Last weekend I had time to play a lot of hours one day and things went particularly badly all day. Murphy’s Law rained upon me. Rather than pick one or two terrible plays, I’ve compiled a Top 10 list (with apologies to David Letterman).
All of this came playing $1-2 no limit Hold’em, online. In scrolling through hand histories to pick out these hands and recall the details, I notice how many other hands might also qualify. Hand after hand of getting involved in pots with mediocre cards, playing out of position, calling bets where surely I am beat and making bluffs that get called, spewing away chips upon chips upon more chips. Ugh!
#10 – I have AA in middle position. (These hands are not presented in sequence. Suffice it to say that I’ve already been running badly and bleeding lots of chips.) I’ve just raised pre-flop on two immediately prior hands, so my table image at the moment should be very loose. Surely I’ll get some action and make back some of my losses. I raise to $7. Everyone folds, including both blinds. I win $3. OMG.
#9 – I have TT in the UTG+2 position. I raise to $7, my standard amount in an unopened, unlimped pot. The cutoff calls and the big blind also calls for $5 more. The pot is now $22. The flop is 6d Ks Js. BB folds and I make a continuation bet of $10. This is a little on the low side for a c-bet as I usually try to bet a little over 1/2 pot. Cutoff calls and BB folds. The turn is Qh, giving me an open-ended straight draw. I decide to slow down a bit and check. Cutoff now bets $10, which is clearly a very weak bet, now less than 25% of the pot. This looks very defensive. I call and now the pot is $62. The river is Jc. Oh, I have a great idea. I’ll represent that I have a J and just made 3-of-a-kind. I lead out with a bet of $41, about 2/3 of the pot. He’ll know that he is beaten. He takes about 2 seconds to call and shows AA, winning a $144 pot. OMG.
#8 – I am UTG and dealt Ah Jh. This should be an easy raise to $7, but I try to convince myself to be more cautious. If re-raised I’ll have to fold, calling to mind David Sklansky’s gap concept. (If someone in early position raises, you should not call or re-raise unless your hand is better than the minimum you would have needed to make the original raise from that position.) While I like that fact that these cards are strong and are suited, I can easily be dominated by AK or AQ. If an A comes on the flop and a player with position on me raises, how will I know where I stand? How will I control the pot size? So I limp instead. Everyone folds to the SB, who completes and the BB checks. The flop is 7h 4h 4s. I have an A high flush draw. SB checks and BB bets $6, a pot-sized bet. I call and SB also calls. Now the pot is $24. The turn is Th, completing my flush. Time to go to value-town, baby! Both blinds check and I bet $18. SB now check-raises me to $40 and BB folds. WTF? I guess the idiot has either a weaker flush or a 4. He has the shorter stack, having started the hand with $75 whereas I started with $176. After his check-raise, he only has $27 more behind. I’m not backing down. Within a few seconds both of our stacks are in the middle, and he shows 7c 4c, for a flopped full house Small Blind Special, and takes down a $159 pot. A simple pre-flop raise probably wins me $3 instead. OMG.
#7 – About two orbits prior to this hand, I have AQ offsuit, my least favorite hand in the entire world to play. When I get the “Big Chick” nothing ever seems to go right. My other nickname for this hand is “Anna Kournikova” because it looks really good but never wins anything. Anyway I caught a straight on the river of a board showing J-T-6-9-8 and bet $50 into two other players. One of them shipped all of his chips in and I folded. The other guy called but the first raiser showed KQ, for the nuts, with his K-high straight just better than my Q-high straight (which the 3rd player in the hand also had). I lost $71 on that hand and went on tilt with my stack reduced to $117. About 18 tiltish hands later, I now have $80 in the BB and get dealt AA. Time to make up some ground here. UTG+1 limps in, a player in middle position raises to $6 and the cutoff and SB both call. I re-raise to $21. The bet sizing here is rather tricky as I’d really like to isolate one other player. Winning now would be a net gain of $20. While not terrible, I’d like to get it all in here and double up. The original limper UTG+1 calls, middle position calls, cutoff calls and now the SB who has a very short stack shoves in a total of $25.65. Since his 4-bet raise is only $4.65 more and this is less than my raise of $15 (from $6 to $21), it caps the betting and I’m not allowed to raise again. Everybody calls and we go to the flop 5-handed with a pot of $128 and three other live players. With $65 behind – barely 1/2 of the pot – I pretty much decide that I’m going all-in on the flop regardless of what it looks like or what the other players do. I don’t have a deep enough stack to evaluate and think about folding if things get hairy. The flop is 8d Jh 7d. Talk about hairy! Flush and straight draws galore that can hit many of the hands in the other players’ ranges. I shove, UTG+1 also shoves (he had a couple of dollars less than me), middle position folds and the cutoff calls. Uh-oh. UTG+1 shows JJ for a flopped set of Jacks. The cutoff shows Jd 9d for top pair, a flush draw and a gutshot straight draw. Yes, he called $25 pre-flop with J9 suited. The SB, who was all-in pre-flop for his last $25.65 shows 6h 4h. WTF? No wonder he had such a short stack. Please, oh please buy-in again and stay to my immediate right at this table. The turn is Tc, filling the cutoff’s straight, and the river is a harmless 5s. Mr. J9 suited wins a $292 pot, while I head to the cyber cashier, thinking about my pre-flop raise sizing. Could I have raised enough to make both JJ and J9 go away? In a span of 20 hands, I’ve lost $188 at this table. OMG.
