Monday, December 10, 2012

The Look that Said it All

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 . . .


  1. Nice laydown, refreshing to not be hearing the "my aces got cracked" sob story.

  2. It was a nice laydown, P3. It begs the question, however, as to whether it was a good long term laydown.

    Did it seem to create move people making call/raise moves against you later that night? Did it create an image where people felt you were exploitable and they could push you off hands later?

    Of course, you're a bright guy, and so maybe you knew that might be the effect and took advantage of it (?). How did the session go, overall?


  3. Now here's my only problem - why show?
    Did you think that you would actually be able to get the Villain to show his hand if you showed? If you thought this what type of evidence did you have for it leading up to it?

    Did you just show to prove you could make a big fold and that he can't play you?

    Showing your hand here tells the Villain that you can make a big fold and it also marks you for future instances of this exact same type of aggression from the villain.

    That's the big thing that peaks my curiosity in all of the above.

    1. @ grrouchie. Honestly, it was a combination of ego and strategy. Frankly, part of me wanted to show him I was folding a big hand and that I was getting away from his set on the cheap (yeah, I know . . . not smart poker-wise). But, at the same time, I also knew I could benefit from the fold. I had been playing very tight up to that point. I figure showing that type of laydown might allow me to make some money off future c-bets / bluffs. It also might give me the opportunity to call off some later hands a bit light, knowing that people might be more inclined to just try and push me off . . .

      I actually made a bad laydown a few weeks back at Borgata. I laid down QQ and showed on a coordinated T-high board. Villain had JJ and showed (presumably to show she outplayed me). I gave her a "very nice hand" and moved on. Over the course of the next hour, I was able to take $100+ off the table with raises and C-bets (and a preflop 3-bet) based on my perception. I was raising with suited-connectors and three bet with 55 from the big blind. People would limp-fold and make comments like, "I know you have a big pair . . ." A couple of times I got calls and comments like, "ok . . . I'll see a flop . . ." and then folds to the C-bets. The table greatly overestimated my strength, I believe, based on my tight perception early on, including my bad fold-n-show....

      Again, honestly, I showed the AA largely out of frustration/ego. But, before I made the decision to show, I also made the decision to adjust my future play based on the show . . .

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  4. s.i., that's the great thing about poker - you make a good call and it leaves you wondering whether you only made such a great call because you suck at the game!

    Whenever I show a laydown like that (or, for that matter, any hand), I'm always cognizant of the potential impact on later hands and realize that I have to factor my "perception" into future play . . . Friday, howeve, I ended up quiting about an hour later, and the hand had no impact on any subsequent hands. The table was just not very good, and I figured the move that made the most sense was to up and leave and throw away some cash on the old-lady slot machines (I mean, when is that ever NOT the best plan?)

    1. I liked your response under Grouchie's post. I don't think it's bad at all to show your hand, as long as you understand that showing your hand has consequences and you adjust based on that. Sounds like that was the plan.

      Keep posting - I like reading your stuff :-)


  5. obv he didnt read grumps advice to me, or blogpost about not showing in that situation

    1. Tony, I'm sure grump is correct about not showing... I don't always make the right decision in the heat of the moment . . .

  6. I rarely show unless it is showing off something like quads or the table is especially friendly and I am getting ready to leave. I prefer that, if possible, nobody has any idea of what I have. I sometimes do, however, lay down a hand and say "I think I am beat." However, I never show -- like maybe I am beat because I am playing The Grump on an all-high board or something.

    I am unclear why you didn't re-pop after the raise after the flop. Without re-raising there you probably have little idea where you stand.

    1. Speaking of restrain and not showing . . . he's a story a dealer relayed during the 2:00 tournament at The Boat on Saturday . . .

      Dealer had been playing at Harrah's the night before. He has 99 and goes heads up to a 99J flop. Nuts. Guy bets into him and he flats. Turn is J. Guy bets again, and dealer, who is somewhat shortstacked relative to the pot, shoves his boat right there. Guy says, "I know I have you beat. You're beat, you know . . ." Yet, he drags it out before calling the shove. River is a . . . J. Guy triumphantly flips his AJ for quad Jacks and says, "I told you you were beat . . ." (and, not in an ironic "I just hit runner runner quads" kind of way) DEALER MUCKS HIS QUADS!!! Now, that's restraint!

      Dealer said he didn't show in part because he didn't want to start up a hoopla over the bad beat, which, he of course correctly recognized had NOT been hit, because villain did not use both cards . . .

      Man, I would have shoved those 9999's in the dude's face!

  7. Agreed. I mentioned above that I should have raised his $20 to $60 or so on the flop. At the time, I didn't because I really wasn't worried about his action on the flop. I thought his donk bet was weak. it wasn;t until he fired the $55 on the turn that I started thinking he actually had a big hand!

  8. IMO you made a great laydown here so credit for that. Many people would have called the turn and maybe lost more on the river even if they felt like they could be beat.

    As for showing if you did it with a plan ok, but as for ego that is best left at home. After all you have readers here who you can tell. When i play cash, i try to play against weaker opponents. The last thing i want is their approval, or for them to think i am a good player. I am not a good player BTW, but i certainly don't want them to think that i am.

    However if some of the players i play with think i'm good, then i need to go back to the drawing board.