To understand my angst in making this post, please check out my immediate prior post here.
Last night I’m playing in a live cash game, with my regular Friday night crowd. We play $0.25 – 0.50 blinds, no limit Hold’em, with $50 buy-in. Note this is not the same crowd that was involved in the prior post.
We’ve been playing for awhile now. I was up to about $65, then card-dead for a prolonged period during which my stack slid down to $50 again. Then lost half of that in one hand when my JJ ran into Tony’s QQ. Tony has the biggest stack now, courtesy of several good wins, including one very large pot when he held KK, ran into AA and spike a third K on the river.
Now I’m at $19.50, and considering whether to play with a short stack or buy more chips.
I get 99 in the UTG seat and raise to $2.
Tony calls. John calls. Then Terri re-raises to $6 and Alex calls. Terri’s raise does not represent a huge pair (other than AA) as she tends to overbet pre-flop with KK-JJ, and not 3-bet at all with TT or smaller pocket pairs.
I decide to ship it all-in here. Maybe everybody will fold or I can get an isolation with one villain and some dead money in the pot. Now seems as good of a time as any. I shove.
Taking some time, Tony calls. Jeez, what is good enough to call $2 but not re-raise, and still good enough to call $19.50? Either a pair higher than mine or AK? Now John tanks for a bit, then announces “re-raise!” WTF? He only called the original $2. I know he’s capable of some very unorthodox plays, and eventually we’ll find out ’cause I’m already all-in. He raises $25 on top, for a total bet now of $44.50. Did I mention the blinds are $0.25 / 0.50? I guess he wants to isolate with me and some dead money.
Terri squirms and reluctantly folds. Alex folds. Now it goes back to Tony, and incredibly (to me at least), he calls again. Call $2, call $19.50 with the 3-better live and still to act, and now call $25 more, but never a raise. I make a mental note about his calling station tendencies and pledge to make more notes after the hand is done.
Flop (main pot $71, side pot $50): Qd Jd 4s. No set for me, but two over cards. I’m sure one of these guys just made a set of JJJ or QQQ. Tony is first and bets $25. John tanks again then calls.
Turn (side pot now $100): Kc. Both Tony and John check. I lean towards Tim, who isn’t involved in the hand and ask if he thinks there is any way I can win here. Assuming I have AA, he answers that maybe an off-suit T will hit on the river. I laugh.
River: (still $100 in side pot): 2h. This card changes nothing, and Tony checks again. Now John goes all-in for his last $38.50. This is a very big bet for this game. I have no idea what he has. Maybe a set and checked behind on the turn to give Tony another chance to hang himself. Hard to tell with John, and remember he originally called my $2 pre-flop after Tony’s call. AA would re-raise right there before allowing a 4-, 5- or more multi-way pot.
Now it’s Tony’s turn to go into the tank. I’ve given up all hope of winning this pot, with my 99 and K, Q and J on the board plus over $200 in chips out there. Tony finally announces that he’s pretty sure his hand isn’t good enough to win, but he just can’t fold, so he calls. I’m screaming on the inside: “TONY, IF YOU ARE BEAT, FOLD! HOW CAN YOU ANNOUNCE THAT YOU KNOW YOU ARE BEAT AND STILL SHOVEL THIRTY-EIGHT MORE BUCKS INTO THIS POT? DON’T KILL YOUR GOOD NIGHT!” Externally I maintain my calm, or so I think.
Showdown: Tony shows AK off suit, for top pair / top kicker. Now for the kick in my stomach, John flips over 88. Yep that’s right, 88. A pair of eights. Snowmen. Had his bluff worked, either pre-flop or on the river – both times would have made sense for Tony to fold and save his Big Slick for another day – I would have won the main pot and increased my stack from $19.50 to $71 in a single hand.
Instead I reach for my wallet…