#6 – A very few minutes later, on a different table (most of the day I have two tables going at the same time), I get KK in the UTG+2 position. UTG raises to $6 and I re-raise to $16. The SB calls and the original raiser also calls, so the pot is now $50. The flop is 9c Js Qc, an extremely drawy board with both straight and flushes to worry about. UTG checks and I take a deep breath and bet $50. Let’s end this right here. SB calls, which puts him all-in and UTG check-raises to $175, putting me all-in as I started the hand with only $140 (see #4 below, which actually preceded this hand by a couple of orbits and made a dent in my stack. I must be beat and for once today I decide to fold. The check-raiser has Qs Tc, for top pair and an open-ended straight draw, but my KK would have been superior at the moment, and a 77% favorite to win the hand. My kings block some of check-raisers outs for a straight draw and a ten that would give him 2-pair also gives my a K-high straight. So let’s just get this straight – he opened the betting from Under-The-Gun with QT offsuit, then called my 3-bet, then check-raised the flop with top pair, mediocre kicker and a straight draw. Yeah, that’s right. SB shows Qh 8h, for top pair with an even weaker kicker and a gutshot straight draw. But his gutshot is no good, as the ten that would fill it would also give me a higher straight to my K. His only way to win this pot (if I had called) would be runner-runner 88. So he called $16 from the SB with Q8 suited and the original opener still to act in response to my re-raise. Then called $50 more on the flop, putting his whole stack at risk. Yeah, that’s also right. These are the kind of players I love to play against in online poker. God bless them both! The turn is 2d and river is 8d, giving the SB 2 pair now, but also completing the bottom end of UTG’s straight. So I would have lost anyway. As it was, I lost $66 on this hand and UTG’s awful pre-flop play is rewarded by winning a $203 pot. OMG.
#5 – In the SB I get 6d 5c. Everyone folds to the button, who limps in. I complete and then the BB raises to $8. This is an obvious fold, with low, unsuited cards out-of-position. Even if I connect in a big way, it will be hard to win a decent sized pot. I call and the button also calls. Now the pot is $25. The flop comes 5s 8d Th, giving me bottom pair with a shitty kicker. No need for any further damage. I check and the BB bets $12, just under 1/2 pot. The button folds. I don’t like getting pushed around by a frisky Big Blind and his continuation bet should be seen for what it is… just barreling away at a limped pot. So I call and decide to reevaluate on the turn, which is Kc. We both check. I thought so! He has air and I can take this pot away on the river. The river is Td, putting two tens on the board. Since I called his flop bet, it should be easy to represent a Ten in my hand. I lead out with a bet of $38 into a pot of $49. That should do it. But no!!! Instead, BB goes all-in for an additional $141 on top. I fold, having just lost $58 playing weak cards out-of-position. It seems like every steal attempt today has gone just like this one. OMG.
#4 – UTG+2 and I am dealt Kc Qd. The player in front of me (UTG+1) makes a minimum raise to $4 and I call. The SB also calls but the BB folds, so there is $14 in the pot. The flop is Ks Ts 9s, giving me top pair, second best kicker on a monochrome board. The UTG+1 players leads out with a bet of $8, which looks to me like a random continuation bet on a scary board or possible a flush draw if he has As. I call and SB folds. The turn card is 2d and now he bets $22 into a pot of $30. I have a stronger feeling now that he is on a flush draw, so I make a minimum raise to $44. In retrospect, this is too small of a raise, as I’m giving him just over 4.25-to-1 odds to call, which he does. The river is Qh, now giving me top 2 pair, but also making a one-liner to a straight in addition to the flush draw. He checks and I ponder making another bet. I cannot imagine getting called with worse than my 2 pair, but he could have a made flush and expecting me to bet again so he can check-raise. So I check behind. He shows Kd Jc, for a straight and wins the pot. I lost $56 here and it could have been worse. Prior to the river card, he had exactly 3 outs in the entire deck. We both had top pair and I had him out-kicked. There are no cards in the deck that would counterfeit my kicker advantage and he had no other draws. My min-raise on the turn was a big mistake, as a larger raise (may have gotten him to concede. But despite that, hitting a 3-outer is a bad break for me. OMG.
