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The Pledge! The Turn!! The Prestige!!!

Posted by Prateek Verma on 2012-05-21 at 12:00 AM

Few days ago, during a regular session, I was playing 0.25/0.5euro 6-max NLHE cash game (or NL50€). I was running good mostly and had a stack of about 85 euros in this particular table. I raise 3x from UTG+1 with Ac7c. The big blind calls also sitting very deep… and the Flop comes Ah Ks Jc. Big blind checks….I raise 2€ in a pot of 3.25€ and big blind makes it 4.5€. I call his check raise. Turn is 6c. He bets 5.5€ in pot of 12€. I take my time and raise it to 14€. He thinks for a while and makes the call. River is a 2h. He checks and I bet very strongly for 32€ in a pot of about 41. He takes some time and folds.

Why this hand was important… because I know I was beat. When he raised on the turn I kept him on A9 or A10 kind of hand. But the board was beautifully arranged to make a play and get him off his hand on a suitable river.
Few things I always consider when “Choosing” to make a play are –
1. He was a NL50€ mostly and NL100€ regular. So he will understand the amount and pattern of betting. [B] [The type of player] [/B]
2. He was playing OOP and grinders/regular people want to keep pot smaller with one pair kind of hands while playing online (taking less risk or avoiding big swings or pot control) [B] [Position] [/B]
3. We had played a lot against each other and I had very good HUD stats (if he would be using) [B] [History or information] [/B]
4. During that session I hadn’t made any huge bluff (or got caught) and was running really good. [B][Normalcy Bias][/B]

When he just called my raise on the turn, I knew he had A9 A10 (given his range). Had he raised again there, I would have left it. In fact I wasn’t making a play here, I was representing… If I had AK/AQ/AJ/JJ/KK/AA, I would have played this hand just like above. It’s about making a story, and narrating it just like some other grinder will do and more importantly to someone who will understand it. If I was in his position, I would have left it too.

There is a very prominent theory in poker world about level of play/level of players (search [B] Multiple Level Thinking [/B]). And the common understanding is and I quote [B]“To beat any type of poker player, you simply need to be playing 1 level above them. Not 2 or 3, just 1.” [/B] In my opinion, this simple idea needs a lot of backing/support. The key is to identify what level your opponent plays and what level of players he is comfortable with. Every hand dealt in poker is an individual event, and will that particular event would be able to sustain +1play is a thing you need to ask before you jump the gun.

Annette obrestad explains this very nicely…[B]”Although a lot of what makes poker such a special game is the ability to make complex plays that really show your skill (or lack of it!) off, this is so often taken too far by players, and understanding when to try and make complex moves and when to play simple is one of the key foundations of all successful players.”[/B]

In that hand, I won 20 euros. But we must not forget that somebody lost 20 euros… and those who are losing they are analyzing, they are trying to find out the reason for their loss, their mistake…and If I do nothing they will come after me…for my money next time. I personally think every time I have a winning session or I crush someone…I become more relentless and I challenge my own game. They …fish/regulars/pros they will improve their game with every beat…. But I need to be ahead every time… find new ways… find mistakes in my winning hand to increase value….new strategies and more importantly “Radical ideas”. Gary Kasparov has a very interesting take on this relating to chess and I recommend you to read it.

I usually play 6-max NL50€, on 3 to 4 tables at a time on everleaf network. Recently I started playing 4 max NL50€ and a lot of heads up too (NL20€). I love the pace of shorthanded tables and complex betting patterns. I usually play cash games, started in college, then met Dhruv (a fellow avenger lol) and started grinding in Goa since last year June. We went to Goa this Feb and played just non-stop for 3 weeks and it was incredible. In Jan Feb, I was playing a lot of 1 to 6 € buy in tournaments (donkaments in everleaf network).

I also met Adi during that trip during PGT events for first time. I had heard a lot about him and read a lot too. I railed him in number of tournaments in PokerStars and trying to understand his play and his style even before I met him. It’s just incredible to be mentored by Adi and to just talk about poker with him who not only is successful and a great player, but actually knows the game inside out, understands the dynamics, and have a very defined approach to the game like a scholar. I am making notes, reading a lot (more than I do regularly) what Adi is trying to teach us and learning every aspect of tournament play one by one.

Coming back to that hand…had he called and showed me a better hand. Will I stop making such moves? No.
But I will find what I did wrong against him and try to evolve. It’s not about some particular hand which was dealt that day… it’s a way of thinking!

[B]P.S.[/B] As for the title… Cutter in The Prestige, “Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called “The Pledge”. The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course… it probably isn’t. The second act is called “The Turn”. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call “The Prestige”.”
And on those days when I pull this off…. Its hard to explain the feeling.

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Prateek Verma

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