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25nl Hand Analysis from The Shrog

Published March 20, 2009 - RSS/XML Feed RSS

By Sean Gibson

As you start out your poker playing career at the cash game tables chances are you won’t have thousands of dollars to load up into a poker room and you’ll deposit a few hundred bucks and start at the micro-stakes. For many the play at these micro-stakes is a balance between handling the uber-nits (people that play super tight) and wild maniacs (people that play and bet any two cards they see). Using the replayer here at, let’s take a look at a reader’s hand histories playing 25nl (blinds set at $0.10 and $0.25) and discuss great plays and places to watch for improvement.
Hand 1 – Pocket Eights in Mid Position
First, here in mid position we see our hero, The Shrog, open for 4x the big blind with pocket eights. I like this as opening up 88+ anytime it’s been folded to you is a great way to establish early control of the hand and get paid should you hit the set. This is a great move at a table that you will see flops heads up with, and something to be careful about at tables where nobody folds until the river. Anyways, the Big Blind flat calls and the flop is pretty interesting – 976 with two diamonds. This is definitely a place to be cbetting in, and we see the Big Blind call yet again. Now the turn is a Queen of spades and is actually an excellent card to be double barreling with as he’s only calling unless he has the straight (very unlikely) or hit the Queen and you can take it down right here. 
Now the fun part of the hand is that The Shrog does make the turn cbet but it gets called again, and we know at this point his hand is certainly not best. The river peels off a 5 giving him the straight but it’s a dirty out since the diamond flush has filled and this guy could be someone who has chased his flush draw relentlessly and hit his card despite all pot odds. In this situation you do want to get value but you have to be careful that you might be beat so if the villain leads out a call is in order, and if he checks a slick value bet would be in order. That’s exactly what The Shrog did and got great value for a real interesting hand.
HAND 2 – AK Offsuit on the Button
Many beginning players really botch AK but Shrog’s a solid player so this hand is a great one to look at and see how it’s played. Sitting on the button with a huge hand, Shrog leads out for 4x the Big Blind plus 1 Big Blind for each limper for a total of a $1.50 opening raise.   He gets 1 caller from the cutoff and the flop is 7K4 with two diamonds. The villain does something at the flop that’s just brutal – he does something called a “donk bet” which is defined as when someone bets out at the flop when they just called a preflop raise (it’s a bad maneuver). Donk bets at 25nl are player dependant but more often they are done with mid-pocket pairs, 2nd pairs, flush/straight draws and only occasionally the nuts (usually a set). Against this guy and this donk bet I think Shrog does the right thing and gets it in, even though he knows he’s probably only a 65-35 favorite against a flush draw but a huge favorite against hands like TT or 99. The villain turns over a 6-high flush draw and misses both remaining streets and The Shrog takes the hand down.
HAND 3 – AQ Offsuit on the Button
Everyone folds to our hero who makes a no-brainer raise with AQ on the button. The flop is AK8 with two diamonds giving a good flop for the hero’s AQ. The villain checks and The Shrog checks which is a little surprising. I suppose that the meta-game thinking is that off this type of calling-from-the-blind situations the villain here very doubtfully has anything worth calling a cbet and will look to get value from a turn bet, so he checks for deception. I’m not sure that this thinking might be right as a cbet would certainly be called from the Small Blind with any Kx type of hand or a flush draw. The turn is a 7 of clubs and the villain leads out and then The Shrog min-raises which I really dislike. This gets called by just about anything making the river a really dicey situation for just having top pair. Fortunately the Ace comes on the river, and we see our hero put out a proper bet, which is folded to by the villain.
Overall Impression For This 25nl Session
-          Great job leading out with pocket pairs when folded around to you
-          Great job betting on the river with solid hands and trying to get value without over-betting
-          Watch out for slow playing in situations where there is no need to do so.

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