Monday, May 17, 2010

an impenetrable force field of luck

Found myself a doozy of a table last night. 3 players playing over 50% of the hands, with the king of bad players to my immediate right. His stats were 82/10 after 150 hands. He called raises after limping 87% of the time. No regard to position. This guy was going to see a flop, come hell or high water.

And his postflop play wasn't much to write home about either. He was drawing to his two pairs, his gutshots, and sometimes less than that. He made a call with AT on some 22K type board that I simply could not explain.

The poker gods were very kind to this player on this night. He would play K3 and never once be up against AK or KQ. He would bet the absolute minimum - 0.25, into a raised, $2.00, and have everyone fold.

Had my wife or kids walked into the room during this session, they would have seen the green cartoon dollar signs in my eyes. I waited around for the opportunity to make this guy pay, but it didn't come. And then I stupidly paid him off - not a ton, but enough.

I limped behind him with K9. Weak-ass hand, but against someone playing 82%? Just fine. Flop was 779. He fired out his little min-bet, which usually meant he had nothing and was just praying I would fold. I called. Raising entered my mind, but if he has nothing, why raise? He's got 6 or less outs. Turn was a king. I've got two pair now. This time, he checked and I put out my value bet, which he immediately min-raised. My mind knew exactly what that meant - it meant he had a 7. I was like 80-90% sure - this player never raised unless he had a strong hand.

The fold was the correct play, but I didn't make it. I called. There were two different thoughts in my head at the same time - one the thought of a good poker player, the other the thoughts of a tilty one:

1) if a king or nine comes on the river, I will be boat over boat and will stack this guy easily. (he was playing with a full stack by the way, not one of these $5 shortstacker scaredy-cats).

2) I can't believe this donkey is playing 80% of flops and has once again hit a hand as strong as trips. No way. Not possible. Well I've got two pair, dammit, and I'm not folding!

My two thoughts were split down the middle, but I still had enough foresight to think about the river. If a king or nine came, then yay me, I would get it in the middle. If it did not, then I wasn't going to pay off a giant bet.

No luck for me on the river this time. I was ready to fold, but then Mr. 80% made the perfect bet - $1.25 into like a $3 pot. Less than half. I had seen him make these smaller river bets a couple times - too often to always be made hands.

I made the call. Q7 for trips. He made the perfect bet size against me to get a tiny bit of value.

I kept at it, even a full hour past my bedtime, but I never got the hand to crack him. He sat out for 2 orbits at one point - of course I was dealt big slick twice in this time and hit top pair each time. His avatar glanced over and mocked me as I scooped tiny pots from tight opponents who wouldn't pay me off with second pair or weak draws.

Also during his sit out, I won two pots from another decent player who was two to my right. As soon as Mr. 80% sat out, this guy noticed and went back to his TAGGY ways. He tried to steal my blind, which he had stopped doing somewhat, since the bad player was defending just about every blind. I had some type of weak ace and decided this was a great 3 betting opportunity - chances are this guy is just raising with anything now that he won't be called by the donkey, and I've got an ace so card removal says chances are lower that he doesn't have one. I made it 3.25 and stole his .75 raise.

A couple hands later, I defended my blind with KQ from the same raiser, then checkraised on a K35 rainbow board. He thought a LONNNG time before folding, leading me to believe he had a medium pocket pair and was trying to figure out if I had a king or not. I took that same pause to decide if I would play my KQ for all my chips. Do you take a chance against a regular player when there's such a donkey at the table, just waiting to give someone his chips? Then again, the donkey was sitting out - no guarantee that he comes back.

It was a coinflip decision, and I wasn't quite done processing it all when the raiser folded and I won the pot without having to make a decision. Whew.

It took great will power to get up from that table (Mr. 80% came back), but I had already lost and hour of sleep. I was down $3 on the session - near the exact amount I had paid off to the trip sevens. I will make sure to go back and add this guy to my buddy list - but my instincts tell me that poker might not be a permanent hobby for this play for very long.

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