Sunday, November 25, 2012

Who's the Idiot? A Tale of Self-Destruction at The Nugget

Pete Peters went up to New York for Thanksgiving.  I made stops in AC on Wednesday on the drive up, and Saturday on the way back, and put together two strong cash sessions both days:

Borgata (Wednesday night):

Harrah's (Saturday night):

I left New York early Saturday morning to reach AC in time for the nooner at the Nugget -- my favorite tournament in Jersey.  $25,000 stacks, 30 minute levels.  I built my stack up to $48,000 by the first break, but then caught a run of bad luck, including flopping top-top twice against a villain's set.  Five hours in, blinds were $50 / $400 / $800, and I was sitting on $38,000 when this hand occurred:
Villain was new to table.  He's an older gentlemen, sitting on $23,000 give or take a few hundred.  The action checks around to Villain on the hijack.  Villain checks the hole, and starts playing with his $100 and $25 chips.  He looks like he's thinking about calling.  But, after 30 seconds or so, Villain reaches for two $1000 chips and raises.  Action folds to me on the button.  I look down at 55.  My read is that Villain is not all that strong.  Rather than flatting and set mining, I opt to raise.  I'm basically planning on making a move, assuming I don't flop a set.  I raise to $6,000.  Villain just calls.  More affirmation in my mind that he's not holding a monster.
[Pot: $13,700]    Flop comes down 2h, 6c, 4h.  Villain checks.  I lead out for $9,300.  I have a pair and a gutshot, but really I'm just continuing with my move.
Villain shoves.  Oooops.  

It's $8,000 more to me, so I begrudgingly call.

Villain flips . . . 99. 


I don't improve, and I bust out an orbit later when I shove 99 (ironically) and get called by AK which connects on the flop.
I've given the hand some thought.  I really don't understand Villain's play.  His line preflop is fine, I guess.  But his flop call/shove didn't seem to make sense.  He has $18,000 chips left on the flop -- plenty left to fold and live to play another hand.  What does Villain think he's ahead of?  What's my range?  Villain has no history on me.  I've three-bet preflop and continued on a fairly coordinated board.  I feel like my story checks out: JJ - AA.  I also could have taken the same line with AK (maybe AQ, etc.).  Basically, there's one or two hands in my range that Villain is ahead of.  And, of course, he's ahead of a pure bluff.  How does he think his 99 is good? 
After the hand, I jokingly said to Villain, "I guess I didn't sell my story well enough, huh?"  His response:  "Well, it was the best hand I had seen in a while."  Um.  What?  How is that a reason to stack off for your tournament life? 
Plenty of times in the past, I've self-destructed 4 or 5 hours into a tournament when the combination of boredom and bad cards had lulled me into making a bad play.  However, here, while my move didn't work, I still feel like it was a strong play.  Villain's hand (99) is right around where I put him.  I thought I could move him off his hand.  A day later, I still think my line should have worked.  So, I guess my question is this: 
Was Villain the idiot or was I?


  1. You tried bluffing somebody who was unbluffable. He is who he is. You failed to recognize who he is. Greater mistake yours.

  2. Point taken. We were both coming at each other from clean slates given he had just gotten a table change. I had no reason to think he could or couldn't lay down a marginal hand (assuming my read was right). I guess I just assumed that I could push a "reasonable player" off the range I put him on. Not the case!

    Thanks for the comment, Grump.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Need to correct my previous comment.

      Villian was focused on his cards and not what you were representing. I have made the same mistake myself (more than once) in which I tried to bluff a villian off his hand but I gave him too much credit to understand what I was representing.

      I did that recently in which villian had a very weak A on a flop with an A. All my pre- and post-flop action told the story of having a stronger A. But villian did not see that, he just focused on he did not want to give up his paired A. Cost me half my stack.

      As Grump stated, we tend to fail to recognize in time the player we are making a move against. There are those that don't want to give up their hand and fail to see the story we are telling.

  4. I think that ofttimes we give too much credit to other players actually using their heads and focusing on something other than the cards right in front of them.

    1. Yes i agree with this. He had made up his mind that he was going with this hand, particularly if no overs came on the flop.

    2. What's worse is when they seem sooo satisfied with themselves after making the call. It wouln't be nearly as bad if only they knew how awful they were . . . but, they never do.

      My all time favorite was also a hand at the nugget tournament, which I may have bloged about before. I had AQ on a AA8 board (I think it was an 8). It was the first level of the tournament. Guy check called my preflop raise and then led into me on flop and turn before shoving the river. I tank-folded. It's twenty minutes into a deepstack, slow structure tourney. I figure no one in their right mind is getting it in that early without the nutz. 88 or A8. I fold my trips face up, and guy says, "wow. I wouldn't have folded that . . ." and proceeded to table KK. And, as if that wasn't bad enough, he proceeded to talk about the hand for ten minutes like he played it like a pro. I wanted to jump the table and punch him in the neck . . .

      Yep, love poker . . .

  5. im with the chorus. I make the same mistake as well. You can often put someone on an exact range of hands and you make plays based on how a reasonable player would act with that hand.

    the mistake here is making a move on a new opponent when you don't need to. The old man stereotype would make you think opponent had something like a mid pair or AJ-like hand and would snap fold to a cbet when he missed. However, it's usually best to give it a couple orbits and see how he plays.

    My favorite is when I bluff into someone's polarized range (Hands where they can't be value betting without the nuts). I'm pretty sure I bluff into the nuts about 110% of the time.

  6. All comments summed up by mixing it up with an unknown on the first hand(s) at the table. Your mistake is compounded by assuming things about the unknown.

    Similar hand happened to me two weeks ago: First hand in, I'm raising A3hh in the CO (I posted my $2 @ 1/2) (5 limpers and I raise to $16). Get called in 2 spots including BB. Flop is K Q J rainbow. I charge the flop and get a call from old timey Asian guy (BB). Turn is Q which I check back. River is a blank and Asian guy checks again. I make the mistake of shoving. Snap called by K9o... srsly? Table is dumbfounded - had some history with some of the players and they all were "folding AK there..." Repping Kings full, trip Q, KQ, AA sometimes, etc. Very rare bluff spot for most players (which, BTW, is why I shoved it).

    Old timey guy proceeded to lose his chips to everyone else at the table because he was horribad, but I assumed he was a reasonable player... My assumption cost me ~$110.

  7. @ PM -- but he had TOP PAIR !!!!

    Sometimes it seems like it doesn't make sense to get away from ABC, at least at $1/2.... You end up out-thinking yourself ....

    1. For me, this was a table where I specifically waitlisted myself. The players who were fish were super fishy. I shouldn't have gotten out of line so quickly...

  8. He makes a small bet, you raise 3x the bet and he calls. I would put him on TT. He doesn't want to shove preflop since he is afraid of J,Q,K,A. So he says - let me see the flop and go from there. So the flop comes and now he checks wanting for you to commit your chips, which you do. And BAM, he moves all in.


    He makes a small bet, you raise 3x the bet and he calls. I would put him on small pair. He doesn't want to shove preflop with a small hand and being a bad player he can't get away from a pocket pair. So he calls your 6K and says - let me see the flop and go from there. So the flop comes and now he checks wanting you to commit your chips, which you do. And BAM, he moves all in with a 44.

    You either check the flop or bet 4-6K and if he comes over the top you fold.

    Just my stupid two cents.

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