Friday, September 02, 2005

Over-Thinking It?

I played 2 1/2 hours of live 1-2 NL today. The session started out rocky - continuing my tough run - Ivan went runner-runner on me to earn a split pot, and then hit a 3 outer on the turn in the next pot to take 1/2 my chips early on.

I fought back and rebounded in our 4-handed game, and when Ty left, it was Markus, Ivan and myself. This is a great game - although Ivan and Markus are capable of playing any two cards and putting soul-crushing beats on me, it was definitely a positive EV situation. Ivan is tricky because he is very unpredictable - but he will pay to draw to non-nut hands, and he will represent draws when they come.

I was out of the hole and up $400, when a new player, Ben sat down, who I'd never seen before. Ben was on my immediate left, wearing sunglasses, and about 24 years old. I quickly picked up a major tell on him which allowed me to take two decent pots:

pot 1: I raise to $7 on the cutoff with 6-6 after Ivan folds. Ben makes it $20 and Markus calls, as do I.

flop: 9-5-3 rainbow. I check. Ben bets $50. Markus folds. I call quickly.

Now, in a previous hand, Ben had cracked Markus's pocket queens with 9-2 when he flopped a nine and turned a nine. Ben pet the pot on the river that hand, and Markus folded - which got Ben asking himself out loud if he'd bet too much. I bring this up because he clearly seemed to be the kind of player who would underbet his big hands to get action, and overbet his bluffs. Back to the hand...

turn: Jack. I check. Ben bets $100 quickly. He has $250 left. I slide a matching stack out to match his. At this point, I think I'm winning - his big bets scream of weakness. Why don't I raise? Fair question - it's an option.

river: six. I know Ben can't call a bet, so I check it to him, giving him a final opportunity to bet at this pot, and he checks behind me, admitting that he couldn't call a bet with his A-T had I bet it.

Now, we get into it again a mere 5 minutes later: I raise to $10 from the cutoff (with 6-6) after Ivan limps, Ben makes it $20 from the button, Markus folds, Ivan calls.

flop: 9-9-3, two hearts. Ivan checks. I check. Ben checks.

turn: offsuit deuce. Ivan checks. I check. Ben checks.

river: three, making two pair on the board. Ivan bets $45, I call, Ben overcalls! My sixes are good.

Why did I play the hand so passively? Again - I thought I had the best hand the whole time, but I didn't necessarily want to play a big pot, and I didn't want Ivan to have the opportunity to take me off my hand by raising me on a draw - as I couldn't rule out a nine from him.

But these hands lead up to the big ones: The First Laydown.

Ivan limps, I limp with A-7, and Ben makes it $15 from the SB. Markus calls, Ivan calls, I call.

flop: A-8-8, two spades. Ben bets $50. There it is again! I call in a heartbeat.

turn: 7 of spades. I have a useless three pair, and Ben thinks for 20 seconds before announcing "All-in" for $145 more. Wow. This is an autocall... He overbet it again. Incredible. But then I start thinking... I fear I'm up against a bigger ace. I talk out loud:

"I don't know how I can lay this down."
"What do you have?" Ben asks
"Ace-seven" I reply.
"That would be a monster," he admits, before then realizing that the seven does me no good. I'm getting him to talk, and I don't really like the read I'm getting.

"If I muck, will you show me your hand?" I inquire.
He starts to answer "yes," but then says "What's in it for me?"
"You get the pot," I explain.
"I don't know." he says.

Jeez - now I'm really fucking with my OWN head - he would show me... Maybe... So he WANTS me to muck... But he's a smart young kid who writes software - and he knows that I know that he knows that... Well anyway... After 90 seconds I make what I think is a very disciplined laydown, and he kindly shows me rags: J-6 offsuit, with the Jack of spades re-draw.

a mere few hands later, I find TT in the BB, and raise to $15 after all three opponents limp. All call.

flop: 9-9-Q. Checked around.

turn: nine. Ivan checks. I check with the intention of calling or raising. Ben fumbles and bets $30. Now, at this point, I'm not even happy about calling Ben, but I'm going to - he has put off a very big "Weak is strong" tell, but it's made moot when Markus folds and Ivan check-raises to $100.

I muck and Ben mucks, and Ivan shows J-8. I don't know how I can make that call - I'm not afraid of the nine - but a queen beats me anyway.

I finish the session up $387, but wondering what could have been had I made the two calls I was supposed to make...What's the moral of the story? Go with your FIRST instinct I guess - your First read. As they say: "Think long: Think wrong."

until next time,

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