Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"I Knew if I Bet, You'd Call"

A few posts ago, I was talking about the session with the two old-timers who had to have the concept of “table stakes” explained to them (see here).  I mentioned at the end of the post that there was some good poker to talk about, so here’s how the session went for me.

In addition to Brett and Bart, and the former reg (who I’ll refer to as “FR” for short) that I mentioned in that post, I should introduce you to a couple of other players.  One is the Crazian. Need I say more?  Ok, just your average Asian player who lived up to stereotype of being a maniac.  Then there was “HPO guy,” who I’ll refer to as HPO for short.  This took place during the weekend the HPO event at M Resort was being held (see here).  And I had played a lot of poker with a guy from Virginia who was in Vegas because he won a seat in the HPO event at casino near his home.  West Virginia I guess, they don’t have any live poker in Virginia, right?  I played with him many times this week as he was getting ready for big event at the M.  This night took place after he was done though, he had busted out on Day 1.  I’m sure he told me his bad beat story but I can’t remember it, but that’s ok, I’m sure you’ve heard it before.

Soon after I arrived, I looked down at pocket Jacks in the big blind.  Under-the-gun had straddled, a bunch of others had called the straddle, so I made it $20.  Three players called.  The flop was Jack-8-5, rainbow.  With the nuts on such a non-scary board, I decided to slow-play it and checked (this was before I wrote the post here).  No one else bet, either.

Turn was another 5, filling me up.  Now I had to get some value for such a big hand, right?  I have no idea what the right bet should have been.  I hadn’t been at the table long enough to have much a read on anyone.  I bet $15 hoping someone would bite.  Maybe a couple of people, I made it so cheap.  The guy behind me went all in for $35 and the other two guys folded. I snap-called. The river was meaningless and the other guy showed Ace-8.  It was a nice pot to get the evening started.

I won some more chips when I called a raise with Ace-7 offsuit in position and ended up with two pair by the river.

So I was up almost double my buy-in when this next hand took place. I definitely want some feedback on this one.  Not necessarily on my play—though you’re always welcome to talk about that.  But I’m really curious to hear feedback on HPO’s play.

I guess I was feeling pretty good, up that much early in the session. How else do you explain my raising to $10 under-the-gun with King-Queen offsuit?  I will frequently fold that hand in early position—too easily dominated.  Other times I’ll limp.  But I don’t usually raise.  But this time I did.  Mixing it up, as it were.
Two players called and then HPO raised to $30.  Hmm.  There’s now $60 in the pot and it’s $20 more for me to call. That struck me as too small an amount to three-bet.  I figured it was worth calling to see if I could get lucky.  One player called, the other folded, so the pot was $100 (before rake).  The flop was Ace-x-x, rainbow.  No good straight draw either.  I checked, planning to fold to HPO’s c-bet.  But after the other guy checked, HPO checked behind him and we saw the turn for free.

The turn was a King.  So I bet $60 and both players folded.  As HPO folded, he said to me, “You hit it huh?  Made a bad call and you hit it.”  He didn’t say it in a criticizing way, it was actually a friendly ribbing.

HPO and I had a relationship after playing so many sessions together during the past week, so I did something I don’t normally do, I responded.  “You should have bet the flop.”

He replied, “I couldn’t bet the flop.  You could easily have Ace-King there and you’d come over the top.”  I just shrugged, I didn’t want to give any free info.  But I was thinking that if I did come over the top, he could let it go.

I actually spent a lot of time thinking about his play and I thought it was bad on his part, but what do you think?  I’m assuming he had a big pair—10’s, Jacks, Queens.  With only two other players in the hand and last to act, don’t you have to c-bet there?  Even with an Ace on the flop?  You c-bet and then you can fold to a check-raise. If you just get called it’s trickier but still—I couldn’t understand not c-betting.  What do you think?

With pocket 8’s I limped/called $12.  Three of us saw the flop, which was 8-5-2, two hearts.  I checked again, fairly sure the preflop raiser would bet.  He did, $20. The other guy folded, I check-raised to $60 and he folded.  Should I have just called?  Or raised less?

Then I had an interesting little hand against the former reg (FR).  He bet $8 and I had Ace-King in the big blind.  If it was the Crazian who had raised, I would have three-bet in a heartbeat.  But FR is a pretty tight player, very solid (he makes his living grinding). I just called. Four of us saw the flop, which was all bricks.  But FR didn’t bet and neither did anyone else. And in fact, one of the players in the hand mucked his hand on the flop even without a bet. Another brick on the turn and no one bet.  A final brick on the river and I considered betting to steal it.  But I checked, because at this point, I actually thought my Ace-high had pretty good showdown value.  The other guy checked.

And then FR didn’t bet right away. He hesitated a long time, and the longer he took to act, the surer I was that I’d call any bet he made (within reason).  I was convinced that the board had totally missed him and he didn’t c-bet because there were too many in the hand.

After awhile, he actually had a pained expressed as he said “check.”  I showed my Ace-high and he showed King-Jack.  The other guy didn’t show.  I took the small pot and FR looked directly at me and said, “I knew if I bet you would have called, that’s why I didn’t bet.”  Did he read my mind?  I said, “Well, yeah, especially the way you were agonizing.” He said that only happened after he had decided not to bet.  That’s probably true.  If he had bet instantly, I might not have called.  Not sure.  I really thought his line screamed of air rather than anything that could beat an Ace.  It was a small pot but a nice little moral victory.

