Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Very Odd Three-Bet

Last night's session was "saved" by one hand where I thought I got lucky and my opponent's play had me scratching my head.

I was playing at MGM with my friend Don, who I first mentioned in the post here.  Don and I go back many years, back to when the AVP forums were very active.  We had played together the night before—not sure if I'll ever blog about the two sessions from that night as I was obscenely card dead the entire evening.

But Don—a recovering low limit player, just like me—had a profitable evening and was ready to give it a go again.  First we ate at the sports bar located adjacent to the poker room.  On the way there, we saw something unusual, even for Vegas. 


There was an African-American lady walking passed us wearing a low cut dress, and in fact, it was so low-cut it was cut under her bare nipples. Note: I normally never notice such things, but she had rather smallish breasts. Now, it appeared to me, in the brief time I saw her, that this was actually intentional.  I suppose it could have been accidental, that the dress slipped down below where it was supposed to be, but really.....a double nip-slip?  Seems unlikely.  This was right on the casino floor, outside of the sports bar.

Oh well, it is Vegas, right?

After dinner, it took us awhile but we managed to play at the same table.  There were some big stacks, but it became obvious that the two bigger stacks, seats 5 & 7, were by far the best players at the table.  They did not get those huge stacks just by luck.

I suppose a table change might have been in order, but for me, it didn't really matter as I continued to be just as card dead as I had been the night before.  I think I might have been even a little bit deader than the night before, truth be told.

I hadn't had a decent hand for the half hour I was at the first table I'd been assigned to, and then when I joined Don, it didn't much change.  There was one shining moment early.  There was a straddle ($5) and I made it $20 with pocket Jacks.  One player called.  The flop was King-high and I c-bet $30.  Fold.  End of my rush.

Seriously, it was well over two hours before I wrote down another hand.  Don had already called it a night by this time.  I did win a couple of small pots somehow.  Once in the big blind I had 9-8 suited, the flop gave me middle pair and an open-ender, and I led out and was not called.  Another time, I called the world's worst bluff.  Small blind with Ace-10, a bunch of us saw the flop, which was all kind of medium.  No one bet it or the turn, another mediumish card.  An Ace on the river and I bet $5.  A guy raised to $10.  I called.  He showed 2-3 off for total air.  I showed my Ace.  He said, "I really thought you'd fold.  You're too wily for me, sir."  Like I said, worst bluff ever.

Finally, I was about to call it a night myself.  Amazingly, because I had played so few hands, I was nearly even ($200 buy-in).  And I got pocket Jacks again.  Needless to say, to this point I hadn't been dealt a big Ace, a bigger pair, or even a pair bigger than 7's.  The time I got the 7's it was three -bet to $45 before it got to me (Aces vs 99, I believe), so I didn't even get to play that (I would have lost).

Anyway, with the Jacks, I was in late position.  The two big stacks had folded.  There was a limper.  I made it $10.  And then this lady at the table tried to re-raise.  She was the big blind and put out some $1 chips and some $5 chips.  But the total was only $17.  The dealer correctly told her that the min-raise was $18 and told her to put out one more $1.

Since my bet had been two red chips, and she had two $1 chips in front of her, there was no way in my mind that she had not intended to raise.  I was sure she had meant to raise and had just put out the wrong amount.

Now, I had been playing at the table with this lady since I joined Don, at least three hours earlier.  I had never seen her three-bet before.  I could only remember her raising at all maybe once or twice.  But she was a calling station.  Or more precisely, a limping-station.  She limped into hands about 90% of the time.  She called raises if they weren't out of line.  But this three-bet was the first that I saw, and it got my attention.

And remember, I had been totally card dead, the least active player at the table by far.  Anyone paying attention would have to believe that, in order for me to actually raise preflop, I must have a pretty big hand.  She wasn't a great player as far as I could tell, but I felt confident she knew I wasn't playing anything.  If nothing else, she probably overheard me telling Don how card dead I was.

So I really believed she had Aces or Kings, and pretty much nothing else.  I just called, and it was the two of us seeing a flop of 9-3-3.  She led out for $15.  Well, I had the overpair, and, as sure as I was that she had my Jacks beat, I couldn't really see folding.  I called and the next card was a 7, I think.  I still had the overpair.  This time she checked, and, thinking she was likely just keeping the pot smallish with a bigger overpair, I checked behind her.  A beautiful Jack hit the river and I assumed I had sucked out on her.

She bet $25 and I was only too happy to raise.  I made it $60.  She tanked long and hard.  I was hoping she was considering raising, not folding.  If she had quad 3's there, she had taken an even weirder line than the one she actually took.  She finally just called....and then she flipped over....Ace-Jack suited.  Huh?  Her first three-bet of the night was with Ace-Jack suited, from the blinds, against a player whose image was King of the Nits?  Wow.  And also, thank you very much.

Suddenly I was in the black for the session, after basically snoozing through it.  I won a small pot from the big blind rivering a straight, and also lucked into a four-card flush from the big blind with King-4 off.  The four of clubs in my hand was good for the flush, and I had stayed in on the flop because there was a King on the flop.  Small pot again—didn't get a call on my river bet.

Finally, it was just a few minutes before the midnight drawing (I had the two tickets) and I was happy that I was going to leave a winner.  And then I looked down at the dreaded pocket Kings. One of the two big stacks had straddled to $5.  I made it $20.  He called, and it was heads up.  Ace-high flop, of course.  But did I mention there was also a King?  He checked and I put out $30.  He folded.

A few hands later I got pocket Queens.  Finally starting to see some cards, just as I'm practically out the door.  I raised to $8, two callers.  But the flop had an Ace and no Queen.  It was a bet and a re-raise to me, so I just mucked the damn Queens, clearly they were no good.

And after not getting called for the drawing (I'm about zero for my last 9,000 or so), I called it a night, happy with a $135 profit from a session where I went hours without a hand to play.  And grateful for the lady who took such an odd line with Ace-Jack.

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