Friday, April 3, 2009

Cowboy Army

Thursday night game, full table of 10. Kings in the hole, from the big blind. A middle position player raises to $3.50, and the button calls. Call for deception? Nah, don't get fancy - bump it up to $11. The middle position player calls and we see a queen high flop. We get to showdown (details elude me) and my Kings hold up against AQ.

An hour later, same middle position player limps, a couple callers behind, I bomb the pot, again with kings in the hole. They all fold and I show the kings this time. My cards have been pretty good and I want to continue the idea that I'm just getting cards tonight.

Later in the game, the same player is short now, only $8 left, and he pushes all-in. I'm the big blind again, and one more time my cowboys are waiting for me. Poker is a cruel, cruel game sometimes. I announce "I give you permission to punch me one time in the face" and flip over my Kings. I almost hope he's got Ax and a fighting shot to stay alive, but he disgustingly flips over QT (?) and doesn't improve. His parting words are "that's annoying" and he scurries up the steps to ponder what bad he's done in life to deserve butting up against Kings three times from the same player.

Somewhere between my King-Cavalcade, I raised up an Ace-Eight offsuit from the cutoff and got two callers, one with position on me. We saw an Ace-high board (A56), which I bet. Both players called my bet.

The player on the button player is solid and for the most part straightforward - I felt like the call of my raise and this call here meant that he either had some type of ace or a pair. He wasn't (to my knowledge) the "call in position with connectors" type. Any ace would have to be low - AJ and above is probably reraising preflop. If he had a pair, he might have a set now, or he missed his set but was just floating me, not believing my CBet on the ace.

The player in the blind was much trickier and known for defending his blind with a wide range of cards, especially against TAGs like me. He was much more likely to float my bet with a wide range, even with no hand at all, looking for a spot where he could bluff me out of the pot on a scare card. His call scared the crap out of me, to be honest.

I hit two pair with an eight on the turn. I was ahead of every ace now (except AA, which I was discounting as a possibility). The 568 straight draw possibility was out there for the tricky player, though this eight was more likely to pair a card in his hand than fill a straight in my mind (good players don't call a bet with 79 on this board hoping to fill a gutshot, unless maybe the 79 were suited and there was a flush possibility. If he called my raise with 47, God Bless'em. He could have a 68 type two pair now, as well, which I was ahead of. Either player might have 77 and would surely call another bet.

Well, I was pretty sure had the best hand, and there was only one way to find out. I bet 2/3 pot.

The straightforward button player took his time to size up the board. He was deep in concentration, trying to put me on a hand, and I didn't feel like he was acting. Now I was pretty sure that he had a medium ace - say AT, and was trying to figure out if his kicker was good. ( It was indeed good on the last street, but not anymore, sir). Still after much thought, he called my rather largish bet. The tricky blind called as well, and I still had a challenge to face.

The river came a queen, which looked like a blank to me. AQ or QQ from either player would have most likely reraised me preflop, or certainly on the flop. The tricky player missed all of his gutshot possibilities. When he checked, I was sure he had whiffed. I trusted my read on the straightforward player and bet for value again. He repeated the board analysis, and in the end he folded, as did the blind. Despite them not calling the river, I won a nice size pot.

The straightforward player hinted that he thought I had bluffed my way out of the hand. I told him that his Ace-Ten was no good, looking for information. He rewarded me by telling me I was very close- he had Ace-Nine. Made a lot of sense- he had top pair and a gutshot, as a seven would have given him the one card straight. Thankfully, no seven for him.

One of my fellow bloggers extols the virtues of the "mighty" hand deuce-four. Separately, he also favors clubs (which he calls "crubs") as his suit for choice. Both of these notions occurred to me last night as I was dealt the imporbable deuce , four (!) I was on a roll and decided to play it like the powerhouse it was. I raised it up and got a caller - my friend Tony, whom I consider one of the best handreaders at the table. Have fun reading this one, sir!

