Anatomy of a Poker Session

25 Jan , 2006  

For all the beginners out there who want to get their feet wet. Here is a session from last night that will explain my every move through 63 hands.

Hand One

PokerStars 0.02/0.04 Hold’em (10 handed) [url=]converter[/url]

[b]Preflop:[/b] Hero is CO with K:club:, 7:club:. MP3 posts a blind of $0.02. Hero posts a blind of $0.02.
UTG calls, UTG+1 calls, UTG+2 calls, [color:#666666][i]2 folds[/i][/color], MP3 (poster) checks, Hero (poster) checks, [color:#666666][i]1 fold[/i][/color], SB completes, BB checks.

[b]Flop:[/b] (7 SB) 5:club:, 4:heart:, 6:spade: [color:#0000FF](7 players)[/color]
SB checks, BB checks, [color:#CC3333]UTG bets[/color], UTG+1 folds, UTG+2 calls, MP3 calls, [color:#CC3333]Hero raises[/color], SB calls, BB calls, UTG calls, UTG+2 folds, MP3 calls.

[b]Turn:[/b] (9 BB) 3:club: [color:#0000FF](5 players)[/color]
SB checks, BB checks, UTG checks, [color:#CC3333]MP3 bets[/color], [color:#CC3333]Hero raises[/color], SB folds, BB folds, UTG folds, MP3 calls.

[b]River:[/b] (13 BB) 9:heart: [color:#0000FF](2 players)[/color]
MP3 checks, [color:#CC3333]Hero bets[/color], MP3 calls.

[b]Final Pot:[/b] 15 BB

Results below:
MP3 has 4c 3s (two pair, fours and threes).
Hero has Kc 7c (straight, seven high).
Outcome: Hero wins 15 BB.

Good position here, and since I already limped in from posting a BB for my first hand, I come in with K7s. Good sized flop too, 6 handed, but with no raises.

Now, we flop an Open Ended Straight Draw (OESD), 1 overcard, and a backdoor flush draw. This is approximately 12.5 outs, discounted to 10.5 (I usually discount overcards). That is we could get any of the 3’s in the deck (4 outs), any of the 8’s (4 outs), any King (3 outs), or a backdoor flush which would be clubs on both the turn and river (1.5 outs). When we discount an out, it just means that its likely it will improve our hand, but not to the best hand. With 10.5 outs we need merely 3.5:1 pot odds to call. UTG bets and UTG+2, MP3 calls, giving us 10:1 pot odds. Since we have so many outs to the best hand, we should raise here. The two in front that checked have to call two bets cold, which is a mistake unless they have 7 or more outs. By raising you also can force those with better hands at the time (such as a pair of 6’s) to fold, calling would be a mistake because they are drawing to 2 outs usually.

The turn comes and we hit our straight. We also have the top of the straight, beating anyone who holds a 2 (anyone that holds an unlikely 78 would likely have raised us on the flop). We also have a draw to a flush which is 9 outs. When MP3 bets, he is likely drawing dead, raise for value here. It should be noted that this would also be a situation where you may just CALL for overcalls. Unfortunately, with this being my first hand at the table, its a better move to raise, forcing those players after you to face two bets cold. After some hands and it seems they are loose, overcalls would probably be a better idea. Just call and hope they come with you to the river.

On the river a 9 comes and the MP3 checks, we bet and he calls, and we take the pot.

Hand 5

PokerStars 0.02/0.04 Hold’em (7 handed) [url=]converter[/url]

[b]Preflop:[/b] Hero is UTG with K:diamond:, A:club:.
[color:#CC3333]Hero raises[/color], MP1 calls, [color:#666666][i]1 fold[/i][/color], CO calls, [color:#666666][i]1 fold[/i][/color], SB calls, [color:#666666][i]1 fold[/i][/color].

[b]Flop:[/b] (9 SB) Q:spade:, T:heart:, 4:spade: [color:#0000FF](4 players)[/color]
SB checks, [color:#CC3333]Hero bets[/color], MP1 calls, CO calls, SB calls.

