Friday, August 7, 2009


Thursday's cash game brought the return of a former regular player, named JP, who now lives out of state. He's in town for his job for a couple weeks, and is glad to have re-found the poker game. JP is part of the "Puritas" group of guys - I've never played with him, so my friend Wiley was giving me a scouting report before the game. "He's really aggressive now - he'll push at you with second pair".

So it's very early in the night - first dozen hands or so, and I've got AJ in late position. I follow some limpers (first mistake), and JP raises it up from the blind. I'm the only caller, in position.

I hit my ace on the flop. JP comes at me with a bet of $6.

"He'll push at you with second pair".

I call.

Turn doesn't look dangerous, and JP shoots it out again, this time $12. I call. The river stays low. JP shrugs and puts another nice bet in. Would he really fire three times with that ace on the board? I don't like my chances, but I've got to pay to see. I call a third time. JP shows the perfectly predictable AK and takes $30 off me.

The Wiley scouting report hosed me up good on this hand, but that's not the only problem. Limping along with other limpers, with AJ, is a problem. If I raise there, JP may reraise over me, and Ace-Jack starts to look pretty bad preflop.

My postflop action also stunk on ice. Call-Call-Call. Nice line. I flat-out deserved to lose $30 on the hand. If I raise his flop bet of $6 to $15, I'll find out right away if he's got an ace, and I'll lose half as much. And this stupidity comes one week after having great luck raising the flop aggressively with top pair. How did I not remember that?

So I start the night early in a hole, but then swing right back. I get AK myself and hit two pair on an AKJ board, then double up my smallish stack against AT. I flop a set of sevens in a multiway pot and get a little action before me that I hammer with a nice raise to take a decent pot. These hands put me back to within $5 of even.

Then the lull hits - 2.5 hours of garbage cards. Really bad. I try and keep my mood positive, and switch focus to watching the action, working on my hand reading. I pick off one hand exactly - KdQd, someone check-calling against heavy action on a king high board with two diamonds. Many players would have pushed all their chips into the middle - this player, Terry, played it slower and avoided disaster against pocket rockets. But I was very pleased that I nailed his hand- I had guessed either KdQd or KdJd.

My comeback starts with another limp. This time I'm in late position and get the marginal 6c9c. I have stayed tight despite the bad run of cards - I have thrown away small aces in early position, tossed out KJ to a raise and a caller, kept away from J9o. In this hand, I decide maybe I'll make a move in last position even if I don't hit.

4 players see a board with two clubs, and the first three players check. Free shot at a flush? Ok, then - I check too. A repeat performance on the turn, three checks. Odd. Fine with me, though - I check.

The river is red - no flush. But it's also low - there is no broadway on the board. I check it out one more time. We've got a 3457 on the board - I've got a straight.

This time, someone shoots out a $8 bet. Slowplayed set? There is no flush on the board, and 68 would be a better straight, but I'm definitely calling here. I call and the other two players fold - the opponent mucks his hand without showing when I announce that I have a 6.

Etiquette note: I should have made the villain show his hand there - I paid to see those cards.

Two late night big hands put a capper on the evening. Wiley has been bleeding all night and is down to his last $14. There is a raise under the gun, then Wiley pushes his tiny stack in, ready to go home. I don't know what my cards are yet, but I'm hoping to get in on this action. When it's my turn, I take a peek at cowboys - KK!.

Hmmm, a slightly sticky situation. An under the gun raiser (on a 6 handed table, so maybe not too strong), and a short stack shover. I suppose the right play is to go all-in myself and isolate against the all-in player, but I choose a more cautious route. I decide to wait for an ace-less flop and then come out firing.

I get my ace-less flop - it's something like 6-2-2. There are hints that we might check it down - tourney style - but that action isn't really necessary in a cash game. I bet big into the empty side pot and sucessfully get a fold from the UTG player, and crush whatever Wiley was holding (which he didn't show, I don't think).

I'm a couple bucks over even on the night - not bad considering my $30 donk-off early. It looks like the game is about to wrap up in a hand or two, and I'm pretty pleased with my play overall. I'm ready to fold these last few hands and hit the bag, when I peek at the corner of my cards and see two red "A"s staring back at me. Hoo-boy. Another last hand fireworks show?

I'm first to act - I make it $3.50. My usual bet is $3, but most of the table likes the $3.50 number. Another player, Waley (yes, we have a Wiley and a Waley at the table), 3 bets me to $10. Action with rockets! To add to the fun, the player in between us says "I'd love to see a flop", and cold-calls the three bet! The pot is already pretty big.

Should I just cold-call here? For deception, this might be useful, there's two things I don't like about it, though -

1. Letting 2 players see a flop.
2. Waley isn't the light 3-betting type. He has something big here, I'd say JJ-AA or AK. I'm guessing he'd be willing to put all his chips in with the kings and maybe the queens, but if he sees a flop and an ace comes then he won't put any more money in. He's more likely to get it in now.

I four bet - I add $25 more to his $10. Without a second's hesitation, Waley announces "all-in". Our middle player, whose stack is only around $11 now, puts his last chips in as well. Waley has me covered, so my last $40 goes into the middle. Another late night fireworks show, with 2 all-in players!

We flip our cards. Our cold caller has JQ, and Waley's got.... the other two aces. Hmmm, a bit anti-climatic. We fist-bump, probably both relieved that we'll most likely be chopping up cold-caller's loot and not going home broke.

The final detail remains of running out the board. I have brief visions of JQ hitting two pair or Waley flushing out on an all-black board, but neither of these come to pass. We indeed chop.

My final score on the night - +$25.


Anonymous said...

I had 55 in my last hand, I thought I showed it to you when I threw it as far as I could across the table. Horrible evening for me.


Memphis MOJO said...

Good recap. Glad you played well, and feel sorry for Wiley (I've been there).

bastinptc said...

You always make for a good, insightful read, Matt. TMI might be a very appropriate title for this post, and others as well if you have people you play with reading this thing. And it appears you do.