Monday, February 25, 2008

one memorable hand

We played an abbreviated session this Friday night, as I was hosting a cocktail party with my wife on Saturday and most of the poker guys and wives were invited as well, and we didn't want to be dead-tired-hungover from cards the night before.

I came away from the table down $11, but played pretty well overall. I was probably even-money on the night until I chased an open ended straight flush that didn't come, but ended up paying off a very loose player who ended up with a boat that floated. Without that hand I was probably even.

One other hand from the night was memorable to me - I raised from under the gun with pocket queens. The player to my left (we'll call him Frank) has never seen a hand he didn't like (his favorite hand to play is 3-4, 'nuff said), called me, along with 2 other players.

The flop came all diamonds, with a K. I had the Q of diamonds. I checked in first position, fully ready to give up the hand if the action got wild early. My loose-aggro friend Frank bet and everyone else folded. Knowing that Frank's bet didn't mean much - he could have a low flush, a 4 card flush like myself, or nothing at all, I called with my pocket queens.

The turn didn't appear to help anything - I checked again and he bet. Again I called - I was looking for a relatively cheap showdown if the 4th flush card didn't come, and if it did, I was willing to pay off with the 2nd nut flush. If he happened to hold the A, I would shake his hand and move on to the next hand.

But then, the best of all cards came on the river - the Ace of diamonds - giving me the nut flush. Woohoo! Now, what to do? My loose-aggro friend Frank can be tricky to play at times - he will often bet the max in our little $1-$2 game whether he has a hand or not - you might decide to butt heads with him with second pair or some other mediocre hand and find out he boated up or happens to be holding the nuts this time. But when you have the nuts, obviously, everything is easier.

I decided to check one more time to see if he would bet. I knew that if I suddenly woke up and bet the $2 max on the river when the 4th flush card came, he probably wouldn't call me without at least decent flush. He certainly wouldn't call me if he had been bluffing the whole time, something he has done one more than one occasion. I figured he would be much more likely to put another $2 into the pot with whatever he was holding than to call/raise my initial bet. To my delight, he bet the $2, I called and raked in a big pot.

(Side note: we have one rule in our little home game - no checkraising allowed unless we're playing a tourney. We have one player who insists we would come to fist-fights every other week if we allowed checkraising in our cash game. I'm not sure I agree with this, but in the interest of keeping the peace, I vote along with him here. This is why I just called at the end instead of checkraising).

The player to my right, by far the best player in the group, (we often discuss hands and situations after the fact) asked me why I didn't bet once I hit the nut flush on the river, and I explained why. I think he was impressed with my reasoning and my ability to play my opponent correctly. Truth be told, I was pretty impressed with myself. I feel like I'm slowly getting better at moving outside of my own cards/hand and more into reads and changing styles based on opponents. This hand gave me evidence of that growth.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

lol at no check raising

How is it even poker if you can't checkraise when its proper?