Monday, February 21, 2011

The Poker Diaries: Clear Air Turbusuck

So I'm playing in the steadily growing home tournament, in a field of 17, at a table that's mostly made up of people who I've played against for years now. In the first hour, I might have played three hands, but one of them was pocket deuces that improved to a full house against a nut flush, so I'm one of the larger stacks in the field. I haven't been at risk at all, but I have seen some rag folds hit like hell, which is never a good sign. A big blind special pays nicely against a call any pair opponent, as my trips stands up proud, and despite being irritated at myself for playing too tight and not taking advantage of my stack, I'm still poised for a deep run.

And in ten minutes, it all goes to hell.

First it's a classic cooler hand against a player that is a routine eat or be eaten opponent; that takes half of my stack and gives him big life, and I can feel my brain just hating everything, but mostly myself. Stepping outside of it, I know that I've still got chips, still got a tight image that should help with a bluff, and have played with most of these guys long enough that they shouldn't put me on tilt, even when I am... and suddenly my pre-flop crap cards are picking up. A-Q suited, under the gun, the first big ace of the night. A jacks or better 4X pre-flop raise gets called by three players, bringing the pot up to about 10% of my stack. It's not a massive pot, but it's a nice momentum raise to take it down, and the flop is rainbow rags, 10 high.

The texture of this table is that if I don't bet it, someone else will, and that's going to be hard to call with air. I'm also the kind of player who likes to end hands when I'm ahead; I bet the flop more than most. I'm also not interested in getting cute here, or thinking too hard about things; if I have what I'm representing, I'm not taking too long. I shove.

The good player at the end of the table stares me down, hating the move, but believing my story and, I suspect, hating his middle position. And then the big blind, a guy that calls any pair, asks for a count, and eventually ships it in. He turns over an offsuit 10-rag, and of course, it stands up on the turn and river.

It's in moments like this that my desire to be a good host keep me from, well, being the kind of player that I don't invite back to my game. The man hit top pair after all, and read my overbet as a continuation bet bluff, which is to say, exactly what it was. And yet, as the rest of the regulars at the table look at me as if I've just been deeply wronged, I get why. Because the big blind called a fairly indefensible hand, then made an indefensible bet against a presumably tight player. I'm pretty sure that none of my other regulars would have made that call against me with anything less than two pair or trips.

As I mark out my exit and do the dumb things I gotta do, the anger turns quickly to self-hate. It's not as if the guy I'm playing against will respect an overbet, or that I needed to make that move then and there. The same knowledge would have come my half with anoher 4X bet, rather than the 10X all-in. It's a four hour tournament, and I just made a second or third hour move in the first hour. Just dumb all over, as Frank Zappa once sang, and a little ugly on the side.

And making matters worse? I had the same guy, earlier in the tournament, pay off my trips with a 4X bet. If I'd have gone all-in there, maybe he pays off the big hand to the full extent, and I don't have to worry about him later. Because it's not enough to play your cards, or your position, or your board. Remembering who you are playing against in the first place? Kind of more important, really...


Anonymous said...

You also might have a tell, or tells. Ask some of your buddies, they'll know.

DMtShooter said...

Oh, if I do, I'm pretty sure they won't tell me. They are my friends, after all...

Ads In This Size Rule