More Learnings from the felt.

In one of my cash sessions with Eddie, I played with a guy I've seen around the room quite a bit. He always seems to have chips so I was eager to study his game. As the rest of the table was pretty piss poor, I felt like me and him would do the carving.

We played one hand, together and I think he outplayed me. I couldn't call, contemplated making a move as he was good enough to get away from a hand, but I gave up knowing their were easier spots on the table.

He had a ton of chips and was using them proficiently. One fat kid, who looked as comfortable in his own skin as I felt the day after camping in a posion ivy patch. He was overmatched but didn't realize it. Anyway, he stare menacingly at the good player whenever they'd get into a hand and then raise into him.

The guy picked up on it from the get go, and would casually roll out a bet that was half the fat kid's stack. He'd winced like he took a fastball to the stomach. Then he'd fold.

Then, he'd do the exact same thing two or three hands later. And he get crunked in the stomach again. I laughed internally and gave some props to the other player. I also knew what to do when I faced him again to induce some action.

The good player picks up, taking a ton of the table's chips with him, and now I'm feeling very comfortable. Lots of opportunity here. I look down in the small blind with AQ. The fat kid looks at his cards and then very casually raises it. Weak means strong. Okay, he's got a good hand.

I'm not folding AQ in this spot despite possbily being crushed--there is just too much room in the rest of the hand for him to make a mistake. However, I feel I WAY behind. Flop comes queen high. I'm ahead of all but two of his possible three holdings AA KK and less possible QQ. I'm crushing JJ, AK, 1010 and AJ. AJ I'm discounting.

By the way, there is a third guy riding shot gun in this hand, an average asian player who is more call station than anything else. I lead out. Both players call. Hmmm.

The kid is not trying to stare me down at all. All the obvious tells of false strength were absent. I don't like that. I got a read the Asian guy didn't like his call as soon as the kid followed suit, so I know we are about to lose him.

The turn is a brick. The texture of the board isn't threatening. I bet out. The Asian calls, and I'm looking for his draw, again, not one. I credit him with a weaker queen. Then the fat kid shoves.

I stew. My first thoughts are to build a side pot with the asian, and I mull over poker strategy on how to extract money from him. Even if I lose to the fat kid, and I may be behind I want something out of the hand to "hedge" my call. As I get into the thought process of what to bet, I see the Asian, unfortunately, telegraph his fold and I'm now solely focused on the fat kid. The shove is for around half my stack. The pot is giving me a reasonable price.

He won't make eye contact with me and he is looking away to try and keep from scaring me out of the pot. Then he does a tell, which is A HUGE indicator of strength, Caro advocates folding the majority of your hands in the face of it when it's a non-actor (I'll refrain from stating it, reread your Caro if you want to guess).

Now, it's not an obvious call. If he's sitting on AA or KK he would feel pretty good here. I got a A so rockets are slightly less likely. I got a Q and I put the asian on a weak q so a set of Queens is unlikely and probably impossible. KK makes the most sense.

I'm contemplating folding now, and it might have been the correct play. I can justify the call, after the fact, but at the time the reason wasn't part of my thinking (though it should be and I think gives me a little insight into the hand I blogged about two entries ago). I made the call probably because the pot was too big and I had chips to spare (neither a very good rationale).

He turns over his hand like it's the nuts... KQ. I scoop the pot, and I hear him bitch about me not calling sooner. Here's the lesson that reaffirmed. Tells give you great information but you have to know what level a player is. This guy was a top pair is the nuts player. Granted the only hands I had seen him play was he was bluffing so I didn't have a guide to go on what he had, but I did know that he was inexperienced. Still, I should have known that he was bad enough, despite strong indicators of strength, he didn't know what strong was.

His parting comment, was indicative of that. There are many situations were I'll toss top pair top kicker for a profit (or a the appropriate stop-loss) as will many players. To him, it's an insta-call. Maybe he didn't know he was broadcasting "I have the nuts" type strength.

However, moving forward, I'm reminded that you need to get inside a player's head or his level to know what strength to him means. This reaffirmed lesson can be reapplied to the hand I folded a straight to. There it was an example where the Indian guy might have thought his second pair was best. He was too bad a player to realize I had cards too, and just because he connected with the flop didn't mean he had the best hand.

Perhaps, he wasn't executing a perfect bluff, until the point I flipped over my 10 for a straight. That he bitched about the tactic afterwards makes me think he had no idea I was so strong and his holding so weak. Kudos to him for revealing nothing when he got shocked by 10 roll. Still, the bad player's concept of the nuts is so different from a good players or an average player's that I have to take that into accord when considering the range of hands I call with. A good player can't possibly call my turn bet, a bad player can.


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