Raise or Fold:  A Year of Risky Business

Writing and playing poker as if they were activities worth doing well.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day 34: Veni, Vidi, Vici

Gosh, that was fun.

I played at the 2/5 table for three hours or so and walked away having almost doubled my buy-in. I made one bad decision during this session ~ calling when I knew I was beat by the tightest player on the table, although not exactly HOW I was beat ~ which cost me quite a bit.

Otherwise, I played as well as I knew how, and after suffering one truly horrendous beat I stayed patient and tough and half an hour later FELTED the guy who inflicted it upon me.

You want to hear about it?

I thought you'd never ask! :D

You may be familiar with the poker saying, "If you can't tell who the fish is at your table after twenty minutes, it's you." Well, a few hands into my session today, I had identified the minnow at our table. A middle-aged white guy, pounding beers at 11 in the morning, counting out his chips with excruciating deliberateness while making really, really bad decisions about what to do with them. And he was catching cards and winning, against all odds.

I eyed him and his stack as a hungry tiger eyes the lame baby gazelle separated from its mommy on the veldt. He was going to be lunch.

But I thought I'd never get a crack at him, because two thirds of the table were licking their chops too. We were jostling for position, trying to be the first and last to finally benefit from his inevitable largesse. There was no way this guy was leaving the table with any of his money.

And then it happened. The perfect storm. I was in the big blind with Mr. Minnow two seats to my left. It folds to him and he limps in. Two more folds and one more limp from a guy I'm calling TVP because he's wearing a TV-poker-show t-shirt. It folds to the small blind who releases. I look at my cards, and I've got Ks6s. Nothing fancy. I check my option. There is now 7xBB in the pot.

The flop comes: Jc 6h 6c.

Ding ding ding ding ding! How happy am I?!?

For once, I think it's okay to slowplay. Why? Because I'm positive that one of the two guys behind me will bet out. And, sure enough, here comes Mr. Minnow with a 3xBB bet. TVP smooth-calls. The pot is now 13xBB.

Time to make my move. I absolutely, positively do not want anyone to draw to the club flush. Mr. Minnow is such a bad player, and I've seen him draw to the flush without pot odds already more than once, I am determined that if he wants to draw, he is going to PAY. So I make a nearly pot-sized bet with a raise of 9xBB on top.

I am not surprised when Mr. Minnow calls. TVP is a sensible player and he folds. Everyone at the table but Mr. Minnow now understands that I have a six. Everyone at the table also realizes that Mr. Minnow probably does not grasp this proposition.

Turn card: Js.

I have now filled up. I check. To my surprise, Mr. Minnow checks behind. A faint alarm bell goes off. (Weak means strong with these guys, I know this.)

River card: Ac.

I check. Mr. Minnow bets out 10xBB. I ask him, "Did you draw out a flush on me?" At this point, I am praying that he has a flush, but I've got a horrible sinking feeling that he has a Jack. The pot is offering me 3:1. Did he really call my bet on the flop with a two-outer draw?

Of course you know the answer to this one. Yes. Yes he did. He led out in early position and then called a big re-raise with Jh 8s (not even AJ or KJ, not even sooooted). There was a collective murmur of astonishment around the felt when he tabled his hand. You could also hear the faint gurgling sound of six or seven sets of salivary glands going into overdrive.

I was not a happy camper. I was very annoyed at myself for giving him credit for at least having been drawing to more outs. I should have known better. Maybe I could have found a way to fold the underboat to Mr. Minnow.

I will admit that at this point I'm really hoping I get a chance to get into it with Mr. Minnow again. I want my money back, before he goes and gives it all to someone else. I watch in dismay as he gets into several consecutive hands with my tablemates and loses amounts appropriate to his very bad judgment. His stack is dwindling.

About half an hour later, I am on the button. Mr. Minnow, under the gun, limps in. There are two other limpers and then the hijack, a solid player, makes it 4xBB to go. The cut-off (on my immediate right), another decent player, folds. I have As3s. This is a weak-ass hand, and an extremely loose call, especially up against Mr. Hijack, who isn't raising with crap. But I am 100% sure that Mr. Minnow will call, and with him and me in it, the fourth player will call too. I will be getting 3:1 on my money, in position. And so they did.

I tell myself I will fold to any bet if I don't hit the flop really hard.

The flop comes: Ks 5s 4s.

Yeah, I flopped the joint; I think that counts as "hitting the flop really hard." Behind a mildly interested-looking exterior, my inner child was dancing an extravagant happy-dance and shouting "booyah!" and other less savory expletives of joy.

It immediately got even better: Mr. Minnow bet out 20xBB. It is no surprise when the other two players promptly get out. I look at the board and ask myself: "What is he betting here?"

Does he have a set?
Big slick (AK)?
A baby flush?
Some kind of insane open-ended straight or straight-flush draw?

I call.

The turn card is 8h. I watch him as it falls. There is no hesitation.

"All-in!" he announces. About 50xBB. I have him covered.

I look at the board again. As far as I can tell, I still have the nuts. I have the nuts, right? How did the eight of hearts possibly help him? Does he have a set now? What the hell is going on?

Of course I call.

I have a flash of deep chill as the last card falls: it is the King of diamonds. Can he possibly have filled up on the river? Does my luck suck THAT BAD?

For once it does not. He turns over ~ wait for it ~ the King of clubs and the 10 of spades. My nut flush is indeed good and I drag all the chips.

But let us have a moment of silence for the beauty of extreme wrongness that was his 1) leading out big with top pair, weak kicker on a monochrome board from early position with three to act behind him and b) the all-in move with top pair, middling spade flush draw, after having his first bet called. (By me, probably the second- or third-tightest player on the table.)

It is easier to spot the fish a) when there are fewer fish in the pond (i.e., it's not all fish all the time) and 2) for once, it's not you.

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Blogger matt tag said...

your K6 hand is a bit like my K8 hand that I described from my home game last Thursday. Had K8 in the BB, took the free play, flop came 884. I checkraised. We got it all in the by the turn.

In my case, villain didn't draw out on my, he had played A8. Ouch.

9/22/08 6:53 AM  
Blogger PAPro_SandMan said...

Hey now. You stole my Latin!

I see this kind of play all the time. I think it's the most common type of cash-game donk. Overaggressive and at the wrong times. Their strategies sometimes get reinforced by luck and tight players who can't catch cards, so they keep at it... And make nice targets for those of us who know what they're doing.

Good to hear luck cooperated on your revenge tour. If he'd managed to draw out on you this second time, I can only imagine the length of the cooldown walk you'd need to take.

9/23/08 1:37 PM  
Blogger Rakewell said...

Hmmm. How did the 3s hit the flop when you had it in your hand?

2/6/09 9:15 AM  
Blogger Cardgrrl said...

Good point, Rakewell... obviously it was some other little spade on the board, but it's now long enough ago that I have no idea what it was.

I hope the poker blogging gods will not take too much offense if I edit the entry to fix the error.

Thanks for catching it, eagle-eyed one. I dread to think what other boo-boos you'll find.

2/6/09 3:07 PM  

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