Friday, August 27, 2010

paying for mistakes

Live cash .50/$1 game. I call a raise with AsQs. Tony calls behind me. PC raises it up with a three-bet from the big blind. The first raiser folds, and it is up to me.

A marginal situation here with AsQs. With no other information I probably throw my hand away. Several factors here have me leaning towards a call, though.

1) I have seen PC three bet light before with weaker Aces than Ace-Queen. Those cases were slightly different - for example - he three bet me once before with ace-ten, but I was a button opener. However, I'm not sure PC cares or takes position into account much, either his own or the position of opening raisers. He is strictly an aggressive, level 1 thinker.

2) PC's stack is short. He's putting $10 in now, he's got $35 left behind. I can't get into too much trouble with kicker problems. If I call, there's an SPR of 2 on this hand.

3) PC is fairly easy to read postflop. His default play is to bet, without much regard to board texture or number of players in the pot, but his bet sizing usually gives away the strength of his hand.

4) Tony behind me will call if I call, giving us a nice multiway pot that I can push hard if my spade draw comes.

Before calling, I make my plan. I'm willing to put it in with an Ace top pair here against PC (hoping I've caught JJ-KK). Two spades and all my money gets in (especially if they're both small). Be careful with top pair queen (watching for KK/AA). I call and Tony calls as well.

The flop is three low cards with two clubs. A complete whiff for me. PC checks, which is uncharacteristic for him. Is he planning a checkraise? Not really his style. He might be going off his normal "bet bet bet" line because players have been adjusting and trapping lately. Tony check/called three PC bets with pocket aces tonight and won a nice pot from him.

I check, not knowing what Tony is going to do. Tony checks.

The turn changes everything - an ace. PC wakes up and bets now, and his bet size is more like the "I mean it" value bet size than his wimpy "I have something please go away" bet size. He has an ace. The hand that most fits his actions is ace-king, of course (preflop three bet, whiff/check on the flop), but I stick with my plan. I raise up his bet, committing him. Tony folds, PC goes all in, I call the tiny reraise, saying "ace-king is good". He shows ace-king and more than doubles up in a $45 pot.

Bad luck for me, or bad play? Some would argue that wading into a three bet pot with ace-queen is a recipe for trouble, and they wouldn't be wrong. I tried to take all the facets of this situation into consideration before planning my move, and felt like I was willing to pay off AK with 40 big blinds against this player. Whether that decision was right or wrong in light of all the information I had, I got caught with kicker problems and paid nearly half a stack for it.

PC came out a winner on the night. His double up through me gave him the ammo he needed to continue his bet-bet-bet lines and win lots of small pots. PC seems immune to bad preflop decisions, and he makes plenty of them. In another hand, he limped into a pot, then called a raise behind him, with king-seven suited. He hit his king and bet the flop and turn, where he got a fold. He showed the king-seven, proving he had hit the king. HA! Whoppde-doo - he hit the king with a seven kicker. Why can't his opponent have Ace-king there, or even king-queen? Or king-jack, king-ten, or king-nine?

Getting into a pot with a queen kicker, as I did with AQ, where only one kicker beats you, isn't nearly the mistake of getting into a pot where 5 kickers can lose you a big pot. But PC happily sails along, seeing flops with junk hands, and never paying for these mistakes.

Later, PC called one of my raises with Queen-eight off and hit the queen on the turn. He bet it and I folded my unimproved pocket fours, as I wished desperately I had ace-queen-of-spades on this hand instead of the hand before.

For me, a loss of twelve big blinds on the night. My ace-queen was the big pot loss, and having kings cracked (oh-for-three with KK the past two weeks) lost another $10, but a garbage two-pair and a flopped straight (both out of the blinds in limped pots), and two flopped sets won me decent enough pots to stay close to even.

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