Sunday, March 17, 2013

Big Pot Fear Training

Fairly tough $1/$2 home game last night - where at least 3 players were equal to or above my skill level.

I was holding my own and up a buy-in when I decided to open a marginal 96 suited from early position. My image was squeaky clean and I took this shot to open up my game. The button defended- one of the very good players who is not afraid to apply pressure.

The board came 456, giving me top pair with nothing to go along with it. I made my standard cbet and got called. His call could be a float with overs a medium pair like 99-TT. I felt like he would raise hands that gave him some kind of backdoor equity like 67 or even 88.

The turn paired the 5. My hand didn't matter much anymore - I was squarely affixed on trying to get him to fold his range. I bet $50, which he called after some thought. I knew it would take a third barrel.

The river was an innocuous looking jack, and I had made my decision already. Perhaps not a great decision to barrel three times into a good hand reader after a weak open, but there was an ulterior motive to my bet - overcoming fear - something I obviously need to work on. There was no real fear here - I had a feel for his range, and I felt like it couldn't take much pressure. I slide $75 out to the middle.

The good hand reader breathed out very fast and said "wow, that feels like a bluff to me". He had me. He worked through the hand out loud, street by street, and came to the correct decision. "I call", he said. "I have a six" I said as I flipped over my hand. "So do I, said he, and turned over king-six suited. "Nicely done", I said, and meant it.

My play lost me a big pot, but also put some of the good players on notice. My range isn't always the top of the hand chart. I also put the thought in my opponent's head that I can three barrel bluff, which should help me in value betting in the future. And look how thinly I could have value bet this hand - pocket sevens through tens all win a big pot, and so does a bluffed jack that spikes his pair on the end. Queens through aces get paid off big, also, not to mention hands that actually flop big.

So a big pot lost now - we'll call it an investment in the future.

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