Monday, November 28, 2016

And sometimes, you just back into it…

This post is a little out of order; this session happened about 3 weeks ago, prior to the last post (What would you do – A blatant violation of the rules).

I had a mostly uninteresting session last week; kinda standard stuff: AA, KKx2, QQ, JJ – all cracked.  AA on my very first hand of the session and I paid off a flopped set for $180 on top of my preflop raise of $20.  Not a good start.  I didn’t show, so I suppose I could have an image of loose aggressive with my immediate stacking.

Anyway, a few hands later, I limp K6hh alongside 6 others.  We see a 2 heart, 9 high flop; I think it was something like 9 3 7 hh.  Facing an early position $10 bet, I call along with a host of others – 3 or 4.  Seat 9, a youngish hoodie wearing kid in the BB (going off a week-old memory here, so details are a bit fuzzy) opts to check / raise to $45.  Given the money in the pot, I call again; not sure whether anyone else called the check / raise, but now we’re heads up.  Turn is a 6 and hoodie guy opens for his remaining $120 or so.  I look at him; he looks very uncomfortable.  Clearly, the 6 helps me, but my read is my 6’s are good – at least on the turn – so I make the call.  Now I wish I could remember whether the 9 was the 9h, because it makes a difference to the hand, but I definitely don’t.  He is definitely not happy that I called, confirming to me that my 6’s are good.  The river peels a blank – no clue what it was, but it wasn’t a heart.  I wait for him to flip, and he motions for me to flip first.  I wait motionless, doing nothing but stare at him.  He starts to flip, then decides to muck, conceding a $300+ pot to me without showing.  I immediately muck my cards as the pot is being shipped, and he storms off.  Wow.  The table is puzzled, as am I.  To summarize: ye went broke on a limped pot, with a semi-bluff (or maybe full bluff) into a handful of people, and capped it off with not wanting to show at showdown even though he’s leaving the table.
Now, I have no doubt my 6’s were good there, but I can’t envision any time where I will concede a pot without showdown, especially when I’m leaving the table if I lose.  I’m not keeping my opponents from future information because they won’t see me again after this hand if I lose it.  If I win it (with Ace high, for example), I can opt to leave the table regardless the result.  I’m still scratching my head about this one; JThh?  He can’t have 56hh because I had the 6h.  24hh?  What hands are c/r’ing the flop and shoving a heads up turn?  Moving on…

The one interesting hand of the session involved a complete noob.  Although she claimed the last time she played poker was in grade school, this young chick was somewhat aware of hand strengths and aggression.  I believe that this was her first time playing poker in a casino (she almost folded 6’s full on the river to a big bet, not realizing that she had a full house), but had an extreme case of beginner’s luck.  She proceeded to get quad Aces (she had pocket Aces twice during our session together), hit 2 or 3 boats, and always had a strong hand to go to showdown.  She simply amassed chips.

I find myself in mid position with KK in a $6 straddled and 3 limpers to my right.  Action rolls to me and I decide to raise to $40 to narrow ranges down to more predictable cards.  Well, that was a huge fail to say the least; I get 5 callers including the noob.  The pot has around $240 and we see a flop of Q Q 7 ss.  Action checks to the noob who gets real quiet.  It should be noted that prior to that moment, she’s been completely sociable – we’re all having a good time at the table.  Now, she’s dead silent.  She puts out a $100 bet.  Action is immediately to me.  What do you do?  $100 is a sizable bet for her, I have 2-3 players yet to act, and my KK is looking pretty marginal at the moment.

I thought for a bit and eventually came to the conclusion that she’s not bluffing here; her physical tells of silence combined with the sizing of the bet leads me to believe she hit a Q; I let the over pair go.  I just can't imagine she's thinking to bluff in that spot.  Everyone else folds and we’re on to the next hand.

In retrospect, I feel like the silence is such a huge huge tell.  Between Zachary Elwood's books and Mike Caro's older stuff, I feel like the silence, especially from a new player, is the instinct of not wanting to scare the prey.  A basic instinct of a non-thinking / irregular / noob player is to get very quiet when they're going for value.  It's the hunter instinct in all of us; we silently tiptoe through the forest in order to catch whatever it is we're after.

At the poker tables, situation dependent (i.e. playing against a more experienced player, trying to use a reverse tell, etc.), I've found consistency to be the best line of defense to counter any tells I may throw off.  In other words, instead of acting silent when I have a big hand, I try to continue the same conversation I was having prior, or try to continue acting as I was acting.  I'll occasionally stare down a more experienced player as a reverse tell of a strong means weak, but I find that rarely works; the more experienced players are able to make decisions in isolation, valuing their relative hand strengths regardless the tells they're receiving from another experienced player.  Anyway, I hope this little diatribe helps you with your game.


  1. Hey PM. How have the games been at the Shoe recently? I haven't been in over a year, but was thinking about maybe playing Saturday night.

    1. the games are probably better here than at the shoe, u need a vacation down south. but if u do go to the shoe, check out the $1 minute massage for me. unless u are reluctant to get one if the massager isnt male.

    2. Enjoy it! Even though I've been running bad there of late, the games are still very good.

  2. 24hh?

    Nah, that's The Grump, and The Grump never loses.

  3. Replies
    1. Wouldn't he think ace high has some showdown value? It wasn't obvious I was calling for value; I could have easily been on a draw too!

    2. He probably thought that you calling $45 and then calling $120 represented at least a pair...who knows.

  4. Dang. It would be nice to actually have choices nearby.


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