Nitsulting

“Are you going to play any hands other than pocket kings?”

Apparently I brought my ‘A game’ last night, which involves a lot of folding. This question, posed by a guy who for purposes of this blog I’ll call “Matt” (same Matt from here) led to the three players on my immediate left (including Matt) all calling me a nit. It’s a friendly sort of ribbing and I quite enjoy it.

We need a special word for this, and I’m going to invent it: nitsulting (adjective; to speak to a poker player insolently or with contemptuous rudeness with respect to his or her style of play being overly tight, transparent or scared).

I point out that earlier, each of them had folded a hand on the flop after we were heads-up and I had flopped a set. Each time I had raised pre-flop (with 44, 66 and 88), gotten one caller, and no further action with a 1/2 pot continuation bet. “Y’all are the nits!”

This is funny and they know it. They are definitely not nits, all residing far towards the other extreme of the nit spectrum.

Then the next guy to the left of this trio chimes in. For purposes of this blog, I’ll call him “Eddie.” I’ve only played with Eddie a couple times previously, much less than with the three guys who are getting their jollies nitsulting me at this private, $1-2 no limit holdem game.

Eddie wants to be part of the conversation, and looks at me. “But you really ARE a nit!”

OK. This could be an inflection point in my evening. I ask Eddie to say it louder, to be sure everyone at the far end of the table heard it before I try to steal some pots.

A little while later, Eddie limps in under-the-gun. The next guy raises to $8 and gets one caller before the action gets to me in the cutoff seat. I look down at 99. This is my spot. My standard play here is to call and go set mining. Pocket nines may have enough showdown value to win a small pot. Otherwise I’m not heavily invested, keeping my stack-to-pot ratio high and all options open.

Right here, right now, however, raising also is attractive. After an UTG limp, the raise to $8 tells me the raiser is unlikely to have a hand stronger than mine. He would make a bigger raise with TT+ to try to thin the field. This raise begs for many callers, a pot sweetener suggesting a suited ace or suited connectors type of hand that plays well multi-ways, or smaller pocket pair laying its own set-mining odds.

I re-raise to $35. When the nit squeezes like this, it’s usually stress-free, rake-free easy money.

Eddie has other ideas. When the action folds back to him, he back-raises to $70. How many times have we seen this movie? A loose player limps UTG, then back-raises, in this case essentially a min-raise. He has a little over $200 remaining and I cover.

Some quick math. There’s $124 in the pot and it will cost $35 more to call. I’m getting slightly better than 3.5:1 odds from the pot, plus another 6:1 in implied odds based on his stack size. One popular rule of thumb is to set mine only if you can win at least 10x the call amount. Remember to include chips already in the pot. At 9.5x I’m almost there. Since I’ll also be last to act after the flop, I make the call.

The flop comes J94 rainbow. Cha-ching! Pay day!

Eddie bets $100. I raise and all of his chips are quickly in the middle, then in my stack as his pocket aces shrivel into the muck.

The real fun begins on Sixth Street, as Eddie berates my play for the next 15 minutes to anyone who will listen. It’s all said in the third person and his math analysis is way off. “Since I bet $70, he shouldn’t call unless my stack is at least $700…”

One of the other players pushes back on his analysis while I sit quietly amused. Eddie continues ranting as if I’m not even in the room. I fight the urge to say “Dude, I can hear you…”

Another player at the far end of the table texts me:

You can’t have it both ways. Either stop the nitsulting, or don’t bitch when I make a non-nitty play.

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