it's probably better to raise than to always meekly call, buying a lotto ticket that hardly ever pays off.

If you can't raise on the flop when you get a juicy draw like that, you shouldn't be calling with 2c4c in the first place. If you can't shove as many chips in as possible on the turn when you hit your vulnerable flush, then you shouldn't be calling with 2c4c in the first place. If you can't fold on the river when the four flush hits, well, you likely get my drift...

2:36 PM

Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

I already said I messed up the turn.. I really should have just gotten all the chips in there and not had a tough decision. I got greedy.

Poker is gambling. It is the lottery in the purist sense you just have more control over the outcome. Playing 24c pre-flop is great because that 1 time you get your 2-pair you stack some mouth breathing AA player who can not fold. I am totally in agreement this will work less and less as I play better players (possibly) but right now I am in the 25-50/NL game range and it just works every single time.

5:12 PM

Blogger DuggleBogey said...

If only there was some kind of tool out there where you could look at all the instances of 24s that you played and told you whether you made money with it or not.

Wouldn't that be a dream?

I absolutely cannot believe you got responses to this line of thought.

5:59 PM

Blogger DP said...

Dugglebogey: I do not believe a single word you said in this thread is either accurate or relevant.

4:11 AM

Blogger DuggleBogey said...

I will spell it out for retarded folks like DP.

Statements like this:

Playing 24c pre-flop is great because that 1 time you get your 2-pair you stack some mouth breathing AA player who can not fold.

make it quite ironic that you criticize other players. This is exactly the same thing as saying "call all raises pre-flop with any two cards."

Waffles claims to be a serious player, but refuses to use tools like Poker Tracker that might actually identify whether he is playing these hands well, instead using anecdotal evidence such as "The one time you get two pair."

Get it?

11:44 AM

Blogger DP said...

Dugglebogey, you were the first to comment on this post -- my question is: why didn't you originally respond in a relevant fashion, perhaps describing how Waffles could come to an exact conclusion to his questions using Poker Tracker?

Your criticisms are far from concise, and they are very unconstructive.

"Waffles claims to be a serious player"

And you claim to be smart.

12:58 PM

Blogger DuggleBogey said...

1) I don't claim to be smart.

2) I claim you are not.

There's a difference. I wouldn't expect you to realize that, because of number 2. Just because you don't understand comments that are obvious doesn't mean they should be explained in detail just for you.

1:35 PM

Blogger DP said...

Why should I believe (lets entertain the idea) that there is any merit to your claims?

You should read over my original comments (right above) directed towards you...

Unfortunately, you'll probably just continue to write sarcastic comments which are "far from concise, and ... very unconstructive."

2:55 PM


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