KKing David

Ruminations on poker

Archive for the month “April, 2013”

Daily Debacle – Not Quitting

Last night I was playing $0.50 / 1.00 NL online and lost a full buy-in of $100 fairly quickly (ironically while watching a YouTube video of a poker class that was taught earlier this year at MIT – for credit!).  I did not win a single pot, got restless and loose, and a succession of interesting-but-not-great cards (JTs, KJo, 87o, JJ w A-high flop) sank my balance down to $37.

Then I got another such hand, Ts 9s in the Hijack seat with 5-way action to the flop.  The flop was Ks Js 9h, giving me bottom pair, flush draw, gutshot draw and gutshot straight flush draw.  A player in front of me bet 1/2 pot, I called and the big blind check-raised all-in.  Sure looks like a flopped straight.  At this point, the pot is $56 and I have $26 left behind, so I’m getting 2.15-to-1 odds to call.  According to PokerStove, my equity against a flopped straight (assuming he does not have the Qs) is 42.3%.  That means I need 2.36-to-1 or better to call.

I call anyway, he does indeed have QT, my outs don’t arrive and there goes the rest of my buy-in.

The story begins here, now down $100.  It’s 10:45 pm.

Things get better and and 30 minutes later I’m up to $198 and nearly fully recovered.  I also have another table going – that only started after the first buy-in was all gone – and now sitting at $106 there after buying in for $100.  So combined, I’m up four bucks.

Time for bed!  On the other hand, things are going better now.  I’d really like to sit tight and win just one more decent pot and book a real gain rather than essentially break even.  Not to be results oriented, but still…  Why not.

Five minutes later (on table 2), I get 9h 8h in the UTG position and raise to $3.  Three players call, and the flop comes Js 8c 9d.

Ba-da-bing!  Going to bed right after this hand.  One player folds and I bet $8.50 into $13.  Another player folds.  I can almost smell the toothpaste.

Then the cutoff raises to $17, a minimum raise.  What!?!?  Does his min-raise represent weakness or wariness with a hand like AJ?  Or super strength with JJ or QT, wanting to build the pot but not push me off of it?  Or a piece of the flop plus a draw, like JT?

My next instinct is to go all-in.  Then I remember a dinnertime conversation about self-management and how that affects some poker plays.  Too many times I’ve liked my cards, assessed the situation and my read is that I’m behind, then make the call anyway because I’m not sure / I’ve gotta know for sure.  This starts to feel like one of them.

I have bottom 2 pair.  That beats top pair, and beats any over pair (albeit highly unlikely as the other player would have 3-bet pre-flop), but that’s all.  I cannot beat any other 2-pair hand, any set or straight.  Even JT, which I am ahead of, has a 48.5% chance of beating me, so shoving would really only be a coin flip if called.  I’m getting 5-to-1 pot odds to call his raise, so I do call.

The turn is 6s, changing nothing.  I check and he bets $19 into $47, about 40% of the pot.  Wow!  He sure does not seem to mind getting called here.  If I call again and the river is a blank, will I call a river shove (he would then be betting $60 into $85 to put me all-in)?  Yikes!

Then there is that self management thing.  I’m tired and want to go to bed.  I’m just barely ahead for the session after going down a full buy-in.  I hate (repeat:  HATE) ending a session at a loss.  Arrrrrgh!

I fold.  For a change, self management prevails.

Then I continue playing until 1:35 am, eventually going down over $100, teetering on the edge of full-blown tilt, recovering to a session loss of $65 before relenting to get some sleep.  God I need some sleep.

Tommy Angelo produced an hour-long video on quitting and how important being able to quit – ahead, behind, any time your “A” game is no longer with you – is to achieving tiltlessness and reducing suffering in poker.  Need to watch that again.

