Key Pots From Last Week

January 4, 2018

Here’s some of the more interesting pots I played over the last week in various sessions. I was going to list some PLO hands from last night, but this was getting long enough already, so maybe I’ll post those hands tomorrow.

$8/$16 LHE @ Palace

I limp along in a multiway pot from the cutoff with 64dd. The flop comes down 852 all diamonds, giving me a flush with a double gut shot straight flush draw. The small blind leads out, I raise, and the small blind 3-bets. At least three of us see the turn, which is a blank. The small blind bets, there’s a call, I raise, and they both call. The river is the 9d and we all check. Small blind has Q7dd and the middle player has KdTx and I just quietly fold my hand face down into the muck.

Session Result: -$118 in 9+ hours (ended up deciding not to keep notes)

$1/$3 NL @ Fortune

Three players limp in, I make it $16 with AK and wind up getting called in five spots. Fortunately, the flop is relatively favorable, coming down AKJ rainbow. One of the limpers donks $50 into me, one player folds, and it’s up to me. I don’t know any of these players. I have no clue what a donk bet from this guy means. My default assumption is that I have the best hand and I don’t want anyone else to see the turn for $50 and this guy has $300 in front of him that I don’t mind getting in the middle. So I make a commitment raise to $140 and it folds back to him. He winds up taking his sweet time thinking it over but it looks like he’s acting and I’m sitting there like prepare yourself to react calmly if this asshole is putting on this show holding the nuts when it’s obvious that I’m never folding. He actually mutters “if you got me you got me” before putting his whole stack in and I snap call. The turn pairs the Jack and the river bricks and he’s looking at me trying to get me to table first and I’m looking at him like just turn your straight over already. He tables QT and I forgive him in my head for his flop antics.

In retrospect, I wonder if I can fold on the flop to his jam. Not that I think I made a mistake or that I’m looking for ways I could have lost less money on the hand – when I was thinking about my reaction to his $50 bet I knew that I would be calling an all in before I made it $140. I’m happy with that decision, but I did get some new, extremely reliable information before I had to execute on that plan. First of all, his body language was strong and when he was thinking about what to do after I made it $140 it didn’t look like he was thinking at all. After seeing this, I knew I was getting jammed on. But then he added on an “if you got me you got me,” which is basically always the nuts. He’s exuding strength and he really can’t have a set. All those hands would either open-raise or limp-reraise pre – especially after my $16 was called in multiple spots. AJ is a possible holding, but I don’t think he would look nearly as comfortable in this situation. He ended up having $280 on the flop, so from a math standpoint, there’s $96 ($16×6) + his $280 + my $140 in the pot for $516 total and it costs me $140 to call. If I knew he had a straight, this is an easy fold. I’m not getting anywhere close to the odds I need to draw to a four outer. I’m perfectly fine with my call, especially since I don’t know the player at all, but I think if I had history with him folding even after making it $140 could be justifiable here.

Session Result: -$165 in 35 minutes

$20/$40 LHE @ Fortune

This session produced a number of interesting hands – some that I’m actually quite ashamed of and wondered if I should even post, but in the interest of authenticity, I will include them. I feel like my mental game is a huge strength and while I might slip into my B-game at times, my C-game almost never makes an appearance. It might here though.

My friend is playing at the table with me and he’s a dealer at Fortune. He wants to switch tables because he doesn’t bet the river with three of the players in the game. I really don’t understand how or why that happens. We are playing $20/$40 – these are not recreational stakes. No one in this game cares if someone that deals in the room makes a bet against them and they aren’t going to tip him less because he plays poker against them. I propped games while I was flooring for years and played cutthroat poker against the customers and while some of them exuded a lot of frustration, they still tipped me and at the end of the day they respected the fact that when I played poker… I played poker. In a room like Fortune, you don’t need to play in the biggest game in the room if you want or feel like you need to give anyone air. It’s not about respect. Respect is playing the game.

And that’s when this hand comes up: a player opens from the lo-jack and it folds to me in the small blind. I have KJ of clubs. The player in question usually plays $8/$16 and from what I’ve garnered he doesn’t play particularly well. I feel like I can play my hand profitably against him, even from out of position. I would fold against a tight player that I also think plays well after the flop. But I three bet this guy. He calls. Flop is T94 with two diamonds and one club. I bet and he raises me. Welp. I’m not going to try and power my way through this one. I call. Turn is the 8 of diamonds and he bets again when I check. Continuing here is pretty debatable. Folding is probably the best play, but if you do call, I think you have to be prepared to do this: the river is the 2 of diamonds, putting a four flush on board; I lead out and he folds.

