Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Anything But Aces

I played at the Wynn this evening but didn't take any notes. For one night I didn't want to be the guy typing into his specific electronic communication device that he someday hopes to endorse.

Oh sure when some corporate monster picks up this blog and and the phone company sponsors it, well then I'll write at the poker table. All day and all night. Till the cows come home and/or the waitress brings me my tropical drink with an umbrella. But for now we'll just have to rely on my memory.

I doubled up early on, getting all my chips in the middle with ace 10 on an ace, 8, 9 board where I also possessed the nut flush draw. Turns out I needed it. My opponent called with ace queen. We were roughly 50/50 although I don't love his calling off his chips here with just top pair, queen kicker. I could easily have two pair, a set, or dare I even mention ace king?

Then I went card dead. Around 30 minutes later I picked up Aces. I limped, of course, and the guy to my left makes it 15. He has less than 300 in front of him.

I was slightly tempted to get real lazy and just move all in. Kind of like let me just take the 30 bucks out on the table, call it a hand, and move on. And I'll also benefit from the fact that every X hands I'll get lucky enough to be called by someone who just can't let their hand go. That's one way I could have played the hand.

But instead I smooth called. I didn't mind seeing the flop. I wasn't exactly in love with raising to 75 or 100 or 125 and then getting called when I have to play the rest of the hand from out of position.

My smooth call felt even better after I got a look at the scary 9,9,queen flop. If I raise preflop, bet this flop and get raised, I'm in a tough spot. But having not raised preflop, I checked. Preflop raiser bets 25. I call.

Turn is a king. If my opponent has 10,jack, he hit his straight. He seems like a loose player so I actually think 10, jack or even a 9 for trips is possible here.
I check again. He checks behind me.

River is a jack. Tough card for both of us. Gives anyone with a 10 the straight.

So basically I'm losing to any hand holding a 9 or 10. But feel good otherwise.

I have to act first. Alot of times in this spot I'll just check and then call.

And I wish I did that here. But instead I led out (too small) for 30. I really thought I was ahead here and making a small value bet.

He takes a little while to decide and then raises me. Around 100 bucks.

He's too good of a player to raise me with a hand like two pair. Not when I could be value betting my 10. He's either got the straight or it's a complete bluff.

Yet if I don't lead out initially for the 30, I probably call his 60 dollar river bet .

At least I think I do.

But I didn't want to give away 100 bucks. Especially with pocket aces. In a strange way this call is much easier for me to make with a smaller pair. Like if I was holding pocket jacks on the 9,9 queen flop, I may be more suspicious of his bet and reraise to find out where I'm at.

However with the aces I definitely have some sort of phobia. I'm obsessed with not losing big pots with them. And so I probably end up costing myself a bunch of medium pots in reverse.

So I folded the better hand. And he showed the bluff to the table. Nice hand sir.

Yet only losing 70 bucks on it was fine with me. I don't need to spend 100 bucks to guess if I'm right at the end.

That was an interesting move he made on the river. Yes bluffing was the only way for him to win the pot. But personally, I don't believe you have to try and win every pot you play. He's spending 130 bucks to win a pot that only contains 110 bucks. If he folds on the river to my bet he's only lost 40 bucks on the hand.

I guess what I'm saying is he's sure showing alot of faith in my ability to fold here . I may not be good enough to fold trips or even two pair. And I could certainly have had the 10.

Around an hour later this same player is in another hand. Plays it exactly the same way, raising preflop and betting the flop. Once again he checks the turn on a scary paired and straight board and on the river he fires out a huge overbet. Guy calls him and takes down pot. With pocket aces. I can't believe he tried it again. Aren't you supposed to tighten up after you advertise like that? Isn't that why you advertise and say hey I'm loose? So that you can have the best of it later on. Weird play.

I felt so bad for my chips, watching them move around the table. Don't worry. I'll be back for you guys.

So I got outplayed on the pocket aces hand. I blame quotas. I can't be the guy who always calls people down. I gotta fold once or twice a year. For my image.

One other hand that was tough to play was holding 7,8 on a 7,9,10,flop. I called small bet from preflop raiser. 6 comes on turn and he checks behind me. A rag comes on the river and I lead out for half the pot, get called by one guy and then sit back in utter horror as a second guy raises it 3x.

Could he really have 8,jack? I wondered it on the flop but then let go of the idea when he checked the turn. Wouldn't that be too dangerous? Too many other hands like Queen jack, King jack or King queen could out draw you. You'd want to build the pot. You wouldn't check.

So I'm gonna call. I'll feel embarrassed when I lose but I gotta call with the 10 high straight. Amazingly, the player behind me calls too! All 3 of us show down.

Raiser shows same straight as me. We chop.

The real question is: What the hell did the 3rd guy call with?

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