Online Poker... Lessons learned (4 of 4)

Continued from previous posts...

At the same time, my one year old’s growing boredom with his toys and daddy’s lack of interaction made me even more frustrated. So, I’d play with him for a bit and then play a hand or two of the Texas Holdem tournament. Finally, and this is where rule number two comes into play, I get involved in a hand with a middle pair.

Somehow, I had managed to win enough pots to come back from all those missed flops and I was kind of near even in chips. My Holdem poker opponent like me was just under starting chips, but I had him covered by a little bit. He limped and I raised on the button with another middle pair (I’m noticing a theme here, maybe I need to learn how to play middle pairs—maybe folding them). He and one of the blinds called. Flop came AJx two hearts. Check, check to me, and I represented the Ace with a bet. Fold by the blind, and the guy quickly called. Hmmmm.

Turn was a 10. He checked I bet, a bet which I really thought would push him off his flush draw. He insta-called and I knew he was on a flush draw. River was another Jack. He checked again. I told myself to trust my instincts. He had a busted flush draw. The Ace wasn’t a heart, so that worried me that he might have a pair of aces (nut flush draw), so I figured I had to make him think his kicker was doo-doo and I had to bet.

Maybe he had a 10 in his hand too, and I didn’t like the showdown value of my hand… as much as I probably should have. Then, I put in over half my stack basically a size I thought that said, you can’t bluff me here as I’m way committed to the pot. Kind of a weakfish play, in that, I’m giving myself the option to fold here if he comes over the top. I’ve just melted most of my stack off.

He shoved. And I thought. He had a flush draw. Couldn’t have had the Jack of hearts. Did he have an Ace like Ace King that he limped with from middle position. Weird. In my heart of hearts, I felt my 88s were good. In the lower buy-in tournaments this type of call propels me to the latter stages, but here I was worried about the buy-in. I had satellite in but still why go broke with fourth pair. Only hand I could beat was an out and out bluff. What hands could bluff? KQ of hearts made a straight on the turn. K10 of hearts probably doesn’t bet there. K or Q9 of hearts would have the extra straight draws and might be pissed enough to shove.

Ugh. Most of my chips were in there. Still, I gave myself the option to fold. I was clearly in a situation that I couldn’t fold to a bluff, so he had to have the hand. Unless… he’s a village was missing an idiot or just mentally crushing me.

So, I reluctantly folded, using all the factors that are secondary to me in playing poker (always follow your gut and good things normally happen). As the pot was pushed to him he showed Q9 of hearts. I told him good hand.

Me and my son played a bit, and I noticed blinds were low enough that even at 1/5th starting chips I was still not in that much of trouble. I won some pots, and then got away from a couple of pots where I would have been betting into both the nuts and second nuts and drawing dead. Finally, and appropriately, I got it all in with another open-ended straight flush draw with one over and missed everything. Anyway, play and learn as they say.


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