October 1, 2007
Here's how a donkey move and a little bit of bad luck wiped out my entire stack.
Usually I just play tournaments online as I feel I'm better at tourneys than I am at cash games. Plus, I think there is more dead money in tournaments. But last night as I was watching Monday Night Football at my brothers' place, I decided to play a cash game while watching MNF, because I didn't have the time to play in a tournament, if I happened to be so lucky to get all the way to the final table.
So I decided to play 2 cash tables, both at the NL $0.50/$1 stakes. Here's how I lost my entire stack on one of the tables:
After playing for about a half-hour, I was at roughly $95. Everyone folded to me and I found myslef with Q-Q on the button. Usually I make standard raise of 3 times the big blind when I raise pre-flop. But given I was on the button, I wanted the blinds to believe I was trying to buy the blinds, so I raised it 4 times the big blind to $4. The small blind popped it to $14 and the big blind folded. I still felt I had the best hand here, since the small blind could've raised with a bunch of hands believing that I was trying to steal the blinds. So, I decided I was going to raise to $42, knowing he had 2 likely options...fold or go all-in. If he goes all-in, I would've been pot-committed, but like I said, I believed I had the best hand from the get-go, so I was not too worried. I was pretty sure he would fold, and I would take down pot.
So as I moved my cursor to raise to $42, I was distracted. Sammy Morris, who I needed to score for a fantasy football victory, had just reeled off a 55 yard run. I was trying to glimpse the replay as my brother was explaining to me the play I just missed. I looked up for 2 seconds, went back down to my laptop, and without really thinking, I accidentally hit the call button!
I'm a little pissed at myself for making the mistake and am now hoping a king or ace doesn't hit the flop. I'm also flustered at my bad play. The flop come 10-5-6 with 2 diamonds. Small blind guy bets $20 into the pot. Once again, I was flustered and not thinking clearly, so I just made the call. On the turn comes the 2 of spades. Small blind guy immediately moves all-in...and he has me covered. I will have to risk my final $59. Like I said, despite my poor play, I still felt I had the best hand. I called. In cash games, the cards aren't immediately flipped over, so I won't know his hand until the river card.
Well, on the river flips up an ace. Now I know I'm stuck. If he was bluffing with an ace, he just hit his card. They're are not too many hands I can beat now.
He flips the Ad-Jd. I lose my entire stack.
Now, when all the money was put in the pot, I had the best hand. He had the nut flush draw for 9 outs and 3 aces for a total of 12 outs. I put my money in with the best hand.
But that being said, I poorly misplayed this hand. Had I raised to $42 originally, he would've folded A-J and I would've taken down a decent size pot.
I could've even raised after the flop when he bet out $20. I could've raised all-in at that point and he would at least have had a difficult decision. Given he had the nut flush draw, I still think he would've called, but it's still possible he would've folded.
I had 2 chances to win this pot with a raise and both times I failed miserably, once accidentally and once intentionally.
In no-limit hold 'em...all you can ever ask for is getting your money in with the best of it...which I did. But I still played that hand like an idiotic donkey.
Final Table Gaffe, September 13th
Why is it that we can play perfect all day and then make one mistake that screws it all up? Such is the world of No-Limit Texas Hold ‘Em. I was playing online last night in a $20+2 NL, 180 person tournament. I played pretty well all tourney and ended up at the final table. Once I got there, I was one of the lowest stacks at the table. I folded my way and survived into the top 6. Once there, I was hanging around $10,000 in chips but was extremely short compared to the rest of the table. At this point, every time someone is eliminated, the money becomes much more lucrative. After folding for the majority of the final table, I got a nice run of cards and turned my $10,000 into $60,000 and was now 2nd in chips!
I had doubled up twice and was using my aggressiveness against the rest of the table. After winning 4 hands in a row, I found myself with Kc-Jc. The blinds were $1,000-$2,000 by this time. Player A, who was now the short stack, was under the gun and went all-in for $18,000. I felt like my K-J was good and I had just gone on a nice run, so I called. After a player folded, Player B on the button thought for awhile and then called the $18,000. We headed to the flop 3-way with one all-in. The flop came J-5-3, all spades. As is normal at most final tables of tournaments, when one player is all-in, and 2 others are in the pot, it is usually checked down unless someone has a good hand. I checked my pair of jacks, and then Player B, who had called pre-flop, went all-in for $20,000 more. This is where I made a mistake. Because he had been aggressive all final-table, and I had him well-covered, meaning I wouldn’t be eliminated if I lost, I called. Pretty stupid on my part, even though you could argue that with that much money on the table, I had to call. But it was almost impossible for me to be ahead.
