Monday, November 13, 2006

Cap NL And The Hammer Set-Up

Time for an update to be sure, but this'll just be about one night and one hand in particular. Everything else is chugging right along with a healthy bankroll in tow.

So, I've been toying a bit with the shorthanded CAP NL tables on Full Tilt... not terribly sure why or what the point really is yet. Basically, there's a cap set on how much any player can contribute to a pot, and once that limit is reached, they are treated as all-in. So, at quarter/half, which is normally a $50 max buy in (and I always do the max), there is a $15 cap. So, your losses on any one hand are limited to $15, as well as winnings limited to $15 from each player (so you can still see bigger pots if things end up multi-way).

This cap does several things... notably, reducing the sting of bad beats (and reducing the scope of your bankroll fluctuations in general), as well as making some interesting pot odds problems that I'm not sure I have a handle on yet. One theory is that because of the cap, players will play worse, knowing that they are protected from big losses, and along with this idea, may be more likely to feel pot-committed on the end if there has been decent action. (For example if two players are heads up and have each invested $9 so far, the losing hand may feel obligated to put in the remaining $6 on the end. Not always good play, but that's the point.) All advice I've read online suggests playing perhaps tighter than you normally would (because everyone else will tend loose) as well as massaging pots to get people committed when you have reasonably durable hands.

At any rate, I think I can really crack these games, mostly because I seem to excel at chipping away and making many small gains on small mistakes of others, but I often seem to see all those gains wiped out in one or two bad beats. Here, I'm protected somewhat from this, while still earning consistently in small pots.

To get to the point though, I had a guy to my right who could literally do no wrong. You know the guy: calling your preflop pot raises with 42s and ATo, and somehow beating you completely illogically in every pot. This guy crushed me. I have QQ and jack the pot preflop, he calls with A3o and nails a T33 flop (where I obviously think I'm good...). I make top set and he calls me down with middle pair and rivers a backdoor flush. AK vs JT on a AK8 flop, and he nails his gutshot. You get the point. Amazingly I kept my head just above water stealing and winning pots elsewhere. But I had a target in my sights.

So now it's becoming personal. Every time I raise, he calls. Every time. And I notice of course, but can do nothing against the deck clubbing him in the face. I start pushing hard, anytime it's me and him and I figure to have the best of it. Mostly, he folds to this aggression.

Then I pick up the hammer (72o) UTG. This is fate. Reasonably tight table all just taking turns at this guy. I raise pot. NewGuy to my left thinks a bit, but folds. My nemesis calls, of course. I quickly head to the options and un-check "auto muck". This is going to be good. The flop is irrelevant. He bets the minimum, and I come over the top with a pot raise. He folds, and I show it.

Then the magic happened. Two red aces appeared in front of me in the BB. NewGuy min raises UTG. Folded to Mr. Nemesis on the button, and he min re-raises. I stick in the third raise to just over half of the cap, set up perfectly by the previous hand. NewGuy caps it with TT and Nemesis calls with JTo, and I hold the lead to rake the pot and move positive for the night. Sure, I'd have been a lot better off if some of my other hands vs this guy had held up, but there's not much that's sweeter than finally getting the best of a luckbox.