Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Scared the CRAP out of me

Monday afternoon Cleveland Horseshoe session - the poker room is packed for the Monday tourney, I'm sitting at a better-skill-than-average 1-2 table. I still feel like there are enough soft spots to stick around, though, so I do.

My stack is down a bit today based on two biggish hands. The first is a preflop all-in vs. a player that started with $70. I had QQ and he had KK - totally standard. The second was my AA paying off a good player who floated my cbet and spiked a 2-out set of nines on the turn. I felt his $50 river bet could have been a busted draw, he was good enough to try it, so I made a bad river call. In the end, losing only 40 big blinds with aces to a set seemed like a small victory rather than a big loss.

Elsewhere in the session, I watched a certain opponent play his aces in a different way - he limped with them, and then woke up on the flop. He won one hand doing this, and lost another to some garbage connector type hand. I mentally shook my head watching this guy try and get tricky, only to trick himself out of his stack.

Later on, there were a few limpers to me on the button, and I raised to $15 with 44. A couple guys folded, but the AA limper called. I of course stared at the flop looking for my precious three-of-a-kind. For the first time in the session, I got it, with an Ace-King-Four flop. There were also two clubs. The AA limper lead for a small amount, and I raised to $30. He called instantly.

. Oh, no, I thought to myself. Did this chucklehead actually get dealt aces again?

The turn was a seven of diamonds, and the AA limper, undeterred by my show of strength on the flop, lead out for $50.

Oh, fer, fuck's sake, I thought to myself this time. Am I really going to consider folding bottom set? Am I that big a nit? I started to count combos in my head, but the adrenaline was making things cloudy. I knew that if he could limp AA, he could also limp KK, which still beat me, but also AK, which didn't. Or maybe he was just willing to go to the wall with Ace-Queen. I didn't know, but my overall feeling was something to the effect of "if he's willing to limp with pocket aces regularly, and then play them to the river no matter how bad the board gets, then he's bad enough to make other mistakes too". I called the $50.

Predictably, the river came and he shoved the rest of his stack in. To complicate matters a little, the river brought the third club card. Right or wrong, I had ruled out this player having a flush (maybe because I was terrified of aces or kings). I had that awful pit in my stomach of getting stacked by an aces-limper, but also my inner poker ego saying "man-up, Nancy! You're ahead more often than you're behind, and you're getting a price, you have to call here".

I said out loud "well, I've seen you limp aces before, but I'm not folding. I call", and flipped over my fours.

The aces limper blinked a few times, said "nice hand", stood up, and left the table.

Happy new Year, everyone. I've made some decisions related to my live poker game - I will share them in a future post shortly. For now, everyone stay safe tonight and we'll chat again in 'fourteen.