== Winnings up to this point: -$7 ==
Lessons learned from previous game: Powerup seems to favor reactive action in big pots and proactive action in small pots. I.e. when I find pocket 10’s and EMP the board before shoving no one in their right mind calls unless they have a nut hand – many times AK+, even 3 handed.
Which makes me think that in the mid game, where blinds first become significantly valuable but before anyone is on fumes in terms of stack sizes, this is a good stealing weapon. Secondly – we should hoard engineer and scanner cards (as well as clone because they can make both of these) once blinds climb past 60/120 as they are you the best tools to ensure clean all-in calls. It seems counter intuitive, but PowerUp is a very shallow poker game. Once players are below 8 big blinds, even a pre-flop raise is worth investigating with these cards as the payoff is so large.
Don’t be like me – don’t throw away good situations by being the guy bluffing (or even semi-value) betting and shoving when you can be the guy (or girl) using powerups to ensure you are calling these larger bets the lion’s share of equity going your way.
Winnings up to this point: -$7
This will be our last try at the $3 level before jumping into a $7 buy-in game. Not because $3 buy-ins are boring, and not because we can beat this level, but because I’m genuinely curious to see if at this point I can feel a significantly different ‘level’ of competition at PokerUp’s highest current buy-in.
This game is destined to be a short one because, yet again, we didn’t give the game’s dynamics enough credit and took a serious bite as a result.
We win our first few hands and take on the early game chip lead coming into a situation where we flat a 3x preflop bet from the big blind with 8,10 offsuit with the 8 of clubs.
The small blind gets out of the way and we go to a flop of 9,4,2 all clubs – our opponent checks action over to us.
We have an Upgrade powerup, so life isn’t so bad, but I then proceed to fall victim to a massive action sequencing error:
In this situation – the most important aspect of this spot in hindsight seems to be to hide the fact that we are in search of a 5th club for a flush. The second most important aspect is preserving the flush on the board itself to ensure the only variable to dodge here is a drawn full house by the opponent. We want the best chance to win.
This means that in terms of plays from worst to best in this specific spot is as follows:
Best Play: Don’t use any powerups and check back the flop. This means we conserve all of our re-draw power AND get a free look at more information on the board before committing to a big play in terms of our normal stack and our powerups. If the turn is a brick, we can bet decent and dig for a second club, knowing that even if we miss we get a second chance at hitting a weaker 1 card flush on the river. Either way – we gain the most information, put ourselves in the best spot to win AND protect our stack best by simply checking back. Simple but effective.
Meh Play: Upgrade first, and dig for a second club. If you miss it – check back and give up on the hand. It’s obvious you were trying to complete a draw and this board is too risky to just bluff shove on after using up the Upgrade powerup. If you do hit that second club – go all in. This locks the board and ensures your opponent can’t Disintegrate any flopped club and ruin your flush. Its safer but you basically leave yourself in a situation where you will only be called by a better flush, or possibly with by a flopped set.
Worst Play: What we did. Upgrade to dig for the flush → then bet a decent amount but NOT all in. At the time I assumed this could bait what I saw as a loose player into a call with a 1 card flush draw. Again – conventional poker thinking put to terrible use in this variant of the game. Not only did I make it transparent what I was doing but I also gave the opponent room to react with his own powerups before making a decision, and I did all of this while committing myself to the pot, because even if he’d Disintegrated a flop card (which he did) – Id still have a flush draw that I’d be obliged to chase given pot odds. All of this came to pass:
…and to make matters that much worse not only would he have won regardless of which plan we went with, he turned my flush into an 8 high in the process. Don’t be like me here – remember sequence and remember that sometimes the best use of powerups is to keep them in mind for future streets.
We peetered out shortly afterwards for another second place finish.
Reminder – we’re moving up the the $7 level next time. Should be fun.