Year-to-date online results:  (- $609)

Month-to-date online results + $596

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Daily Debacle – Simple Suckout

I didn’t play very much yesterday so this is the worst thing that happened.  $0.50 / 1.00 NL online.  I am the button, P8 and P3 both limped, so I made a pot-sized raise to $5.50, hoping just to steal the blinds.  P3 called, and I hit top pair on the flop.  I bet 1/2 pot and he called again.  Now the pot is $27 and he has $14 behind, so on the turn (hoping a 4th diamond is good for me; we later learn this to be false) I put him all-in as I’m not going to fold to any shove he might make on the river due to his short stack.  As it turns out, he has a slew of outs – any diamond (8 outs), any A, K or J (another 8 outs), and hits one of them for a Broadway straight.

At the time all the chips went in, I was 63.5% favored to win.  Can’t be too upset about this one.

Year-to-date online results:  (- $611)

Month-to-date online results: + $595

Suckout 04-26-13

 

Daily Debacle – Mini-Tilt

I played this sequence of hands at $0.50 / 1.00 NL last night.

The players to my immediate left and immediate right were engaged in a lot of chat in the chat box.  On my left was a complete fish, with VPIP=42 and PFR= 5 over 55 hands.  Yet somehow he was up more than 2 full buy-ins.  On my right was another weak player with VPIP=37 and PFR=13.  The chat was a bit annoying, about how the site might be rigged, the poor guy on my left never connecting with enough flops, general whining, but nothing too egregious nor directed at me.

So I am UTG and dealt Tc Td, and raise to $3.  Everybody folds to the BB (on my right) who calls.

Flop ($6.50):  Qd 9c 6d.  One overcard.  Villain checks and I decide to check back for pot control

Turn ($6.50): 5s.  Villain bets $3.  This looks like a pretty weak bet.  Perhaps he has a straight draw, diamond draw, top pair or middle pair.  87 just made a straight.  He could also have air and be stealing based on my failure to make a c-bet.  I think I’m ahead of his range, with only the top pair or better hands causing me trouble.  I call.

River ($12.50):  Ah.  He checks.  This is a great bluffing card for me.  I could have called with overcards (i.e., AK) or a hand like A9s or A6s.  To a fishy player, an ace on the river is a scare card if he doesn’t have one, regardless of whether he is thinking at all about my hand.  I bet $9.50, trying to make the same bet as I would with A9.

He quickly calls and shows QJ to win the pot.

Now the fish to my left enters some chat about my failed river bluff and they have a quick back-and-forth general guffaw over my play.  I’m steamed a bit about making the bluff and also that it didn’t work.

The very next hand, the same villain is now the SB and I’m the BB.  Everybody folds to the villain, who raises to $3.  Still steamed, I decide to show him who is the boss and 3-bet to $9 (I only have Jd 3s, but who cares?  He’ll fold and wimper back in line.)

He calls.

OK, now I just gotta outplay him.

Flop ($18):  Qc 5h 4d.  A pretty dry, rainbow flop.  I’ve represented strength; time to represent more of it.  He checks, and I make a c-bet a bet of $13.  He calls again.

Turn ($44):  4h.  Now the pot is rather bloated and I only have $53 behind, slightly more than 1x pot.  He checks again.

Do I want to risk the rest of my stack on this hand?  I have total garbage.  The villain is a loose-passive player who could call me down with anything that has even marginal showdown value based on my failed bluff on the immediately previous hand.  I’d never be playing this way had that not happened.  Aha!  I’m on MINI-TILT!

“Dude,” I tell myself.  “Calm down.  You can out play these ****ers (I’m including the fish on my left in my imaginary conversation just because he is chatty), but you must do it with better cards.”

I check back and we both check the river, another Q that puts 2 pair on the board.  He shows TT and takes this pot too.  Both players now chat some more, har-har look at that terrible bluff with J3, what a fish!  That’s how you play pocket tens.  And so on…

I deserved every bit of it.

Year-to-date online results:  (- $626)

Month-to-date online results:  + $580

Daily Debacle – Terrible Bluff

Playing $0.50 / 1.00 NL online.