The original all-in player, Player A flipped up 8-8, and then the 2nd all-in raiser flipped up As-Jh. It was good to see the 8-8 was unlikely to win, meaning I would move up another spot in the $. But Player B had me dominated…out-kicked and he had the nut-flush draw. Only way I could win was a 2-outer, a non-spade king. The 4th spade came, and Player B raked in the chips. Now…why did I call? Given there was no side pot yet, Player B is only going to go all-in with a really good hand, given he wants me to help knock out Player A if he doesn’t have a hand. At best, he had K-J and we would chop the pot. He’s not going to call me pre-flop with a worse jack. He had to have A-J or a set and at worst the nut flush draw to make that play. I knew that, yet my finger couldn’t stop from hitting the call button. I was mad at myself for calling rather quickly…I should’ve at least thought it out for awhile. So I went from 2nd in chips and finally being healthy at the final table for the first time, to back to being the short stack at $20,000. I could’ve folded and still had $40,000…enough to make some moves on people, but now I was relegated to being back to all-in preflop mode.
I still survived my way to a 3rd place finish, but if I only hadn’t donkeyed off that $20,000, I might’ve taken home the biggest prize.
Poker Blog 9-10 - Siny Schools PMac
Dave Sinykin took me out behind the woodshed and beat me like a wounded moose at the monthly ClearChannel cash game Sunday night.
I lost my wallet outside the Metrodome after the Vikings’ final preseason game a couple weeks ago, and since I’m too lazy to drive to my bank to get cash all the time (until my new debit card arrives) I just borrow money. On this particular night, Tenna B staked me $200 to play poker.
My reads were on, I was feeling great, and I KNEW I was about to rake this game. My plan was to parlay $200 into $400, $600, or maybe more.
Unfortunately, Siny didn’t get the memo. In fact, he nearly cleaned me out on two hands.
The first one was a bit of a cooler (unavoidable situation). Siny limped in late position (6-handed), and I limped on the button with AJ (normally a raising hand here, but I had my reasons for limping… I won’t bore you with them).
Four players see a flop of A-x-x. Two checks, Siny bets 3/4 pot, I smooth call (thinking Siny probably has limped with a weak Ace). Turn comes another blank, and Siny fires another bet. At this point, I’m still pretty sure I have the best hand, but I don’t want to raise him off a weaker Ace… So I smooth call again.
River comes a King. Siny does this weird “I didn’t like that card” grimace, but bets 1/3 pot anyways. At this point, I’m about 100% sure he has me beat. Why grimace, then fire a bet? So I say, “Siny, I’m about 95% sure you limped with AQ here, but I have to call you.”
Sure enough, Siny drags me out behind the shed, punches me in the face, and shows me AQ. Dammit…
About an hour later, after dinking and dunking my with some small pots, Siny finished the kill.
I look down at KJ, and put in a standard raise. Both blinds call. Flop comes Q77. Both blinds check, and I fire for 1/2 pot. Siny calls, and the other guy folds.
(Some background information here… Siny had been playing basically any Ace all night, so it was very likely he’d call my raise with an Ace in this spot as well. Plus, it’s very likely he thinks his Ace is good on a Q77 board).
Turn comes a 4. Siny checks again, and I toss out a 2/5 pot bet. Siny looks discouraged, and at this point I’m about 102% sure he has an Ace with no pair. I thought about telling Siny I knew what he had, but decided to keep my mouth shut. After a minute or so, Siny makes the call.
River comes yet another blank. Siny checks again. At this point, the only way I can win this pot is to fire a third bullet. I KNOW Siny has nothing, but I also know his nothing beats my KJ. I have to bet, and I did. I threw out a “value bet” of 1/3 pot.
Siny looks at his cards, contemplating a fold…. Then looks at me and says, “Why do I think you’re full of #!@*?”
NOOOO!!! Siny, NOOO!!
