Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Triple-barrel blergh

Played in the evening tournament at The Meadows with a buddy just a few Fridays back and busted out within the first half-hour when I got flush-over-flushed. Moved on over to a $1/3 NLHE cash table and bought in for $220. Spent a few hours with a stack that went a bit up, then a bit down, then back, but was largely unchanging. Started to get tired and told my friend (who had also busted from the tournament and was now sitting next to me) that I was likely going to leave soon. Then this nonsense occurred ...

A handful of limpers in front of me. I limped from the button with 56. Small blind called. Big blind checked: Flop: 3-4-10. All opponents checked around to me. The dealer, mistakenly thinking I checked as well, made a move like he was going to burn and turn. I theatrically put a stop to that.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" I declared for the table to hear. "I didn't check. Nah, I gotta bet this. I got to!"

I pushed $20 out into a pot that had about that much in it. I got one caller, a quiet, older man sitting at the other end of the table with a massive stack of about $1,000 in front of him. He called fairly quickly.

Turn came the 8. He checked. Solid chance he was on a flush draw, so it seemed like a good spot to take another stab. I bet $55, leaving myself around $110 back. He took a bit longer this time, considering his decision for a good half-minute or more before pushing the $55 out there.

No more theatrics now. Not only that, I began regretting all the talking I did at the beginning of the hand. But back then it was a stupid limped pot with little suited connectors. It wasn't supposed to grow into anything this massive! I prayed to the poker gods to drop black seven on the board and let me off the hook.

River came the 4, and he checked again. Only two options now: Check-lose and save half of my stack or draw a line in the sand and get the rest of my money in there. That river card couldn't have helped him. No draws got there. And if he had flopped a real hand, why hadn't he ever raised to protect it?

I rarely triple-barrel bluff. Seriously! Hardly ever. But I was tired. I knew I was about to go home. I knew there was only one way to win the hand.

I pushed the rest of my stack out into the middle of the table.

One minute passed. Then two. By the time minute three approached, I was sure he was going to fold. In my experience, by this point, if someone was going to find a call they would have already done so. I kept still, my eyeline set on a fixed point. And I waited.

And after another minute, he reached what was obviously a tough decision ... and pushed a large stack of chips (from his even much larger stack) out into the table to call.

I exhaled sharply and simply said, "Very good call, sir. I believe I have six-high." He rolled over 10-J. He had flopped top pair, middling kicker and called me down the whole way.

I calmly wished everyone good luck and left the casino. In my car on the drive home, I kept finding new ways to regret the hand. Why did I get involved for all my chips on a limped pot with baby suited connectors? Why did I do all that showboating at the beginning of the hand, which could have very well tipped this guy off that I had flopped a draw as opposed to a made hand like two pair or a set (when I may have buttoned up as soon as the cards hit the table)? Why did I let my guard down for that one hand? And why assume that the guy with the ginormous stack was going to be scared away by my last $100?

It had been a long time since I triple-barrel bluffed. I think it'll likely be a long time before I try it again.


Grange95 said...

I think you played the hand well. Villain probably convinced himself you had a flush draw with overs, or maybe a pair and a flush draw (say, Ah4h). You made him make a really tough call. Your limp preflop was probably your biggest mistake. It takes overpairs out of the equation, so it's easier for top pair weak kicker to get sticky postflop. Maybe get in the habit of raising instead of limping in late position when you open the action, disguise your hand better, and build pots you can steal reliably on junk flops.

Bob Taylor said...

Thanks Grange. Yeah, that's all good advice. With suited connectors in late position in a limped pot, I will sometimes raise, but probably not as much as I should. (I should probably just fold hands like that more often too. It's the limping that gets you.) But you're right -- the story I was trying to tell here would be a lot stronger if an overpair could be in my range.

And, yes, I figured as well that the two hearts on the flop ended up hurting me more than they helped, as it was another big obvious draw he could put me on. In fact, a heart on the river probably wins me the hand, as once he called the turn, it's looking less likely that he's on a draw. So I think I would have felt comfortable still shoving.

My real problem here is there are more ways I'm bluffing than there are ways I can beat him. It's hard to put me on something like K-10, because if that's what I had, why wouldn't I just check the river and hope it's good? Instead, my range seems pretty limited to flopping a set, flopping two pair or bluffing the hell out of a draw.

The good news is I've been playing more often recently and actually have been winning more often than not. But the winning sessions just haven't turned up any interesting hands worth writing about!

Chris said...

Bummer, still nice to read da blog again

Chris said...

Bummer, still nice to read da blog again

Memphis MOJO said...

Ditto what Chris said.
Ditto what Chris said.