Wednesday, August 20, 2008

strange hand last night

Well, the mediocre streak continued last night. 2 tourneys, one 3rd place finish, one busto. Negative $9 net. That's some fine poker!

This run is like a broken record - I go down in chips early and then hang on until desperation time. When my shove is called I either win and squeak into the money or lose and bust out at/near the bubble. In tourney one last night, I made it past the bubble, then got fortunate enough to get KK, got even luckier when the bad player left called me with J9, then witnessed the beautiful misfortune of a 5678 board to give him the straight against my monster pair. Ugh.

In the second tourney, I had a strange hand that confounded me. I got A5 in the small blind and everyone folded to me. Normally I would raise here, but the guy in the big had already called raises several times (my own twice), and this weak Ace wasn't a hand I really wanted to build a big pot with out of position, so I just completed. He rapped the virtual table and we were off to see the flop... which came 3 4 6 rainbow. Very nice, an opened ended straight draw and an ace. This villain is not the type who likes to raise, so I decide on a small bet that I hope he'll call to build the pot in case I hit. He does call, which tells me he's got a bit of something, or maybe just two overcards and he doesn't believe me.

The turn - an Ace. Ok then. I've got my pair with no kicker, and I don't want the pot to get big (yet) so I check. He checks too. Praying for my straight...

...which doesn't come. I can't remember the river, exactly - I believe it was a face card, maybe a K? Anyhow, it doesn't matter. I sit for a second and try and figure out if my pair of aces is good. There are no flushes available. The board isn't paired. He could have one of the straights (25, 57), but that possibility is pretty remote. Set? Sure, hidden sets are always lurking under the bed, but the flop was connected and I figure I would have seen a protection bet/raise by now. Nah, I think I'm ahead - time to bet for value. I bet about half pot hoping he calls. And he does call. But he turns over A4 for two pair, and takes a nice hunk out of my stack. The rest of the tourney is predictable - I get desperate and shove my King-rag, someone calls with AQ, and I'm gone. But that damn weak Ace hand kept me thinking well past the point that I should have fallen asleep.

How could I have played that better? The villain was a beginning player - he called way too many bets and raises, often out of position. A "normal" player would have raised my small blind completion with his own Ace, but he didn't do that, so of course I didn't put him on an ace when the turn came. There was little way to put him on a hand here. Do I simply auto-check the river because I'm out of position with top pair/crap kicker? You want to try and extract some value from the hand when you think you're ahead, though - I often read that this is the difference between good and great players.

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