That’s Not How It Was Supposed to Work

First of all, welcome back!  I’ve been blogging for awhile at my e-commerce site – – but recently shut down that business due to the low sales volume simply not covering costs.  A business mentor told me long ago that one of the keys to entrepreneurship is to “fail fast.”  If your business is going to fail, he said – which happens at least once or twice to every entrepreneur – the sooner you recognize that unfortunate fact and move on, the less you will suffer.

On to today’s subject.

Last night I was playing poker at a friend’s weekly garage game.  The player on my right – for purposes of this blog I’ll call him “Sam” – started commenting on my very tight pre-flop play.  After winning a few small pots early, I went pretty card dead for awhile and was content not to push the action without a decent hand.  My starting stack of 100 BBs went up to about 160 BBs, then slid back to just 90 BBs.  At one point, I limped in three times in a row just so I could tell Sam, look at me, my image is changing.

Then came a hand I wasn’t involved in.  After the turn card, one player went all-in for 150 BBs, a short-stack called, and the player on my left – for purposes of this blog I’ll call him “Adam” – went into the tank.  While Adam had the bet easily covered, 150 BBs is a large bet.  Ultimately Adam called, showing a top pair / top kicker hand and lost to an over pair.  He was pretty steamed.

On the very next hand, the player on Adam’s left had the button and posted a 4 BB blind straddle.  Several players called, including me holding pocket 4’s.  And Adam, still steaming, raises to 20 BBs.  After a couple of folds, he gets one caller and the action is back on me.  Hmmm…

pocket fours

This is now a very interesting spot.  Adam’s range is very wide.  Being on tilt over the previous hand, and in the cutoff seat of a straddled pot with no raisers in front of him, he would be raising with just about anything here.  Given my image and Sam’s running commentary about how tight I play, an all-in squeeze here should command some respect.  And Adam knows I don’t get out of line very often.

I shove in the rest of my 90 BBs.

After a minute, Adam calls.  The 3rd player, who I fully expected to fold, also calls.  This is a guy who didn’t like his cards enough to raise the first time through when the bet was 4 BBs from the straddle, and didn’t like his cards enough to raise the 2nd time through after Adam bumped it up to 20 BBs, yet somehow he likes his cards enough to call 90 BBs on the 3rd time through.  Can you say “loose, passive?”

That’s not how it was supposed to work.  I just wanted to make them fold and collect the dead money.

The flop is 886, which is good for me if I’m up against unpaired over cards, and bad for me if either of them has a better pocket pair.  Since neither of them is also all-in, both have the opportunity to bet and create a side pot.  Both check.  The turn is a J and both check again.  This might work out.  The river is a 3, which is definitely good for me if they both have unpaired high cards.

The 3rd guy says “I’ve got nothing!”  Adam announces “Ace high.”

Sheepishly, with a side glance at Sam, I turn over my pocket 4’s and triple up my stack.  He practically jumps out of his seat, while I calmly explain:  “That’s how we do it.”

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