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The Turn of a Friendly Card

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  • The Turn of a Friendly Card

    My poker playing hours are few and far between these days. I'm not sure why, but most evenings I'm not really in a the mood. And so I don't play, because I do think that playing while not in the mood is potentially disastrous for your bankroll. And so it happens that I play about 3 1-hour sessions a week. Not a whole lot, but just about all of them are winning sessions, so that makes up for it...

    Today's session was a pretty timid one. I was having a hard time making a profit, hovering my stack between a win or loss of about 5 BBs. There was a nit to my left, and two spots to my right a player which I thought to be a very weak player. I'll say upfront, I'm not great with making reads on people. I can usually pick out the nits, the good players and the weak ones, but not much in between. My playing consisted mostly of trying to exploit the weak player. He had a tendency to keep calling with any pair, was limping in almost every hand, making minbets regardless of pot size, etc. I saw his stack go down from $10 to just above $5, and had he not binked a full house over full house, he probably would've gotten felted pretty quickly. Still, he was back up to a full stack, and needed no more then 10 hands to get back down to $6.50.

    By this time, my stack was up a modest 15 BBs, and I had already decided I wasn't going to let the blinds go through me again. Except for the pocket Queens, all my winning pots were won on a bluff, not really getting many decent hands or hitting any flops. And this wasn't a whole lot either 11 pots won out of 77 hands. At a 6-max table, that's hardly enough. And so I was going to finish the orbit and then leave. Not because of the lack of hands, even despite that I was still turning a profit, but simply because my hour was up. I've settled myself on 1-hour sessions, mostly to avoid going crazy and making too many mistakes if things don't start off well. Something I used to do. Things started out quiet, kept quiet, and so after a while I would really loosen up my play, usually resulting in a nice loss. So, I tend to stick to my 1-hour sessions.

    My weak opponent is in the Big Blind, putting me in the Hijack. With the wonderful hand of 6d 8d. A small suited connector, and I decide to raise, fairly confident everyone will fold since I had not been too active, and also confident my target would call. He'd be limp/calling mostly, and I hadn't seen him fold a Big Blind yet. I would simply c-bet any flop, and in general he'd just fold or raise. The raise simply meant he had it. So I was sure I wasn't going to lose a bundle on this hand.

    Fortunately for me, for the first time in these 78 hands, I actually hit a flop: A,8,6 with two spades. Now of course I would not want to see another spade, but two pair and an Ace. Now if only he has an Ace... So I c-bet just over half pot, which was my standard at this table, and he calls. The turn is a total blank, and I make another bet, a little larger this time: about 60% of the pot. The river is a 10. I'm not overly thrilled by this card. Sure, I'm doing happy dances in my mind that for once the flush didn't get there (and yes, I know it probably didn't get there a whole lot of other times, but it's easier to remember the times it did get there....). Still, I'm by now fairly sure my opponent has an Ace. Now if that was A,6 or A,8 or A,3 I'm just screwed since he would have a better 2 pair, but the 10 is a nasty. A,10 is a reasonable hand for weak players to be calling preflop raises with after all. Still, I can't check. A raise is in order, and I decide to go for value here. If he did bink the 10 then so be it, and so I bet $1.76 into $2.55, almost 70%. If he has the Ace, he's calling this, so why stick to half-pot.

    Instead, he raises.

    Another minraise. Another weak play, as he's now putting more than half oh his starting stsack into the pot on the river, and leaving himself just 14 Big Blinds behind. That's bad, he should just have shoved. If he's raising for value and thinks I will call this minraise, I should be calling the all-in too....

    Now I've seen him take this line twice before, calling down and then raising the river. Both times he won the pot. Once he had the better full house, once he had Q,10 for a flopped straight. Since no flops or straights were possible on this board (completely disregarding the possibility he was holding 7,9), my decision was simple. It all came down to "Is he capable of doing this with just an Ace?" Because I thought this guy was a weak player, my answer was yes. If it were me, I would have just called this river bet because I see no value in raising with just an Ace. You're never getting better to fold, and worse will likely not call. So yes, he would do this with just an Ace, and so I call. He shows A,7 off for indeed just flopped pair of Aces as I had thought, and I take down a pot of almost 100 big Blinds. Finally a big pot, and finally a nice profit.

    I fold my next hand, and as I had planned, left the table taking my profit with me. It's probably not a very nice thing to do, taking down a huge pot and then running with the money, but since that's not why I left, I doubt I'll lose any sleep over it. I was just lucky to finally catch my fish on the last hand I had intended to play anyway.

    The only thing I am still thinking about is my call on the river. After all - I had put him squarely on an Ace. Maybe it would have been better to come over the top and put him all in there. I have no doubt he would have called for the extra $1.40... Well, it's always good to have something to think about.

    Read more: The Turn of a Friendly Card (Ov3rsight) – Poker School Online: Learn Poker Strategy, Odds and Tells
    The Road to Fame and Fortune - Keeping track of my poker semi-career
    Keep up to date: @Ov3rsight


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