A short session, some nice hands

I took a month off to decompress, and have been enjoying my time away from the tables. I’ve been working on a lot of other projects with the time this has freed up, and making the most of it. It’s been good to get away from the game.

I decided to watch some tables last night, and found a 4-seat, 100/200 NLHE table. I was thinking about maybe sitting in for a few hands, but someone else beat me to the empty chair. They sat in, played exactly one hand, won a nice pot, and left. I decided that was my sign, so I sat down.

No rust, and no tilt, I’m fresh and ready to play. I buy in at 40,000, the max for the table, and one player has about 50k, one has about 25k, and one player has around 1500. The player with 1500 loses the last of his chips pretty soon after I come in, leaves, and is replaced by a new player. My cards are nothing special, but I do end up picking up a small pot with some suited rags that make a flush, and after a few orbits I’m up +3000.

The player who was up around 50k when I sat down is the one losing the most to me, and they decide to cut their losses and go, or maybe they’d just been at the table long enough. The rest of the table vacates and I’m left up +3k-4k or so with no one left to play. I think, well, it didn’t last long, but at least I won a hand or two. I sit out, go to the bathroom, and come back, and there’s a new player sitting. I sit back down and the dealer starts a hand, but he’s away, and times out so I end up taking one blind from him. Quickly, though, the table fills back up, and the player to my left ends up getting me again and again on hands where I’m beat but the bets are sized just right to keep me in, and I end up dropping about 6k or so over the next 10-15 minutes, maybe. The pots are tiny, and not worth folding with marginal holdings that I don’t expect to win very often, but might. This time they don’t. That new player to my left gets his fill and leaves, and is replaced by a new player.

Finally I run into a hot string. I get KK, flop comes 788, giving me two pair, KK88, but then the turn fills me up KKK88, river’s a 9, my opponent calls with 66 improving from two pair to an almost-straight, and I win a good pot of 4180 chips with it. It’s the biggest pot to come in a while, it’s been really hard to get anyone to put much in the middle when I have anything. I’d had KK once prior at this table and couldn’t get anyone to call me at 3BB to open, so the mood here is really tight. Anyway, that pot puts me right back up to breakeven.

Things start to loosen up a bit, I take a QJs hand against the new player to my left, and flop into Broadway, bet it for three streets of value, and get called by top pair, A4s, who pays off nicely to the tune of 28.5k. Now the table’s feeling different, bets are getting called, and it looks like I can build a real pot.

I get pocket Aces, raise them, and then check-raise a flop and my opponent folds, and I win a tiny pot with them. But just a few hands later, I get pocket Aces second time, and this time it goes all in the middle. I open preflop from the button to 450 and get a call from the player to my left. Flop is A83, rainbow, and I have top set. V checks it to me and I min-bet, and get a call. Good. I’m hoping he’s got the last Ace and won’t fold it, and I’ll get him to call three streets again.

I go half-pot on the Turn, which is the 4s, and he calls again. Pot is now up to 2660. River is a 6s, the board is Ad8c3h4s6s, I have top set, the board’s not paired, and there’s no flush, so I’m and feeling reasonably good about it, but I don’t much like the 6 coming on the river because it introduces straights for 75 and 52. But both of those are hands I would not expect V to be holding in this spot, I’m still hoping that he has top pair, and it’ll be enough to get him to call a pot size river bet. I put it in, and V shoves, about 5x pot. I’m not expecting it, and it puts me off.

Decision time. Do I really think he’s got that straight? I consider, if he had 75s, it would have been a bad play to continue past the flop without a flush draw or at least some part of the flop. 52s, even less likely. If he shows either of those hands, hoo boy that’s going to steam me up. I consider, maybe he has A6 and improved to two pair on the river? Or maybe 66?

Whatever, I’m only beat by 75 or 52 here, and I don’t see how he could have either of those; I call.

V shows 88, for flopped middle set, he slow played it and got beat by the effective nuts. Very good hand for me, I pull in a pot of 50k and double up from my starting stack to 80k.

The player to my left leaves the table having busted, and the rest of the players at the table quickly follow, but are replaced just as quickly. I continue playing but nothing consequential goes down for many orbits, and my stack remains a little over 80k. Finally, I end up checking J3o from the BB into a 3-way flop, 4JJ, giving me top trips. I check-call to the river, the board runs out 4sJsJd9cQc. This new player to my left bets into me for three streets, and then shoves the river.

I consider calling again, but this time I lay it down. I have JJJQ9, despite my hand being J3 I have a pretty reasonably good board kicker that I might chop against some Jacks; maybe I should have called. But I figure the following hands all could have me: 44, 99, QQ, J9, QJ, KT, T8, and even JT, KJ, or AJ. That’s a few too many reasonable combos that V could be holding for me to call a huge overbet on the river, so I let it go and V gets the pot, which is just 2000.

V doesn’t show their hand, so might well possibly have bluffed me off of it. V left the table after that hand, and I decided to close for the night too.

Did I make a good fold here? I don’t know; if I had some hand history on this player and knew how they play, I could say more definitely, but I think it was better to play safe rather than risk 25k to find out.

What do you think?

