Poker Hand: When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong

I was playing really well yesterday. Mixing between tight and loose play as the table dictated and reading hands about as  well as I ever have. The following hand is an example of one of the best reads I have ever made. I want you the reader to try to put myself and my opponent on hands. I was playing a pretty average game, which means I’m probably playing slightly loose and raising about 15% of my hands. I am in middle position and raise my standard 4x the BB.  The small blind is the only caller. No real reads on the small blind, I thought he seemed a little loose but haven’t been at the table long enough to be sure of that read (he could just be getting good hands).  The flop came down

 5D 5S 7D

 He checks, I do a continuation bet, he raises, I re-raise, he pushes all-in and I call.  Now what are the hands?

Big Slick

The answer:
I have As Jh

He had Ad 3d

Odds: I win 38.59% and tie 15.45%. He wins 45.96% and ties 15.45%

One of the biggest skills a winning poker player has is putting his opponents on a range and trusting his read. Here I do that but am still losing when the money goes in!  When he re-raised me I thought his most likely hands were 88-1010, 68 or 46(usually diamonds), a random 5, or Axdd.  I was pretty sure with a third bet I was folding out 88-1010 (representing a larger overpair) and that a push meant he had a draw. If he flat-calls he is more likely to have a 5 or a non-flush straight draw. 

 So given what I knew was it a good play? Well if he shows up with Ad3d every-time it’s a fair play, balance that against the occasional 5 the occasional naked bluff and the occasional 88-1010 and it’s pretty close. Honestly I don’t know why I decided he had to have a draw here, but I was pretty sure and I was correct, the problem is I was still losing! I mean the pre-flop raise and the continuation bet were > 7% of my stack so I played +EV poker on this hand, but I still think it’s a really marginal play. I simultaneously love my read and hate that I’m willing to risk a buy-in where I am best-case a coin flip, worst case drawing almost dead. I pride myself on playing fearlessly but this is getting very close to playing recklessly.

I think while you need to trust you reads and go with them, you also need to sometimes fold even if you think you have the best hand. If you are either slightly ahead or way behind it may just be best to let the hand go. And yes he spiked a 3 on the turn and won the hand, but I hope I would be just as hard on myself if I won the hand. 



4 Responses to Poker Hand: When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong

  1. brooklyn bum says:

    nice post. Pretty standard play now a days online. People pushing with nut flush draw. I immediately put him on trips or a draw. Either way I think the continuation bet was good but i’m pretty sure I’d lay that hand down after the re-raise unless I had the trips. The thing is you want the other players to play recklessly while you play controlled, strong agressive poker. It’s really a +EV play on his part if he put you on a PP especially if the villian’s been defending the blinds, for example his check raise either says he’s got the five or he’s on a draw at minimum either way he has a pretty chance of taking the pot down right there or drawing to the best hand with 2 cards to come. I’m not sure if I’d call that re-raise with A/J even if you put him on a draw. I don’t mean to be critical but that’s just my 2 cents. Great post. I enjoy reading it.

  2. joseffreedom says:

    Yeah, pretty standard and I think what tipped me to his drawing hand was he played it too fast and he couldn’t have a pair and a flush draw. His bet sizing told me he didn’t want a call, he was trying to force me out. While this appropriate bet sizing against level 1 and early 2 players, it is terrible against thinking players. While I agree with you his play here is +EV, I don’t think his call in the SB with A3dd is +EV. It’s okay to play that hand in position some of the time, but you are really playing a naked ace with a flush draw against a hand that is likely to be dominated. Just let it go. My call with the AJ is a play I almost never make but I just knew I had the lead, but the point is even if my read is right it’s only about =EV, if I’m wrong 1 in 20 times it is -EV so I should have just let it go.

  3. brooklyn bum says:

    I agree that he could’ve layed down the A/3 suited but he got the flop he wanted. Sometimes I just smooth call his re-raise if I put him on a draw and if the draw doesn’t hit the turn that’s when I put the hammer down on him (unless he goes all in first). Then your EV goes way up after the turn and unless was gambling there is no way he’d make that call. It was a gutsy play on your part and a incredible read also. Sometimes these guys just like to play the A/x suited…I’ve been guilty of that from time to time but these online guys now are real aggressive when it comes to their draws, you just have to hope that they don’t hit. Looking forward to your next post.

  4. Steve says:

    I don’t think it’s that of a good play. If you want to argue that he was playing it fast I think you’re wrong most of the time and run in a good made hand like trips, a set or overpair. Most opponents do play those hands fast because they know exactly what they want and their decision is pretty easy. It’s tough and I won’t critizise your play but I want to mention that playing a hand fast doesn’t mean that he’s on a draw…

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