This session isn’t going very well, with my $100 starting stack now down to $45.  A large chunk of that took place on a hand where I had KQ and the board ran J-5-9-K-Q.  Of course, the villain had a straight, and I called his turn and river bets.

Now I have A7 off suit in the hijack position.  The cutoff just joined the table and posted $1 blind, in addition to the SB and BB.  Everyone else folds to me, so I make a pot-sized raise to $4.50.  My hand really isn’t that strong, but there is $1 of extra dead money in the pot so perhaps I can take this down without a fight.  My primary objective here is to steal the blinds.  If there is any secondary objective, it is to secure position for all post flop action.

The button calls $4.50 and all others fold.  Shoot!  Neither objective has been accomplished, but perhaps I can make a nifty play and still win.  I look at the button’s pre-flop stats – VPIP=21, PFR=14 over 29 hands played.  Pretty solid, nothing fishy or super-tight.

Flop ($11.50):  2s 2h 3s…  all low cards.  This looks like a good spot for a continuation bet, representing a high pair.  I bet $10 into $11.50 and the button calls.

Shoot!

Turn ($31.50):  Qs… completing a flush draw.  I only have $30.35 remaining, less than the size of the pot.  If I shove, will he fold?

Let’s consider his calling range for the pre-flop action.  First I’ll assign him a very tight 3-betting range of AA-QQ, AK-AQs, AKo.  So his calling range, given that he has position after the flop, might be:

Pocket pairs JJ-22.  Higher pairs would have likely re-raised, although I’ve seen players with similar stats just call with QQ in position.

Suited AJ-A2, KQ-K7, QJ-Q8, JT-J9, T9-T8, 98, 87, 76, 65, 54

Unsuited AQ-A5, KQ-K9, QJ-QT, JT, T9

This is actually about 26% of all hands, higher than his VPIP suggests but again he has position.

After the flop, I’ll assume he would fold a lot of this and keep:

Pocket pairs JJ-22

Suited any two spades, 65, 54, A5

Unsuited A5, maybe AQ, not much else

Now that I look at this, his flop calling range is pretty strong, dominated by over pairs and flush draws.  Any huge hands (33, 22, A2s) he can afford to slow play as I’ve now mentioned several time, HE HAS POSITION.  At the time however, I thought I could steal the pot with another strong barrel.

So I shove all-in on the turn, betting my last $30 into a pot of $31.50.

He insta-calls, and turns over Jc Jh, near top of his range.  The Q and flush draw didn’t phase him a bit.

The river bricks and I head to the cyber cashier.  A terrible play on every street.

Year-to-date online results:  (- $776)

Month-to-date online results:  + $430

 

 

Daily Debacle – Low Flush

This hand occurred in a $0.50 / $1.00 no limit game online.

I have the button, and dealt 3d 2d.  Yes, I know these are really low cards, but there is one limper in front of me so I limp in to see a cheap flop, in position.  A guy I play with in some local live games says he always plays deuce-trey suited because you can win a really big pot with a well disguised hand when it hits.  I think about him as I click the ‘call’ button.  The small blind folds and the big blind checks, so I got what I wanted.  The original limper has been at the table for 18 hands, with stats of VPIP = 50, PFR = 22.

The flop is Kh 7d 5d.  A flush draw.  Woo-hoooo.  Both players check, so I bet $2 into a pot of $3.50.  BB folds and the limper calls.

What I should do now is estimate a range for this player.  Given his stats and pre-flop lime, it will be a pretty wide range but won’t include many premium hands that would have open-raised.  Let’s go with this:

Pairs:  99, 88, 77, 66, 55, 44

Suited:  Almost any 2 diamonds, including any Ad, any Kd, Qd Jd-8d, Jd Td-8d, Td 9d-8d, 9d 8d, 9d 6d, 8d 6d, 6d 4d

Unsuited:  KQ-K5 (including suited but not diamonds), 7T-75, and maybe some random 5’s like A5, 65, 54.

