Sunday, February 26, 2012

Why you should never show

Monthly neighborhood tournament - 48 players paying $50 each for some Friday night no-limit fun. We're down to the final 9. There's still some limping at the table, and we get a limped pot with me in the big blind. I've got a little 89, suited in hearts. I take my free flop.

It's a strong one for me - a black three, and then 6 and seven of hearts. Draw-heaven. I've got about 11 big blinds, and my best play sounds like a checkraise - especially if I can get someone to lead and then a caller. I'm willing to stick all my money in with 15 outs with no qualms here.

I check, as does everyone else in the hand. Plan thwarted!

The turn brings the king of diamonds. Much more likely to hit these wishy-washy limpers, but my odds are also chopped in half now. A king-ten might not be smart enough to fold. I check again. This time, one player does lead out and the table folds around to me. What to do? I take an extra second and think about my opponent - a fairly decent player, one who would be raising with ace-king or king-queen (not a great player, though, he did limp into this hand during a final table). Maybe he hit his king but doesn't like his kicker. Maybe he's got pocket fours and he's just betting because of all the checks.

Of course, in this limped pot, I can have anything at all, so I don't have to worry too much about what I'm representing. I can have any two cards. I decide to carry through with my plan and check-raise all in. My opponent folds instantly, and I win a nice little pot to boost my stack up.

I decide to show my hand. I have a reason for this - I want people to see I can push with a draw. Hopefully, when I push in the future with a real hand, I'll get a lighter call.

A solid, observant player sees what was going on right away. "You were going to check raise that flop, huh?" He asks me. I confirm. "I sure was, but I got no customers".

Fast forward to two orbits later. The blinds have gone up and I haven't had a hand yet. I'm down to 7 big blinds. Once again, I get a few limpers into my big. I will shove with a wide range here to pick up dead money, but my hand is not the correct type for shoving - 56 suited (this time clubs). Taking a flop is better.

Once again, I get a decent flop for my hand - 345 rainbow. Top pair with an open-ended straight draw. Easily enough to go broke with at this desperate stage. This time around, though, I don't have enough for a checkraise - it would get auto-called due to pot odds, so I just open-shove my 7 blinds into the middle.

Mr. solid, observant asks for a count, and then calls. He asks "you don't have two pair, do you?" as he stands up.

"No sir, pair and a draw", I answer, revealing my hand.

"Yup, that's about where I had you", he flips over his pocket sevens.

I don't improve, and exit the tourney in eighth place, two out of the money.

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