Friday, July 9, 2010

bitter pill to swallow

Let's preface the story by highlighting the fact that I have lived in Cleveland, Ohio my entire life. Our weekly poker game is held in a Cleveland basement last night as LeBron James decided to punch his hometown in the collective stomachs on National TV.

The table mood was understandably bitter and I was wondering how it might affect play. We had an interesting table mix last night - I had position on all the bad players and all the good players had position on me. My game plan for this table was straight hardcore value - hit the best hand and bet it hard.

The punishing limpers game worked a few times, but it failed once or twice also. Soon, some of the regulars adopted a "if you can't lick'em, join 'em" approach and limped along also. I won a decent pot with KTs in a limped pot from a player who treats middle pair as a 5 card draw and almost always sees the turn, and sometimes the river, hoping for trips or two pair.

I was at about +60BB and cruising along when the bottom fell out. I hit two pair myself but folded to a turn raise by a player who could have only had a higher two pair or a straight (he showed the latter). Lost a couple small showdowns.

The big late hand was another limper punish with KQ. Both limpers called. The flop was K23, all different suits. One player lead into me and I knew I had him beat - he had a smaller pair or a king with a weaker kicker. I had position on him and thought he would bet again, so I just called. The first limper called as well.

The turn brought a seven - about as bricky as you can get on this board. Suddenly the first limper bet the pot - $15. A strange spot for me - what's he representing on this board that he's betting for value? So little, really. A retarded two pair or a set. There are no real draws, and even the best combo draw I can come up with is only about 30% to win on the river. Did he slowplay aces or kings? This player was capable of some postflop bluffing, but this seemed like a hopeless board to bluff on.

Another thing to check out - his stack. He had put $15 in and had $15 left. He sure didn't look like he was folding. So was he trying to give the appearance of being committed, or was he committed?

Finally, the game situation. It was late, and he was short stacked. This could have been a desperate final shot at some chips before packing it in for the night. Go big or go home.

That's what I decided. I put him all in. He flipped over pocket sevens for a turned set. I was drawing dead and doubled him up.

An awful, hopeless flop call by him of course - 2 players in before him and he calls with second pair. There's no chance he's ahead. He's calling for a 2 out draw and he hit it.

"So what?", I thought. It happens. I'm not getting tilted at bad players winning with bad play - I should be beyond that. And I was. But was on the edge of tilty at my own play. Could I have avoided it and just folded to the committing turn bet? Should I have? You're not supposed to tighten up at the end of the session just to preserve a win. I had made a similar aggressive play earlier and it had worked out. I also checkraised a tight player then double barreled on nothing but a draw. That worked out too. This one didn't

I wasn't sure if I played it ok or not. It aggravated me, though, and still does, as it flipped me from a winning session to a losing one. Couple that irritation with watching LeBron cockpunch me and my city on National TV, and you have the makings of a sleepless night.

1 comment:

Memphis MOJO said...

decided to punch his hometown in the collective stomachs

Or somewhere even worse.