It was like slow motion… As Siny reached for his chips, counted out the size of my bet, and slowly slid them into the middle… And sure enough, he flips up AK. Nothing. Which beats my nothing. One of the biggest pots of the night to that point, and neither of us has a damn thing on the river.
Siny with one of the best calls in the history of the ClearChannel cash game, leaving me crippled, and $200 in debt to Tenna B.
I hate poker. Good call, Siny.
Why I hate playing “donkaments”
I’m having trouble rebuilding my bankroll online. Here is a great example why.
I’ve been stuck in the $20 Sit N Go circuit for a while now. My bankroll isn’t sufficient enough to step up to higher levels simply because I have to cash out to pay rent every month. I play the 45 man tourneys, which means the variance is higher -- $20 buy-ins = crappy players. 45 man tourneys = 41 crappy players.
Anyways, I’ve figured out how to play these things so that I’m consistently finishing deep. I play extremely tight for one hour until the blinds reach 150/300. I fold almost anything in early-mid position, and I wait for big hands. If I don’t get dealt a big hand, I start moving all in when my stack dips below 10 big blinds. But the less I go all in, the better. Even if I move all in with QQ and get called by a hand like AJ, I’m only 2-1 to win. I feel that my advantage over any individual player in the field is greater than 2-1. I’d rather see a flop with QQ and win a small-medium size pot than risk losing my entire stack to some moron who is bound to dump chips to me anyways.
However, lately I’ve had trouble placing in the top 2, which is where the big payouts are at. Here is a hand I played last night. It gives you an idea of the type of people we’re dealing with in these $20 tournaments.
15 players left. 6 cash. I have 2,500 in chips (9th place at the time). Chip leader has 10,000. Blinds are 120/240.
I open for a 600 raise in middle position with Kh,Qh (small raise, but big enough to drive out the medium stacks that littered my table). Action folds all the way to the BB (the chip leader) who makes the call. 1320 in the pot.
Flop comes 2h, 6h, 4s. I flopped a flush draw with 2 overcards. Chip leader checks. I’m short on chips, and I fully intend on taking this pot down right now. Plus, if he calls, I’m still probably 50% to win, unless he shows a set.
I move all in.
Chip leader thinks for about 20 seconds. And makes the call.
He shows Jh, 5d. Jack-five off suit. He called my preflop raise (albeit, he had a ton of chips… and he was getting more than 2:1… but still…), then he called my 1900 all in with Jack high. JACK HIGH.
Of course, I LOVE this. I’m 75% to win this pot. If I win, I have more than 5,000 in chips, which is plenty to start stealing blinds before the final table.
The turn? 3 of diamonds. THREE OF DIAMONDS. This clown makes one of the worst calls in the history of poker and hits a gut shot for the straight. Of course, the river blanked, failing to give me the flush that I justifiably deserved. And I was sent to the rail. I offered the guy 2:1 on a 100 dollar bet that he wouldn’t finish in the top 2 (even though he was an overwhelming chip leader at that point). But he laughed and told me to go F myself.
I hate poker.
A Disappointing WSOP Final Table
I had a chance to watch the final table of the World Series of Poker main event which could be seen live on pay-per-view, though you could not see their hole cards. It was very interesting to watch an event of that magnitude live and to try to figure out for yourself which cards each player had while they were playing. It was cool to see all the hands, not just the big all-in hands you typically see on ESPN, which really doesn’t show any poker skill. Overall, it was a unique poker viewing opportunity that you don’t see anywhere else. That being said, it could’ve been much better. There were many things that annoyed me about this final table:
--It’s too bad Scotty Nguyen didn’t make the final table. He busted out 11th just short of the final 9. This table not only needed a big name pro but a big name pro with personality. The final table was filled with boring characters. No one talked, no one talked smack, no one was energetic (except one guy that I’ll rip later). It was filled with boring people. Viewers want to see big name poker pros. Lee Watkinson is kinda at that level, but still a couple notches below Scotty Nguyen. Scotty single-handedly would’ve carried ESPN’s rating on his back, but it will forever be known as the most boring final table in the last x-amount of years.