[b]Turn:[/b] (6.50 BB) A:heart: [color:#0000FF](4 players)[/color]
[color:#CC3333]SB bets[/color], [color:#CC3333]Hero raises[/color], MP1 calls, CO folds, SB calls.

[b]River:[/b] (12.50 BB) 6:diamond: [color:#0000FF](3 players)[/color]
SB checks, [color:#CC3333]Hero bets[/color], MP1 folds, SB calls.

[b]Final Pot:[/b] 14.50 BB

Results below:
Hero has Kd Ac (one pair, aces).
SB has 3s Ad (one pair, aces).
Outcome: Hero wins 14.50 BB.

Here we are UTG with AKo, which is a clear raise preflop. The flop leaves us with a Gutshot Straight Draw (4 outs) and two overcards (6 outs discounted to 4), leaving us with around 8 outs. The SB checks, and we should bet here. We have a fairly strong draw, and checking might give our opponents free cards towards a weaker draw.

On the turn our Ace comes. We still have 4 outs to the Gutshot Straight (any jack), but there are two possible flush draws on the board (aces and spades). Its time to protect our hand. We likely have the best hand, with Ace King kicker. When SB bets this, he likely has an Ace. To protect our hand from the two players behind us, we raise making them face two bets cold.

On the river we get a safe card, and can sigh in relief. No flush draws are possible. Just bet it out, nothing fancy. Based on previous action, we can raise if SB bets, but here he does not. We take it down with a pair of Aces, Kick kicker.

Hand 6

PokerStars 0.02/0.04 Hold’em (8 handed) [url=]converter[/url]

[b]Preflop:[/b] Hero is BB with J:heart:, T:heart:.
UTG calls, UTG+1 calls, [color:#666666][i]3 folds[/i][/color], Button calls, SB completes, Hero checks.

[b]Flop:[/b] (5 SB) J:spade:, J:diamond:, 4:heart: [color:#0000FF](5 players)[/color]
SB checks, [color:#CC3333]Hero bets[/color], UTG folds, UTG+1 folds, [color:#CC3333]Button raises[/color], SB folds, [color:#CC3333]Hero 3-bets[/color], Button calls.

[b]Turn:[/b] (5.50 BB) J:club: [color:#0000FF](2 players)[/color]
[color:#CC3333]Hero bets[/color], Button calls.

[b]River:[/b] (7.50 BB) 9:club: [color:#0000FF](2 players)[/color]
[color:#CC3333]Hero bets[/color], Button calls.

[b]Final Pot:[/b] 9.50 BB

Results below:
Hero has Jh Th (four of a kind, jacks).
Button has 4s Qs (full house, jacks full of fours).
Outcome: Hero wins 9.50 BB.

On the next hand we are in the BB with JTs, which can be a very good hand. We check, and see the flop for free. We also catch an incredible flop. Trips. We definitely need to bet here, slowplaying could be an option, but most players will expect a bet from someone, and many will call thinking you are bluffing. The button raises us which is unexpected. Does he have a J with a better kicker? We still have outs to the unlikely quads or a fullhouse, so we can reraise here for value.

And the turn comes … quads! We have the nuts. Now, we know he does not have a Jack. However, many players in lower limits will stick to a bluff all the way to showdown “just to see” so we are going to bet aggressively here. No need to slowplay here.

He has a full house and stays until showdown. We take the pot. Nice!

Hand 15

PokerStars 0.02/0.04 Hold’em (10 handed) [url=]converter[/url]

[b]Preflop:[/b] Hero is CO with A:heart:, 7:heart:.
[color:#666666][i]1 fold[/i][/color], UTG+1 calls, [color:#666666][i]2 folds[/i][/color], MP2 calls, [color:#666666][i]1 fold[/i][/color], Hero calls, [color:#666666][i]1 fold[/i][/color], SB completes, BB checks.

[b]Flop:[/b] (5 SB) K:diamond:, J:spade:, 8:heart: [color:#0000FF](5 players)[/color]
SB checks, BB checks, [color:#CC3333]UTG+1 bets[/color], MP2 calls, Hero folds, SB calls, BB calls.

