Not that any one thing covers the gamut from hustlers to Hellmuths, but there are a few basic differences between bad poker players, decent poker players and good poker players.

The basic difference between a bad poker player and a decent player is that the decent player knows the value of his cards.

The basic difference between a decent player and a good player is that the good player knows the value of his opponent’s cards.

It’s with this in mind that I want to look at two hands in this edition of Righteous Poker. These hands occurred back to back in the latter stages of the September 14th Party Poker 300K NL Hold’em tournament

The Hand History numbers are 7375076426 and 7375077906. Abbreviated versions of the full HHs are included at the end of this article but if you really want to follow along you should go to Party Poker and request them for yourself. And if you are not constantly requesting hand histories than you are failing to take advantage of one of the biggest legal tools available to the online poker player. Go to Party Poker, go to the table options menu, select Instant Hand History and input the number of the hand you want to see. The hand history number for each and every hand played on Party Poker is up in the upper right hand corner of the table screen.

First, Hand 7375076426

We’re deep into the tournament so the blinds have skyrocketed to 8,000 / 16,000 + 400 ante. gere191 is on the big blind with an additional 92,000 left after paying it off. Eventual sixth place finisher, o3BE3DAo min raises to 32K from the button. gere191 correctly puts the extremely aggressive o3BE on a bluff (he was holding 67 of Spades) and goes all-in over the top for another 76,248 holding K2 off-suit.

Fine, end of hand, o3E tried to make a move and got picked off, nothing notable there. Except that’s not what happens.
o3BE calls.

Then sucks out something vicious on gere191 who flopped top pair only to be eliminated by runner runner trips.

This type of hand should have told everyone at the table that o3BE was an aggressive player, to say the least. This is the type of hand that describes a lot about a player: he’s throwing chips around (and also prone to big-time over valuation of suited connectors.)

This is integral integral information at any poker table but especially in the late stages of a tournament where the rapidly escalating blinds force quick decisive action. Everyone at the table should have been thinking about how to employ a counter game to a super aggressive player. To me, you have to test that aggression just as gere191 did – hey, gere191 got unlucky, it doesn’t mean that he wasn’t right.

Now, the very next hand, hand 7375077906

sxcuzuka2 is the big blind, dead small blind because gere191 was just eliminated, eventual second place finisher Kalli11 limped from under the gun (a questionable play in itself) table folds around to our good friend o3BE who min raises again to 32K. Big blind and limper call – I actually kind of like calling out of position here because it’ll give you a chance to bet out at the flop first. Regardless, certainly a case could’ve been made for re-raising pre-flop too, and either way with blinds alone representing that many chips, each pot is critical. You have to go after it at the end of a tournament or you just won’t win.

Flop comes huge, a flush draw and Q Q A – I would bet a whole lot of money that that flop missed most everyone in a min-raised 3 way pot but I can just about damn well guarantee that that missed the guy who played that last hand the way that he did.

And with a pot of 100,000, about half the size of the average stack – both Kalli11 and szczuka2 balked at their opportunity and checked.

Of course o3BE issued a less than pot sized bet which of course, got both players to fold.

Hey, maybe o3BE really did have a hand – stranger things have happened. That’s not the point. If you’re not willing to translate the exhibited play of a specific player into an identifiable pattern of poker play, then you’re never going to be as good a poker player as you could.

Poker is a game of imperfect information and in those few instances when you get to see a showdown, you have to be able to incorporate that information into your general playing strategy against specific players.

Those players at that table saw the exact same betting pattern the hand before and failed to even try and see if the guy was bluffing. Yes, the maniac may just call with 7 high again – that’s a good thing if you have anything better than 7 high.

Here are the promised abbreviated versions of the Hand Histories:

Hand 1

***** Hand History for Game 7375076426 *****
8000/16000 Tourney Texas Hold'em Game Table (NL) (MTT Tournament 41986200)-Sun Sep 14 18:44:54 EDT 2008
Table 483077 (Real Money) — Seat 2 is the button
Total number of players : 8
Seat 1: unangepasse (262557)
Seat 2: o3BE3DAo (486240)
Seat 3: seiuchi (178978)
Seat 4: gere911 (108648)
Seat 5: szczuka2 (248938)
Seat 6: Kalli11 (222570)
Seat 8: bigshot1232 (164956)
Seat 9: brelandas57 (101233)
seiuchiposts small blind (8000)
gere911posts big blind (16000)

** Dealing down cards **
szczuka2 folds
Kalli11 folds
bigshot1232 folds
brelandas57 folds
unangepasse folds

o3BE3DAo raises (32000) to 32000

seiuchi folds

gere911 raises (92248) to 108248

gere911 is all-In.

o3BE3DAo calls (76248)
** Dealing Flop ** :[ 3d, Qc, 8s ]
** Dealing Turn ** :[ 6h ]
** Dealing River ** :[ 6c ]
Creating Main Pot with $227696 with gere911
** Summary **
Main Pot: 227696
Board: [ 3d Qc 8s 6h 6c]
o3BE3DAo balance 605288, bet 108648, collected 227696, net +119048 [ 6s 7s ] [ three of a kind, Sixes — Qc,8s,6s,6h,6c ]
seiuchi balance 170578, lost 8400 (folded)
gere911 balance 0, lost 108648 [ 2c Kc ] [ a pair of Sixes — Kc,Qc,8s,6h,6c ]

Hand 2:

***** Hand History for Game 7375077906 *****
8000/16000 Tourney Texas Hold'em Game Table (NL) (MTT Tournament 41986200)-Sun Sep 14 18:45:31 EDT 2008
Table 483077 (Real Money) — Seat 3 is the button
Total number of players : 7
Seat 1: unangepasse (262157)
Seat 2: o3BE3DAo (605288)
Seat 3: seiuchi (170578)
Seat 5: szczuka2 (248538)
Seat 6: Kalli11 (222170)
Seat 8: bigshot1232 (164556)
Seat 9: brelandas57 (100833)
szczuka2posts big blind (16000)
** Dealing down cards **
Kalli11 calls (16000)
bigshot1232 folds
brelandas57 folds
unangepasse folds

o3BE3DAo raises (32000) to 32000

seiuchi folds

szczuka2 calls (16000)
Kalli11 calls (16000)

** Dealing Flop ** :[ Qh, Qd, Ad ]

szczuka2 checks

Kalli11 checks

o3BE3DAo bets (80000)

szczuka2 folds

Kalli11 folds

** Summary **
Main Pot: 98800
Board: [ Qh Qd Ad]
unangepasse balance 261757, lost 400 (folded)
o3BE3DAo balance 671688, bet 112400, collected 178800, net +66400
seiuchi balance 170178, lost 400 (folded)
szczuka2 balance 216138, lost 32400 (folded)
Kalli11 balance 189770, lost 32400 (folded)
bigshot1232 balance 164156, lost 400 (folded)
brelandas57 balance 100433, lost 400 (folded)

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