Maybe it was just Pete being a nit. But I'd like to think I picked up on a nice tell . . .
It was Friday night at Harrah's AC. The Circus(it) is currently in town, and the poker room has been packed the past two weeks. It was a one of the worst tables I'd ever played at Harrah's. And, by "worst," I mean filled with at least eight decent players. There was very little money changing stacks. I had been seated for just over two hours, and my stack was still hanging around $300. Every one else at the table also had approximately a full buy-in behind.
Then, finally . . . AA. In middle position. Under the Gun +1 limps in and gets a caller. I raise to $12. UTG+1 calls and we go heads up to the flop.
FLOP: [Pot $29] - 6 2 7 rainbow. Villain leads for $20. Interesting. I just call.
Turn: [Pot: $69] - 8. Villain bets $55.
I fold. AA face-up into the muck.
Villain is incredulous. His tables is 66. Aces cracked, and it only cost me $32.
Now, back to the question posed in the opening line -- super nit or good read? Here was my thought process:
1. Villain struck me as competent - no more, no less. He wasn't a donk, but he wasn't brilliant, either.
2. Villain limp-called $12 from early position. He could have done that with A7 or A6 suited. Of course, my pocket pair made that hand less likely. 76, 66 or 77 are squarely in his limp-call range.
3. Villain's $20 donk on the flop gives me some information. It leads me to believe he is on the weaker end of the range. There are two cards to the straight on the board. But there are not many hands in my range that give me the straight draw. What hands am I raising to $12 from middle position that include a 4, 5, 8, 9, etc.? If he flopped a monster, why lead out? It's doubtful he is protecting his hand from a draw. His $20 bet tells me he as a 6 or a 7 or a hand of similar value. Of course, it's also possible he's put me an a big over pair, knows I'll call, and is trying to build the pot . . . At this point, I'm not all that concerned; but I'm curious.
4. After my $20 call, I see Villain staring at my stack. I'm not quite sure what it is about the look; but something strikes me as funny (and, not in the "ha-ha-funny-like-a-clown" kind of way). It wasn't the look of a guy on a draw sizing up his "implied odds" . . . My initial, gut reaction: "this dude is looking at my chips, just thinking about how many of them he is gonna pull across the table on this hand . . ."
5. The eight falls on the turn, Villain thinks deliberately, and bets out $55. OK. Now I'm no longer curious. I'm concerned. The pot is getting bloated. A call here and I'm into the hand for $82. There would be $179 in the middle when the river peels. It would be hard to fold to a river bet. I mean, on this kind of board, the river is not going to change anything. So, if I'm confident enough to call the turn, how can I fold to a river bet? I could save a bit of money by raising the turn, I guess (and seeing villain's response). But I'm not in love with that idea. Perhaps I should have raised the flop to $60; but that decision has come and gone.
My thought process turns to my old fall-back -- what am I beating? I'm less convinced I'm looking at a pair of 6's or 7's or some medium pocket pair -- villain is creating a big pot here, and the table (including villain) had been playing somewhat tight all night. Really, the only hands I'm ahead of are TT-KK. Maybe Villain limp-called from early position with TT or JJ -- statistically unlikely. But, at the same time, there are only three hands I'm realistically behind -- 66, 77, 67. In the back of my head, I hear Poker Grump -- "don't be scared of the monster under the bed . . ."
But, my mind keeps going back to "the stare" . . . Something about this hand just doesn't feel right. I think I'm beat. In fact, I'm actually sort of confident I'm beat. So much so that I decide to muck my AA face up and risk Villain showing 99 or the like and the humiliation of being utterly outplayed, in position, on the hand.
In the end, I got this one right. A $32 loss with AA is a win (villain, by the way, claimed he put me on QQ or KK). And I'm not sure I make that lay down if I'm not paying close attention to villain's demeanor during the hand.
Saturday, I played the 11:00, the 2:00 and the 7:00 tournaments at The Showboat. Quite clearly, I didn't run very deep in the first two. In fact, during the first two levels of the middle event, I was dealt AA, KK, QQ, TT and AQ . . . and lost each hand, sending my stack from $20,000 to $7,000. I three-bet each, and made it to showdown only on the AQ hand. The table must have thought I was fucken nutz (three-betting every other hand, only to lay down . . .). Yes, I realize that may make me appear "exploitable," but I am nearly certain I was beat with each pair. On the AA hand, the flop was Q-high. Villain led the flop, I raised, she called. Turn was another Q. She lead with a sizable bet, I folded (if she didn't have a Q, then well-played on her part ... ). Overcards hit the flop on the KK, QQ, TT. Each hand was multi-way (despite my preflop three-bets) with action on the flop (only one of the hands made it to showdown, and both had an A). And, on the AQ hand, I lost to A 4 on a K 4 8 J 2 board. I continued my preflop aggression with a bet on the flop and got called. I checked the turn and bet the river and got called. Woman claimed she "knew" I had overcards . . . It was the worst "heater" in memory.
And, finally, here's some photographic evidence that non-casino companies should not operate casinos. It's The Revel at 11:00pm Saturday night:
There were also plenty of $15 black jack tables with multiple empty seats. One would have thought Revel would have paid attention to The Cosmo.... It's Atlantic City in December and you stick with your philosophy that you are a "Destination Resort" and refuse to comp (or discount) rooms? Really? I can stay at Borgata for $115 (and Harrah's for free) on a Saturday night and you want to charge me $375? Really? Really? I guess I'll just wait until after the court-supervised reorganization. Yes, Revel is a really cool casino; but I can wait a year to bring my business over . . .