This is a player that my friend does not bet against. So he will never have this opportunity. I just bluffed my way to victory in a $300 pot that he would have to check the river in. Which means he should fold the turn in my spot because he can’t play poker on the river. And how is that fun for anyone? Also, when you have these kinds of unspoken agreements, you have no implied odds when drawing on the turn. Plus your opponents can call you with weak made hands on the turn because they know it’s a $40 decision and not an $80 one. Figure it out!

An early position player limps in, a middle position player raises, and I defend my big blind with 87. The flop comes 654 with two diamonds and I check-raise the flop and they both call. The turn is a jack and now the flop cold caller raises me. The PRF clears out and I three bet. The river is an ace, it goes bet and call, and she shows AJdd after I table my straight.

I open from middle position with QJ and the cutoff three bets me. We go heads up to the T98 flop and I check-raise. She calls. The turn is a 4 and she raises me, I three bet, and she caps. The river pairs the 4. Great. I didn’t really think she had a straight on the turn, so it’s pretty clear I can’t bet for value here. I check-call and she shows me 99. It’s always fun when someone overplays their hand on the big bet streets and then gets there.

Speaking of which! A few hands later it folds to me in the small blind and now I have 99. The big blind is a non-chopper, so I raise it and he calls The flop is 984 all hearts, giving me top set. I bet the flop and he calls. The turn is a king and I decide to check-raise, he three bets me, and now I cap… out of position. Yes, this is one of those C-game spots I was talking about earlier. I don’t think it’s a total spew – it might even have merit – but my standard line would be to call his three bet. I’m veering off course because of the previous hand. 100%. The river pairs the board, I bet and he calls. He didn’t seem too thrilled about it, so I assume he probably flopped a flush, but I really don’t know.

Folds to me in the hi-jack and I open with K4dd, which seems like it might too light when the cutoff, button, and both blinds all call me. Fortunately the flop comes K84 with two spades. I bet, the button raises, the small blind three bets it, and I cap. Oddly enough, the button folds and we are heads up now. The turn is an ace and he check-calls. The river is a 9 and he check-calls again and shows A9ss after I table. Ouch! I get his line because my range looks like AK or better, but I definitely did not expect to lose that pot to a check-call on the river.

A loose and bad player limps, a solid player in the cutoff raises, and I three bet with QQ from the small blind. They both call. The flop is AQx. I bet, the bad player calls, the good player snap-raises, and I make a judgement error by deciding to just call to keep the bad player in and check-raise the turn. The turn is a jack, I check, the bad player donks, the good player thinks for a bit looking confused and decides to raise, I three bet it, the bad player calls, and the good player caps. Huh. The river is a blank and I tank long enough that they are looking at me like what’s going on? and decide to check. The bad player checks and the good player bets, looking confident. I say “wow, snap-raise the flop with KT. Wow.” I call and he does show KT.

And if I’m being honest, I was steaming after that hand. I could feel the anger inside me. I wanted to direct it at the player with the KT, but I don’t think that’s who I was really mad at. I was mad at myself. Obviously this hand had a terrible result and I’m not happy about that. I think his flop line with KT is mega spew. Not because it doesn’t have merit in certain spots, but because it doesn’t have merit in this spot. Trying to get me to eventually fold a hand like TT, JJ, or KK doesn’t make much sense when there’s a third player in the pot that is rarely folding. And raising the flop to get a free card if he misses the turn? He’s picking the wrong target. Except he didn’t. By calling on the flop, I would have allowed him to execute on this plan if he had missed and the other player didn’t lead out. What a catastrophe it would be for me to let the turn check through holding a set. And that’s really the reason I was mad. I knew I took a poor line and if he had missed the turn, I would have let his ridiculous free card play work.

But before I emotionally recovered from that previous pot, I would play this extremely C-game hand. A couple players limp in and I raise with 99 on the button. One or both of the blinds call and now the bad player from the previous hand limp-reraises. I have history with him and I’ve seen this move with some pretty marginal holdings, so I go ahead and cap it. The flop comes down AKx, he leads out and I raise. The rest of the field has cleared and we are now heads up. He three bets and I call. The turn is a ten; he bets and I call? I mean I know this guy has a pretty wide range, but I’m not sure 99 is a hand to call down with on this board. Fortunately, the river is a 9 and I’m not even bothering to hide my amusement – I know I’m playing this hand bad and BAM! Here’s my reward. He doesn’t pick up on extremely visible tells – which is why I didn’t hide them – and I’m able to get two big bets from his AQ. Brilliant hand, Mac.

