I went downtown to eat with my coworkers last night and found myself 10 minutes away from the Palomar Card Club. I figured I'd try to get a little poker variety while I'm here, and was kinda nervous when I drove by and saw what basically amounted to a Starbucks-sized "club." Parking was fairly easy, but I was nervous from the cast of characters hanging outside on the street, taking a break from the non-smoking rules of the club inside. Nevertheless, I persevered against my initial judgement, parked and went inside.
There were around 7-8 tables total, of which 6 were in action. There was a constant buzz as well; somewhat noisy with no discernible background music. I felt like this place was right out of an underground poker club, except this place was fully licensed and legal. Going up to the brush desk, I was surprised to find that they hold their chips in an unlocked, seemingly insecure cabinet. The brush was able to ship me my $300 buy in (same stakes as the Oceans Eleven Casino, 2/3), and I was seated almost immediately.
I sat down, and like Oceans Eleven, I wasn't required to post. I started to settle in, watching players, looking for ideas as to how they play, etc. but before long, I was told to move to another table - i.e. the "must move" feature, which I don't believe I've ever experienced. I'm not quite sure the logic behind a must move, but I didn't have to re-post blinds or anything, so it was okay by me. Unfortunately, though, I was moved over to a table with better players, where I really needed to think about things rather than autopilot my way through the donks. Make no mistake; these players were no Tom Dwan or Phil Galfond... but they certainly new how to run a bluff and were aware that aggression is key.
Third or fourth hand, I wake up to QQ in the BB and watch 3 or 4 overcallers calling a mid position $12 raise. I 3bet it to $45 (which in retrospect, should have been more) and a supposed loose player and an unknown call. (I was told the loose player was loose / aggro by a player to my left who had apparently had a lot of history with him.) Flop [natch] comes A K 3 rainbow. I [stupidly] lead out for $45 and get raised by aggro to $140 ($300 effective, FWIW). Folds to me and I think through the situation... I truly truly contemplate a shove / call but can't bring myself to actually execute... I fold and he flips J 7 hh for the bluff. DAMNIT! I knew his story didn't make sense. Welcome to aggro poker :-).
Here was my thought process: I 3bet PF and he's flatted 2 raises. If he's aggro he's almost definitely raising pocket pairs and certainly good Aces. He's calling down all his other weak Aces, wanting a cheap showdown. He *HAS* to be concerned with AK, AA, KK, all within my 3bet range. Granted there are some bluffs in there, but is really trying to raise me off my bluffs (unless he has a bluff himself)? Lesson learned... against this player, take your time and think through the situation.
I would get a few chances to extract some money from him; he would frequently raise his BB and aggress his way into a non-showdown win, but whenever he'd get his money in, he always had "some" equity. I stacked him once when he called a 3bet (again I'm OOP) to $45 and I held AQss - flop of Q Ts 3s. Checked the flop, check / jammed the turn and stacked his KTo (nice call of a 3bet), but broke even on the pot because a short stack degen had essentially called all-in PF and turned a guttter KJ straight. (I would also later nut on him with with a QT straight vs. his supposed set ($10 raise PF, check flop... $290 all in on the turn with the turned straight FTW & $300+ winnings).
EDIT: I want to include a comment made below in response to a question about the QQ 3bet hand and how it plays into the hand above. In the QQ hand, I thought about it after the hand... and I realized I made the "classic" "same bet" tell, where I bet the same bet on the flop as I had PF. This is usually a weakness tell that more astute players know. After 3-4 hands, I'm not very accurate at sizing up this guy's game, so I choose the default fold, unwilling to stack off with what could very easily be an A or K. Noted. It would play into the AQ hand, though, which I failed to fully describe until being reminded of it from the below comments.
So the action went like this: 3bet to $45 and 2 callers, the KJ turned straight guy with an effective stack of ~80 and my nemesis. I check the flop, looking to induce his bet which he doesn't bite. Then, I decide to cbet the "same bet" on the turn as a delayed cbet... the turn was an offsuit 9, if I recall correctly. As if scripted, he immediately raised me to ~$140, putting shorty all in. I contemplated for a few seconds, sizing him up and announced all in myself. He insta-called, believing me to be bluffing / hoping for his gutter Jack / over King / trip Ten to hit. I believe he's drawing WAY thin (as was the gutter boy) because I'm 4 flushing and I don't think any of them had spades in their hand.
The crux here, though, is that I was able to use a false tell to induce action and stack someone (although the resultant pot was *A LOT* lighter than it should have been due to the short dick winning the main pot).
The only hand that "bothered" me on the night was where I jammed my TPTK AcTx against his 98 two pair on a T 9 8 cc board and I went runner runner QQ for the better two pair. As I said, he's wont to raise BB and he did so with 98hh PF after a few limps (he raised to $15). My plan was to limp raise but I don't remember why I abandoned that plan... Anyway, I feel like I'm pretty good jamming TPTK against this type of player because he has so many draws that he's calling where I'm on the good end statistically - he had snapped off with mid pair and no re-draw earlier, and I had seen him play up & down poker... Egg on my face, but happy to sweep up the winnings for a decent winning session.
I don't know that I'd go back to Palomar Club, because it felt very much like a home game where everyone knew everyone by name. However, it was fun to get back into the "home game" scene for a respite from the casino scene. It's always also nice to get a decent win :-)
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