--I have nothing against anyone’s religious beliefs, but there is nothing that annoys me more than ‘God’ speeches. Like if an athlete wins a championship, or a musician wins a grammy or a an actor wins an emmy and then they proceed to thank God. Like God chooses you over your competition. It’s annoying. Well, lucky for me, the eventual winner of the Main event was a guy by the name of Jerry Yang. Yang absolutely steamrolled the final table, working his way to a big stack and then using said stack to dominate his competition. Well, Jerry liked to praise God…constantly. Every time he was all-in, which was a lot since he was knocking out a majority of the players, he would praise God repeatedly, saying he will give money in the name of God…blah, blah, blah. He did this many times. I think finally ESPN must’ve said something to him over a 20 minute break because when they came back he started doing it in Japanese and then he just quit all together. I guess God must condone gambling and he must also choose favorites. He must pick out which players he liked and then make them win. Jerry, you won because you outplayed the table, not because God wanted you to win.
--I take back what I said in the last paragraph about nothing annoys me more than ‘God’ speeches. I forgot that nothing annoys me more than people at the poker table who do things just so they can get “TV Time”…The guys who go out of there way to get attention so they can have 3 more minutes on ESPN. That guy this year is Hevad Khan. At least when Mike Matusow or Phil Helmuth blow up, I think it’s stupid, but I also believe it’s sincere. I believe those 2 are really like that in real life. Hevad Khan was doing everything he could do get the camera on him. He would make a raise to steal the blinds and then would proceed to celebrate like he just won the Super Bowl. We’re happy for ya that you stole some blinds. It’s not that much money in the whole scheme of the final table. Also when 2 other players were all-in on a hand, Khan started to doing this weird robotic jig that I can’t really explain and making all these gorilla-like noises. You’re not in the hand dude! Just sit down and shut up. The words I’ve written in this paragraph can’t fully explain how annoying this guy is. You’ll just have to find out when it debuts on TV. In my ideal world, they won’t even show him and act like he was never at the table.
--If you ever play with Tuan Lam…just raise and he’ll fold his hand. The guy got all the way to 2nd place and it seemed like he never won a hand. Every time he entered the pot, someone would raise (usually Jerry Yang) and he would fold. Yang went over the top of Lam many times and Lam would never play back at him. The guy wasn’t playing to win, he was playing to advance up in the $$$. Pansy.
It’s too bad this final table was lame because I think with a cool table, watching the main event live on pay-per-view was a poker experience you won’t get anywhere else.
A Crazy Jerk Makes Me Look Like The Donkey I Am...
I was playing $1-$2 no-limit and was up about $150 after about two hours. The guy to my right, we'll call him "Crazy Jerk" or "CJ", had been playing very, very tight for those two hours. Then CJ drove me more insane in three hands then I ever had been on in my no-limit poker career.
I had 4-5 suited into an unraised pot. The flop came J-J-4. CJ was first to act and he bet $6 into an $8 pot. I wanted to know where I was so I raised to $18. The other two players in the pot folded and it came back to CJ, who paused only for a second and then smooth called. When the board is paired and there is a raise, if you can call you probably have a big hand (like a Jack). So, I was pretty sure he was slow playing a jack, and thought maybe he had a terrible kicker and feared I had him crushed with my J-x. The turn card was another 4. So with a board of J-J-4-4, I hit the small end of the full house, still assuming CJ is holding a Jack. He checked, and in my attempt to keep the pot small, I checked. My plan was to call any small bet on the river if he fired at it. If he bet big I was going to lay it down. The river was a blank, and CJ checked, which means if he had a jack he had checked it on both the turn and river already with the made full house. After watching him play the nuts or damn near it for two hours, I was convinced now that he didnt hold a Jack in his hand. Testing the waters I threw out a small $16 bet, and the Crazy Jerk says "I'm all in". I said "What?!" He had gone all in for around $150, which was an obvious overbet. As I replayed the hand in my head I considered two things: The fact that he had checked on both the turn and river, and that he clearly made the massive overbet on the river to confuse me. Mission accomplished. Over the next minute and a half (Poker Rule: "If you think long, you think wrong") I convinced myself CJ was not the type of player to check a Jack twice in this situation. I made a Donkey call, and slid CJ $150 when he flipped over J-3. Perfect trap set (which is my entire strategy as well, so I understood the play), and I gave him his due props. "Nice trap. Well played you Crazy Jerk". CJ: "No problem Donkey".
