Patience and Discipline

Since I’m in the midst of the last days of classes, my Wednesday was shaping up to have not much going on. So I decided to go play live PLO for a change of pace at the Cleveland Horsehoe last Tuesday night. When I got there, the 1/2 PLO (with a $5 bring-in) game that had been going strong and had a waiting list when I left, was now 4-handed and about to break. I hopped onto a 1/2 NL table instead, and virtually immediately bluffed and semi-bluffed my way to a $300 stack from my $200 buyin (no one was very deep so I didn’t buy in for the full $300 max). But then I went on a pretty terrible run, forced to bet/fold many value hands postflop, and overall just not having boards come out ideally.

This continued for some time and I topped up two separate times. Once for $100 and once for $150. I was in the game for $450 and only had $100 left with me. My name was on the PLO interest list, but it had been sitting with only 6 people on it for quite some time. So I decided I was going to grind no limit and see where that would take me. After dumping off about a stack and a half, I went very card dead preflop – card dead in actual starting hand strength, but also in terms of favorable preflop situations. I remained disciplined and kept folding, even as pots started to get bigger and hand requirements dwindled around me.

I took a break for food a little after midnight, and even though I was still down about $150, I was quite pleased with my play. I felt like my instincts were particularly spot on, and I was feeling the table dynamics better than usual. Maybe something to do with folding so many hands and getting more of an outside perspective.

I started to make some more hands again, and was paid off in a couple spots. Back to even, and feeling good about it, our table quickly went from full to 4-handed, and then broke. I went to another table, where there was a LOT of money. The average stack was probably about $400, with a couple people sitting with over $600. I spent a decent amount of time just observing the table, as my hands were pretty mediocre. The table was full of semi-regs and a couple fish, but most of the regs weren’t solid, and I won a few medium-sized pots by using basic hand-reading and bluffing people off weak ranges.

Then I got into a spot where a tight player made it $12 in EP and I flatted 99 in the CO. The BTN and SB both called, and the BB made it $20. Everyone of course called. The flop came the lovely J93, and the BB bet $25 when it checked to him. It folded to me and I raised to $65. It folded back around to the BB, who snap-went all in for about $250. It was only a moment for me to call. The turn came a J, and villain weirdly said “ship it;” I had a brief moment of terror that he had JJ, but the moment passed as a blank hit the river. He turned over AA and my nines full of jacks were good.

This was a pretty big turning point in my session, since I’d been hovering around breakeven for quite a while. This was the first time I’d been in significant profit since the very beginning of my session, and I now had ammunition to deal with the deeper stacks at my table. It helped that at that point, the deck started hitting me in the face. At one point I made a marginal flop call getting an insane price, and with a lot of backdoor equity (I could easily fold turns unimproved), and when I backdoored a flush, my x/jam was mega-tank called. Then I 3bet with AK, flopped AKT, and got 2 pretty big streets of value against what I think was just a second-pair hand. My probably too-large river bet was met with an extreme tank (we’re talking 5 minutes+), but eventually a fold.

In another spot, I over-limp/called a smallish raise with A7s, flopped top two and led into about half the field when it checked to me. I got three streets of value against the PFR, betting $30, $70, and $115. There was some controversy on the river when the PFR pushed a call-sized stack just barely in front of his cards (which act as the betting line at the Horseshoe), and I turned over my hand. He claimed he hadn’t pushed them in front, but the whole table agreed, along with the dealer, that he had. He was asking if he could raise, but I think he was just trying to save face, as my hand was good for a nice pot.

All-in-all, I played for 12 hours – in for $450, out for $1,285. It’s been an insane couple days, and while I know run good had a lot to do with this upswing, it’s also really gratifying to see that I can swing to the positive side of my EV, too. And on top of this, it’s not like I played terribly. In the past I would have struggled much more with my card dead patches. Having the patience and discipline to keep folding saves a lot of money, and maintains the stack you have in front of you to let you stay in action.

My bankroll is (obviously?) sitting higher than it ever has thanks to PLO online and that live session of NL, and I’m feeling great about my play and my run good. Hopefully I’ll actually manage to play live PLO at some point and peddle the nuts (since the game is supposed to be insane), but… I guess this will have to do for now.

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