Monday, August 14, 2006

Right Move, Wrong Reason

Bob Barnes: Innocent until investigated? That's nice. It's got a nice ring to it. Bet you've worn some miles on old sayings like that. Gives the listener the sense of the law being written as it is spoken.

I had another of those moments where everything becomes clear over the weekend during a friendly home game. Of course it was just after making another mistake, but earlier in the same had I made what I believe was a wise move for my intentions, even though I was unaware of the intentions that I should have had until after the hand.

Without plunging into too much of a hand history, I had AKs in middle position and there was a flop of QsJd4s. UTG bet out small, one call and then me. I decided to raise, just double the bet and no more.

Now here is what I should have been thinking – or at least what I thought of after the hand that made me able to justify it. I have a flush draw, straight draw plus two over cards. 3-handed, the small bet to me means a pair, but because it is from UTG it could mean more. The re-raise gives the UTG player an opportunity to tell me what he has. If he comes back for a bigger re-raise, most likely of the all-in variety, then he might have hit trips or two pair. If he flat calls, he might have only a weaker spade/straight draw or the one pair I put him on.

And if he only has the one pair and calls my raise here, on the turn he is likely to check. If his hand improves to a very strong one or even the nuts, he is probably going to check and then try to check-raise me. If he hits nothing, he will probably be too scared to bluff as I have already bet pre-flop and post flop. So the raise post flop should ensure a free look at the river, which is what I need on my drawing hand. The fact that one other player was caught in the middle helped a little bit, but the fact that he was calling all the way and never leading the action could be either a sign of weakness or a very strong hand. Since he was not leading the action though, I could get a free look at the river from him as well with this course of action.

In hindsight, I think that seems like a pretty smart and calculated move. In reality, I have no idea why I decided to raise there. The action came to me, and before I knew it I was putting chips into the pot.

Turns out the hand played out as it should, and the flush came on the river. The other two players had top pair and second pair, and neither called my final river bet (which was too big for any hand worse than mine to call, another mistake). I showed my hand anyway, because this is a friendly game, and they were a little bit shocked that I was on the draw for that hand. I guess a tight image works in your favour sometimes.

On the night I had another couple of funny hands. Early on, maybe within the first ten hands of the night, I was dealt The Cowboys and gave considerable thought to folding them pre-flop. There was a lot of action between two players, with raises and re-raises putting the pot at a sizeable sum before the flop. On a harmless looking flop with all undercards, one player pushed all-in and the other called. I am left to a decision for all my chips to call on a all-under card flop. I was 100% certain I was up against aces in one position, and probably another decent hand in the other. I decided to fold it and live to fight another day. In the end , one player had JJ unimproved and the winner had my other two kings. That is the third time in the past 2 months that I have had a big pocket pair ruined by some one else holding the same pocket pair – only this time, I would have won a split pot. Oh well, I guess that is the way it goes sometimes.

It was the only time I saw Kings for the night, but I did get to see Aces once. One guy in the BB was very short stacked, and went all-in for $10 blind before the cards had even been dealt. I was calling my cards as they came to me…Give me an ace, thank you…one more, thank you! With only $17 more on top of his $10, I decided to not muck around and go all in myself. Everyone folded, after speculating that I might be trying to steel the $10 blind bet, and he turned over A9 so I had him dominated. The flop and turn however gave him an OESD for his nine, which the river filled. I guess this wouldn't be the night for big pocket pairs – for me at least.

All up though I had a great night results wise. I made a heap of mistakes but hit cards when I needed to. I did loosen right up for this game, and a couple of lucky rivers and heaps of flushes came to the rescue. Hey, I've got to give luck it's credit due when it is due. I had some nice cards without getting ridiculous. Because it was getting ridiculous for one guy, who hit every damn thing no matter what cards he played. It got to the point that we were excited every time he folded, because it gave the rest of us a chance. He was the player who made me fold KK earlier, by the way

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