If I’m ever going to improve as a poker player, I need to play hands like this much better, I think. I dunno, maybe it’s just a cooler hand, but I kind of think I played it wrong and should know better. So I’m asking you for help.
This is another session from December in Vegas and I’m only going to talk about one hand because it’s the only hand that mattered. I was having a pretty good session. I was up about $60 from my $200 buy-in. In early position, with Ace-King offsuit. I opened to $10. Only five players called. So it was an inflated pot preflop.
Well, I caught the worst looking two pair you could imagine. The flop was Ace-King-Jack. All spades. Every last one of them.
What to do? I mean, seriously, what should I have done? I didn’t want to check. There’s no guarantee someone has a made flush (or for that matter, a made straight). I thought I had to make anyone with a single spade pay to see another card.
But the more I think about it, the more I feel I should have checked. No one with the Queen of spades—or even the 10 of spades—is going to fold anyway, right? Maybe someone with a medium spade is calling too. Or a Queen or a 10 of another suit. And of course, no one with a flush or a straight is folding. And there’s the slim but greater than zero possibility that someone’s flopped a Royal and I’m drawing dead.
So I bet $40. Bad play? Horrible play? Defensible play?
The next guy made it $80. It looked like he had $100 left after his bet. And then, a truly bad player called the $80. He was an older guy who had convinced me that he was a bad player. Unfortunately, my voice notes don’t give me any further clue about how this guy was bad. And I don’t remember. I just noted that he was a bad player. I felt like he could be sticking around with almost anything. Of course, even really bad players flop Royal Flushes once every 649,740 hands, right? But, the $80 he had was more than double the chips he had left after calling. So maybe one of the reasons I thought he was a bad player was that, if he was gonna stay in the hand, he should have gone all-in there and not called.
Everyone else folded and it was back to me. The pot was now ~$260 and it was only $40 to call. Even so, should I have folded? Surely one of them had me beat. Of course, unless one o of them had the Royal, I still had outs if I was indeed behind.
I just couldn’t see folding for $40. Is that wrong?
The turn didn’t help me at all. It was a red 3. I checked and the guy who min-raised on the flop shoved for his last $107. The older guy called for less—it was like $30-$40.
The pot was now like $450. And it was “only” $107 to call. And, unless someone had the Royal, I had 4 outs.
I knew I didn’t have the right odds to call, but still, I couldn’t stop thinking about how big the pot was. It was like a siren calling out to me—trying to seduce me.
And of course, my call would end the betting for the hand. I didn’t have to worry about putting more money in on the river.
So, I let that big pot—the Siren—seduce me. I called.
The river was a blank.
The first guy showed the nuts, Queen-9 of spades. I am calling that the nuts even though if you just look at the board, the nuts is clearly Queen-10 of spades for the Royal. But he had the Queen blocker. So he knew no one had the Royal. He knew he had the nuts even if no one else did. Is it fair to call his hand the nuts then?
Anyway, the other guy didn’t show. I suppose he could have had a smaller flush, or a straight. But I think it is just as likely he had just a pair.
So that was it. Should I have played it different? Was it just a cooler hand? My gut tells me I played it poorly and gave money away, but I would love to hear some of your thoughts on how and why (and especially where) I went wrong.