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poker hands.

there were two poker hands that happened this past weekend that are worthy of logging. The first one was a bizarre hand in my mind because the player was kind of weird. The second one was a brilliant hand where i lost a huge pot, but i think i made the right judgement call based on the player i was playing.

in the first hand, i was in fairly early position and picked up 9h9s. I opened for $12. A late position guy reraised me to $25. The small blind called, and i called.

The flop comes 8h4h8c. The small blind who had flatted the $25 decides to lead out for $50. In general, this guy was a very odd player. I'd seen him make strong bets like that - both in amount and also when someone else showed aggression - on two other occasions. in one, everyone folded. In the second, he ended up checking the turn and folding to a river bet when a scare card had come out on the river. He also wasn't that great a bet-sizing in general - he would bet strong holdings with sub-par bets.

I thought there was a good chance my 99 was still good. The bet put me in a strange squeeze position because of the original reraiser, but i decided that it was worth the risk to call - if the later position guy reraised, i could easily fold. But it wasn't worth reraising because i wasn't entirely sure of my hand, and i didn't want to commit more of my stack to a flopped monster. I called, and the original reraiser folded.

turn comes 7c. Small blind hesitates momentarily, makes as if he's thinking about betting, and then checks. This makes me incredibly suspicious. The 7 is a very innocent card and cannot have changed much - this guy wasn't much for betting on weird draws, so i didn't think the 7 made his straight. At this point, i'm thinking he could either have a hand like 1010 or JJ, but he could also be sitting on a monster like 44 or a dry 8, most likely 8A. I didn't like my hand either way, nor did i think i could get him to fold 1010 or JJ if i bet unless i bet strongly, and then a monster hand would kill me. so i checked.

The river comes 9c. Small blind deliberates for a long time with body language of strength - he looks like he wants to bet pretty badly. Eventually he does bet, $100. At this point, i put him squarely on the strong hand, either 44 or A8. I've just hit my miracle full house and i think i can rope him for the rest of my stack because there's no way he can fold those hands. I pause for a moment, and then i reraise all-in - an additional $300. He had me covered. He thinks for a while - and then open-folds AA.

i couldn't keep from rolling my eyes.

It didn't even occur to me that he could have AA or KK because he flatted the $25 reraise. In retrospect i should have accounted for it because he had won a hand much earlier in the evening where he had limped in late position with AA and had even checked the flop, waiting to fire on the turn. But i didn't think that he would play the weak-means-strong thing again preflop.

i don't think i played it poorly - his flatting range there was wide because he loved being in hands. But it was still annoying. If i had known that he had that and he could fold it easily to that sort of pressure, i would have considered reraising with less of my stack, or even induced him to push all-in after i did a more modest raise.


In the second hand, everyone had been sitting on the table for a while. It was pretty friendly, there was a lot of money on the table. Some of the players were strong - a few were weak.

Under the gun i had KsKd. I raised to $12. I got five callers, which was par the course for the table.

board comes 10s7s5s. The small blind leads out $50. He only had another $60 behind. I pause to disguise my intention, and then i reraise to $150. A guy to my left goes all-in. fairly quickly as soon as i let my $150 cross the line. I have him covered, it's an additional $175 for me to call. The guy with $60 goes all in, and so it's back to me.

I think for a good long while. The guy who is all-in is a solid player. He had started out the evening playing very loose-aggressive, particularly against a guy who had been raising very often with a wide range of hands. When that guy left, he started playing more tight-aggressive. He also knew me well enough to know that i knew what i was doing, and knew at the very least that a raise like that could have meant many things. He was totally capable of making a move like that to put pressure on me to fold a better hand than him, or to put me off of a dry ace draw, but he was also capable of doing that knowing that i would think that, and he was sitting on the ace high flush - or he had the dry ace draw himself.

At this point, the pot was roughly $325, plus the $175 bet he put out. So i had $175 to call into a $500. I decided that the likelihood that he had the A high flush was minimal - the board was not that scary, and with me showing the aggression, all he would have to do is wait for me to bet on the turn to get my money in. Therefore he either had a baby flush, a set, or a dry As or QsQx or something. With those possibilities and with me having the potential for a flush redraw for the hand ranges where i was ahead, i decided that the call was worth it. He turned over 10c7c - he had flopped two pair. The turn came a 7 to give him a full house, the river came a Qs to give me my now useless flush.

The hand immediately after, i ended up losing the rest of my stack to the same guy because i flopped two pair to his set. It was a negative result from a session perspective, but i don't think i played poorly. We'll see how this year goes, but i have a lot of confidence in my play these days; the biggest motto i keep running in my head is "know how to change gears." I sometimes tend to be too LAGgy these days, and have to learn how to slow down on the marginal hands that i like to be aggressive with. I'm definitely better about it than i used to be, and so long as i'm cognizant of it, i think i'll ccontinue to get better.

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March 2017