KKing David

Ruminations on poker

In Love with Over-pair

This hand comes from a live cash game in Las Vegas 2 nights ago.  I am playing $1/3 no limit hold’em, and up about $200 at this point.

I was up $250+ (thanks to a straight flush that got paid [put smiley face here] and KK early in the session) but now I’ve been on a run of weak cards for over an hour.

Then I look down at JJ in early position and raise to $11.  Only the button calls.  He is on his 3rd buy-in and I have him well covered.

Flop:  T-7-6 with 2 spades.  I make a continuation bet of $16 and button calls.  Looks like he might have top pair or a flush draw.  I’m confident that I’m still ahead and if a safe card comes on the turn, I’m going to place a large bet.

I’m also tired, having played a very late session the previous night and not slept enough.  I briefly consider that he could have flopped a straight or a set.

Turn:  4d.  The safe turn card I was looking for.  I bet $55, about the size of the pot and he rather quickly announces all-in.

All-in?  WTF?  I wanted a safe turn card and got one.  I call.  Then I find out this is going to cost about $120 more.

Too quickly.  Shouldn’t an alarm sound here.  (see this prior post about danger warnings…)  When the other guy goes all-in, that doesn’t mean he’s always on a draw.  More likely he has made a hand and is more worried about me having a big draw.

Before calling, shouldn’t I at least replay the action so far in my head, and ponder what I’ve observed about the villain?  (Hint:  answer starts with Y.)

This is one of the hazards of playing poker when tired.

Last night on the plane back from Vegas, I was re-reading Barry Greenstein’s excellent book Ace on the River.  He describes when he first went to California to play in the card rooms there, he would sleep until 5 pm, go to the card room at 6:00 and play until they closed at 2 am.  He says, “I won consistently and thought it must be because I was the best player.  But that wasn’t the reason.  I was playing against people who had worked all day and had a few drinks to relax.  Meanwhile, I was resting and training for the event.  I didn’t know the difference until I got a job and tried to play after working all day.  I was a basket case.”

So here I am and the only hands I can beat are an over-played top pair hand (not so likely since I represented strength with my UTG pre-flop raise) and an over-played flush draw (also not so likely as I haven’t observed this villain play that way).

I was tired, enduring a boring stretch of bad cards, got a small jolt of adrenaline with JJ (I also had JJ on the hand the made a straight flush earlier), and spewed away my entire gain for the session.

Villain turns over 8s 5s, for a straight with a re-draw for a spade flush (which hits on the river).  Either way, I am drawing dead.  A loose call from the button – I would not have put 85s in his range at all – but it worked out for him.

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