Sunday, May 1, 2011

One out of fifteen

I'm at my local casino for the bi-monthly poker trip to play $1/$2 no limit. It's a relatively tight table; I've played just a few hands in a half hour, gotten nothing more than a pair of 4s, and feel good that no flops have hit my mucks. My first hand, I folded middle pair, which helped a lot, since I would have wound up with two pair against a better two pair. It's not the most intimidating table I've ever played at; I'm not feeling out of my league or element.

I start a hand with 85 percent of my starting stack and get a pair of 6s on the button, with two limpers in front. I think about popping it, but it's early; no reason to get crazy at a table where $10 raises have ended multi-player pots. The small blind throws it away and the big blind pops it to $7. Both limpers stay in, and as the last to act, I do the same. I'm not willing to try to buy the hand with this low of a pair. I'd rather trap with a low pair, and live with the fact that most of the time, I'm throwing away the pair when it doesn't improve. For another $5 in late position, it's a reasonable call.

The flop gives me low trips with two diamonds and an Ace; about as good of a hand as I could hope for, really. The blind bets $20, and both of the other players call. I am putting the big blind on air that he tried to buy, the under the gun player on Ace-Rag, and the final caller on a flush draw. Given that the flop was seen for $7, I can't put anyone at the table on pocket aces or pocket 8s, aka the only two hands out there. So here's where I think I am.

There is $80 out there, and I've got about twice of that in front of me. At this point, I just want the hand to end before the flush hits, and the table has been tight enough that I think a big enough bet will take it down. Besides, I have to be ahead right now, especially if my read is correct. Given that I haven't made any aggressive plays in the 40 minutes that I've been here, and I'm not putting anyone on a better set than mine. I shove for the rest of my stack, $156.

The big blind folds in a blink. The old guy in the middle thinks it over for a while, then calls while looking disgusted. It turns out that his stack is exactly the same size as mine. The final player, a woman who also looks ill, folds.

I show my trips. The old guy has Ace-7, top pair, not even the runner-runner flush draw, and has clearly made a terrible read of my hand. The woman nods. I've read this perfectly, and bet out the flush draw. Here's what the table and odds look like right now; I am, basically, a 14 to 1 favorite. It is about as good of a situation as I could have hoped for.

And here's what the odds look like after both of our hands improve on the turn with an Ace. He now has trips to my full house. As this is a cash game at a casino, and not a televised tournament, I barely have time to realize how much my odds have gone down. But they have; he has the case Ace, the three sevens, and the three eights. So by the math, I am now 6 to 1.

And here, as if you haven't already guessed, is the river, because there's just no way that I'm writing this account any other way, right?

I wonder, as the hours pass by and I try to figure out some way where this hand doesn't end with all of my money going away, how I could have played this any differently. Maybe I just call the old guy to the river, and maybe limit the damage once the river counterfeits me? But then if a third diamond hits the board, I'm folding to a probable flush, just the thing that my all-in took away. After all, a fourth of the time, the flush draw wins this hand.

Maybe the all-in looked too much like a bluff, and he doesn't call a pot-sized raise? Probably not, since he's raising with just the top pair, and if he think top pair is good on the flop, he's got to be loving trips on the turn.

So I'm left with the cold comfort that, well, if I played this hand the exact same way for the exact same odds 15 times, I'd be up $2600.

But well, not right now. And that's poker. Horrible, horrible poker...

2 comments:

woodshood said...

That looks like a hand you would lose to RE with! You know he'd call your all in with that.

DMtShooter said...

And win with it, at least right now...

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