This was a session from December that all came down to two hands that were misplayed. One of them was misplayed—very badly—by another player. The other hand was misplayed by yours truly, unfortunately.
It started out as a very tight table and so I decided to become the aggro maniac I’ve always dreamed of being. Well, not quite. But I started stealing blinds and limps with marginal hands that I would normally never think of raising with and I didn’t encounter a lot of resistance. This included low pocket pairs, crappy Ace’s and even crappy Kings. This worked for awhile, but one-by-one all the timid players left and were replaced by much more aggressive players, and my short-lived life as a maniac had to come to an end.
While the table was in transition a guy opened the pot from the cut-off for $5. I made it $15 with pocket Queens. And that was that, no call.
A bit later I got Queens again. This time I opened to $8 and had four callers. The flop was Queen-Jack-5 rainbow. I led out for $25, honestly not expecting a call, but a guy who had been one of the blinds called, and we were heads up. He was sort of an odd duck. He kept his chips funny—spread out in small stacks—and seemed to be nervous (whether he was in a hand or not). His hands were kind of shaking though I thought he might have a physical condition causing that. The turn was a 3 and the flop was still rainbow. This time he donked out a bet of $50. Interesting. Did he really like the 3? A set of 3’s perhaps? Would he have called my flop bet though? I didn’t know, but since I had the nuts at that point I was more than happy to see the bet.
I had a remaining stack that I could have easily shoved with there, but didn’t. I always figure, rightly or wrongly, that from a psychological standpoint, it’s easier to get a call if you bet an amount rather than saying “all-in.” I don’t know if that’s right or not, but I feel that way. I made it $125 and had about $30 or so left. It was hard to tell exactly how much he had, but I thought it was probably pretty close to the same as me. He took the bait, and announced all-in. I snap-called, of course.
The river was a 6, making an incredibly unlikely straight possible. But he turned over his hand and showed….pocket 10’s! Seriously! Let’s see, an unimproved pocket pair with two overcards on the board and he is willing to get it in on the turn? I figured this was my lucky day. The dealer counted the stacks and I had him covered by just a few bucks. Unfortunately, he didn’t re-buy. Damn.
As it happens, this was just a few days before Christmas, so after he left the table, I said to the players near me, “I guess Christmas came early for me.” Everyone agreed.
I started chipping down from there. I did get Queens for a third time this night, raised with them and took the pot on the flop with a c-bet (Jack-high flop).
Then came the hand I think I misplayed. I had Ace-Jack offsuit under-the-gun. That should be a fold. I don’t know what I was thinking of, but I guess it looked pretty to me and instead of folding I raised to $8. The guy on my immediate left made it $21 and got three callers before it got back to me. Wow. Even though Ace-Jack off is a terrible hand to play out of position, I have to call there, right? I mean, surely I was priced in. I guess I need to see what the rule is for calling a 3-bet in a multi-way pot when you raise with a hand you should fold.
So I called, hoping to smash the flop. Well, I did hit the flop. It was Jack-high and had two clubs. My Ace was a club. I checked and the preflop raiser made it bet $50. It folded back to me.
I probably had over $250 when the hand started, and the other player had a similar stack. So I suppose if I look at it from a stack-to-pot ratio basis, I should be ok with just getting it all in there with top pair, top kicker. But I was looking at what the guy was likely three-betting with. The guy was fairly new to the table and that was his first three-bet, and he hadn’t raised very much preflop. Yeah, he could be c-betting with Ace-King, Ace-Queen, but into four other players? Seemed unlikely. I figured it was very likely he had a pocket pair bigger than Jacks.
But I did have a hand. And with the two clubs, I had a back-door nut flush draw. So, $50 into a $100 pot? I figured I had to see at least one more card and hope for a Jack or a club. I called.
The 9 of hearts that hit the turn was useless to me. I checked and he bet $100. I could have had the best hand, but I felt it was way more likely I was beat. I tanked for a bit and then folded.
Thankfully, he turned over his hand as he swept in the pot. It was two Kings. So at least the fold was right. Did I misplay the hand? You tell me. Obviously I should have folded Ace-Jack off preflop. Other than that, how was my play?
After a bit, I was actually into negative territory. I ended up losing a few bucks at poker. Luckily though, I won $100 on their football promo. So it was a slightly profitable night.