One of the consequences of tight-aggressive play is that sometimes the tight part is just too tight.
I recently posted about folding KK pre-flop in a live cash game – for the first time ever. As it turned out then, the villain had AK suited, not the feared AA.
Last night it happened again. I was playing in a no limit Hold’em tournament at a local sports pub. The starting field of 22 players was whittled down to the final seven, and I look down at 22 in middle position.
I should fold. But… I’m playing poker and a flopped set would be really nice. My stack is above average. My table image is strong. I’ve knocked several players out of the tournament already and not been caught with my hand in the cookie jar.
So I do the worst possible thing – limp. Rhymes with wimp. Shrimp. Gimp. Imp. Nothing good here. In online games, I’ve virtually eliminated pre-flop limps and calls from my repertoire. If it’s not strong enough to raise or re-raise, I fold. The results of doing this, finally accepting and applying some wisdom I’ve known for a long time, have been quite good.
Back to last night. The cutoff and button both fold, the small blind calls and the big blind checks his option.
Flop (3 BB’s): Ah Kc 7h. Both blinds check.
Then I realize I’m the only player in the hand that didn’t start out in one of the blinds. They both look weak. I can represent an ace here and take this down. I bet 2 BB’s, and get ready to drag in some more chips.
But my plan is derailed when the small blind calls. Hmmm… sure looks like a flush draw.
Turn (7 BB’s): 4s. SB checks. I hate giving him a free card, but hate even worse spewing away chips at this point of the tournament. At the start of this hand I had about 20 or so BB’s in my stack. No time to get cute with just a pair of deuces. I check back.
River (7 BB’s): 2h. Voila! I make a set, but the 3rd heart also comes. Now the small blind thinks a few seconds and bets 4 BB’s. I don’t recall ever playing with this guy before and he hasn’t done anything unusual.
- Pre-flop: he limps
- Flop: he checks, then calls
- Turn: he checks, I check
- River: he leads out for just over half the pot
Looks like a flush. I know I’m beat. But then again… I’m a poker player. If I fold, I may never know for sure. This fact haunts me over and over. I examine my stack. If I call and lose, I still have enough chips to be able to throw some weight around, but can’t really afford another passive, spewy hand like this one. If I fold, I feel much more confident about the fold equity.
As they say, the chips you lose in a tournament have more value than the chips you win.
But I really wanna, wanna, wanna call. The whole point of getting into this hand in the first place was hoping for a set. I got it. How’m I going to fold?
I stare at him hoping for a tell, a glimmer of inspiration as to what to do. Ultimately I decide that if I’m wrong, I’d rather be wrong folding than be wrong calling. I announce that this is a really big laydown, and fold my set of deuces face up.
Before merging the pot with his stack, he shows AJ off-suit, smiles and says he thought I might have 2 pair and he hoped the 3rd heart would be scary enough that I’d let it go.
I lost 3 BB’s in this hand. With a call, I could have gained 8 BB’s, a huge swing late in this tournament.
And that’s how poker goes. When I thought I was ahead, I was actually behind. Then the river card came which helped me but helped the hand I imagined the villain to have even more. Now I thought I was behind, but I was actually ahead.
Year-to-date online results: (- $1798)
Month-to-date online results: + $107