Slumped Over

When you are in a slump, you body position usually literally becomes a slump at the table. Not the kind of image you want to give off when making a bold bluff, or a raise with a marginal hands. It screams weakness. I'd say recently I've been in a mini-slump and have had to catch myself from sinking into the felt.

Recently the Harrahs wednesday tournament has been my personal Iceberg, my reads have been outstanding yet, I've had nothing to show for it. This wednesday I had a strange, strange hand play out. I raise from EP playing on my tight image with 64 suited. I like to do this because it gives me three options. I can c-bet like I have an overpair or a big ace that paired up. I can muck the hand easily if my "bluff" c-bet isn't going to work or the texture of the board mandates calls by draws. And three, I hit it, inevitably I'll get paid off because the table is putting me on high cards or a pocket pair. So, the flop comes 765. Big blind checks. I'm open ended with middle pair. Let's see where I'm at.

I lead out. The first two preflop callers ditch and then the guy in the big blind who barely called the preflop raise throws his chips in with some hesitancy. I've pinned him as a guy who defends his BB with nothing but calls just because it's his BB and maybe to him that's a form of resistance. The turn is a Q. Not the card he needed.

He fronts like he's about to bet and defensively caresses his chips before checking. I realize I'm probably ahead right now. Well he's going to pay to see his overcards plus there is two to a flush out there (though it's my baby flush). I fire. He's commited and makes a crying call, he's looking for something.

River is a J. He missed and checks. Funny thing here, I win the hand had I checked and turned over my pair (I told you this was a strange hand) but I decide maybe he's got a weak 7, let's get him off his hand. I push another big bet out there. He's about to muck and then looks at his cards one last time.

Suddenly, the passivity is gone. He's energized bouncing up and down, and then goes into acting mode. He's hemming and hawing and throws his "hapless" hands up in the air "I'm all-in." Uh beg your pardon. I can't figure it out. I ask, "Where you chasing a straight and forgot you had a jack?" He can contain an authentic smile. What's weird is the strength he is conveying is even more than that. I stall. I really want to know his cards. I know I'm going to fold but I hope my agonizing will get him to show after I do.

I fold, and he shows 89 for the nuts. He then revealed he didn't realize he had the straight (which he flopped) until he was about to muck at the end. Had I turned over my pair, I think he would have simply folded quickly without looking again, but betting into him, he felt the need to represent he was making a big decision. Odd, huh.

Great, crippled I make a move with a low pair in early position (in my defense I was two hands from the blinds which were going to empty me) and get called by JJ and QQ. JJ hit his set and knocked out two players and didn't even give me a sweat.

That night, I hit the boomtown tournament and snapped it off. I played strictly ABC poker and won my races and had my hands held. Got crippled twice, but stayed patient and got my money in good and rebounded when my hands held. Of course it was boomtown so the hand of the night was when I saw a guy ship it with K7 o/s on the final table with about 30 times the blinds and get called by a guy with Q10 suited with 31x(!)--this was preflop. Crazy minefield I got lucky enough to get through. Must say, I was pretty good at hitting the gas on the bubble and playing at the bigger stacks during the money play. So, that's a postive sign. There are also a few players there that I can see marked improvement in.

So I guess, slump busted, so at least I'll be sitting high at my next table and be back to bettting with confidence. So when you see me remember just fold.

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