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Sorry, it has been a bit since I posted anything. Sometimes that happens when life gets busy. I am not a full-time grinder and have to fit sessions in when I can and with the end of summer and back to school, I haven’t had a chance to get out and get any sessions in.

Jumping into the virtual felt

That said, I have jumped back into the online felt a bit to keep my skills up. Even though online is not my preferred form of poker it is better than nothing. 

Playing online the other night I had a basic concept brought to the forefront of my attention and felt it would be a great post to remind everyone of the power of paying attention at the tables.

I know it is so easy to get bored grinding away, especially when you go card dead, but the information you are missing out on by zoning out, checking Instagram, or watching YouTube videos (unless they are Poker Punx videos) is so valuable and can make you boatloads later.

Scenario Number One

I was at a table and noticed the player on my left had been making a lot of river overbet jams on disconnected boards and was not getting called. I then got into a hand with this player with A♠ 9♥ in the big blind. The villain made a standard raise to $6 (we are playing $1/$2 NL $200 cap on PokerStars PA) and I was the only caller. 

The flop comes off J ♠ 9 ♦ 4 ♣, I have second pair and check only to see the villain check behind. 

The turn is the 5♥ and while I think I have the best hand here I check again to not bloat the pot if he is on a draw or has two overs. The villain now bets pot for $13 and I call with my second pair.

The river is the 7♣ completing only hands like 6x8x or 3x6x which seem like unlikely hands for an under-the-gun raise. I check again to evaluate the river action and the villain now shoves for about $187?!?!?

What you talkin’ bout Willis?!?!

What in the world could this person be thinking betting almost 5x pot on a very disconnected board? This bet made no sense to me and my gut told me my second pair was good, I called and was right when the villain turned over A♠8♥.

This told me this player is overly aggressive, not just in betting but also with hand selection and isn’t afraid to polarize rivers. That being said this villain proceeded to blast off two other buy-ins to me over the next twenty minutes with similar plays before they decided they had enough and left our table.

Scenario number 2

On the flip side of this, a free days later I was on a table with a player who was the true definition of a calling station.

I learned this the hard way when they called my river 3 barrel bluff bet, when I missed my combo draw (J♥ 9♥), with K♠ Q♣ on a board of A♥ 10♥8♣ 4♦ 4♣.

When the hands were revealed I was shocked to see the call with no pair (unfortunately the correct call in this hand). However, I immediately made a note and marked the player as a call station.

Fool me once…shame on you, Fool me twice…Not tonight

I was able to take advantage of this later in the session when I flopped a nut flush draw. I bet the flop small to see if I could get a call and the villain obliges me.

When I turned my flush I size up on the turn and when they call again I knew I had a green light to go for max value on a clean river.

When that river came clean, I bet 1.5x pot and got called by jack high no draw??? 

If I didn’t know this player was a call station I would have made about 50-70% less on the hand since I would have been betting smaller to try and get calls.

These two examples show the power of paying attention to your opponent’s tendencies and using that information against them to your advantage.