With my stack dwindled down to around $170 (now down $30 for the day), I looked over to my right and told CJ I was going to get my money back on the next hand. He laughed. I look down and see Q-J of diamonds. CJ limps in for $2 and I make my raise to $12. Everyone else folds, except for CJ who calls the $12. The flop comes down J-4-2 rainbow. I'm very confident I have the best hand at this point, however CJ was first to act. With almost no hesitation, this Crazy Jerk to my right says "I'm all in". At this point, because of the last hand, he now has me covered easily. Because I was steaming from the way I called on the previous hand, I tried to calm down and separate this hand from the last. Play it independantly from the previous. Again, I convinced myself he was making a move on me and that I had the best hand. The only hand I really feared was a set of 2s or set of 4s. I couldn't see him making that move with K-J or Q-J, or even A-J. I scratched my head for a mintue and eventually said "F*** it, I'll gamble. I call". I flipped over my Q-J, and CJ didn't flip over his cards. When he didn't show his cards, I said "Ooh, I think I gotcha. I caught ya". The turn was a 9, and the river was a 4. CJ then reveals his cards...
He rivers a 4 to beat me. I'm broke. Nice river card for me, King Donkey.
So in the span of two hands, I go from up $150 to down $200. Which has happened to me before, but not when a player is making these crazy ass all in plays on me. At this point I'm on tilt because of hand #2. Hand #1 was well played by CJ. It was a nice trap. Hand #2 was intentionally trying to get under my skin, and it worked. Instead of simply calling for more chips, I had to get up and away from the table for a minute to think about what just happened. As I walked to the counter to get more chips, the table got one hand in that I missed. When I returned with my $200, I sat down and said, "It's okay CJ, I have four more hours to get my money back. Keep playing like that and I'll get every dime you have". CJ: "Whatever you say Donkey".
The third hand was the most frustating of all, and for an entirely new reason. CJ had mentioned a handful of times in the first two hours that he has played mutiple events in the WSOP over the last handful of years, which anyone could do if they have the money, but nonetheless. I figured a guy with as much "experience" as CJ would know how to cover his cards. Pretty basic poker. Hide your cards. I noticed when he slid his top card to see his second card, about half the time his thumb wasn't covering a corner of the top one. So, on hand #3 he doesn't conceal his top card and I see he has the 7 of clubs. No one else at the table sees it, and he doesnt know that I see it. I look down at A-Q, and I make my raise to $12. Two other players call before CJ has a chance to act. He calls the $12. Already I'm attempting to figure out what he could have with a 7 of clubs to call the $12. I think maybe 7-7, or maybe A-7 suited. But I also am aware that he may simply be calling to attempt to stay under my skin, which could mean the second card could be damn near anything. The flop if K-Q-2 all hearts. I didnt have a heart in my hand, and felt luke warm about my Queen now. However, like the Crazy Ass Jerk that he was...he was first to act and he says "All in". Which is a terrible play for a handful of reasons. First of all, he's only going to get a call if he's behind, so it's a brutal move. But maybe more importantly is there are two players behind me. So if he was doing it to embarrass me or get me to call in frustration, I think he forgot the other two players (who had similar stacks to him) could've called and crushed him.
So clearly my dilemma is this: I know he has the 7 of clubs. Which means a lot of things. It means he doesn't have the flush, a set, or even two pair. There are only three hands I believe at this point he can have: 7-7, with the other 7 being the 7 of hearts (which would make his all in move beyond terrible), K-7 (which would give him top pair), or A-7 with the ace being the ace of hearts. I was so pissed because of how he acted the previous two hands, that I was slowly convincing myself that he had one of the two hands I was ahead of, 7-7 and A-7. The only way I was behind was K-7. I say to CJ "I know you don't have the flush. I know you don't". He throws a dollar toward me and says "Dollar sidebet says I have the best hand". (sidebets aren't allowed in this casino). Jokingly I slam a $40 stack of chips by him and say "I bet my whole stack you don't have the flush". CJ laughs. Little does he know I know he doesn't because of the 7 of clubs.
To make a long story longer, I ended up folding because of the fear of the King on board. The other two guys folded (lucky for CJ) and CJ flips over K-7. So two out of the three hands I made the exact right play, and made the exact right read...and still lost around $370 to this Crazy Jerk. But he had my money...
And I continued to be a Donkey.
