I have been on my worst run of the year over the past month. Sometime when your results are way below average it's a matter of taking a lot of bad beats or just all around shitty play. I haven't been taking a lot of bad beats and I actually feel like I've been playing pretty well. What it feels like to me is I've just been getting a wave of frozen cards. I'm getting premium starting hands or favorable flops, turns and rivers way below expectation.
Either that or I have selective memory and I have just been running hot for the other 9 months of the year. That is always a possibility.
Anyway, I took matters in to my own hands and ran a few bluffs during my last session, because after all if you're bluffing it don't matter what ya got!
On the first hand I raised to $20 with some hand that is irrelevant. I got 3 callers and the flop came down all hearts. I had no hearts and there wasn't much reason to try to steal it vs 3 opponents out of position on a monochrome board so I checked. It checked through and the turn was a 4th heart. It checked around to the button who bet out $35 into the $75 pot. The bettor is an aggressive player who likes to make plays at pots and I knew there was no way he would have checked the flop with a big heart and I didn't think he'd bet the turn for value with a small heart. A raise here would seem a little weird, but I figured even if it felt off that didn't mean he was going to put me to the big test. I popped it to $125 and he quickly folded. When the flop came down I was done with it, and even on the turn I thought if I bet out it wouldn't look credible since I'd be unlikely to check the flop with a big heart. But I saw an opportunity on the turn, jumped on it and it worked.
The next hand had some similar elements. I called a raise to $25 with 55 and we took the flop 4 way. The board came out K 8 8 with two hearts and a club and it checked around. The turn was a J of clubs putting two flush draws out there and it checked to the last player who fired out $60. This looked really fishy to me. I didn't think he'd check a K or an 8 on the flop since he was last to act. On the other hand he could easily be betting a J or a draw. I raised to $160 and he thought for about 45 seconds before folding. Turn check raises look really strong and come with the added power of your opponent expecting a bet on the river to surely follow when you have it. I had the added bonus here of some showdown value if my opponent, called the turn, missed his draw and it went check, check (not super likely, but worth something).
The third hand didn't go quite as smoothly. I called $25 on the button vs a cutoff raiser with 98 of hearts and we took the flop 5 way. The flop was A J 6 with two spades and one diamond. It checked to the preflop raiser who bet out $35 into a $120 pot. This looked weak as shit to me and I happened to know the bettor was a little intimidated by me. I took a glance down the table at the other three guys in the hand and they were all watching TV or looking at their phones. It was clear they were done with it. So I made it $135 to go, the others quickly folded and to my surprise the main villain thought for a moment and then called.
When he bet $35 I was thinking that he could easily have a weak ace or just be C-betting whatever. When he called, my brain kind of shut down. I was surprised that he called and I got wrapped up in thinking about how I didn't really like my options on the turn rather than trying to sort out what he had in his hand. The turn came out a 7 of diamonds. This was a great card for me as I went from absolute total air to having some equity with a straight draw. He was sitting on about $325 and there was about $400 in the pot so we had less than one post sized bet in play. At this point I was not really sure what to do. I think the right move would be to just sit there for 30 seconds and tried to figure it out.
If I had done that this is what I may have come up with. I have 3 options: check it back, go all in, bet some smaller amount. There are 4 types of hands he could have: big ace, weak ace, flush draw, A6/AJ (AJ is a maybe as that would probably just move in on the flop as would sets - this guy is not tricky at all). How is he going to like facing an all in with those hands? He's going to hate it. Maybe I get called by AK, AJ and A6, but everything else is out the window and even if I do get called I have 8 outs. Can he lay down a good hand? Yes. OK it's shove time!
Here's what I actually thought. "Man, I can't believe he called. That $35 looked really weak. What should I do here? AHHHH! I don't know! AHHHHHHHH! Check and pray? Yes! That's what I'll do, Check and pray!"
My prayers were not answered. A small diamond came out completing the back door flush draw and the villain checked again. I was back to the same 3 options: check it back, go all in, bet some smaller amount. I fired out $200 immediately. If you have absolutely no hope of winning at showdown and your opponent could have also been on a draw, I think it makes sense to put something out there. What I really didn't want to happen was to check it back and lose to a
hand like KQ or KT of spades or Jx or something like that. $200 may have been overkill for that scenario. I think something like $100-$125 or going all the way all in are better options in hindsight.
What I was hoping to do was make it look like I'd checked back a good ace on the flop for pot control or to avoid getting stacked against a set, but now after two checks from my opponent I was sure that I was good and betting for value. My opponent was also maybe the type of guy who could worry about me having diamonds even though that made no sense whatsoever with the action. Sadly my story was not bought and I got quickly called by A9 of spades.
There are some guys who would never in a million years fold for a close to pot sized bet on the turn with a weak top pair and a flush draw and other guys who would lament folding it, but would fold it every time with that flop action and an all in on the turn. I think my opponent is more of the latter, and regardless, against all of his other likely hands I really like bombing the turn. Honestly I think if I'd been winning lately or even up a fair amount on the day that's what I would have done, but I talked my self out of it.
I'm hoping to play Friday and Saturday of this weekend to take advantage of those sweet sweet weekend games.