We were scheduled to have a BIG cash game tonight, but oddly only 4 people showed up...??? One new guy canceled, the whale got grounded, Corey was going to a LAN party, and the pot head was probably busy... smoking pot. Well, as they say, "That's poker." ...Not really I just wanted an excuse to say that shitty phrase, because believe me you will never read it in another blog again. I just don't say it, it's stupid.
We started out playing with just 4 people at .50/1. My shorthanded game is better than my long handed game, this is due to my great post flop experience and play. I decided that I would play very fundamentally sound early on, mainly because there was a new guy I knew nothing about (I soon learned he was a playing like a total rock.) I stole some key pots with raises when I sensed weakness, but overall I was definitely playing the tightest. That image did me well, as we decided to pump up the blinds to 1/2 (It was basically NL 2/4 because there was a straddle EVERY hand) so I could start stealing bigger pots when it was appropriate due to my tight image.
I only remember a few key pots. Other than these, there were just a bunch of healthy pots that went without a showdown. I was really pleased with my reads tonight (with the exception of one hand, but I'm not upset about it anymore...I made a read and was wrong...you gotta live with it.). I didn't miss a bet when I knew I was ahead, if I had 3rd pair and knew it was good - I value bet it. Sometimes when I'm not playing so good I might check it down hoping it was good enough to pick up the pot, but tonight I just knew when I was ahead and when I was behind. Sorry, I've gone off on a tangent.
Hand That I Remember #1
I was on the button and limped in with Kd9d, SB limped, and BB checked. The flop came Ac 10s 7d. The SB bet fast, BB folded, and I thought he was weak so I called to take it away on the turn. The turn was the 8d. He fired again. He obviously has a hand, but now I've got a really really good draw (Open ender + a flush draw). So I called, I thought about raising but I often miss these so I just called. River was a 4d. Bingo... right? He checked, I know the diamond scares him, so I can't bet too much. I bet 8. He raises 20 more. I will swear to God, this isn't Hindsight Bias, I knew he had a flush (100%)... but which one. Honestly, in my mind he had to have an Ace to bet the flop and the turn. Put that together with the fact that he now has to have a flush to raise (Seriously, he wasn't a crazy man, he is only raising the river with a flush.) The only hand he can have is an Ace high flush. I know you won't believe this but I seriously just called with the King high flush on the river with full expectation of seeing him turn over AdXd. He did have a flush, but it was a smaller one and I now felt like a donk, but not too much because the way he had been playing it was right to just call. He later said he wouldn't have a called a re-raise because his flush was really low, 6d2d! This opened my eyes a lot... I then realized that this punk was trying to do what I was doing. Play tight early on and then steal a bunch late with his rocky image. This hand led to...
Hand That I Remember #2
It might have been the very next hand. The guy was very surprised still that I didn't re-raise with the 2nd Nuts a hand earlier. The button folded, I limped from the SB with K5 offsuit, and the guy checked. The flop came 10 10 5. I checked and he fired 6, I called. Turn was a 2. I checked and he fired 12, I called. River was a J. I checked and he fired 20, I insta-called. I didn't ask, "Fives good?" when I showed my hand either, I flipped it over and reached for the pot immediately before he could even muck his hand... I knew it was good, I would of called an all in on the river. With the pussy-esque image I had built in this guys head, I set him up to bluff off a big pot against me. I wanted to look weak like all the other times I let him run over me with the worst hand, because I knew in the end he would get too fancy and I'd bust him. That's what poker is all about. It's not about who can out raise their opponent or who can shove all in to make their opponent fold, it's about setting little traps here and there and then eventually trapping them for a big one. So...here we go.
Hand That I Remember #3
Now that action Jared had come out of his shell, the game got pretty fast. Every hand the pot was like $40, $50, $30, etc. There were a lot of chips in the pot before cards were dealt on this last hand, it turned out to be the last hand of the night. I was SB ($1), Jared was BB ($2), and Tommy was on the button but straddled ($4). I looked down at AdAs, and just called the $3. (This is because Jared raised EVERY single hand before the flop, and I mean EVERY.) So of course he raised $6 more to $10 total. Tommy folded, and I decided that I wanted all of his money now if he had a hand like AJ or AQ he would call a re-raise pre-flop, no doubt. But if he misses the flop he'll just fold. So I made it $20 more (by the way I set this trap earlier with J9 suited, I did the limp-raise play before the flop and he folded, I showed J9 and he must of thought the same shit was happening again) and he shoved all in over the top. I called and he showed Q9 off, he didn't hit a his miracle and promptly left the game. Tommy and I called it a night and cashed out.
So children, the moral of this story is that No Limit Hold 'Em is not about who has "bigger cajones" (Mike Matusow) or who can re-raise the other out of a pot with no pair/no draw (Kido Pham), but rather it is about setting traps and letting people fall into them. You just dig a hole quietly, throw a sheet over it and let 'em fall in... it's really that simple. People act like it's a complicated game when it really isn't. You'll find a tougher beast in a little game called Pot Limit Omaha, but that is neither here nor there.
This should be called the story of Jared... lol. He's a good guy/player and I hope he comes back.