After two hours of 5/10 NL this evening, I was up about $800. By my rough count, I’d voluntarily put money into the pot 16 times, won 13 of those pots, and saw exactly 1 showdown. I was going to leave at the next time collection, but then I played a pot where four people limped over a straddle of my big blind, and I made it $140 to go with absolute certainty that, even if they recognized what I was doing, none of these guys was going to do anything about it other than maybe call and then fold any flop that misses them, which is actually even better for me than if they just fold pre-flop. Sure enough, one dude called and folded the flop. “Well,” I thought to myself, “if they’re just going to give it away, maybe I’ll stick around.”
A few hands later, there was one limp, and a new guy at the table raised to $35. He got one caller, I called with 3c 2c in the BB, and the limper called.
Flop came Td 3s 2s. We checked to the raiser, who bet $60. The next player called, I raised to $300, got one fold, the raiser called, and the other guy folded.
Turn 4d. I had the best hand about $2500 behind. I decided the best thing to do would be to bet $600 here and hope for a blank river (not because I was worried about him having the draw, just because it’s easier for him to call with an overpair when the draw misses). He looked genuinely concerned, asked if I flopped a set of 3’s, and called.
Sadly, the river was an offsuit T. I considered shoving anyway and turning my hand into a bluff, but I just didn’t trust him to fold an overpair. After all, a few seconds ago I was fully expecting to shove my bottom two for value if the draw missed. The T could be a bit of a scare card for him, but not enough. I checked, and after some thought, he checked behind and showed AT. He told me he was relieved I didn’t shove but he was going to call. It’s a weird spot where he can’t bet trips top kicker for value on the river, but I agree with his check. My check is either a weird trap or a busted draw, and the trap is virtually always a boat. Maybe he can bet super-small and try to induce a check-raise bluff, but there wasn’t really room for that.
As luck would have it, I flopped a flush vs. what I think was a set the next hand and won most of it back.
Oh the one showdown I mentioned earlier was another weird “likely best hand but can’t really bet it” spot.
I’m on the button with A9o. There’s like six limpers, and I raise to $85. UTG and a MP player, both of whom seemed pretty competent, called. The flop came 553r, and we checked it through. The turn was a 9 that brought a spade draw. UTG led out for $150. The other player folded. I thought about raising, which I think is better, but I wussed out and called. The thing is, when I check flop and call turn, I can’t really expect a competent hand reader to put money in on the river with anything worse. Raising the turn, on the other hand, keeps my range wider and is a better way to get value from what is almsot certainly the best hand.
I would have bet a blank river anyway, but it was the Ts, so I just checked to back and won the pot. I was damn near certain I had the best hand, but I’d heard this player talk about bluff raising the river before, so I knew he was capable of it, and I didn’t want to deal with that.
In other news, Nelly was playing a few tables over. From what I hear, he’s pretty into poker and plays somewhat regularly, but this is the first time I’ve seen him. Despite that, the room was pretty empty for a Friday night.