Friday, June 19, 2009

Meekly into the night

Thursday night cash game - 2 players have just announced that this is their last hand, effectively ending the game as there are only 5 left. I started off down but crawled back up to close to even. Check that - I count up my chips before the last hand is dealt - I'm dead even. To the penny. I let out an audible laugh - I will fold my probable Jack-4-off last hand and take out exactly as much money from the kitty as I've put in.

I'm first to act in this last hand... and my cards are.... 3 4

Aw, Freddie, why ya gotta do me like that?

Fred is my next door neighbor who just passed away from lymphoma last week at age 35. As I mentioned in an earlier post, he was a good man and a bad poker player. Mind you, I am not criticizing here - he knew he was bad and didn't care. Freddie wasn't playing in Vegas or any of the nearby poker rooms - he only played in this particular .50/$1 cash game one time. Strictly a neighborhood, quarter stakes guy out to have fun. Nothing wrong with that.

Fred's favorite hold'em hand was 34 - I'm not sure why this came to be his favorite hand, but he loved to knock out my AK on the old K34 board. Just the funniest thing in the world to him.

I had been dealt 34 twice before tonight. Once I was in one of the blinds, played free/cheap, and folded on a total whiff. The other time I folded preflop.

I'm all about honoring my friend's favorite poker hand, but let's get real here. I don't have to play it every time, right? After all, it's friggin three-four.

Back to the present, though. I've got 34 sooted, under the gun, on the last hand of the night. It's only a 5 handed table, maybe everyone will fold if I raise and I'll throw them over and have a good laugh...

I raise it up to $3.50. Tony, to my left, immediately calls. Tony has had position on me all night, and the one hand where we tangled where I had position - he had Kings. Oh Joy. I lost $13 on that hand finding out he had Kings, but I was happy with the way I played it overall. He lead out on a JJ9 board and I raised it up, thinking I could get him to fold 9T or AK/AQ or maybe even pocket eights and lower. I had pocket sevens. He called my raise, but then checked the turn and river and we got to a relatively cheap showdown - cheaper than me call/call/calling down to the river. He said my raise scared the shit out of him - he was thinking Ace Jack or 99.

Tony and I take the flop heads up - everyone else is content with their stack as-is for the night. The board is one of the best you could hope for playing 34 .. it comes

J 3 8.

Bottom pair, baby flush draw. Nicely done. I debate between leading out and checkraising - I think they're both close here, but decide I took the lead raising up preflop, so I need to keep the lead. I bet $3.50.

Tony calls the $3.50 and makes it ten more.

My first, gut instinct is to shove all my chips in the middle. I've become famous for several spectacular final hand blowouts in this game (winning some, losing others). I have lost with Aces vs. Kings, and I've won with boat over boat, all on the final hand.

Tony would be the perfect opponent to make this move, also. He will calmly fold AJ/KJ/QJ here, or Tens, maybe even an overpair. Tony believes in "big hand, big pot/small hand, small pot", and doesn't necessarily consider an overpair a "big hand". This might be even more true on the final hand of the night, with him hanging onto a nice profit for the evening.

What Tony might not fold, however, was a bigger flush draw than mine. I think he would go with AK or AQ. That would suck. However, if he has those hands, then I'm currently ahead with my pair of threes! In truth, I'm not a big underdog to any reasonable hand except the three sets, and I feel I have a ton of fold equity. Yup, if there was ever a time for the all-in semibluff on bottom pair and a flush draw, this is the time.....

Except, I couldn't bring myself to do it. I choked. I had a good situation, the right opponent, and a probable statistical favorite to a winning hand (an ever-so-slight favorite, surely), and I just let it go, taking my $7 loss and calling it a night. I flipped over my 34 soooted - Tony (Fred's best friend in the neighborhood) laughed and knew exactly what I was doing and why I was doing it. Tony, in turn, revealed his hand - 2 Kings. Again with the Kings!

"I almost pushed all in on you" I told him. "Bottom pair, flush draw. Would you have called?".

"Nope, he calmly explained. I would have put you on pocket jacks and hitting your set. I would have folded."


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