Thursday, November 26, 2009

Getting credit

Last night I was playing at Planet Hollywood.

In the most interesting hand of the night, I had 8-8 on the button and called a straddle. The straddle had been put in by the most aggressive player at the table. I will often raise in that spot, but I felt confident that the straddler would raise, so I was inclined to let him. I was right.

In fact, he raised to $20, which is just ridiculously large, and screamed of trying to knock off the limpers and pick up a few bucks. Do you think I was born yesterday, sir? I have seen this move a thousand times before. You have nothing. I called, of course. The small blind called, too, which I was a little afraid would complicate the situation.

The flop was Q-10-4 rainbow. SB checked. Straddler bet $40. "Shenanigans," I thought. Total BS. The $20 raise trick didn't work, so he's trying to buy it again. He had something like $125 behind. I didn't want to fold to this overaggressive clown. I didn't put in $20 pre-flop just to hit a set; I thought I had real showdown value against his range. Flat-calling seemed wrong, too, because that action could easily just lead me into headache/difficult decision territory on fourth street. Raising basically meant moving all in, as I had both opponents covered. (SB had less than the straddler.) There was now $100 in the pot. If I shoved, I would be offering the straddler about a $225 pot for his last $125, or about 1.8:1. Given his aggressive nature, he could call that with a pretty wide variety of holdings. However, there weren't many draws that he could plausibly try to hit.

If the SB came along, too, the pot odds would be enhanced for the straddler, so I wasn't sure I had all the fold equity I'd usually want in this situation. But I glanced over at the SB. He was looking directly at me, and when he caught me looking his way, he grabbed his chips with both mitts, in the classic way of somebody trying to goad an opponent into not betting or raising. I.e., he's trying to convey, "I have a strong hand and I'm ready to get all my chips in, so you'd better watch out!" Which, of course, nearly always means that it's safe to bet or raise, because he's really not that strong. In this case, I interpreted it to mean that he might be willing to call the straddler's bet, but not a big raise from me.

So I decided to pull the trigger. "I'm all in," I said, and moved my chips forward. Raise or fold, baby.

SB now groaned. He said, "That flop hit me square in the face, he's betting out, and this guy's moving all in? What's going on here?" He thought and muttered for about 30 seconds before throwing away his cards.

One down, one to go.

Then the most startling development of my night occurred. I tried not to look too shocked when the straddler folded his pocket aces face up as he told me, "Nice hand, sir."

As the pot was being pushed my way, he then joined a few others at the table who were calling for me to "Show your queen-ten," or "Show the set." I smiled and said to the straddler, "Sorry, but you're going to have to lose some sleep over this one tonight." My cards were kept securely face down as I returned them to the dealer.

How much is a tight table image worth? You tell me. Last night it bought me a $100 pot without a fight.

The only thing worse in that hand than my read of my opponents was their read on me. It's not the way I usually like to win big pots--but I'll take it!

Here's an interesting footnote to the hand. When the straddler showed his aces, SB said derisively, "I had those beat." My initial impression from his tone of voice was that he was telling the truth. But in reflecting on it afterwards, I'm not sure. He was a decent player, so it seems unlikely that he would call with any two-pair combination there for $20 pre-flop from out of position. Maybe Q-10, but even that is iffy. Did he really fold a set? Clearly he's not folding Q-Q. Would he fold either 10-10 or 4-4, with the mortal conviction that one or the other of his two opponents held a higher set? He surely wouldn't put me on Q-Q, and probably not even 10-10, after I had limped in from the button, though he might think those were plausible hands for the straddler. But given his short stack, it seems pretty unlikely to me that he would fold even the bottom set. I would sure make the call there, and it wouldn't even be a crying call. My best guess is that he had Q-10, and decided that either the straddler or I had flopped a set. But if I had those cards in his position, my chips would be in the middle pronto. If I were him holding Q-10, I would not tend to credit either opponent with the only two remaining queens or tens in the deck, so I would think I would only be losing to exactly 4-4. If we were playing really deep stacks, folding would have to be a consideration, but given that he had maybe $75 left at that point, folding top two pair seems out of the question, if they were my cards. I'm left really stymied by his comment. Maybe he was just blowing smoke and had something like K-Q, so that folding to signs of great strength--especially when squeezed in between, and unsure how the straddler was going to respond to my shove--was both easier and more reasonable than it would be with any hand that actually had pocket aces beat, as he was claiming. Still, though, his comment sounded sincere to me, so I just can't tell whether my read of his tone was as far off as my read of the straddler's hand had been, or whether he made the evening's worst fold.

1 comment:

astrobel said...

Merry Xmas Rakewell, what a fold from that guy !