Sunday, March 3, 2013

How Do You Not Snap Call There?

The weekend after this post took place, I returned to the Bike for some more $2/$3 NL.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have nearly as good—or as interesting—a session as the previous week.  In fact the most interesting hand didn’t involve me at all.

I was totally card dead.  In almost five hours, I had pocket pairs four times.  Aces, Queens, 10’s and 3’s.  No pocket Kings, so I have no idea if my luck with them is still good or not.  Aces got me a very small pot, one caller to my preflop raise, who folded to my flop bet.  Same thing with the 10’s.  Didn’t hit a set with my 3’s.  The Queens was like the second or third hand I played, at a just-started table.  One caller to my preflop bet, low flop.  The guy called my flop bet, a blank on the turn, and for reasons I cannot explain, I checked.  Some fleeting thought hit me about not wanting the pot to get to big with such a mediocre hand.  The other guy checked behind me.  Then came an Ace on the river, so I checked again. The guy bet rather small, so I called.  He had Ace-King so I let him catch up. 
I dunno if he would have called a turn bet had I made one.  Frankly, I see this move all the time, calling on the flop with nothing but Ace high, and I don’t get it.  I suppose he could have assumed the flop missed me and I was just making a continuation bet.  But…..but….but…. he had nothing on the flop.  He had no idea how I played.  He didn’t have any kind of a draw (other than two “pair draws”).  Not sure I understand this play, though it worked out for him, because I stupidly checked the turn.  Though he might have called that bet too.  A surprising number of people do.
I was never dealt KQ or AQ, but I had Ace-Jack twice.  Raised with it both times, flop missed me both times.  One time my continuation bet was not called, the other time someone led out first, so I folded. 
And then there was the one time all session I was dealt Ace King.  I was under the gun, and my preflop raise was called by one person, a guy wearing an AMC cap (as in the theater chain), so we’ll call him AMC.  To say the flop hit me hard would be a gross understatement.  It came Ace-King-Ace.  Yeah, nice flop for me, huh?
I checked the flop hoping AMC had  Ace-something and would bet.  Nope, he checked.  A low turn card didn’t figure to help him out, but it didn’t; he checked behind me again.  A 10 on the river looked pretty worthless too, although it could have conceivably completed a straight for him.  I had to bet there to try to get some value for my big hand.  I put out $15 praying for at least a call.  Nope, he insta-folded.
Of course, I had to show my hand, just to bitch about getting paid so little for it.  AMC said he was sorry he couldn’t help me out, all he had was medium suited connectors that the flop missed completely.  He would have folded the instant I bet anything on any street.  I said he really wasn’t sorry  he couldn’t help me, but he explained he really was.  You see, at the Bike, Ace’s full of 10’s or better beaten would qualify for the bad beat jackpot.  Any hand that could have beaten me would have give us the BBJ.  Too bad he didn’t have the dreaded pocket Kings, thus flopping a smaller boat than mine, and then hit quads on the turn or the river.  That would have been a big pot I would have been thrilled to lose.  But as it was, I took down about a $20 pot for a monster hand.
And that was it for my big hands.  I tried to look for opportunities to steal or make a move, but nothing much was available.  Every time I figured out how to exploit a player’s tendencies, they left the table before I had a chance to use my knowledge.  Or someone would make a big raise before I had a chance to make my move.
So I had a negative session.  But I do want to discuss that interesting hand I mentioned at the beginning of this post.  It involved AMC.  He was having a real good session.  He lost his first buy in, which I think was $200, then re-bought for $100 more.  By this time, he had worked that 2nd buy in to over $400.  He was a fairly active player, not overly aggressive, but certainly making his share of raises and calling some fairly big bets on later streets.  In fact, he was the player at the table most likely to call a large preflop raise.  He had been hitting hands, thus the deep stack.
So on this hand, a short stack had limped in, AMC raised to $13 and the guy on my right, who had bought in a couple of times, raised to $60.  Short stack called, even though he didn’t have much left after the call.  AMC called as well.  He later said he would have folded if the short stack hadn’t called.
The flop was Queen high, but all clubs.  Short stack shoved, I think it was about $30-$40.  AMC made it $!00.  The guy to my right shoved.  It was $187, so $87 more for AMC to call.  Again, the first guy was already all in.
Now, even without knowing what AMC had, I would expect a snap-call there.  The pot was huge, nearly $500, and he only needs $87 to call.  He’s getting over 5 to 1, and even if he’s behind, he’s getting good odds to hit what he needs.  And the fact that he bet $100 on the flop would seem to indicate he has a pretty good hand, right?
But he said he needs time to think about this (after getting a count of the guy’s all in).  He said, “I need to see if I can talk myself into folding.”  Yeah, he said that.  Then he said, “I know I’m ahead now.  But two all ins….I know there’s at least one set out there, and the board will pair, and I’ll lose to a full house.”  Yeah, he said that too.
Three clubs on the board and he was worried about a boat?  Huh?  The board was not paired (obviously).  So if he has a flush already, how is that not a snap call?  OK, he must have a small flush, but in that case, why would he call a big raise preflop?  Why would he have raised preflop himself?  I didn’t get it.
He hemmed and hawed and took his sweet time.  He repeated the line about knowing that a full house was coming, and also that he was trying to talk himself into folding.  He counted out his $87 but didn’t put it in.  He kept talking and talking and talking and then finally….finally, put the $87 into the pot.
But with that, he stood up and looked away.  “I can’t watch” and turned his back to the table.  Seriously, he did not look at the board as the dealer put down the last two cards. 
Sure enough, the board paired 5’s.  When he finally turned see the board, and saw that pair of 5’s on the board, he said something like, “there it is, a pair of fives.  Who’s got the full house?”
I have to say, I’d never in my life seen someone so scared of a full house on a board without a pair, as it was on the flop.
Anyway, he had nothing to worry about.  Short stack had Ace-Queen, all he had was top pair/top kicker.  The preflop 3-better showed his dreaded pocket kings. 
And thus AMC flipped over his cards, the Ace and 10 of clubs!  He not only had flopped a flush, he had flopped the nut flush.  [edited to correct original post, see comment from grrouchie, below] And with no pair on the flop, how the hell could he be so scared of a boat?  Everyone else at the table looked at each other and wondered how and why he didn’t snap-call there, with the absolute nuts on the flop.  It was one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen.  And the thing is, I really think he came fairly close to not calling there.  He would have been kicking himself for a long time if he hadn’t, and then watched as the guy with the Kings took down that big pot when he folded the best hand.
The funny thing is, in almost five hours, I never saw the guy play a hand like that.  He folded a big drawing hand once, and almost folded another one (but called and made his straight), but this was a made hand he had.  He didn’t seem like a scared player any other time.  It was very strange.
By the time I left, AMC had over $!000 in front of him.  But I guess he has nightmares about seeing full houses under his bed.


  1. hus AMC flipped over his cards, the Ace and 10 of clubs! He not only had flopped a straight, he had flopped the nut straight

    I could have swore he flopped the Flush.
    If he flopped the Nut Straight with Ace and Ten of Clubs then he flopped a Royal and sure would not be worried about ANYTHING.

    Just saying :)

    1. OOOPS.....thanks for catching that goof, it has been corrected now. Obviously he had the flush, not the straight.

      So, two observations:

      1) I should hire you as a proof reader.

      2) Maybe that's why I suck at poker, I don't know the difference between a straight and a flush? Does a straight beat a flush or does a flush beat a straight?