[b]Turn:[/b] (4.50 BB) 3:club: [color:#0000FF](4 players)[/color]
SB checks, BB checks, [color:#CC3333]UTG+1 bets[/color], MP2 folds, SB calls, BB folds.

[b]River:[/b] (6.50 BB) 8:diamond: [color:#0000FF](2 players)[/color]
SB checks, [color:#CC3333]UTG+1 bets[/color], [color:#CC3333]SB raises[/color], UTG+1 calls.

[b]Final Pot:[/b] 10.50 BB

Results below:
SB has Th 8c (three of a kind, eights).
UTG+1 has Qh Kh (two pair, kings and eights).
Outcome: SB wins 10.50 BB.

Here we limp in with an A7s. The flop comes and we have an overcard and a backdoor flush draw, but nothing else. At about 3.5 outs, we are drawing thin. We will need around 12:1 pot odds to stay in this hand. Getting only 7:1 here, its not really possible, so we should fold.

Hand 20

PokerStars 0.02/0.04 Hold’em (10 handed) [url=]converter[/url]

[b]Preflop:[/b] Hero is UTG+1 with Q:heart:, J:heart:.
[color:#666666][i]1 fold[/i][/color], Hero calls, [color:#666666][i]1 fold[/i][/color], MP1 calls, MP2 calls, MP3 calls, CO calls, Button calls, SB completes, BB checks.

[b]Flop:[/b] (8 SB) A:heart:, 9:diamond:, 9:heart: [color:#0000FF](8 players)[/color]
SB checks, BB checks, [color:#CC3333]Hero bets[/color], MP1 calls, MP2 calls, MP3 folds, CO folds, Button folds, SB folds, BB calls.

[b]Turn:[/b] (6 BB) 3:club: [color:#0000FF](4 players)[/color]
BB checks, [color:#CC3333]Hero bets[/color], MP1 folds, [color:#CC3333]MP2 raises[/color], BB folds, Hero calls.

[b]River:[/b] (9 BB) 6:heart: [color:#0000FF](2 players)[/color]

[b]Final Pot:[/b] 9 BB

Results below:
Hero has Qh Jh (flush, ace high).
MP2 has Jc 9c (three of a kind, nines).
Outcome: Hero wins 9 BB.

Here we limp in early with QJs. Five other players limp, the SB completes, and the BB checks. The flop comes and we have a flush draw (9 outs). We need to bet this flop to get the players with trashy draws out. Someone with a 9 may raise us, but it does not happen here.

The turn comes and we did not make our flush. Since everyone called and no one raised last hand, we should still bet here. Our flush is approximately 4:1 to come in on the river, and if we bet the two others are likely to call adding 2 more bets into the pot. Uhoh, MP2 has raised. Did he slowplay trip 9’s? He’s gone all in, sometimes players raise all in just for the hell of it. We are still drawing to 9 outs, around 4:1 odds. We are getting 16:1, an easy call. Now since MP2 has gone all in, raising would not do much (he already has all his money out).

The river comes and we make our flush. The hand shows down (MP2 is all in remember) and we win the pot. Bye bye MP2.

Hand 22

PokerStars 0.02/0.04 Hold’em (9 handed) [url=]converter[/url]

[b]Preflop:[/b] Hero is BB with A:diamond:, 5:diamond:.
UTG calls, [color:#666666][i]1 fold[/i][/color], MP1 calls, [color:#666666][i]4 folds[/i][/color], SB completes, Hero checks.

[b]Flop:[/b] (4 SB) A:club:, A:spade:, J:club: [color:#0000FF](4 players)[/color]
SB checks, [color:#CC3333]Hero bets[/color], UTG calls, MP1 calls, SB folds.

[b]Turn:[/b] (3.50 BB) 2:heart: [color:#0000FF](3 players)[/color]
[color:#CC3333]Hero bets[/color], UTG calls, MP1 folds.

[b]River:[/b] (5.50 BB) A:heart: [color:#0000FF](2 players)[/color]
[color:#CC3333]Hero bets[/color], UTG calls.

[b]Final Pot:[/b] 7.50 BB

Results below:
Hero has Ad 5d (four of a kind, aces).
UTG has 8h Jd (full house, aces full of jacks).
Outcome: Hero wins 7.50 BB.

