It's an odd life I lead these days. Twelve hours ago, I sat in the dining room of a Carolina surburban home, playing cards, drinking a few beers, and laughing with my buddies for the first time in weeks. Now, I sit in a $435-night hotel room in the middle of a king-sized bed, a view of Miami's South Beach in the window.
I'll have more on this trip in the coming days. It's work-related. In fact, I have to get to work here in a second. But I've played a couple of hands recently that I've felt fairly good about.
Written on a plane, so forgive the turbulence
I'll admit at the outset that I probably shouldn't be playing the $5/$10 $1000 buy-in NL game on Party. While my roll can handle it, the swings can be big enough that I don't quite have the stomach for it yet. Still, when Party introduced the higher limits, I couldn't help but sit down for a session.
By and by, I finally got dealt pocket aces in middle position. I made a raise to $35 and got one caller. Just a few hands before, I'd watched the caller get all his chips in with top pair and a six kicker. That is, he was capable of playing with and going all-in with just about anything.
The flop came down king-high, all hearts. Of course, I hated the flop, but I didn't sweat it too much. One of my aces was a heart, so I had all the heart outs twice. I bet $100 into the caller. He smooth-called the bet.
At this point, I was obviously a little concerned. If he'd made a set, he likely would've re-raised me here to see where he was. I figured I was in one of two situations. Either he had gotten lucky and flopped his flush, or he was holding a king and a high heart (KQ, KJ...).
The turn was a blank. At this point I had to make a decision. Either I wuss out and check to my opponent, essentially giving up. Or I bet into him again.
I bet into him again. $300. I just couldn't accept that he'd flopped his flush. Why? I'm not sure. I think it had something to do with watching him play his top-pair-weak-kicker for all his chips.
So, when he raised me all-in, what did I think? Well, I thought maybe he'd made his flush and I still had a few heart outs for the flush. Not enough outs to give me odds to call, though. I never seriously considered he might have a set. I couldn't get away from the thought he was holding top pair with a heart kicker.
So, I called.
As it turns out, my read was both right and wrong. He didn't have the flush. In fact, he didn't have any hearts in his hand. He did have the king, though, for top pair on the board. Thing was, he also held a five for a flopped two-pair.
I kicked myself a little for not putting him on that hand. At the same time, it's hard to put a guy on two pair with no hearts on a board that flopped three hearts.
On the river, I was left with quite a few outs (enough, in fact, that had he been playing his hand face-up, I would've had almost exactly the right odds to call). Two aces, the remaining hearts, and five cards that would give me a better two-pair.
None of the outs came though and I lost my entire stack. It is, to date, the most I've ever lost on one hand. When compared to some folks losses, that's no big deal. And, oddly, I didn't lose my mind about it. In fact, I felt sorta good.
That worried me a little bit. When you feel good after losing a hand like that, there's a chance you're enjoying the action too much.
So, I'll defer to the greater minds in the community: Was I complete iditot for playing the hand the way I did?
It was a live-game at Casa De G-Rob. The game had been winding in and out of good beats, bad beats, good laughs, and bad jokes. I was in for a couple of buy-ins for no particular reason. I'd brought my stack up to a nice level after playing an interesting hand with BadBlood (I'll let him write that one up if he wants). I was looking to end the evening as a winner.
From the cutoff, G-Rob made the standard pre-flop raise. In the SB, I found a pair of jacks. I'll admit, I figured I was ahead and wanted to maximize my win, so I smooth-called. We saw the perfect Hammer Flop.
I checked from the small blind and felt good that G-Rob bet the pot. He woulda checked his Hammer. Again, I smooth called.
The turn came down as a four. Again, I checked. Again, G-Rob bet the pot.
So, what am I thinking? I'm thinking he has AK, AQ, TT, or 99. He wanted me off of that pot in a big and bad way. I considered a smooth-call again, but decided I'd made as much off the hand as I could and didn't want to risk him catching an overcard on the river.
So, I pushed all in. G-Rob had to call around $80 more. He was getting less than 2-1 to call.
As soon as I saw the look on his face, I knew I had the hand won. What made it so confusing was...he called.
As we counted out the chips (I had him covered by about $7), G-Rob was bluffing posthumously.
"Well, I have trip sevens," he said as he counted out his stack.
Calmly, I said, "If you have trips, you win."
I still haven't figured out why he was trying to bluff AFTER making the call.
I turned up my jacks and G-Rob's face sank.
He turned up an ace...as I suspected.
And a three.
Immediately, G-Rob proclaimed his insobriety. I asked him what in the world he put me on. He shrugged his shoulders.
In G-Rob's defense, I had showed a serious bluff for a big pot earlier in the night, so maybe he had me on a bluff. Still...
He had four outs to the straight and three to his ace.
Teddy Ballgame burned and turned...a fucking ace of diamonds.
It stung for a few minutes, but as I drove home, I was really happy with the hand. Not sure why.
I'm a little worried that I'm starting to like the losing a little too much. It may be time to start playing Euchre again.