I had 5-4 offsuit in the big blind, no raise.  The flop was 7-5-5, two hearts.  I bet $10, only Bret called.  I bet $20 on the turn, a face card, not a heart.  He called.  The river was also not a heart and before I could even grab some chips to bet with, Bret mucked his cards.  Gee, do you think he had the heart draw?

Then came the big hand of the night.  The Crazian raised to $10 in early position.  The player to my right—a newbie just learning the game—called.  I had two Jacks.  OK, if ever there was a time to three-bet that hand, this was it.  I made it $40.  When the big blind called, I was sure the Crazian would call too—at least.  Hopefully this wasn’t the time when the maniac actually woke up with a big hand.  But he surprised me by folding.  Guess he really did have nothing.  I mean, $30 when the pot was already $90?  But fold he did, as did the guy to my right.

The flop was 9-high, rainbow.  Big blind checked, and I put out $80, which seemed like about half his stack.  And then he check-shoved.  Hmm….I asked for a count, but I was pretty much committed. If he had trapped me with a set of 9’s, a bigger pocket pair, whatever, I was screwed.  It was $155 total, give or take a buck, and I announced call.

He showed his hand…pocket 10’s.  Nice.  I flipped my Jacks over. The last two cards were both Queens, so my Jacks were good and swept in a very nice pot.  The dealer was a fellow I don’t usually encounter, he normally starts at Midnight.  But he started an hour earlier this night because they were so busy.  “You know, you’re a really good dealer.  I should stick around for you and not leave so early,” I said to him as I gave him a nice tip.  “No, it’s just the cards. I’m just a monkey.”

I was still stacking my chips when, on the very next hand, In late position with Queen-10 off, I limped in. I think I had to call a small raise from someone behind me. The flop was Queen-10-x, and Bart led out with a bet of $25 (I’m pretty sure he wasn’t the preflop raiser and that the preflop raiser had checked the flop).  I made it $75 and Bart called.  The turn was a blank and I checked behind Bart.  I’m not sure why.  Thinking about it now, I don’t know why I didn’t bet.

But it worked out, as the river was another 10.  Bart checked and I bet $100. Bart folded instantly. I flipped over my hand to show my boat to get one of those drawing tickets.  I again complemented the dealer on his exemplary dealing skills.  Nice back-to-back hands there.

I won a couple more small pots and then my buddy Jack came to deal. I limped/called $12 with pocket 4’s. The flop was 7-6-4, rainbow. The Crazian (the preflop raiser) bet $5, and two players called. I made it $25.  Only the Crazian called. The turn was another 4.  He checked, and I checked behind him.  He checked the river and folded to my bet.  I flipped over my hand to show my quads—and get another drawing ticket.

Jack said, “Oh, I’m gonna be reading on the blog about how ‘Jack’ got you started on this incredible rush and you won a boatload of money.”  But no, that wasn’t the case.  My rush was actually over.  I think I won another small pot with Jack, and then, after I didn’t get called for the drawing, I called it a night.

But I was up $500, so it was good night indeed.


  1. And a nice win with the evil hand...

    1. Yeah, that's turning into a pretty good hand for me. Maybe I should play it all the time.

  2. GOTTA C-BET imo. awesome pic awesome post

    1. Thanks, anger. It was a real challenge trying to find a hot girl with "Quad 4's" I almost gave up.

  3. The quad picture actually made me laugh. There are very well endowed twins that worked in my office and a co-worker and I always affectionately referred to them as "The Quads."

    1. Thanks, Jeff.

      Boy, do I feel stupid. I don't know how this could have escaped my thought process. But I was actually looking for a set of hot quadruplets. Why the hell didn't I consider looking for two well-endowed twins who could have represented "quads."

      It even involves boobs. I must be losing it in my old age.

    2. i am thinking the BARBIE TWINS,rob????????/

    3. Yeah, I just wasn't thinking about "quads" that way at the time.

  4. Nice hand histories. Quick question on two of the hands:
    The QT hand - "But it worked out, as the river was another 10. Bart checked and I bet $100. Bart folded instantly." - Why is that "worked out?" You need to bet there to draw value from the lesser / drawing hands. You check / raise to $75 on the flop and then check the turn? Is he ever betting with anything there unless he hits his draw? You're making a more-or-less committing move on the flop and he gets a freebie on the river! Absolutely bet there.

    Second hand: "The Crazian (the preflop raiser) bet $5, and two players called. I made it $25. Only the Crazian called. The turn was another 4. He checked, and I checked behind him." You raise big on the flop but again check the turn! Why not continue to bet the turn? There's a ton of hands he's going to call with - and there's ton of drawing hands mixed in to such a wide range. Like the hand above, you need to continue to bet instead of getting fancy with a player who is only giving you value on the river if he hits his hand.

    1. Thanks, PM, appreciate the feedback.

      On the first hand, the reason it "worked out": was because I won the hand. And also because I hit the boat on the river and got a drawing card.

      Seriously, that wasn't why I played it that way and in fact, as I said, I couldn't even explain the next day (to myself) why I didn't bet the turn. It was a bad mistake and it didn't bite me--at least as far as losing the hand. I might have gotten a call on the turn if I bet and so perhaps I lost value. I wish I could explain. I guess maybe my mind was still focusing on the big hand I had won the hand before.

      On the Quad 4's, this was before I re-examined slow-playing and at that point I would reflexively check quads until the river without any thought. Hopefully next time I'll be more inclined to think it through and be able to get more value for those monsters.