It's been up and down but my last few sessions have been very good and I finally broke $100 to double my initial challenge bankroll. The CG Challenge bankroll stands at $100.05 to be exact. I was at $99 and change but played one quick session just so I can write this post. :)
I'm still playing loose aggressive (LAG) which seems to be working for me. My post flop play and hand reading skills look like they have improved against certain types of players so I'm more willing to call or 3 bet with speculative hands in position if I think I can get heads up. In multi-way pots I need to be more careful because I don't seem to be right about what all players might have often enough.
I don't want to sound cocky, I've had a tremendous amount of good luck as well. Some more details follow.
Getting Quads Paid OffIn my biggest recent pot I was holding a weak suited ace and called a big early position raise from a player I knew to be very tight. It was a pretty loose call but he bought in for the max and I had him covered. Being a tight player raising from EP I put him on a big hand and if I was able to outdraw him I could take quite a few chips from him. Calculating implied odds isn't my strong suit but I thought they might be pretty big to warrant a call. Plus the table was pretty tight and I was likely to get heads up.
A paired flop with all low cards gave me trips and a backdoor flush draw. With such a strong hand I decided to just smooth call his flop bet and make it look like I was floating him. It could have just been a cbet from an AK that missed but he was very tight in early position and I was pretty sure he had a big pair, I was hoping he did anyway. The turn brought a picture card that also left me 4 flushed. He bet a bit bigger on the turn and I re-raised a decent amount. Partly to get value and build the type of pot where we could get it all in on the river, partly to see if he turned a full house. This could either be a big win for me or a big disaster. When he just called my turn raise I was pretty sure he was sitting on an over pair and I was confident in my trips.
The river gave me quads. Getting paid off with quads isn't easy, especially from a tight player. The way I played the river and previous hands, I think I gave off the impression that I either had top pair or the flush draw and if I was able to make him think that he might think he had the best full house with his overpair. Since I didn't 3bet him in position preflop it would be very unlikely I had the nut full house or aces.
He checked the river to me and I was disappointed thinking I'd only be getting one small value bet out of him at this point. I only managed to get less than half his stack in the pot which sucked. I took a few seconds and decided to put out a very weak 1/4 pot river bet that made it look like I missed my flush and was bluffing or value betting a full house that he probably had beat. He instantly check raised all-in and I took my time just to make sure I didn't accidentally hit the fold button. :) As I thought, he had an overpair and I won a huge pot.
There's no doubt that it was very fortunate for me to make such a strong hand when my opponent also had a very strong hand but I think I deserve some credit for playing this well and getting maximum value.
I Thought AA and KK Were Good Hands. WTF?The nice thing about playing LAG is that people will start playing back at you and paying you off when you have a big hand. Unfortunately most of my profit seems to be coming from small hands like weak aces and suited and unsuited connectors.
When I do get a big hand like AA, KK or AK I get the action I want, but not the results. AK overall is profitable for me since it's easier to get away from, but I have a hard time letting go of AA and KK and seem to get outdrawn on frequently. Since the other players at the table are playing back at me at this point, it's difficult to tell if they're ahead or not. Many times I get them to put all their chips in with TPTK on the flop and they turn or river trips or two pair or something else that beats me.
In one of my last sessions, I sat in with the max buy-in and had won 1/2 a buy-in playing small ball poker. Then I was dealt KK and 3bet an EP raiser who made a much looser call than I would have expected. I didn't let the ace on the flop scare me and wound up getting it all in. I should have let go at this point but I have a hard time letting go of Kings and figured it was time for KK to show a profit. Not this time. My hand didn't improve and I lost almost my entire stack.
I rebought to the max and through some more small ball and a decent pair managed to get half way back to even. Then I flopped a set in a multi-way pot and pulled in 3 streets of value from the player I lost a big pot with KK. He was chasing a draw that didn't hit. Lucky for me his hand kept improving, he just never got there.
It's very frustrating losing with big pairs but I try and remind myself that I've cracked my fair share of aces and kings. I'm obviously doing well getting them to put in all their chips when they are drawing thin and in the long run these big pairs should show a profit and I'll learn when and how to let them go.
The table was really good, there were a couple of loose fish and I had projected the image I wanted but I unfortunately I had to leave that game. I started out with a pretty small bankroll for these stakes and if I'm ever sitting with more than 10% of my roll on the table I consider leaving and with 20% I have to leave. After rebuying I won back my initial buy-in plus a small profit but with more than 20% of my cash game challenge bankroll in front of me I had to do the disciplined thing and leave.