The turn card is 3s, giving me a low pair to go with my flush draw.  While a pair of 3’s is pretty weak, this  creates 5 more outs for me with the remaining 2’s and 3’s.

The original limper checks and I get $6 into a pot of $13.50.  In hindsight, this bet is too weak, about 44% of the pot.  If I’m trying to say “Dude, I’ve got this one” a larger bet is needed, somewhere around $10 or $11.  Now the villain check-raises to $15.

Huh?

Did the 3 help him?  Or was he setting up for this all along?  If the 3 helped, he could have 33 for a set (only one combination of 3’s is now possible) or 64 to make a straight (any 64 suited might have limped in) or K3 (I suppose a very loose player could limp with K3 suited, but much more of a long-shot.

Otherwise he might have flopped a set of 777 or 555 and been waiting to ambush me.  KKK less likely as he would have raised pre-flop.  Or flopped two pair with K7 or K5.

I have a hard time seeing this check-raise with a single pair of K’s or anything weaker.  His pre-flop limp rules out AK and probably KQ (both should have raised pre), and the check-raise represents too much strength.

Should I call or should I fold?  The pot is now $28.50 and it will cost $9 to call.  I’m getting 3.2 – to – 1 odds to call.  The odds of making my flush, assuming all 9 outs are live, are 3.9 – to – 1 against.  Not good enough. If he has a set, then two of my outs are likely counterfeited, leaving me with odds of 5.3 – to – 1 against.  On the other hand, if he has something weaker that I can bet by hitting another 3 or a 2 on the river card, I may have as many as 14 outs (9 diamonds, 3 deuces, 2 treys).  Then my odds are 2.1 – to – 1 and I should call.

One last consideration.  I have position and get to act last.  This helps me to have a better chance of getting more of his chips into the pot.  I can assume I have some implied odds here so I decide to call.

The river is Ad.  Ba-da-bing!  My flush comes home to pappa.

He leads with a bet of $20 into a pot that is now $37.50.

Do I need to consider the possibility that he has a stronger flush?  Methinks not.  If he’s also chasing a flush, his check-raise on the turn makes no sense.  That was clearly a value bet, the board isn’t paired, and it’s time for me to take him to Value-Town.

How much to raise?  I consider a minimum raise, to $40.  No, too conservative and too transparent.  That just screams “I HAVE A FLUSH.”  Shove all-in?  No, too aggressive.  I want to win a bigger pot and justify the implied odds on which my turn call was based, not blow him off the pot now that my draw has arrived.  I decide to raise to $50, leaving me with $34 behind.

In hindsight, this was not a good size for my raise.  I’m pot-committed.  The pot is $107.50 and will grow to $137.50 if he calls.  If he re-raises all-in, the pot will be $171.50 and cost me $34 to call, giving me odds of slightly more than 5 – to – 1 to call.  There’s no way I’m going to fold me flush with those odds.  Instead I should simply call here – if I think he might also have a flush – or go ahead and shove, hoping he will interpret that as a bluff.

He rather quickly re-raises all-in, and I think the pot odds make my call mandatory.

He shows Kd Jd for the nut flush.  Jeez.  It turns out he had flopped top pair, decent kicker and 2nd to nut flush draw, and the river card being the Ad made his hand the absolute nuts.  He wins a $207.50 pot.

Year-to-date online results:  (- $814)

Month-to-date online results:  +$391

Anna Kournikova (again)

Last weekend I went with a friend to the Harrah’s casino at Cherokee, NC for the World Series of Poker Circuit event.  We both played in a 2-day ring tournament with $365 buy-in.

On the drive – a little over 5 hours – we talked about… (drum roll please) poker!

I mentioned that I won’t play a hand with AQ anymore, suited or unsuited.  Too many bad things have happened when I’ve gotten involved with AQ, such that I feel a certain kind of Anna Kournikova curse  whenever I see these hole cards.  As in:  looks good, never wins anything.

