Harrahs Weekly Poker Donkley 9.29 part 2


Anytime you play Texas Hold'em poker you got to make big calls if you are going to be a winner in the session or go deep in the tournament. In the previous post, I was deliberating whether or not to make one.

The worst is where you make a great call and then it turns into poker bad beat with a bad follow-up card but here there were no more cards to come.

His 1500 bet didn’t make sense. I knew he had watched me find folds before so this screamed steal. I looked for tells (that’s too specific really as I more accurately tried to get a feel for his confidence as it’s not like there is a checklist I go through... even if maybe there should be).

There is a less than reliable tell where the player tries to appear casual under pressure. It’s a subtle thing, but it's tricky because it’s one a lot of players will actually honestly display, or not hide, when they do have a hand. It’s not the easiest thing to look for. So you have to decide are they acting or are they really comfortable? Another tell on display is when a player looks away from the table as you are in thought, which is usually a sign of strength. It’s as though they don’t want to scare you out of calling by making eye contact or doing anything confrontational.

This guy was doing a little of both. He talked to the waitress but wasn’t ordering. Spider sense tingling…

I only had a pair of 8s and the river was another overcard so I didn’t love this spot. However, I thought even AK might be good here too, as I gave him nohting. Then he engaged in a brief conversation with a player to his side and my gut knew it even if my brain didn’t. He was feigning casualness and I thought him on a two-overcard bluff. The lookaway wasn’t an attempt to avoid a locking of the eyes or scare away an opponent it was an attempt to look disinterested (ie be casual) and the two conversations were also attempts at the same.

I called, knowing that I was putting a big piece of my stack into the pot with a measley pair of eights, against an opponent who had called me twice earlier in the hand. I had checked hoping for a showdown or a bluff catching call, but this was a bigger bluff than I wanted. Still the knowledge that he had watched me find folds to similar, but smaller, bets gave me some optimism my chips were coming back to me. Plus, he was a wise enough older player who might look for nits like myself to exploit.

He stewed for a little bit, and told me good call. He tried to induce me to turn over my cards (was not going to happen). He shuffled them and the dealer urged him to show them. He didn’t want to, but I figured he might have had something more than I gave him credit for like maybe second pair on the turn. Now, I found myself wanting him to muck so much for thinking I was Kenny "sick call" Tran.

At last he did, saying “I can’t win.” I weighed my options. Do I show my bluff-catcher or do I continue to let the table think they can come at me and conceal it. When I was sure his hand was fully in the muck and as I was collecting the pot, I shot the 8 out face up. I could have shown the 4 to really get his goat if he also had an eight, but I didn’t feel it necessary and I didn’t want him to scramble toward the muck or think that I had shown him up.

He didn’t react much one way or the other. So maybe the 8 was enough. I got an accolade from another player who told me good call (and maybe that was all I really wanted by showing... as we all like an ego boost here and there especially in tournaments where most times you aren’t going to find the money).

... to be continued...

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