Finally Commerce rekindled its relationship with me. We were on the fritz for awhile (and no i don't mean the chess engine). I met Rick up there for some mid-to -late night poker action. The first table I sat at seemed fairly tight and there were a few players there that were bickering so I signed up for a table change immediately. I called a $40 raise in a 5 way pot with 33 UTG after limping and the board came 10 8 3 with two spades. A 10 in front of me led with $100 and I raised to $225 before it got back to the original raiser. I feared that by just calling there would be over $400 in the pot so no one with a flush draw will fold to my all in on the turn or if a raise comes from the original raiser it puts too much money in the pot for a draw to get out. The original raiser took a long time and finally folded and the A 10 folded as well. Shortly after that I took my $240 profit from that table and changed tables. The table i went too was fabulous. It had the Armenian guy who's name I don't know but who I play with all the time. I have an incredible history with him as I can read him like a book and he gives me respect so I either value bet him when i have him beat or i bluff him when i don't. He's marginally aggressive too so the pots are of nice size that i take off of him. I usually look to be on a table with him. Also on the table was a semi-regular maniac by the name of Jon. He is the type of player that will call or bet with any sort of holding and makes completely illogical plays. So needless to say that he gets paid off when he calls with bottom pair on the flop and turn and trips up on the river. He is the type of player that can be stuck in the $400 game $3000 or be up $5000 depending on the action and the table. Plus he brings a certain amount of action and unstability himself making those around him much more prone to gamble it up. So this table was set to be great.
My first real hand was getting 9s9c on the button after a tight player raised to $60 in mid position after 2 limpers. I called and so did everyone else in the pot bringing the pot to a 5 way $300. The flop came Ks 10s 9h. It got checked all the way around to me. Now how much to bet? The pot is big but I still have about $600 in my stack from taking down a few medium pots at this table (once trapping Jon with a flush) so I do want action but not too much as this is a draw heavy board. I bet out $175 in the $300 pot because while I was supremely confident I had the best hand I wanted to get called and have a blank come off and then have the hand end. I got one caller directly before the inital raiser and then the raiser folded. So we are heads up in a $650 pot. The turn brings the ugly Qd and he puts me all in for my last $345 ( he had me more than covered). So all I could think about for the first 10 seconds were my posts about sets vs straights. I finally got that pessimism out of my head and settled down to think through the hand. Based on his mannerisms and the hesitancy with which he called the flop I knew he was not slow playing any thing big such as 1010 or QJ. So the question came down to did he have QQ,KK, KJ, KQ, or some draw that contained a J. I canceled out QQ and KK because this seemed like the type of player who would open raise that preflop ESPECIALLY since Jon limped UTG directly in front of him. KQ I obviously was not worried about as he would have 4 outs and it was a definete possibility, probably, the most likely holding in my mind. KJ worried me a little as he very well may have checked this hand on the flop to try and show it down while keeping the pot small but calling because he had top pair with a gutshot in a big pot. I talked to him a little and he said "Naw, not KJ, I wouldn't call 50 preflop with that". I was convinced. So now to figure out if he had a draw containing a J. It really helped that I had the 9s because that would cancel out any pair + flush draw possibilities on the flop. He very well could have had a huge draw like the AsJs. Again, I didn't see this type of player as calling the raise preflop from early position with a suited J like Js8s so if he did have a spade draw with a J it would have been AsJs. I again I had the 9s and I had ruled him out as having QJ so QsJs is out as well and since the Ks and 10s were on board those weren't candidates either. So it boiled down to three hands in my mind. Either KQ, AsJs, or AsQs. I was killing KQ to only 4 outs, I had 10 outs on AsJs and I was ahead of AsQs although he had 9 outs to make a flush or straight that didnt pair the board. I was beating 2 out of 3 of those hands and the third I was a 3:1 dog. The pot was $650 when he put me allin meaning I had to call $345 to win $995 so I was getting a little less than 3:1. Despite the scare card I opted to call and the 4c on the river didn't help him as he mucked to my set of 9s. I did get derided a little from that player and some at the table for taking so long with a seemingly easy decision but I didn't think it was as easy as it was made out to be.