Showing a Bluff
I’m usually not a big fan of showing a bluff. I like to keep a relatively tight image at the poker table, and as long as I keep showing down good hands, I can get away with bluffs more often. That being said, there are certain times when showing a bluff can be profitable. At our recent $1/2 No-limit company poker game, (the game includes Sludge, Phil Mackey, Dave Sinykin (Packers suck!), KFAN Sales Manager Todd Kalman, KOOL 108 Sales Manager Steve Chortek, and Kalman’s buddy Rosie…with a few stragglers from time to time) I had just gone on a very nice run of winning a couple hands with pocket queens, a hand with pocket aces, and I was now a substantial chip leader at the table. I won all these hands without bluffing, so obviously, I was running with good cards.
After Sinykin and Chortek limped in…I had 9-7 offsuit in the small blind and also just called the $2. Sludge raised to $10 in the big blind. After Sinykin called and Chortek called, I was definitely going to call given Sludge raises a lot of hands so it’s not like I’m scared of his raise, plus with 2 others calling and I have the button, I’m willing to try to hit a hand with 9-7. The flop comes 10-8-5 with 2 spades. I check…Sludge checks…Sinykin bets $10 Chortek calls. Pretty good draw for me with lots of money in the pot so I call with good position. Sludge, the pre-flop raiser, folds. The turn is a 5. I check. Both Sinykin and Chortek check behind me. At this point, I think they are both on draws, with straight and flush possibilities still out there. The river is a 2 that is not a spade, so since I believe they were both on draws and neither the flush or straight got there, I lead out and bed $40 into a $70 pot. They both fold as expected and I rake in a pretty nice pot. Like I said, usually I don’t show my bluff, but on this particular hand, I show my 9-high hand.
I was going so good that I didn’t want to get a super-tight reputation as I was always showing down the best hand. Now, I’m not trying to brag about my bluff. I’m telling this to show how it helped me a couple hands later. 6 hands later, Phil Mackey (pretty good player, who doesn’t enter a lot of pots, but when he does, he plays aggressive and likes to raise) raises to $8 from the cutoff. This was like the 5th hand in a row he had raised in that position. I find myself with 8h-6h.
I’m not somebody who feels like I always have to play a suited connector, but I was on the button, I had a very big stack, and I wasn’t going to let Phil keep pushing me around. I call…Sludge calls in the small blind and Sinykin calls from the Big Blind. 4-way action. The flop comes 5h-6s-2h. Obviously a good flop for me with top pair and a flush draw. Sludge and Sinykin check, Phil bets $10. I call. Sludge folds, Sinykin calls. The turn is a 5. Sinykin checks, Phil checks, I check. The river is the 10h. I’ve hit my flush! Sinykin checks, Phil checks. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out I have the best hand. I bet $30 into a $50(give or take) pot. Sinykin folds and Phil ponders what to do for about 4 minutes. He can’t figure out what I have. He also only has about $65 left, so he won’t have much if he makes the wrong call. After a long time, Phil reluctantly calls, I flip my over flush and Phil mucks.
Phil says he had a pair of deuces. So he must’ve raised pre-flop with A-2. He thought his 2 pair was good. I don’t think I make that extra $30 if it wasn’t for the bluff I showed a couple hands earlier. Phil is a very good player who is willing to fold when he believes he is beat. Given that he called with deuces, he definitely thought I was bluffing. If you noticed, I played the 2 prior hands exactly the same. I smooth called a raise before the flop. I checked and called a bet on the flop. The turn was checked around both times. And then I made a decent sized bet on the river. I played both hands the exact same way knowing that I bluffed the first hand and the second hand, I had a good hand. Phil probably knew I played the hands the same way, and thought he could catch me with my hand in the cookie jar.
Given Phil’s track record of laying down hands, and my image of being a tight player, I firmly believe he only called in that situation, because I had shown the bluff a couple of hands earlier. I rarely show a bluff, but doing it occasionally can be profitable. I’m not trying to humiliate Phil because he’s definitely a solid player. This was actually the first time I’ve gotten the better of him. I usually avoid him and go after the other fish.
Calling Tenna B’s “Bluff”
If you haven’t read Tenna B’s “Showing a Bluff” blog, go ahead and do so now. I’ll wait.
Now for my side of the story, from my side of the table. I’ve played with Tenna B five or six times in the past year, and I’ve only seen him bluff a couple times. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t bluff. It just means he’s sneaky when he does bluff. In fact, Tenna and I have very similar styles at the table. We’re both tight aggressive (although on this particular night, I was playing loose aggressive), and we’re both willing to lay down the best hand if the situation calls for it.
