Welcome to the New Year, I guess. I played my first session last night, and it ended in a bang. It's rare when I can hit my hands... and also get paid, consistently. Lately, I've been having these statistical anomalies where I'll sit for hours and go through a streak of 10-15 hands and simply clean up. Last night was one of those nights. My mother wasn't f*'ed... I did the motherf*ing!
SummaryI played spot on poker against 8 out of the 9 other players at the table. The 9th player, natch, was a curmudgeonly white guy (early 60s) who would literally play any two cards to any sized raise and get there by the turn or river (against all comers). He knew how to call when he was behind and suckout / bet when he was ahead, which was about all he needed. Throughout the course of the night, in addition to felting me early on for full stacks, he would take in the neighborhood of $2-300 from me. It was almost like a funnel where I would crush up the table by bluffs and value, and he'd swoop in to take the winnings by storm (me being the donkey I am, was always incredulous when his top pair crap kicker or middle pair no kicker would trip up on the river to my usually overpairs, and I'd sucker pay him off).
Given the background that all 9 players at my table are HUGE fish (not including myself), 8 out of the 9 are weak / tight / passive and the 9th loves to gamble it up and bluff frequently. My nemisis fits in the former camp of weak / tight, but not entirely passive. Let's recap the first hand, which I want to take as a learning lesson because I made a HUGE error on the river:
Hand 1: Flush over FlushI'm dealt 3c5c in mid position facing a host of limpers. I limp along as I am wont to do with those types of suited gappers. Finally the BTN decides to raise to $12, and the limpers trickle through with calls (as do I). We go to the flop ~5 way ($60) and see an Ac 4h Tc flop.
Checks around to the original raiser who leads $20. The nemesis (SB) and the gambler (BB) call, and I opt to check / raise, intending to take down the pot right then & there. I c/r to $80 and the original raiser folds. The nemesis snap calls and the gambler is fraught with emotion. He hesitantly calls.
Turn shows the Kd. It checks around to the gambler who deliberates on a bet for a good 25-30 seconds, when I smartly pick up my chips and go into my "intending to bet" pose. He finally realizes my "intentions" and checks (he had a very poorly played AK) to me. Not wanting to be all in for the additional $200 behind (because he's absolutely c/ring ai and I don't think I can call), I follow with a check.
River shows the 9c and bingo. Here's where I go wrong. My hand is a bluff catcher - nothing more than a bluff catcher - when my nemesis leads for $75. Pained, gambler calls, and I deliberate whether to raise. Again, in retrospect, my hand is a bluff catcher I should be calling or folding and never raising, but I somehow convince myself that my nemesis is betting his two pair vs. gambler's two pair and my flush is actually good... And I'm missing value by not raising. Needless, I raise $100 on top, get a call from my nemesis (fold from gambler) and effectively stack myself when he shows Kc4c.
However, the rest of the night was not to be in the same direction; I have two additional hands that I will share where I'm proud of the way I played. They relied on excellent reads of the situation.
Hand 2: Calling KQo to a back-raiseApparently, the gambler is a little more observant than I gave him credit for. I typically raise my BTN / CO with a WIDE range, hoping to take the pot of limpers immediately, or take it down with a cbet on the flop. It's profitable, it works online, and when you don't get a bunch of overcallers, it works live. However, the gambler caught onto my little scheme and decided to lay in wait and back raise my BTN raise.
Facing 6 (yes 6!!!) limpers, I raised to $20 with KQo from the BTN. It folds out the SB/BB and 1 early limper. The gambler, in middle position, decides to back raise me to $45 and that clears out the limpers between us. We're heads up and I'm facing a call for $25 with a "trouble hand." I'm not really aware of the earlier observation note at the time, but at that time, he feels like he doesn't have AA, KK because he's always shown in prior hands to open raise without hesitation. He's never back raised before, and I feel like it's WAY too obvious for him to back raise even JJ+. I have a K and a Q in my hand as a "blocker" (as all the internet kids say), so the likelihood of him holding QQ / KK is somewhat diminished. Again, it just seems WAY too obvious for him to back raise those premium hands. Granted, there is a prior hand earlier in the night where he saw me back raise and go to showdown / win with my AJs to an unsuspecting customer, where I was trying to trap my nemesis and the gambler (who did not oblige but opted to limp / fold instead).