Another short session tonight. I sit down at a 4-seat, 50/100 NLHE ring table with the max buy-in of 10000. Soon after I sit, the player to my right leaves; Player to my left has about 6000 chips, player behind him has about 1500, but wins some hands and gets up to about 4000 or so.

I start out cold and just fold hands for the first 4-5 orbits, burning through about 500 chips without playing a single flop. The two players remaining at the table seem like they know what they’re doing. Every hand there’s a 3-bet and sometimes a 4-bet, and they seem like they play postflop reasonable. I continue to get nothing playable against such aggression, and just continue to fold hands and watch.

The last four hands of the night for me were all the excitement I needed.

4th last:

Finally, I get dealt a playable hand, KJo in the SB. Button limps, I decide to open to 150; BB 3-bets up to 500, Button calls, and because of the pot odds, and because both players have been 3-betting everything, so far, it seems like they’re playing pretty loose, so I’m not going to fold KJo here, I decide to play it. I happen to hit middle pair, Q over me, I check it, and BB bets pot, about 1500. Button folds at this point. I think about it, but I’ve been sitting too long to fold a hand like this; I call. It’s 4400 in the middle, and V has about 3k left behind. He goes all-in on the Turn and I call; turns out he had AA and I fail to draw out against it, and I pay him off with middle pair, and drop down to 4500 chips. The call wasn’t one I really felt good about, but I thought he could be bluffing. Oh well.

3rd last:

I hit reload to top off, but the next hand gets dealt before I can. I am looking at AQs on the button, and open to 150, SB 3-bets to 500, BB calls. So I 4! to 2k, and both players call. Flop is KK5, and it checks through. I look to see how much I have behind, and since my reload order didn’t come through in time, I just have 2500, which for a pot of 6000 isn’t enough fold equity. I’m rebuying next hand anyway, so might as well start with a clean slate and get stacked, so I shove, and the table folds to my bluff. I pull down 5900 chips and get my stack up to 8400. SB still has 8300, and BB only has 1600 left.

2nd last:

A6s in the BB. Button opens to 175, SB calls, I call. Flop 2Th9h, giving me a draw to the nut heart flush. I lead out for half pot, and get a call from the Button, while the SB folds. My flush fills on the Turn, 7h, and I have a re-draw to a T-high straight flush.

I don’t want it to check through, but I also don’t want V to fold, so I opt to bet it small, and put in another 250 bet, which now is just 25% pot. V raises up to 1775, and I assume he’s got a flush too, but wouldn’t it be sick if he had the Jh and the river was a 8h to give us both a straight flush? I don’t worry about it, though, and figuring he’ll likely fold if I raise again, I just call.

River is the 6c, no pair on the board means that I have the literal 2nd nuts, and only Jh8h can beat me. I pause a few seconds before putting in a half-pot bet of 2500. I’m not sure what sizing to go with here to get maximum value, really, but I think half pot is reasonable. If V has a flush he’s definitely calling that, and might even raise. He could also have a straight, and might call with that too. I figure a good player would likely fold a set here, given that I wasn’t afraid to lead out again after getting raised, but maybe not. At any rate, V does call, shows 97o – he had filled two pair on the Turn, and I guess he didn’t mind paying to see the flush. I take a pot of nearly 9.5k, and my stack is now up to 14775, so I’ve basically recouped my buy-in and top-off, and am maybe +2k on top of that after this hand.


Pocket QQueens in the SB seat. Button limps and I open to 250. BB raises me to 800, which is just fine by me. Button calls. I decide to 4-bet, and make it 3200, overbetting the 1800 that’s already in the middle by about 1.75x. I’m really expecting to get a fold here, but to my surprise both players call. BB is nearly all-in to call, having just 325 behind, and Button was already nearly all-in to call the 800 raise from the BB, so I guess there’s no folding when you’re already committed.

Flop is 32Q-rainbow, just about the perfect flop for me. I check top set, and BB shoves the rest of his stack in the middle. It’s an easy call knowing I have the best hand here, so I call, and we flip up: BB has Q5o, giving him top pair, backdoor straight draw, and Button has pocket 55, giving him a backdoor straight draw also, but basically they’re drawing nearly dead, needing to hit runner-runner 4, and then either A or 6 to beat my set of QQQueens. The board runs out 7h, Th, though, and I take every chip at the table in this hand, another +8500 to me, and now I’m sitting on 19.7k.

The BB decides to leave the table at this point, and the Button doesn’t reload immediately, so I decide that’s if for me, and scoop my winnings and scoot.

So why did you put yourself in that position? One has to plan ahead a little: shove preflop and be done with it.

That’s an excellent point; the reason it happened was that I had hit the reload button to top off, but didn’t notice that the order didn’t get filled before the hand started. So I raised thinking I was back up to 10000 chips, and noticed too late that I had left myself behind with not enough chips. Definitely a mistake. I got lucky that both players folded, I really didn’t expect that to happen.

The other thing, though, I was expecting my raise preflop to get at least one player to fold, which, if it had, the pot would have been smaller, and my remaining stack might have had some fold equity. That thinking never came into play, though, because like I said, I thought that I had 10k in front of me when I made the raise.

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