Archive for the ‘Accolades’ Category

It Takes a Thief to Catch a Thief

Posted: November 14, 2006 in Accolades, General

This is an accolade to Luke for a great read and subsequent play to take the pot.

This is how the hand went down. Luke was the button in a 7-handed round of pot-limit hold’em. It is folded round to myself, two seats off the button and I call. Luke raises, Shane in small blind calls, the big blind folds and I call. The flop comes down K, 5, 2 rainbow. Shane and I check and Luke bets £3. Shane raises and makes it £6. Then I raise to make it £12 to play. Check-raised by two players? After a while, Luke calls and Shane folds. The turn is a T. I make it £20 to play. After what seemed like an eternity, Luke goes all-in for another £47. After some consideration, I fold and he takes the pot.

What did I have? K3s. What did Luke have? He said he had KQ on the night and T9s the day after. Either way, it was a gutsy move to go all-in.

When Shane raised Luke’s flop bet, I suspected that one or both of them were stealing and if either of them had a hand, it was a mediocre one. My re-raise was intended to drive out the mediocre hand, especially a pair of Ks with a better kicker; and as my kicker was a 3 and there was a 2 on the board, any card would have been a better kicker. If I was re-re-raised, I would have regarded that a sign of true strength and got away from the hand. In hindsight, I think I may have tried to be too clever for my own good, the medium-sized re-raise was intended to look like a sucker raise to get more chips into the pot. Maybe a pot-sized raise would have worked, and if indeed Luke had T9s, he would have not bothered.

The problem was that Luke knew that I suspected that himself and Shane were on a steal, and was likely to be on a steal myself. I may have a hand better than his but it would not have been one I could call a all-in raise with. And that was the move to give him the best chance of taking the pot.

It is instructional to remember when your bluffs work and also when they do not work. I would like to think that I can spot bluffing opportunities and take advantage of them, but this hand (and a hand in the previous week) suggest that I may be signaling my bluffs. They say you can’t lie to yourself, but in poker, often the easiest person to fool is yourself.

What Luke did was put himself in my place and ask himself, what would I do in this situation – not what would he do, but what would I do. This is the essence of poker – to know how your opponents thinks and then make them do what you want, whether it’s to fold, raise or call. I thought I was doing that with re-raise, but got outplayed. If only I had the insight to know that he knew that I knew they were on a steal, maybe then…

So, kudos to Luke for the read and for having he conviction to risk his entire stack on it.

Food for thought

Posted: July 6, 2006 in Accolades

I’m not sure who gets this accolade; Luke made the read, but I won the pot. Anyway, it helps me make an observation.

Because our Tuesday home games start quite early, people often eat their dinner at the game. Luke usually grabs something on the way, but didn’t have time this week and instead ordered a delivery from the local takeaway. We’re playing a hand of hold’em and it’s me, Luke and Shane. The flop comes down and the doorbell rings – it’s the guy with food. Someone let’s him through the main door and he starts climbing the stairs to the flat.

Shane checks, Luke bets, I raise, Shane folds. Luke is now standing, referring to me by a number of 4-letter words and protesting that he’s sure I’m playing him because he has to go and pay for his food. He was completely right, I had absolute gash, no pair, no draw, nothing. I was, as he suspected, making a play for the pot, thinking that he would only continue if he was holding a monster and his mind was probably more on the food than the game – it was quite late and he must have been starving!

The deliveryman is now at the door waiting to be paid, and I was making some noise about how long he’s taking to decide, whereas in reality, it was longer than people usually take. He about to chuck it, then last second, sticks his cards in his back pocket and goes to pay for his food. That hacked me off no end! He comes back, takes his cards out again (someone makes a joke that they’re some other cards he planted there before the game), has a think, and fortunately for me, decides to fold.

The observation is that if someone makes a suspect play at an awkward time – kettle’s just boiled, phone call, desperate for the loo – they could be making the play similar to the one above. Then again, they may not and actually have a genuine hand. The trick is to take your time as Luke did when he put his cards in his pocket. Technically, he broke the rules by taking the cards off the table, but I’ll let him off.

Beautiful read

Posted: July 5, 2006 in Accolades

Best read I’ve ever seen - Alb correctly puts MikeH on J9 for the double-gutshot, after he fills the top end of it on the river during a round of hold’em.