We go to a flop and see Q Q T. He insta-leads for $60 and I insta-flat. Can we see "retribution" from last week, where I got sucked out on with AK vs KQ? This time, though, it's a bit different because we're looking at $~350 effective stacks, and I sensed weakness PF. So, again, I flat and we go to the turn.
The turn is an A. I think this card only hurts me. If he is weak, then he doesn't hold an Ace. If I read him wrong, then he just filled up on me. However, he decides on an ill-advised check. Let's recap: he's effectively led twice now, and has committed $100 to the pot. He now decides to put on the brakes, even though he's desperately trying to rep AA / KK? This is not a player who wants to give a free card when he has the nuts and a "fish on the hook." He'd bet same bet or something similar. Something doesn't smell right, and I opt to "same bet," - $60. He, again, ill-advised, decides to check/raise me to $150. His story has a TON of holes in it, and after thinking about it, I push all in for my remaining $225+. No snap call = no Aces full. After a TON of decision for the remaining $75, he folds and I drag a nice pot to push my way back to above even on the heels of the flush over flush disaster.
I would later find out, in talking with him, that he was indeed weak, holding Jx (he said he had a gutshot). It was a well-thought out hand; creative on his part, but not consistent, and read well on my part.
Hand 3: 87o calling for a gutter with huge implicationsLike a broken record, host of limpers, late position raise to $12, 5 callers (miracle of all miracles, nemesis and gambler call as first in), flop of 3 6 T rainbow. I'm in middle position with 87o, sitting on about $500+. Nemesis and gambler both have me roughly covered.
We all check the $60 pot to the original raiser who leads for $20... weak sauce. Nemesis (CO) and gambler (BTN) call, and after thinking about it, I call because I have an opportunity to make $300+ on a turn 9 or get away from the hand when I miss. The original raiser seems very comfortable, leading into 4 callers, so I also figure if worst comes to worst, I'll at least get his $~120 remaining stack.
Turn is [obviously, since I wouldn't be writing this up] a 9, putting a 2 flush clubs on the board. Check check check and late position / BTN(?) leads for $30 (into $140 lolaments). Same 2 fish call, and I opt to c/r the nuts to $120. I want juice in the pot, and I want it now! Bettor folds, nemesis (damn) folds, and gambler snap calls ($500 here I come... no club no club no club no pair no pair no pair).
River is an offsuit 2, making the final board read 3 6 T 9 2, rainbow. Now having been an observant player for most of the night, I know that the gambler loves to gamble. I also know that he loves to make large bluff bets on any street, and had been able to get many players off the best hands by bluffing 4 straights, etc. I'd seen him do it multiple times, it was position-based betting, and on one occasion, I couldn't look him up for fear of the 4 other players ahead of me who likely had better hands and could easily be looking him up themselves. He got away from each of those, winning without showdown and stealing numerous $200+ pots. Given my information on him, I opt to check to his bluff, figuring that's the only way I'll make money on this pot, given the strength I showed on the turn.
On a board such as this, though, unless you're a somewhat dumb player like my fish is, you have to realize that it's really difficult to show up with a strong hand or bluff on this type of board given:
a. the amount of players starting the pot (5 players)
b. the prior action (2 streets of betting with no raises except for my turn c/r which meant business)
c. whatever "value" hand he has is likely a bluff catch and should be checked behind
Given all of the above, my fish leads for $175 on the river. I already had a plan in my head as to what I would do when he acts, and went on auto-pilot into my best Emmy performance. I insta-snap shoved (seriously... his chips hit the line and I shipped so quickly that there was a dust plume behind them) and jumped out of my chair. Oh yeah... the snap shove was about $400 total... I started pacing a bit, then sat back down and tried to avoid eye contact, blinking fast and acting a bit squirmy when I felt his gaze upon me. He took around 2 minutes before I nastily called clock. When the floor started timing him, it took him about 20 seconds to eek out a "call." No slowroll; I called out nuts and flipped over the 87 for the monsterpotten.
I would go on to run through the table, nutting about 4 times, but the above were the notable hands.
Wishing you all run good (just not against me). And thus completes my start to 2013.
NOTE: Hands 1 & 3 edited to reflect accurate cards as per recollection. Hand 1 board 4c -> 4h and Th -> Tc. Hand 3 board 4 -> 3.