Session Results: +$280 in 10.5 hours

$8/$16 @ Palace

Here’s a hand where big blind defense against a button straddle goes wrong and why I think I should be folding most hands in this spot, even though I usually defend with a wide range in non-straddle pots. I’m about call with 97o and the under the gun player is already in motion to reraise. I haven’t put money in the pot yet and she didn’t cut out a three bet before realizing I hadn’t acted, but the speed in which she brought her chips into the pot felt like a pretty strong 3-betting tell. So I should just fold it. Instead, I call, and she does raise it. Ugh. Two players call, the straddler raises, and everybody calls. It’s worth noting that I don’t think the under the gun player knows that you can five bet a straddle pot. So her range is uncapped in my view. The flop comes 652 rainbow. It checks to a middle position player who bets, the button calls, and I raise it. This seems like a poor choice. I’m out of position and it’s unlikely I will thin the field very often. My thought process is that raising might buy outs for my overcards, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that I’m almost certainly better off just taking my very favorable pot odds to try and draw to my gutshot. Immediate punishment: the under the gun player 3-bets and whoever is still in the pot all call. The turn is an Ace and I check-call, once again getting favorable odds to draw to the straight. The river pairs me, but I check-fold because it’s clear that my pair outs were no good on the flop and UTG wins with a set of aces.

Defense against a button straddle is definitely in need of further examination. More often than not, the pot will get three bet and quite frequently it will be five bets to go. So I think the correct strategy is to only defend a range of hands that play really well in big, multiway pots. 97 offsuit, out of position, certainly does not qualify.

I come back from a back and post in the cutoff with K5dd and it winds up getting capped with seven players in. The flop is a beautiful K73 with two diamonds and it gets capped again with me putting in the first raise and the cap. Five of us see the turn and I get three callers when I turn a flush. The river is the 4 of diamonds. Two players check in front of me and the opponent behind me is telegraphing weakness so I feel confident I still have the best hand. I get check-raised by a wild opponent. He’s a Palace legend, well known for his propensity for playing his hands blind all the way to showdown, making hopeless bluffs, and playing a generally crazy game. Obviously this player is deserving of a nickname. I will call him Daredevil, after the blind superhero, because he’s bold and frequently doesn’t look at his cards. Well, Daredevil check-raises me on the river when I’m holding the second nut flush and he’s a player that I’m never considering folding to, so I call. He shows Ad3x. Nice hand.

Daredevil limps in EP, I try to isolate with A8 of clubs near the button and three of us see the flop. It’s AK3 with two hearts. Daredevil is my only caller. The turn is an 8, giving me two pair and he check-calls again. The river is a 4 of hearts and he check-calls again. I table and he shows Q7 of hearts for a flush. He says something about giving me air and that I should remember that and I say “that’s not air! That’s making me think I won a pot that I’m not winning! That’s mean. I’d rather you raise me!”

Under the gun limps, a new player raises, a bad action player 3-bets on the button and I’m simply never folding the JT of spades from the blinds here, so I call. We see a flop of T92 with two diamonds and one spade. I check-raise the flop and the middle position player raises me back.  I call and so does the button.  I’m getting a fishy vibe from MP so my plan is to donk turns that are good for me. The 2 of spades definitely qualifies, as it keeps my top pair hand in good condition and adds a flush draw. So I bet and the MP raises again. The button takes two big bets to the dome and I call also.  The river is a 3 and I check-call and lose to MP’s 92o. Nine. Deuce. Offsuit. This guy raised from MP after someone had already limped.  Poker is dead?

Three or four people limp in and I check 77 from the big blind. The flop is Q53 with a flush draw possible. I lead out, my good friend from Kitsap who had the nickname Aquaman long before I started blogging poker regularly calls, and so does someone else. The turn is a 9 and it checks around. The river pairs the queen and I’m pretty sure I have the best hand. The question is, can I reasonably bet for value and expect to get called by worse? The answer is yes. I have a ton of history with Aquaman and a very strong read on his overall strategy. He has a pair, it’s worse than mine, and he will definitely call. I have no reason to believe the other player has anything at all. So I bet, Aquaman calls, the other guy folds, and I roll over 77 like it’s the nuts because it is.

Session Result: +$461

One comment

  1. hahaha that 99 play. good for your image!!

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