Monday, May 19, 2008


Saturday afternoon at Mandalay Bay.

I raise it preflop to 12 with a red ace and a red queen. A guy who calls down big bets with bottom pair defends from the blinds. Flop comes ace high along with the 3 and 8 of spades. I bet 15. He raises to 30. I call in position.

The turn brings the third spade. Despite having just raised the flop, he checks to me. A check by me here would be fine to keep the pot small but I bet 20 because I think I'm ahead and want to charge him something to see the river. He calls.

The river is the 4th spade. Now he bets out 25.

My mind begins to race.

1- From what I've seen over the past 45 minutes I don't think he's a good enough player to make a move here. Against a better player I'd be real suspicious the person was betting out because it's the only way they could win the pot. But not with this guy. He's been a calling station and from what I've seen he only plays his own two cards. Which leads me to point #2...

2- Even if he doesn't have a flush I wouldn't be shocked to suddenly be trailing something like two pair. For all I know he might not notice the flush out there. That's how he's been playing. Which leads me to point #3...

3- I have no spades. Just top pair on a four flush board.

Yep. I think I'm beat and want to fold. I don't want to give 25 bucks away. It's not even the money. It's the being right. I tell myself that I'm better than that. Being able to fold top pair when you're beat is what makes a good player. Pot odds don't matter if I'm drawing dead so to speak.

Then to clinch my decision, this guy hears me mumble to myself and asks the dealer if I just said I was all in.

Okay. I've seen enough. Lets move on. I toss my cards into the muck.

Because what can feel worse than throwing 25 bucks away when I know I'm beat?

Well I'll tell you what can feel worse than throwing 25 bucks away when I know I'm beat......It's throwing my cards into the muck and then watching my opponent turn over two red kings.


As I sit here at home I CAN'T BELIEVE I folded. Simply because there was too much money in the middle. Math says I don't have to win this hand too often for a call to be correct here. I've put in around 60 bucks. So if there's around 120 in the middle and he bets 25 on the river, I'm calling 25 to win 145. I can call and be wrong 5 out of 6 times here and still make money over time!

Did I think there was a 16% chance he was bluffing?


Yet in the moment I was so focused on making a good fold that I didn't think the math through enough. I went with my read and not the math. Yes my read was wrong but in hindsight I'm way more embarrassed by the mathematical error.

To fold here was short term thinking. To save 25 bucks.

One long game thinking says a call here is correct if I can be wrong 84% of the time.

Self criticism aside, good for him! He was clearly not the best player at the table but on this particular hand he completely outplayed me.

Nice hand sir!


Shrike said...

AQ is probably my most hated hand - and biggest loser - of the non-garbage variety.

But I still probably make the crying call there.

Memphis MOJO said...

I've just discovered your blog and am enjoying it. Nice to see a poker player who can actually write and spell.

Question: I see you play at many different casinos (MGM, Venetian, Mandalin Bay, Bellagio, Red Rock, etc.). Is this to keep fresh (and stay out of a rut), is it so local grinders won't get to know you, or is it for some other reason?

Robert said...

It all depends on what kind of game I'm looking for. I usually try to follow the money by following the tournaments. Some of these poker rooms are dead when there are no tourneys going on.

Sometimes my decision is simply based on parking and how lazy I feel. Like there's a pretty long walk into the MGM or Venetian to get to their poker rooms. The Wynn however has that nice short walk from self parking into their poker room.

As usual in all depends.