I was back at it at the Oaks Friday night. I bought in for $500 and got involved in a hand of consequence on the first hand. But first, an aside!
One of my best friends Matt Lessinger wrote a poker book called The Book of Bluffs: How to Bluff and Win at Poker. One of the first bluffs in the book is a play to use when you've just joined the game (or have missed your blinds) and are posting to get a hand and everyone folds to you. In this instance you should raise unless you are against the loosest possible players in the blinds.
As an example, let's say you're in a $15/$30 limit game. You post $15 one off the button and everyone folds to you. There is $40 in the pot from your post and the blinds and to put in a raise you only have to risk $15 more. If everyone folds 3/8ths of the time or more, you immediately profit. If you get a call or callers you'll be in position with some equity no matter how bad your hand is. This doesn't come up all that often, but it's worth taking advantage of when it does.
This made great sense to me when I read it for the first time about 10 years ago. The next time I played after that was at $15/$30 at the Oaks, I posted my $15 and got dealt 72 off suit - the worst possible starting hand. Not to be deterred I raised it to $30 ready to scoop in my $40 win. "I'm soooo smart!" I thought. Then all 3 players left to act called me. "Stupid Matt Lessinger and his stupid book!" I thought. I flopped a 7 which was second pair and decided that would be good enough to try to push through. I bet the flop got one call. I fired again on the turn and got called. The river was a 2, giving me two pair. I bet again, got called and my opponent's mewling made sure everyone saw the shitty thing that had happened to him and my shitty play. Then on the next hand I got in there with 55, flopped a set, turned a full house and since everyone thought I was a total loon who would raise 72 I got paid off big and dragged a $500+ pot. Thank you Matt Lessinger!
Anyway, on Friday I posted $5 and got dealt T7. Everyone folded to me and I made it $20 to go effectively risking $15 to win $14 if everyone folded (there are $10 in blinds, but they rake $1 even if everyone folds). The small blind and big blind called (Stupid Matt Lessinger!). Happily the flop came down 7 5 3 rainbow which is a pretty solid flop for T7. To my surprise the small blind fired out $45. This guy was tall, about 50 and had an accent and appearance like maybe he was from Central or South America. I'd never played him before so I figured I'd just call and see what happened. The turn was a J and he bet out $85 with about $150 behind. This was another big bet and my gut reaction was to fold, but I took my time and eventually was fully convinced that he had a 7 or perhaps was just losing his mind. There wasn't much else that made sense. I also figured with the J out there that if I shoved on him, he couldn't call with a 7 or some other hand like 65. He kind of sighed when I put him all in and I figured he'd be folding, but to my surprise he called with...T7! We split the pot.
On the very next hand he went broke and I thought he might pick up and leave and people who lose their $300 stacks often do. But then he pulled out a wad of hundreds that looked like it was about $3,000 strong and bought back in for $300. A hour later, without buying in again, he was sitting on a $3,000 stack! He pretty much started playing every hand and just ran super hot. I'll call this guy Mr. Deep.
A little later I put in a big bluff. Mr. Deep made a min raise to $10 and a loose player made it $40. I called out of the big blind with A5 of hearts for another $35 in a 5 way pot. This is probably more than I should be putting in with A5 suited out of position, but everyone was $500+ deep and it was multi-way so I decided to be speculative. The flop came down 8 4 3 with 1 heart and it checked over to the $40 raiser. He bet out $100 and two players folded. I stopped to think. I had 4 outs to a straight, a backdoor flush draw, and 3 more outs if an ace was good. If he had a hand like JJ I'd win the pot 1/3 of the time if we got it all in. But this guy had a really wide three bet range compared to normal competition and an even wider continuation betting range, so I figured I'd unload him some of the time. I made it $300 with $300 in the pot and everyone quickly folded. Hooray!
Then I got tied to the tracks. I saw a flop for $5 with 87 of diamonds. The player directly to my right came out betting $15 on a board of J T 3 with two diamonds. With a 12 out draw and 4 players left behind me I called, and Mr. Deep also called. The turn was an A and the same guy bet again - $30 into the $75 pot. Mr. Deep and I both called again. I was a little worried Mr. Deep might have a bigger flush draw after he called again and so I was mentally calling for a 9 on the river. The river came and bingo! It was a black 9. The guy who had been betting bet out $60 and I put him all in for $200. He snap called me and proudly rolled over KQ for the nut straight! ACK! I'm glad he didn't have more chips.
I had more draw problems on the next hand of significance. I completed the small blind on the button for $3 to see a flop with 32 of spades and we say the flop 6 way. The board came down T 9 5 with two spades. Everyone checked to me and I bet $20 with my flush draw. Mr. Deep called in seat 10 and then seat 1 raised it to $60. I called as did Mr. Deep. The pot was getting big! The turn was the A of clubs and Mr. Deep checked. Seat 1 bet out $150 into the $200 pot. This was a toughish spot. One one hand, I've played with seat 1 many times and I was sure he had something big and I thought he'd have trouble folding even if the front door spades came in. I also thought there was a good chance Mr. Deep would call giving me another person to pay me off on the river potentially and better immediate pot odds. On the other hand, if I called I'd only make a straight or a flush 26% of the time and I could be up against a better flush draw in the hands of Mr. Deep. In order for the call to be profitable I'd need the money in the pot and the money I'd make on the river add up to $577 or more and that's if all of my outs where good. If I called I'd have about $300 left for a river bet. Add it all up and I should have pitched this one. In the actual hand Seat 1 had 55, Mr. Deep had QJ, I did call the turn, the river was a red 8, Mr. Deep moved all in and seat 1 called him for about $400.
At that point I was down about $400. But then I made two sets.
On the first I flopped a set of threes and got called for $20, $35, and $75 (all in) by one player on the flop, turn and river.
The other was a little more involved. I raised to $20 with 88 under the gun and got three callers. The flop came down A 8 5, I picked up chips to bet and then very awkwardly checked. This was not a pre-planned move and I wasn't sure what my opponents would make of it. This dude that looks like 2007 WSOP main event winner Jerry Yang bet out $45 and Mr. Deep called. Ah ha! I decided to continue the slow play plan and just called. The turn was a 7, I quickly checked and Mr. Jerry Yang fired out $155 very proudly like he just knew I had a hand like JJ and he was going to blow me off it. Mr. Deep folded and I took a good look at Mr. Jerry Yang as if I was trying to sort out what he had and after some hesitation I put him all in for $200 more. He sat there for at least 3 minutes. It was the longest I can remember someone taking to call me in a cash game, but eventually he put his chips in. The river was a brick, I dragged a $900 pot and I was up $50 on the night.
Some time passed without much happening and then I got dealt T9 of clubs on the button. The under the gun player raised to $20, Mr. Deep called, I called and along with the small blind we took the flop 4 way. The flop came down T 7 3 with two diamonds and they checked to me. Figuring I had the best hand I bet out $60. They all called! ACK! This was a draw heavy board so it was possible I had the best hand, but I was ready to shut it down on the turn. Then the turn came out and it was a T! They all checked to me again and I bet big - $220 into the $260 pot. Then the stupid small blind moved all in for $375. Shit! If he had a T also it was probably better than mine, but with only $155 more to call and $850 in the pot I wasn't folding. He turned over 77 which meant a T, 9 or 2 would make me a winner on the river, but alas a Q came out and I was toast.
In the end I lost $558 over 5 hours. I'm ahead $784 for the project over 34.5 hours.