Monday, March 28, 2011

When the read is spot on but your opponent has no clue

So, last Tuesday, I made it back Brother's for the weekly game of the Minnesota Poker League. Much like the drop in posting on this blog, I've just not been finding the opportunity to play bar poker. Somehow, I've made it 4 weeks in a row. Shocking. Hell, I've even made the points two of those three weeks. I figure not to shabby consider the previous times I'd played live poker, were the two whiskey club meetings since the WPBT Winter Gathering.

Oh how I missed poker.

So last night, I sit down at my assigned table. A couple new faces and a few usual suspects. The lady sitting on my left is sort of new. She seems to have come a lot since I went on hiatus, everyone knows her. I've played at her table once before, more on that later. Don't let me forget.

There's a new guy sitting directly across the table from me. He's a bit disheveled and playing almost every hand. Let's just say, he's giving no real solid indications about having poker skills. Three to my left, is the well manicured man I've written about in the past.

The hand I'm sharing today is one that I know I misplayed. I did. I made a tactical decision and it the results...

I started the night in the big blind and haven't played a hand yet. I have 1975 T$. We are in the first blind level (25/25). I'm in the big blind. The player two to my left limps, well manicured man raises to 100, next player folds, Disheveled Man raises to 200. It folds to me, I look down to find QQ. In the early stages of bar poker, I hate to go crazy to early with hands like QQ. You are much to likely to be seeing the flop with 3 or more other players to get any real value out of a raise. I call. The early limper insta-mucks. Well manicured man just calls.

The flop comes KJ6 rainbow. Since I'm in early position and whiffed the flop, I decide to check and gather a bit more information. Well manicured man raises to 100, again. A little something about him, he likes to organize the stripes on his chips. He's a very orderly guy. This small raise into a pot of 350 has traditionally meant that he's weak and looking to thin the herd. I'm figuring him for ace rag. Disheveled Man calls. Now, I have no history on him. Everything about his mannerisms tells me he's weak. His raise preflop seemed odd when he did it, like he was bluffing. This call also appeared to me like he was fishing for something. I figured I was way ahead of both of these guys at the time, so I just called. (Mistake 1)

Turn is a 9. I'll be perfectly honest, this wasn't a card I wanted to see. While I didn't think Well Manicured Man (WMM) would raise pre with QT, I'm not sure where Disheveled Man (DM) is. WMM raises it again to 100. I'm positive, he's got air. Ace rag is still a good guess. DM raises super fast to 500 and is totally looking like this is an absolute bluff. When I looked back at WMM, this really made him look uncomfortable. If my read is correct, I'm still way ahead here. Both guys are fishing for something or being bar poker stooges and bluffing madly with crap.

The river is a Q. I've made a set. I decided to take my stand. I know there's the ten possibility for a straight, but I just couldn't put either guy on any tens. Each one looked disappointed with the river. So I shoved. I really thought I was shoving for value. At best, I figured someone had AK, KQ or maybe even JJ.

WMM folds instantly. DM starts counting out chips like he's making a crying call. He calls and turns over pocket tens. "You caught me bluffing, can you beat a pair of tens?"

I sat there pretty much in shock. My read was spot on. He was convinced he really didn't have much. Someone at the table had to show him the straight by laying the cards out. "Wow. I figured I was busted."

I'll be perfectly honest, it sucked losing to someone that didn't even know what they had. A nice healthy sprinkling of salt in the wound. He had me covered so I got to take the lonely walk out. I don't like busting ever, but busting in the first blind level totally sucks.

It did remind me of a very important lesson you always have to keep in mind when you are using reads on weakness to make a decision. A player is only showing weakness they think they have. They may not realize just how strong they really are. Sigh.


Josie said...


jamyhawk said...

at least you realize your mistake was to not re-raise at some point for information.

When you say "I decide to check and gather a bit more information". I disagree. I don't think you are ever going to get information by checking.

What do you learn by check, check behind? One could be on a set of Kings or both could have air, or both could be on a draw.

If it goes raise, re-raise you might think to fold, but I would rather fire at the pot to know the strength of those hands behind. The initial raiser may fold to your raise, but if not at least you can better control the pot size if they are drawing.

Or the 1010 guy may fold with a raise/call in front of him and KJ on the board. I don't know but I prefer to get the info first.

Of course this is bar poker so you may as well shoved after the flop and gotten both to call.

I had a similar hand I will be posting later today. Look for it and let me know what you think.

OhCaptain said...

Jamy - my thought with checking to the WMM on my left is this. First, I'm out of position. Second, I've played a lot of hands with him and he's very predictable in that if he raises preflop, you are guaranteed he will raise when checked to after the flop. Unfortunately for him, he varies his bet sizing based on what happened with the flop. Small bet relative to the pot means he missed, large raise means he's protecting his hand. The other guy is a complete unknown, but since I know WMM will raise, I'm using his anticipated raise as the source for more information on the other guy leaving me without risking anything. Either one shows help from the flop, I'm able to get away. I was fairly confident in this risk. I know I'd probably shove on a table of complete unknowns, but I was confident he would do the risk and work for me. In that, I was right, besides, I really felt after the second players strange min-raise, that I was probably playing the hand for value and hoping to extract the most chips I could. Oops.

Looking forward to seeing your post!

HighOnPoker said...

This is the exact reason why you SHOULD GO NUTS WITH QQ in a bar game. If you were more aggressive earlier, perhaps you could've avoided this outcome.

HighOnPoker said...

I posted more analysis on my site. It's an interesting hand to discuss. My comment was getting too long for here.