Compounding mistakes add up to a big pot + nice cooler pot vs. a near-nut flush

I sit in at a 500/1k 4-seat ring table with the standard buy-in, and as seems to happen more often than not, I start out hot, and take a few nice pots.

Then I wake up in the BB with 55. The table has been fairly soft, passive, and everyone limps. I don’t like to play 55 out of position 4-handed, so I decide to open to 5.5BB to see if I can get some folds, and it works – I get one call.

The flop is nice to me, I fill my set on the first card, and it’s a pretty disconnected board, Q53, with two hearts on the board. I decide to check and see if my opponent will try to steal the pot, but he just checks back, taking us to the Turn.

Turn card is a 6h, not a great card for me, as we now have 3 hearts and 3,5,6. I don’t think 74o calls too many 5.5BB opens, but I’m worried about a hand like A2, A4, or 78 filling on the river, or that a hearts draw has come in or a random heart could get lucky. I decide to bet here, and put in another 5500 chips into a pot of 12500; V calls.

I’m not sure what hand to put him on here, he could have a Q for top pair, could have two hearts or just one high heart. It doesn’t seem likely he’s playing many 5s (since I have them) or 3s here, other than maybe Q3s. Since he didn’t raise me here, I’m thinking if he has a flush, either he wants to keep me betting, or he has a low flush and doesn’t want to risk raising a better flush. And since he didn’t open preflop, and didn’t raise my open, I can probably rule him out having QQ. But he could have some middle pockets, like 66-TT, maybe JJ, although I think 99-JJ would have been better candidates to 3-bet. Then again, at a passive/weak table like this has been, there’s not much 3-betting happening, so maybe not.

Depending on what the River is, I think about how to play the hand. If a 4th heart hits the board, I’m probably beat, so check/call or bet/fold would be
reasonable actions. Non-heart river cards, I can put in a decent value bet, and fold if I get raised big. If the board pairs, I’m going to go big.

The board pairs, 3c, giving me 55533. I throw in a 2x pot bet for 50000, and hope that V has the nut flush, and not, say, 2h4h or 7h4h for the absolute nuts. I’m really not expecting a call otherwise.

V does call, and flips up 8s3s, for river Trips, and pays me off to the tune of 123k, a really nice pot for the way this hand started out.

I’m really surprised at the holding, here. 83s should be a fold UTG even at a 4-seat table, and certainly should be a fold in the face of a 5.5BB open from the BB. I quite accidentally played the hand just about perfectly to get the action I was able to get out of such a weak hand. I’ve seen a lot of players calling me light when I happen to raise connected broadways and flop 3 to a straight and try to bluff like I hit top pair. So when I checked the flop, bet the turn, I’m guessing that V thinks I’ve only got one heart and am betting the draw, and he can call, hope I miss filling the flush on the river, and check-call as long as the river card isn’t another high card. When the river card strengthens him to trips, and doesn’t fill the flush for a lone heart, he must have read my 2x pot river bet as a daring bluff, and thus decided to call.

After winning this pot, I think my play cooled the action and everyone at the table tightened up a bit more, and although it didn’t stop the limping, it did start the table playing a strategy of limp-trap, which I ran into once or twice, betting hands like 3rd pair on boards where no one was showing any interest in the hand, getting called and beaten by a passive play that could perhaps have gotten a bigger pot out of me than they did if they had been willing to pay it more aggressively, forcing me to fold draws off or pay to see if I can hit them. I did end up hitting a few, but couldn’t get much out of them, as pretty much any bet over 2BB resulted in the action closing and me taking the hand. You can’t complain about that when you can get it, but it did stop me from taking more huge pots with some really nice hands, including KK, JJ, and 99.

That changed finally, when I played 98s into AKs in this hand:

I opened from the UTG/CO seat to 3BB, button calls, SB calls, BB folds. (Button is different player, but the same seat as the hand above where I won with my 555s full of 33s.) Flop is K88, which is fantastic for me. I have 3 diamonds, too, but I’m more interested in the flopped trips. I’m leading, so I decide to lead small and see if I can get raised, so I put in a 2000 open, into 9500, and the Button raises me to 4000. I flat, and we see the Turn, a 9c which is the best hand in the deck for me, as it’s just given the Button four clubs to the nut flush, and me a full house, 88899.

Since V raised small on the flop, I decide to check-raise here, V obligingly bets a little over half pot, 9000 into 17500, and I raise to 27000, and V calls. I’m only beat by 99, KK, or K8, otherwise I’m sitting on the effective nuts. I can probably rule out KK because he only called my 3BB open, but good bet is I’m either up against a King or another 8, and maybe some draws like two clubs or JT. Pretty much all draws here are drawing dead, I think, so I don’t care too much what he has, other than 99/KK/K8.

River is the 6s, a brick, although it would let Tc7c make a consolation Straight. There’s no flushes on this board, so I decide not to go over-pot with my value bet, and just put in a pot-size bet. V calls, flips up AcKc, and gets the very bad news.

I think I probably got about maximum value out of this hand, considering. Maybe I could have gone even bigger on the turn, and then worked that into an all-in bet on the river, but there’s probably not too many hands that would call a much larger turn check-raise without having me beat.

On this hand, I don’t think V played it poorly at all. Maybe calling on the river was a bit suspect with just AA88K, but if he reads me as trying to bluff with my own missed draw, not trips improving to boat, it’s not an unreasonable line for me to take, and not an unreasonable hand to call with. They might have been able to win this hand preflop by 3-betting big, say going from 3k to 12k, and gotten me to fold the 98s before I had the chance to see it hit, but that would have only won them a small pot.

As I played the flop, it’s pretty reasonable for them to see the 2BB flop bet as a weak feeler bet, and want to raise it. Raising it just to 4BB doesn’t accomplish much, though, although it did maybe serve to protect him from committing too much vs. trips. But when I check-raised the Turn, he had to know I had something pretty good – maybe just an inferior club flush draw, though, which I’m guessing is what he must have put me on here. With AK and a King on the board for top pair, four to the flush, you can’t fold here too much, so it’s really no fault that he ran into a cooler here.

After this pot went down, I couldn’t get much action from here on, went on a bit of a cold spell, and bled out 30k, before getting hot again and taking back about 18k of that, before everyone decided it was time to clear out, and left the table up +118k, nearly double what I had bought in at. Not a bad session.