Sunday, April 05, 2015

DECISION AND RESULTS REVEALED -- Decision Time: What Would You Do?

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.


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 ...


Blogger angerisagift said...

was seat 3 the original raiser or call the $12 like u did?? if seat 3 was the org raiser then i think he/she is small pp like 55 to 1010(looking to setmine) or AceFace. mayb the $100 reraiser has AceRag/Face sootd or QQ/JJ.. i think yr options r fold or shove. i dont think u call $100 and fold on the flop bcuz over $300 in the flop at that point and mayb AK is best hand and SHEEEEEEIT!! personally i would shove AK is a primo dank hand. i know i know Anna K. and blah blah. sometime u have to gamblooooooo

11:06 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

Someone before seat three raised. He just called.

11:14 PM  
Blogger angerisagift said...

sooooo u r in middle pos/Hijack???

11:49 PM  
Blogger Mr Subliminal said...

I would have shoved. Seat 3 also realized that seat 7 was probably stealing, so he called with something like AJs or AQs (both of which you crush) thinking he would be heads up. Little did he know.

I think that you also came to this conclusion and actually did shove. Seat 8, who was holding pocket 8's called, as did Seat 3, the board came out king high, and you took down a monster pot.

12:14 AM  
Blogger Mr Subliminal said...

Oops, that should be "... Seat 7, who was holding pocket 8's called ..."

12:20 AM  
Blogger JT88Keys said...

I know what I would do, but that doesn't mean it is necessarily the smartest play. I don't like shoving AK in this spot. People (in my opinion) over value it and if Mr. Subliminal is right and seat 3 is shoving AJ or AQ they take away one of my outs.

I'm betting seat 7 has a real hand this time like QQ or JJ and I'm likely folding in this spot and letting seat 3 go to battle with him.

6:58 AM  
Blogger The Poker Meister said...

I shove / fold with AK in that spot. If the cold caller shows up with KK+, oh well - but you kinda set up the hand perfectly where you're most likely a little less than 50% against the table or better.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

Personally, I think you're playing too deep to shove AK there. $260? Although the way the guy's been playing does give me pause. He wouldn't bet that big with a hand that has you crushed, I don't think. It's probably a coin flip and with the other player I don't see how you have the right odds to risk your stack.

OTOH, if you were ready to leave anyway, and could see that last $260 as you last chance to win some nice money, maybe you do shove.

So I guess it might depend on how close I was to leaving the session anyway.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Tony Bigcharles said...

not enough information on how the others played in the past, their table image, etc

9:35 AM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

@Tony -- As a poker professional, you should know that we often do not have much background information on the players we play with. We still have to make a decision. I never played with either of these players before and both were relatively new to the table.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Iron Mike Sharpe said...

I think what Tony means is: were any of them black, and was anyone wearing hooker shoes?

9:42 AM  
Anonymous KenP said...

I like the comment about your stack being too deep here. You are getting about 2.5:1 to call and even money to push. You aren't even money regardless of what the other two hold. 2:5 is a bit weak against a decent pair and that is a serious possibility. I'd say you are 40:60 against two betters at best., I don't want to push here and the smooth call carries a significant cost on a bad flop. Getting a Broadway f lop for a pair could just make it worse.

I have folded the AKs in this situation to both my regret and joy. I recall a hand once with that holding. The other two hands were AA and AK. But...

9:54 AM  
Blogger Pete P. Peters said...

Your getting better than 3/1 to shove, right? Doesn't the math work out?

9:57 AM  
Blogger Pete P. Peters said...

Also, it depends on whether you have a car or not. u see, people with cars save lots of expenses. So, if you have a car, you can prolly afford to shove. But, if you rely on PUBLIC transportation, and eat pumkin pie from walmarts, then you must fold, of course.

9:59 AM  
Blogger angerisagift said...

@mike and P3 LOL soooooo true

12:20 PM  
Blogger Onechiquita100 said...

As Dirty Harry would say, "do ya feel lucky, punk?" I'm anti-shoving there but definitely put both guys on pairs and can see a flop without the rest of my stack going in. Then again I won a pot with pocket 8's on a 8KKKA board so go figure.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Lester said...

There is one and only one reason to fold that hand: if you have less than $520 in your sock to rebuy. I only like the shove in this position if you are ready to martingale your money back if you lose.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Pokerdogg said...

TBC says..."not enough information on how the others played in the past, their table image, etc"

I think lightning provided a pretty good analysis of how the aggressive guy played, and he also gave what he could see from the few hands the new guy played at the table. Lightning even provided stack size information, so yeah, I think he gave a pretty thorough summary of what info he had at the time.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Pokerdogg said...

Rob says..."OTOH, if you were ready to leave anyway, and could see that last $260 as you last chance to win some nice money, maybe you do shove."

I have the exact opposite thought. If I am going to stay for a few more hours, then I am much more likely to play for stack here. I think this is a spot where shoving is pretty close to an even EV play, assuming they both call. From that POV it doesn't really matter what you do here, as long as you don't just smooth call preflop.

From a metagame perspective, shoving will have a likely effect of juicing up the game and make the table more gambol like. This is great if you can handle a game that is loose and fast, definitely make it more profitable if you take advantage of it. If nothing else, it loosens your table image and may get you paid off later in the game.

So if this is my last hand or close to it, I fold. Else, I shove. I assigned the aggro guy hand range of AA-99, AK-AJs, AK-AQ. The other guy QQ-55, AK-A9s, AK-AJ, KQs. Giving AKs 35% pot equity.

5:24 PM  
Blogger angerisagift said...

Chicago baseball looking Grrrrrrrrrrrrreat!!!!!!!!!!!

7:26 PM  
Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

I've done both things before (shoved and folded). I know this sounds like a cop-out, but if I were at the table, I would have a better feel for what's best.

Can't wait to hear the results.

7:30 PM  
Blogger thundering36 said...

I would have picked up the nearest stapler and thrown it at somebody of course. Isn't that what poker players do u see?

9:29 PM  
Blogger angerisagift said...

does this casino have free wifi?????

1:20 AM  
Blogger Poker & Gambling 24/7 said...

Its so obvious to me you should have folded. You must wait until you know the Ace or King are going to hit the board. What other answer could there be seeing that you lost the hand?

2:32 AM  
Blogger Poker & Gambling 24/7 said...

Myself, once I am making a play based on another players actions I generally follow through on them unless something else changes. You were going after this one player, the other player had no more chips to challenge you. I can have the same exact thought process when I am "after" someone and can see clearly why you would have called. Given all the facts, I would have definitely called. And you were in great shape to draw out as it turned out, while the guy had a premium hand he didn't have you crushed and you had the pot odds as you were about 1.4 to 1 dog. The actual odds were QQ 53.62%; AKs 37.32%, AJo 7.76%

2:42 AM  
Blogger ~Coach said...

Wow - this read a lot like a poker blog... :) Sorry you lost...

12:04 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

@~Coach -- Yeah, once every so often I write about poker instead of dead musicians, traffic tickets, etc : o )

12:09 PM  

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