Click here to read my prior post about the Russian tennis playing beauty.

Anyway, I’ve decided not to play AQ anymore.  Not in tournaments.  Not in cash games.  Not under the gun.  Not in the cutoff or on the button.  Not in an opened pot.  Not as a caller, nor as a raiser.  I will not play AQ.  I was explaining this and my friend was rather flaggergasted, as this is one of the stronger starting hands.

For me, the issue is not hand strength.  The issue is tiltlessness, as that word is used by Tommy Angelo and others to describe the state of mind of a poker player playing optimally.  Your “A” game comes out when you are tiltless.  Conversely, when you go on tilt, you are (much) more likely to make mistakes.

Last summer in the middle stages of a tournament in WV, I had AQ in the big blind.  Several players limped in and my stack was about 18-20 big blinds.  I decided to shove and steal the blinds and antes.  The under-the-gun player instantly over-shoved.  Whoops!  Sure enough, he had AA and sent me packing.

On my first trip to Cherokee, I limped with AQ in late position, no one raise and the flop was Q-8-6.  Value town!  I bet the flop and the big blind player check-raised all-in on the turn.  My bet sizing was not proper in those days and I had left myself very little behind, such that his shove gave me over 8-to-1 to call.  I did and he turned over 8-6 for two pair, then binked another 8 on the river just for good measure.

About a year-and-a-half ago in Las Vegas, I raised in late position with AQ.  No more limping… I’ve learned my lesson about letting the blinds get a free look at the flop.  One caller and the flop is Q-J-6.  It’s already late and I’ll be quite happy to take down this pot, fold a couple of hands after that and head off to bed.  I make a standard continuation size bet and the young guy at the end of the table makes a huge check-raise, grabbing a stack of chips without counting them and placing them emphatically and menacingly on the table.  I’m no dummy, though, and after quickly dismissing the possibility he has QJ, see right through his “let’s intimidate the c-betting tourist” act.  So I ship it all in.  He insta-calls.  Whoops!  He turns over J-6 suited.  Really?  You called out-of-position with that shit?  He binks another J on the river for good measure.  I TILT, stay at the table until about 3:00 a.m. and blow through another buy-in before sulking off to bed.

Then there was the low straight draw that made a back-door flush in an online game when I had AQ, hit a Q-high flop and bet the flop and turn for value.

Actually I decided to quit playing AQ a couple years ago on a trip to Atlantic City.  At the Borgata, I folded AQ in early position when I had a short stack and was sitting at a very aggressive table (another mistake, but I digress).  Anyway, the hand limps all the way around.  Dang, I could have seen this flop cheaply.  The flop comes out Q-Q-Q.  Seriously.  Knowing that no one has quads, I watch several players stick chips in the middle to take a stab at this pot.  After this hand, I reneged on my commitment to fold AQ always and forever more.

Until recently, that is.  So we’re driving to Cherokee and I spend about an hour reliving these nightmares and explaining the importance of tiltlessness.  The opportunity cost of missing out on a winning had by folding AQ is less important to me than remaining tiltless, of not having to come home with another AQ bad beat story.  Another friend – who reads this blog and feels the same way about Anna Kournikova as I do – went to Atlantic City for a WSOP Circuit last spring and was doing pretty well in a tournament until he got AQ and the flop was A-Q-9.  This looked almost disaster-proof until the villain turned over pocket nines.

There is one exception that I agreed to allow myself.  Inevitably, I’ll reached a point in every tournament where the blinds have increased and my stack is getting shallow (less than enough chips to fold for 5 orbits of the button around the table, considering the blinds and antes).  Now the only plays are to shove all-in or fold.  I cannot be toooooooooo picky here, and agree that I should shove with AQ.  If I lose, I’ll probably be out of the tournament (unless the villain has an even shorter stack), so any tilting effect won’t matter.  If I win, I’ll either take the blinds and antes – at nice enough pickup in these situations – or double up, and definitely won’t tilt.

