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what a hand.

So i lost $350 on a poker hand last night that i cannot even come close to mad about because the hand was so incredibly brilliant.

I'm in the sb. The table has been a mixture of passive vs aggressive when it comes to preflop betting. in this case, there were a lot of limpers. I look down at 6c9c and call the remaining $1 to complete the bet. The big blind checks.

flop comes 7810 rainbow. golden. I'm not much of a slow player these days because i want to maximize the money in the pot, so i lead out for $12 (there was about $20 in the pot). I get two callers.

turn comes out an 8. Puts a diamond flush draw on the board. I lead out again, $35. The same two people call.

The river comes Ah. I pause to think about it. The Ace is a great scare card for me - the first person to act after me is a semi-aggressive asian guy who i'm sure will take the opportunity to bet if i check, especially if he's been sitting on an 8 and trying to slow play it. The third guy has a wide range - he's been playing fairly solid conservative, but he was also pretty drunk. I wasn't terribly worried that either player had a full house - based on previous play on the table and the size of their stacks (i had about $400, third guy had $700, asian guy had us both covered), they definitely would have put the pressure on the turn, so i figure i'm good and can use this opportunity to maximize by drawing a bet and check-raising. So i check.

asian guy bets out $55. third guy calls. I wait for about thirty seconds, double-check in my head that it makes no sense that either of them could have a full house, and then raise it to $200 even.

asian guy looks at me and tries to get a read. Third guy i think looked at me too, but i wasn't really paying attention. Eventually, asian guy decides to call the $145 on top. Third guy thinks for a small while, makes a comment to me that gives his hand away ("you took too long") and then shoves to go all in - for an additional $500.

of course i call because i don't have a lot behind and because i am absolutely assured (if i wasn't before) that i'm good against him, that he has trips.

And then the asian tanks.

Before, when he willing to call the $145, i put him on trip eights. If he had a full house, he would have raised third guy instead of flat call my check-raise. He made a comment before he started tanking that he was "willing to call the $145, but wasn't sure about the $500."

and now i'm suddenly really glad that third guy went over the top because i misread the situation at the beginning of the river - it's clear that asian guy has either the same straight as me or the nut straight.

he keeps on looking back and forth between me and the other guy. He took a good five minutes to decide what he was going to do. But he was too good of a player to not make the call - he thought that i had him beat because i had slow-played a set, but he also eventually had to come to the same conclusion that i did that if third guy actually had a full house, he wouldn't have flat called the $55 after the river came out, and if he had a straight then the additional $500 was money he stood to gain even if he lost the main pot to me.

So he made the call. And he had the nut straight. The other guy folded without showing, but there was no doubt that he had trips.

I was beside myself. I said it multiple times out loud to him. "that was brilliant. i would have made that same call. it was tough, but also so obvious if you stopped to think about it." etc. i raved about the hand to a few other people. i couldn't be mad even if i was on the short end of it. it was one of the more beautiful hands i've ever been involved in.

a few of us on the table afterward were talking about why the third guy went all-in in the first place and came to the conclusion that he just didn't know what he was doing - that for some reason he thought that his trips was good and thought that my raise and the asian's flat call was some sort of stupid bluff or not a play of strength because i took too long to decide to raise.

the whole night ended sour when i was in recovery mode and walked into flopping trip kings with a Q kicker to someone's flopped set and made full house. It was frustrating because unlike last week where i made some poor plays, this session i think i played pretty well and still ended up losing, increasing the likelihood that i'll end up in the red for 2013. But that's cards, and i still love it and i'm still evaluating and working to improve my game. Currently i'm trying to hone the leak of my hyperagressive style, and it's working slowly but surely. Or at least so i think; we'll see over the next couple of years how it actually turns out.

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March 2017