I hit the 4 and a backdoor club (crub) draw and bet it for value like it was teh nutz. Tony called my bet quickly and I immediately started to doubt the power of the deuce-four. The turn came something goofy, and though I was starting to become a nonbeliever, I fired another value bet into the pot. Tony put the chips in his hand down - a bit too hard - in a classic "what the frak do you have now" type moment, and I knew I had him. He went over the hands he could put me on (set of fours, etc) and finally folded. I can't say I'm become a full convert at the church of the deuce-four, but it did win me a pot.

I was able to win a couple more pots playing on my (luckbox, aggrotard) image. I raised up a pair of eights and then bet them hard despite two overs on the board, but no real draws to keep anyone around. I also called a bet with second pair that I was sure wasn't good, but then bet hard on the third flush card to scare away a decent player.

In the last hour I lost a couple of pots and won one more big one. The first loss came against Tony- I called a raise of his with seven-eight suited and hit the low end straight draw on a nine-ten-three board. Tony bet and I raised my draw from position. Tony called very quickly. When the three paired on the turn, Tony bet right into me (despite my flop raise), which should have been my cue to go away, but I called one more bet hoping for my straight. The river paired the ten, putting TT339 on the board. Tony thought for a second and then bet for value again. His slight hesitation made me think that he didn't have a ten, and a big raise might really freak him out, but my best guess was that he still had a hand he liked - either an overpair, nines (a smaller boat), or one of the tens. I wasn't sure I could make him fold any of those hands for sure, so I had to tip my hat and let this one go.

The hand right after this one, I looked down on American Airlines - two aces in the hole. I wondered if I could play on the image of losing a big pot and play the tilted guy - so I made my raise a bit bigger than usual. I got a caller from a fairly small stack with position on me. His stack was low enough that I probably couldn't fold my bullets unless the scariest board imaginable popped up, but my fears were allayed with an Ace-Queen-Nine board. There were two spades but that wasn't stopping me now - not with the effective stacks this low. I checked and let him do the betting for me, which he did.

In true Julliard student fashion, I studied the board looking trying to put my opponent on a hand. Of course, I didn't care what his hand was since I had the current nuts, but I wanted to look weak. I was also deciding between the checkraise now or to slowplay for street and just call. In the end, I felt like this player probably would have not bet out one the spade draw, meaning he had a piece of this flop. The best I could hope for was AQ or QQ - he wasn't getting away from that - but he could get away from lots of ragged aces or AK on this board, so my best bet was to call.

The turn came and I checked again, trying to look like a meek little puppy with a broken leg. The villain bet the rest of his small stack and I called, the trap working as well as I could have hoped. He showed me QJ and was drawing dead. Tough sledding trying to muscle someone out of the pot who holds the nuts.

I lots two pots in the last half hour to a player getting fancy at the end of the night. He limped from late position and I called with KQ off, trying to get a bit fancy myself (instead of raising preflop). He bet a ragged T38 board and I floated the bet, thinking I might hit one of my overs or try and scare him away on a scary board. The turn indeed paired my king, which I check-called. I then lead out for value on the river and got called - by T3 suited! Hah! His two pair took out my top pair for a nice pot.

A couple hands later, this same player limped again. This time I had AQo and wanted to raise out dumb hands like T3. He called. The board came low and we checked all the way to the river, my aggression toned down a bit from the last pot he took from me. I announced "Ace High", figuring he would have bet any pair and that I was good, and then he floored me again by replying "Ace high, King Kicker". He had limp/called Ace-King! At least this was a small pot.

Very proud of my play overall. I found one spot I should have folded - the baby straight draw against Tony, who wasn't going anywhere on a paired board. On top of this, I was pretty sure he knew what I was holding, too (or had me on a pretty narrow range), meaning that either he was already ahead and didn't care, or wouldn't pay me off if that straight came. I donated one street too many on this hand, but won big pots with big pocket pairs, and a few smaller ones with good aggression and the fear of my good run of cards. Total profit on the night - $72 - just under 2 buy-ins.

1 comment:

Memphis MOJO said...

"He limped from late position and I called with KQ off, trying to get a bit fancy myself (instead of raising preflop)."

With hands like this one, I believe it's best to mix up your play -- sometimes raise, sometimes call.

If you don't, your hand is too apparent, I think.