Here we have A5s in the BB. No one raises and we see the flop for free. And a great flop for us it is! Trips again. Again, at this level I usually do not feel the need to slowplay because many donks will call with anything on a scary board because they think you are bluffing.

The turn comes and we bet again. The pot is fairly small, so even a flush draw should fold to a bet here.

The river comes and oh dear! Quad Aces. Slowplaying this would be a waste. The other player would check you behind. So bet and hope he wants to see what you had. Reraise if he raises for some unknown reason. He calls with a pair of jacks. Nice. We take the pot.

Hand 25

I had 22 in late position. When you small pocket pairs you almost always are looking for a set on the flop. If one does not come you are drawing to two outs. You need 22:1 odds to call that, which is rarely possible. If there are no 2’s in the flop for a set, check and fold.

Hand 32

PokerStars 0.02/0.04 Hold’em (8 handed) [url=]converter[/url]

[b]Preflop:[/b] Hero is SB with K:club:, J:heart:.
[color:#666666][i]1 fold[/i][/color], UTG+1 calls, MP1 calls, MP2 calls, [color:#666666][i]2 folds[/i][/color], Hero completes, BB checks.

[b]Flop:[/b] (5 SB) 8:diamond:, K:heart:, J:spade: [color:#0000FF](5 players)[/color]
[color:#CC3333]Hero bets[/color], BB folds, UTG+1 folds, MP1 calls, MP2 calls.

[b]Turn:[/b] (4 BB) 9:heart: [color:#0000FF](3 players)[/color]
[color:#CC3333]Hero bets[/color], MP1 calls, MP2 calls.

[b]River:[/b] (7 BB) 7:club: [color:#0000FF](3 players)[/color]
[color:#CC3333]Hero bets[/color], MP1 calls, MP2 folds.

[b]Final Pot:[/b] 9 BB

Results below:
MP1 has Kd 3d (one pair, kings).
Hero has Kc Jh (two pair, kings and jacks).
Outcome: Hero wins 9 BB.

We have KJo in the SB and complete to see the flop. On the flop we luck out again. Top two pair Kings and Jacks. Bet the flop to force out weak draws. We get two callers.

The turn comes and it puts a flush draw and a possible straight on the board. We likely still have the best hand here even on this coordinated board. We bet again to protect our hand and force opponents to make unprofitable calls with weak draws.

The river comes and it puts a straight draw on the table. Do not check! We have two pair here, and no one has shown any strength. Bet, most of the time our hand is best. It is and we take the pot.

Hand 34

PokerStars 0.02/0.04 Hold’em (10 handed) [url=]converter[/url]

[b]Preflop:[/b] Hero is CO with A:club:, T:club:.
UTG calls, UTG+1 calls, UTG+2 calls, MP1 calls, MP2 calls, [color:#666666][i]1 fold[/i][/color], [color:#CC3333]Hero raises[/color], [color:#666666][i]2 folds[/i][/color], BB calls, UTG calls, UTG+1 calls, UTG+2 calls, MP1 calls, MP2 calls.

[b]Flop:[/b] (14.50 SB) 8:spade:, 4:diamond:, A:spade: [color:#0000FF](7 players)[/color]
BB checks, UTG checks, UTG+1 checks, UTG+2 checks, [color:#CC3333]MP1 bets[/color], MP2 folds, [color:#CC3333]Hero raises[/color], BB calls, UTG folds, UTG+1 calls, UTG+2 folds, MP1 calls.

[b]Turn:[/b] (11.25 BB) Q:spade: [color:#0000FF](4 players)[/color]
BB checks, UTG+1 checks, MP1 checks, [color:#CC3333]Hero bets[/color], BB folds, UTG+1 calls, MP1 calls.

[b]River:[/b] (14.25 BB) Q:diamond: [color:#0000FF](3 players)[/color]
UTG+1 checks, [color:#CC3333]MP1 bets[/color], Hero calls, UTG+1 calls.

[b]Final Pot:[/b] 17.25 BB

Results below:
UTG+1 has 4c Ks (two pair, queens and fours).
MP1 has 3h Ad (two pair, aces and queens).
Hero has Ac Tc (two pair, aces and queens).
Outcome: Hero wins 17.25 BB.

