After having a great poker month in March, I was looking forward to getting off to a good start in April. Unfortunately, my best option to play was getting in a session at Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria, IL. My results at Par-A-Dice have been very uneven. It seems like almost every trip there has the potential for leading to a four-figure cash out or frustrating the heck out of me. Yesterday, I was faced with a big decision. Would you have made the decision that I did?
The scene: My end of the poker table had been pretty much card dead for hours. Almost all the hands were won by people in seats six through ten. I once was ahead by about $50 early on before I got transferred to a table so that I could play next to cokeboy99
. He had been long gone. In the meantime, I had usually been somewhere between $50 and $100 down. I had played pretty good poker ... when I was actually able to play a hand. But it was one of those days -- bad hole cards, no premium starting hands, small pocket pairs don't hit a set on the flop, suited connectors miss the flop.
A guy from the other table transferred over to mine. By this time I had moved to seat four and he was in seven. Almost every time he could, he punished limpers by raising to $25 or $30. However, he did fold some hands pre-flop, so you never knew what he was going to do. In one hand, I either limped in or raised with pocket 8's. He bumped it up to $30 on the button. I decided to call. There were plenty of non-Ace overcards on the flop, turn and river, yet I won the pot. What was he playing -- Ace-rag? Then came the hand of the night.
I looked down to see sooted A-K (hearts). There was a pre-flop raise to $12 and one or two calls in front of me. I decided to smooth call (mistake?) to see what seat seven would do. He raised to $100! I had about $260 in front of me and he had me covered. Much to my surprise, a guy in seat three called the $100 bet and had a few more redbirds behind him. He was relatively new to the table. I wasn't impressed by what little I saw of his play. Action was on me. What did I do? What would you do?
I'll give readers a little time to respond with what they would do and what they think I did before I reveal how the hand concluded.
DECISION and RESULTS
These were the things running through my mind ...
* March had been a great month. Lots of poker, lots of solid wins. My confidence and bankroll were way up.
* Last home game session was a loss. Was the streak over?
* I didn't have a made hand, but it was a good one.
* I was putting seat seven on a range around 10-10, J-J or A-Q. If correct, at worst I would be flipping with him, maybe even dominating him.
* I put seat three on a weaker hand -- maybe A-J, A-10, a middle pair or something else that a shortie might take a chance on.
* Even if shortie seat three had me beat, I would end up with a small win if I beat seat seven.
* I had previously had sessions where I wasn't wanting to gamble and passed up a chance for a big win.
* The karma was not in my favor that day -- or at least it had not been up to that point.
* When I go to Las Vegas to play poker, I often think that I did not go all that way to play like a pussy. East Peoria, IL is certainly NOT Las Vegas, but did I want to fold, then see that I would have won a big pot if I had any balls?
Dang -- there was a lot of crap zooming in my head! However, part of the reason I originally made the smooth call was that I wanted to mix it up with seat seven and take his stack, which I thought I could do. Here was my chance. This was clearly a fold or shove situation. I went all in. Not surprisingly, with all that money out there, seat seven called.
The flop was rag-rag-Jack with lots of black. Dayum! The shortie in seat three announced that he hit his Jack and flipped over A-J. The turn ... a rag. And the river was ... a rag. My only hope was that seat seven was playing a hand like A-Q or A-10.
Seat seven then flipped over his cards to reveal pocket Queens and began to scoop the nice pot. At that point I decided that I had had enough for the day and mucked my cards, grabbed my stuff and said goodbye. As I walked away, I could hear one player asking "What did he have?" I didn't think it would be too hard to figure out.
Thanks for all the great insightful comments. Many people were spot-on and provided good reasons for why they believed what they did. I only wish that I could have reported the fairy tale ending that Mr Subliminal
suggested. Unfortunately, this was poker, and we all know that too many times in poker fairy tales, our Prince Charming turns out to be a frog.
Epilogue: After I left the table, I sought out my slot friend, Willy Wonka. Visions of martingaling danced in my head ...