There were 411 players in the Cherokee WSOP Circuit tournament.  The very first hand of the tournament I look down at AQ, smile and fold.  I made it to the first break in good shape, with about 30% more chips than the starting stack.  The next couple of hours were pretty tough, with multiple dealer errors and trouble winning any decent pots.  Right before the next break I knocked out a very short stack, winning a JJ v. AK showdown, but still about 10% fewer chips than 2 hours earlier.

Shortly after we resumed play, the blinds went to 500 / 1,000, with antes of 75.  The total investment in one orbit of the button around the table is about 2,200.  I count my stack, and have 8,300 left.  I’ve got enough to fold my way through less than 4 full orbits.  It’s “shove or fold” time.  Peeking at my cards, I see the queen of clubs, then slide that over to reveal the ace of clubs.  This is no time to be timid.  After the first two players to act both fold,  I slide all my chips towards the center.

The next player folds, then an even shorter stack with just 6,000 remaining also announces all-in.  At least I can survive.  After one more fold, a bigger stack seems to be mulling it over carefully.  Finally he says “I guess sometimes you gotta gamble” and also goes all-in.  Everyone else folds.  I do not like this, not one little bit.  I’m expecting to see one of them have AK and the other have a pocket pair.

Show time!  I show my Ac Qc.  The short stack laughs and shows Ah Qh.  All that excitement and we have the same hands.  The bigger stack now frowns and tables Ad Jd.

Wow!  I cannot believe I’m tied with one of them and we both have the other guy dominated.

Until a J shows up quickly on the flop.  A few seconds later, I’m headed for the exit, teased again by Anna Kournikova.

Later that night in a cash game, I get Ac Qc again in the cutoff and decide to limp in.  On a flop of A-7-9 it checks all around.  Maybe I’ll win a small pot and break this curse.  I bet at it on the turn (a 6, not completing any flush draws) and get one caller.  The river is another 7, and the caller leads out with a bet of slightly more than the pot.  Aack!

Fortunately, I decide that tiltlessness should be the dominant factor in deciding what to do here.  I might think he’s bluffing when the board pairs here, but it doesn’t matter.  NO MORE ANNA KOURNIKOVA STORIES.  I fold.

Year-to-date online results:  (- $709)

Month-to-date online results:  + $497

 

 

TPTK no good

Playing online at $0.50 – 1.00 no limit hold’em.

I’ve been trying to play a little bit looser, a little bit more aggressively lately.  At this table, I won a nice pot by stacking off a short stack with A-5 on the button.  Another player called me a “donkey” in the chat box after that hand.  So my table image is questionable at this point, but I’m up a few dollars.

Since then, I’ve been out of the hand at least three times that I would have had a monster and watched fairly large pots build in each case.  Once I had A5 again, would have flopped 2 pair and another ace on the turn.  Another I had J8 on the button and would have made a nut straight on the turn.  Another I had 86 and would have made a full house.  I’ve been trying to play more of these types of hands (in position!) just to capitalize on such opportunities, so the last half-hour has been maddening.

Perhaps I over-reacted to the donkey comment by tightening up too much.

Now comes this hand.  I have AJ suited in the cutoff seat.  A middle position fish (VPIP 52, PFR 39 over a small sample of 23 hands) opens for $3.50 and the next player calls.  I make a squeeze bet (a large re-raise after an initial raise and one call) to $15.50.

The button calls, rather quickly.  Better make a note of that.  His squeeze calling range should be pretty narrow, and includes setting a trap with AA or KK.  He could also have me dominated with AK or AQ, or have some stronger suited connectors like KQ or QJ, and pocket pairs 88-QQ.  He starts this hand with $91 vs. my stack of $108.

The original raiser calls too, and the original caller now folds.

Flop ($51.50)  9-8-J rainbow.

