March 13, 2006

Play-Along Hand II

let's see, where were we? i was facing a decision on a T94 board w/ two hearts. i had AdTd and my $65 bet had been check-raised to $165. the pot had $136 in it before the flop. the player had $100 behind. based on the information in the hand, i had narrowed the probable hands of the guy down to a hand that dominated me (AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT, 99) or a stone-cold A-high bluff. there was a possibility of a semi-bluff, but doubtful. considering that i hadn't seen this player check-raise a ton of pots, the tangible information told me i was beat. i went into the tank for about a full two minutes, walking through hands, and just couldn't see many other hands that he could have. taking one last stare at him, i had a strange feeling that he was on a bluff. deciding between purely a raise or fold, i mucked my cards. to my horror, he flipped over AhKc: no pair, no draw. damn it! the all-in player to my left flipped over KsQs. a J on the turn filled up the all-in player's gutterball straight and a T on the river made certain that i would've won any sort of side pot. rats. david sklansky, in Theory of Poker, and barry greenstein, in Ace On The River, talk about the right play vs. the perfect play. i do feel as though my lay-down was the right play (the correct play given the information i had). unfortunately, it was not the perfect play (the correct play if i had also known his cards). what is the perfect play? i think that the perfect play in this case would have been to sell the decision extensively and then call the $165 check-raise. considering that the player still had $100 or so in front of him, the weak call would provide him the perfect opportunity to bluff off the rest of his chips on the turn or river. he really has only three outs (3 K's), so providing him that "free" card is not a big mistake. would he have bluffed off the rest of his chips? maybe, maybe not. but re-raising him all-in on the flop certainly would've made him fold. in retrospect, i also should have taken into account one additional piece of information: while i felt like my general table image was good, i had been hammering on this particular player for about two hours. he was a few spots to my right and i had been raising and re-raising him on several pots, picking on perceived weakness in several hands. if i had carefully thought about it, i should have found it rather likely that HE wasn't giving ME much credit for a hand, considering i had spent several hands stepping on him with my position. my call before the flop in position and then strong bet on a, for the most part, rag flop probably looked like another steal attempt to him. in other words, table image was overridden by player image here. if he saw my play as a probable steal, he was much more likely to go nuts and come over the top with no pair, no draw. if that was the case, perhaps coming back over the top on the flop would have been the correct play to "represent a bluff." i thought this hand was an interesting lesson in the correct play vs. the perfect play, as well as keeping in mind table image, particularly against a specific player. at the end of the hand, all i could do was pat the table and say "nice hand." pros say the tough laydown is the hardest (and most important) thing to learn, but it sure sucks when you lay down the best hand. that's poker.



At 3/14/2006 02:16:00 PM, Blogger ivy said...

put pressure on him and put him all in!


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