Here we have ATs in late position one off the button. With 5 players limping in before us, this is an easy raise preflop. Now we built a nice juicy pot before the flop, so let us see what we get. We have top pair and a mediocre kicker. There is also a flush draw on the table. It is checked around to MP1 who bets. It is hard to put MP1 on any specific cards, but if he had AJ or better he would probably have raised preflop. So we likely are best here and can raise, making the rest of the field see two bets cold. Two players cold call and MP1 calls.

The turn comes and crap, we have a possible flush on the board. This is where position is great, we see everyone check to us. If someone had a completed flush he would usually bet (or checkraise but we shouldn’t fear a checkraise unless there is evidence to point that we will be checkraised). We are still good and bet. One player folds and two call.

The river comes and its another Queen. Well another fairly scary card and MP1 bets. Does he have a queen? He bet the flop, and we said it was unlikely he had AJ or higher. He could have Q4 or Q8, but he would have played more aggressively with two pair on the turn. Theres no reason to give that kind of credit to MP1. I make a mistake here. I should have raised instead of calling. A weak point in my game, you cannot be afraid to raise for value on the river!

Hand 58

PokerStars 0.02/0.04 Hold’em (8 handed) [url=]converter[/url]

[b]Preflop:[/b] Hero is SB with A:heart:, K:club:.
UTG calls, [color:#666666][i]1 fold[/i][/color], MP1 calls, [color:#666666][i]3 folds[/i][/color], [color:#CC3333]Hero raises[/color], BB calls, UTG calls, MP1 calls.

[b]Flop:[/b] (8 SB) 5:spade:, 7:club:, 4:diamond: [color:#0000FF](4 players)[/color]
[color:#CC3333]Hero bets[/color], BB calls, UTG calls, MP1 calls.

[b]Turn:[/b] (6 BB) 6:heart: [color:#0000FF](4 players)[/color]
[color:#CC3333]Hero bets[/color], [color:#CC3333]BB raises[/color], [color:#CC3333]UTG 3-bets[/color], MP1 folds, Hero folds, BB calls.

[b]River:[/b] (13 BB) 8:heart: [color:#0000FF](2 players)[/color]
BB checks, UTG checks.

[b]Final Pot:[/b] 13 BB

Results below:
UTG has 3s Jh (straight, eight high).
BB has 8d Jd (straight, eight high).
Outcome: UTG wins 6.50 BB. BB wins 6.50 BB.

Here we have AKo in the SB which is a raise preflop. The flop comes and relatively coordinated board, but we have overcards. We have about 5 outs with overcards like these. Now we have three opponents, but all have been playing passively up until this point. So I go ahead and bet the flop. Checking and folding to a bet is also an option here.

The turn comes and its a bad one. Puts a straight on the board for sure. Anyone with an 8 or a 3 beats us. I donk bet this and I shouldn’t have. Another mistake, checking and folding is probably a better option. We are raised and then reraised, facing two bets cold, we must fold. Why? We are 99% sure we are drawing dead here, even if we spike an A or a K. So I lost a bet I should not have here.

Post Mortem

I was fairly lucky this round. But it should introduce you to the basic concepts on how to evaluate your hand and go about thinking about Poker logically. You may be laughing that I play .02/.04 cent limit games. Being a poor college student with no job, I have to stay within my means. You can’t gamble with money you don’t have! Anyway, I consider myself a fairly beginner poker player, so it is alright practice. Many people at this limit are either playing to tune up their game or play higher limits and come down to the micros for a stress free game. Sure many players are terrible, but you can say that about most limits up until you get past 1/2 .

Stats on the short session. My VP$IP, which measures how many times I actually volunarily put money into the pot, was 14.29%. I won 46.67% of the time when I saw the flop. I won $1.94 which is 48.5 BB and 76.98 BB per 100 hands. Went to showdown 53.33% of the time and won money at showdown 87.50% of the time. My Aggression Factor Total was an 11! Thats pretty high. And that’s that. I hope to write some more about poker for beginners.

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