#3 – I have 99 in the cutoff seat and call a pre-flop raise to $9 and call again a 3-bet to $16. 99 has good set mining potential and I’ll get away from the hand otherwise. The flop is 8h 6h 5x flop and 3-better bets $34. I consider shoving it in and hoping 1) neither is holding a bigger over-pair, although I’d be shocked if neither has it, or 2) I can hit another 9 or a 7 for a straight on either the turn or river card. But that’s only 6 outs. I just cannot do it, and fold. The other two proceeded to get it all in on the flop and one showed JJ and the other showed AA. The turn was a 4 and the river was a 7, resulting in a straight on the board and they chopped a pot of $336. My 99 would have taken the entire pot with a river suckout. I had seriously thought about shoving it in on the flop but decided that would be irresponsible and the session was already going so badly that I should slow down and recognize the futility of doing so. Right play, but… OMG.
#2 – I am the BB with AT offsuit. The button raises to $6 and the SB calls. My cards are really not that strong to be playing out of position, but I call anyway. The SB led out with $10 on a flop of A-K-K and again for $10 more on a turn of some very small card. I called both and so did the button. On the turn I thought about a raise but decided against for pot control. A raise there might only chase away weaker hands but any stronger than mine would surely stick around. A river Q appears and SB and I both check. I’d be very happy just to get to a showdown. The button now makes a pot sized bet – I think it was about $55 – and SB folds. I cannot imagine what he could have that I can beat and decide to fold. But Harrington on Hold’em says not to act too fast. There is no reason not to take the time that is available and think through the possibilities. So I ponder a bit. Maybe he’s making a desperate stab at the pot with a bluff, sensing weakness in SB’s weak bets and my meek checks on every street so far. His river bet is really too large for a value bet and seems to be begging us to go away. If he is bluffing in this situation at least 1/2 of the time, it is a profitable call, mathematically speaking. The more I thinkg about it (thanks Dan!) the more convinced I become that he is on a bluff. So I call. He shows QQ. He only had 2 outs at the river and hit one of them. Had I raised the flop or turn it probably would have chased him away; after all, who can keep calling with QQ on an A-K-K board??? There goes another $81. OMG.
#1 – In the BB I have 3h 2h, the lowest possible suited connectors. Everyone folds to the hijack who calls. SB raises to $4 and I call along with the hijack. The flop is 4c 4s 5h. There is a pair on the board and I have an open-ended straight draw. There is $12 in the pot. SB bets $4 and I call. His bet is very modest and I can reevaluate on the turn. Hijack folds. Not the pot is $20. The turn card is Jc, changing nothing. SB leads out with $6. He appears to be just probing to see if I have anything. I know the odds of hitting my straight are now down to about 4.5-to-1, so my EV surely goes up if I raise and try to represent that I either have a 4 or a J. I raise to $26. After tanking for over 20 seconds, SB 3-bets to $46. Convincing myself that I have good implied odds, I decide to call. The river is Qs. Dang! Missed the straight. Now SB checks. WTF? Perhaps his 3-bet on the turn was some sort of weird bluff or semi-bluff, like 7-6 or two clubs. I dunno, but I do know that I am tired of being kicked around today and losing pot after pot. Since I cannot beat the board with my 3-2, the only way to win the pot – now $112 – is to bet. SB has $101 remaining behind and I have about $198. So I make a pot-sized bet of $112 to put him all-in. Surely he will give it up. Nope. It takes him 7 seconds to call and he shows Qd 8d. WTF? His 3-bet on the turn was total air, and now he wins a $317 pot. Over the next several orbits I come to realize just how bad this player is, as he spews away all of his and my chips in a series of loose, bad, fishy plays. Every time he shows down his cards, it makes no sense why he is in the hand. I wanted him to read me as having 3-of-a-kind with a Big Blind special on this hand and he was too stupid to see it. Or I was too stupid to think he might see it, plus now I am just raging that he called (much less 3-bet) on the turn when I raised him from $6 to $26. Did I really just lose $155 with a deuce and a trey??? OMG.
All in all, a horrible day! I had some bad beats, made many, many terrible plays, missed out on some opportunities, and gave away a lot of money – much to some terrible players who quickly gave it away again.
Year-to-date online results: +$8,413
Month-to-date online results: + $1,328