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.