When Tenna B showed his 9 high bluff (9-7) against Siny and Chortek, I took mental notes of exactly what happened throughout the entire hand. Tenna smooth called the flop (10,8,5… two spades), checked the turn (5), and led out for $40 into a $70 pot on the river (2) with absolutely nothing. If you look back at the hand, Tenna was either betting a full house on the river, or betting a busted draw. Tenna would only smooth call on the flop with a draw (spades, or straight), OR a set. He’s too good to smooth call with just a pair in that spot. The 5 on the turn brings no help for a draw, but it turns a set into a full house. Checking a full house on the turn in standard, especially in this home game. The 2 on the river also brings no help for a draw. At this point, I put Tenna on either a full house or a busted draw. He showed a busted draw.
Now I know what Tenna B does when he bluffs! Mannerisms and everything. Right?
As I said before, I was playing loose aggressive on that night, raising a lot of pots pre-flop from the button and the cutoff. I picked up K2 of clubs and made a standard raise preflop (a loose raise, but I have a GREAT feel for the table, so I’m confident playing a lot of hands). Tenna B called on the button, Sludge called in the SB and Siny called in the BB. The flop comes 5,6,2, with two hearts. I flopped bottom pair, but the board was fairly non-threatening (except for the flush draw). Sludge and Siny both checked, and I fired out a $10 feeler bet into a $28 pot. Tenna smooth called, Sludge folded and Siny called. $58 dollar pot.
I have to think my 2 is good here, because Tenna generally raises on the flop if he has a pair. He’s a good player and likes to find out where he’s at. At this point, I think Tenna is just sick of me raising and betting so much that he’s looking to steal this pot from me on the turn or river. Siny was making a lot of questionable calls late in the night, so it was tough to put him on a hand.
The turn came another 5. Perfect card for me. If my 2 was good before, it’s even better now. Siny checked again. I checked as well. (I thought my 2 was good, but I didn’t feel good about pumping money into an already large 3-way pot with bottom pair. This is the type of pot I like to keep small). Tenna also checked.
The river was a 10 of hearts. Three flush cards on the board. Siny checked, which signifies that he has nothing. I check, still thinking my 2 is probably good. But Tenna B bet $30 into a $58 dollar pot. Siny folded.
Normally if Tenna fires at a pot, I fold bottom pair instantly. But for some reason, something felt fishy. A few hands later, Tenna showed a 9-high bluff after smooth calling the flop, checking the turn and betting the river.
Obviously, I was only worried about a flush. If Tenna had a 5 or a 6 he would have raised on the flop. He also would have raised before the flop with an over pair. It’s unlikely that he would be holding a 10 as well. Why would he randomly have a 10 in his hand after calling a bet on the flop?
So after a minute or so, I deduced that he couldn’t possibly have a pair better than my 2’s. But did Tenna have a flush? He had correct pot odds to just call on the flop (almost 4:1) with a flush draw. But the action checked to Tenna on the turn. If he had a flush draw, it seems likely that he would bet the turn, hoping to take down the pot right then and there. Otherwise he risks blanking on the river without even having a chance to steal the pot.
Plus, Tenna knows that I’ve been playing loose all night. He knows I could have a wide range of hands, and when I checked the turn and river it showed incredible weakness. A perfect spot for Tenna to bluff.
I apologized three or four times to the other guys for taking so long to think about the hand. But after seeing Tenna show a bluff five minutes earlier, then betting this hand THE SAME EXACT WAY… and after working through each street, I simply couldn’t put him on a made hand. His actions just didn’t add up.
I generally trust my instincts when it comes to poker, and it’s worked well. I decided this hand was no different. If I was right, and my 2’s were good, it would be the sickest call in the history of the Clear Channel home game. I made the call with bottom pair.
I was wrong. Not only did Tenna have a flush, but he also had a pair of 6’s (8h, 6h). I’m still confident in my read. I had to call $30 in order to win $90. That’s 3:1 pot odds. I’m fairly confident that my 2’s are good in that spot 1/4 times. If that’s the case, my call was justified.
That being said, Tenna B, a very good poker player, made me look like an absolute Donkey.