I’m a middle aged white guy. I don’t say that to editorialize… it’s just a fact. White, male, age range 55-60 (this is a poker blog, so we shouldn’t try to put me on an exact age, just a range). And very aware of my white male privilege.
Over the weekend, at a private poker game, I shoved all-in on a flop of Q84 rainbow. What is my range?
To help answer that question, let’s back up a bit. I started the hand with a stack of 67 BBs, having just lost a healthy chunk with a failed hero call. The villain in that hand was totally polarized – he either had total air, or the nuts. Once again, Hashtag: They Always Have It. Maybe I appeared tilted now.
A couple of hands later, I raise to 5 BBs in middle position, and get four callers.
The flop is Q84 rainbow, and I bet 10 BBs. This flop is totally dry. If I’m value betting, I don’t need to worry about punishing any drawing hands.
The player on my immediate left, who I’ve never played with before, raises to 25 BBs. For purposes of this blog, I’ll call him “Ricky.” Ricky hasn’t been at the table very long, appears to be in his mid-20’s, and works at the Apple store. Earlier he mentioned that he’s read exactly one poker book in his life, by Daniel Negreanu. Ricky adores Negreanu.
There is only one hand I fear Ricky having here: AQ. With a flopped set of 888’s or 444’s, he would call in hopes of keeping other players in the hand, as there are no threatening draws. He just flatted pre-flop, so he doesn’t have a set of QQQ’s, or AA or KK. None of the 2-pair hands fit either… the best of these would be Q8, which is too weak to call my pre-flop raise. I don’t know if he would flat or 3-bet AQ pre-flop, but this game hasn’t featured much 3-betting by anyone, so I’m inclined to put AQ in his flatting range.
Other possible raising hands would be QJ, JJ or TT, or something like A8. Or a total bluff / gutshot type of hand. My less-than-half-pot continuation bet might be interpreted as weak, so he could be raising with a hand weaker than top pair here, which might mean he doesn’t know himself if he’s value betting or bluffing.
After everyone else folds, I come over the top, for 37 BBs more. Ricky looks surprised and tries to talk out the situation. He mentions my pre-flop raise sizing seemed standard, my C-bet sizing, the number of other players in the hand, etc. Now I realize he is a thinking player, or at least trying to be one.
But he neglects to note that I’m a middle-aged white guy. Seriously, forget all of my analysis about his hand and just consider that fact. What is my range?
Eventually, Ricky calls. I ask if he has AQ and he says no. I flip over KQo and he says “Oh, you’re good, I didn’t think you would have that.”
The turn is an ace, and he flips over A8s. The Dead Man’s Hand holds up to win. Ricky is gracious, almost apologetic in victory, as he should be having been on the wrong end of an 80/20 equity split when all the chips went in the middle.
I ask him this: “Why would you not think I could have KQ there? That was a textbook middle-aged white guy shove, so KQ is the very BOTTOM of my range!” I try to smile as I say this. When he has A8 there, I want him to call every time, even knowing that this time, my hand didn’t hold up. There is no need to lecture or be nasty.
A couple of the players at the far end of the table are laughing at my middle-aged white guy comment. So true, they are saying, Ricky you should know better.
Author’s note: The title of this post should be… Revenge of the Middle Aged White Guy. Unfortunately, poker variance intervened. Maybe next time…