The fish checks to me.  Well now, I’ve got top pair, top kicker (TPTK) and surely must bet.  The only problem is that it’s hard to imagine many weaker hands calling (KJ or QJ suited?) nor any stronger hands folding.  On the other hand, I need to know where I stand, don’t I?  If I check and yield the initiative to the button and he bets, then what?

I bet $30, about 60% of the pot.  That should clarify things.

The button player goes all-in for his last $76.50, and the fish also ships in his short stack of just $12 more.

Now doesn’t that just suck?  AA, KK or set.  I’ve represented a big pair here and he’s totally unphased.

On the other hand, this is a drawy board for any hand containing a ten.  Is that a possibility?  (Note to self:  Nope!)

Concluding that I’m way behind here, I call anyway.

The fish shows 74 suited, for the idiot-end of a gutshot straight draw.  Button shows KK, one of the very few hands that could justify calling (and not 4-betting) my pre-flop squeeze.

Year-to-date online results:  – $832    😦

Month-to-date online results:  + $373    🙂

 

Self Management… Not!

This hand came a couple weeks ago playing $2-4 NL online.

I was the big blind.  A middle position player open-raised to $8, and there was one caller.  Only $4 to call and I have 9-8 suited.  I have posted previously about the ills of playing speculative hands out-of-position.  These middle suited connectors certainly qualify as a speculative hand.

By “speculative” I mean a hand that is much more likely to turn into a drawing hand (flush or straight draw) on the flop than it is to turn into a made hand with showdown value.  Often times, it will still be a drawing after the turn card.  Playing these out of position is a $$ killer.  It’s hard to be aggressive with semi-bluffs when you have to go first and have no sense of whether the opponents are showing any signs of weakness.  If their hands are strong, they will pound away with raises.  On the other hand, if you just check and call with draws, the more aggressive late position players will smell weakness and pound away with anything or nothing, leveraging their positional advantage.

So I called.

The flop was 9-9-5, with two diamonds.

Woo-hooooo!  A flop with showdown value.

There was $26 in the pot, so I led with a bet of $16, and one player called.

What could he have?  Maybe a diamond flush draw.  Maybe he also has a 9.  In that case, I’m in big trouble with my very mediocre kicker.  Maybe pocket fives and a flopped full house.  Or possibly some other pocket pair higher than 5’s and thinks I’m bluffing.  Or possibly two overcards.

The turn card was an off-suit 4, changing nothing.  I decide to be more aggressive and bet $60, approximately the size of the pot.  He calls again.

Now I’m sure this is a sign of trouble.  My bet is pretty aggressive.  He could think I’m bluffing, but I’ve been pretty darn tight and straightforward this session.  Much more likely he has the last 9, and a small chance of a flush draw.  Most flush draws would fold here… the board is already paired and my bet is too large to chase a draw based on the pot odds.

I don’t recall the exact river card, but it did not pair up my 8 and did not change the texture of the board significantly.  Now there is over $180 in the pot and I have $237 remaining.  I’m first to act and feeling some despair after my initial euphoria about the flop.

Aha!  This must be one of those “bet / fold” situations, where you can make a value bet on the river knowing that if the opponent raises he can only do so with a superior hand and you can confidently fold.  But how much?

Now my brain stops working.  Damn!  I’ve got to work on that.  Meanwhile the clock is ticking and I decide to bet 1/2 of my remaining stack, or $120 into about $185.  If he raises, that will answer the riddle of this hand.

Well, by golly he raises, and a mere minimum raise puts my all-in.  Now the pot is $540 and I have about $120 remaining.  I’m getting pot odds of approx. 4.5-to-1.  If he’s bluffing or betting a weaker hand a mere 18-20% of the time in this situation, it’s profitable for me to call.

Brain…   stops…   working…   again…

I call of my last chips, and he shows K-9.

My assessment was spot on, but I somehow couldn’t make myself stop dumping all my chips into the pot.

The quick emotional high of hitting the flop hard here caused an expensive mini-tilt in the middle of this hand.

Year-to-date online results:  $  -1,041

Month-to-date online results:  $ +164

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