A disappointing hand occurred as well. Tony the really annoying tight ass came to sit at our table and this happened. I was in middle position and it was folded to me and I raised to $40 with 88, there was one caller behind me and then Tony on the button pushed all in for his buyin of $400. Jon directly behind him immediately pushed in his rack containing about $280 and then it came back to me. Tony is super tight and there is no way I would play this with him even though I was fairly sure I was killing Jon. I folded and the Tony showed KK. Jon had Ah8h. The board came A 8 3. ! Brick Brick on the turn and river. Had I just limped and Tony made a sensible raise that was just called by Jon I would have taken all of both of their money with the case 8 on the flop. Not to say I don't like the raise with 88 there, I like to stick to the mantra of "if you are first into the pot in middle position or farther then it should be for a raise." If there are limpers ahead of you that changes the story a bit, you don't have to raise and if you are in early position you can raise or limp at your leisure.
Anyway, that being said, the big pot came about 45 minutes later. Jason, the ex-marine Korean had joined our table after Jon busted and went to another table. Jason plays a fairly straight forward game and while tends to overbet some hands does not take precaution to add any disguise to his play. I like playing with Jason if I have some money behind as my decisions are not hard. So this pot starts with Jason in the BB and me UTG +1. UTG folds and I have 88 again. I decide to limp here because the table has gotten a bit more passive in the last 20-30 minutes so I figured I would have much less fold equity then I did earlier when I raised with 88. Also, Tony returned to the table after missing his blind and posted $15 in the cutoff so there was more money in the pot and i didn't want to open myself up with 88 in early position. So after I limped 5 others limped and the SB completed the $10 bet. Jason in the BB raised to $100 total. Given the amount of money already in the pot, my comfort level with Jason, the apparent weakness of the hands behind me, and the very compelling feeling I was getting that Jason had AK coupled to cause me to call teh $100. Surprisingly, the guy who limped behind me called the $100, the guy after him went all in for $105 total, Tony called the $105 and the SB completed the $105 saying those beautiful and tragic words "pot odds". So all of a sudden we have a 6 way pot with $640 in the middle. I have the all the players in this hand covered with the 2nd biggest stack being Tony who has around $500. I had about $1200. The board comes 772 rainbow. SB checks and surprisingly Jason checks. Now I am 100% positive that he has AK and I am still surprised he didnt ship his last $250 in with two big overs given the pots size. I go allin as the original raiser has shown weakness and i was fairly certain no one had an over pair to this board. I told myself that if someone hit a 7, 22, or 99 I was willing to pay them as I play for big pots and i found myself smack dab in the middle of one with a pretty good hand based on my feel of the table. As soon as I went allin, Tony starting moaning how i didn't have any of that and I simply responded that "if you don't think so then im stealing the pot". The limper behind me folded and Tony begrudgingly folded as well and the SB folded and Jason called off his last $250 bitching and moaning. The board came 7 4 and he missed his AK and my 88 held up for 7s full of 8s. The allin $105 mucked and I raked the $1100
+ pot. Tony apparently showed his neighbor 99 before he folded. What a pussy.
After that I didnt really play any hands for about 20 minutes until i got an AdKh and raised and got the board Kd 3d 7d. I got about $275 off of QhQd before he folded to my allin on the turn. If I knew he was that dead I would have played it a bit slower but I only left him with another $200. After that I table changed primarily because I had taken almost all of the money off the table. There were about 4 or 5 people with less than $250 and one tight player with about $900. I didn't feel like going rat hunting and trying to clean up all the little ones so I decided to chip up my profit in whites and table change to Rick's table.
While there I saw Rick make an aggregious play. After three people limped into the pot he was in the BB with AdQd and raised to $60 total. Only the button called. Rick had informed me earlier that this player was pretty tight, although I had witnessed no first hand evidence to say either way. So they saw the heads up flop of As Kd 9c with about $140 in the pot. Rick checks. The button bets $100 and Rick calls. The turn brings the 8s. Rick checks again and the button then racks up and sends it in with $420 into the $340 pot. Rick gets up and does a little zen walk in the 5 feet of personal space he has and finally folds his AdQd face up. In reply the "tight player" lays his 56 off on the table. This begs the question, what in the hell was Rick doing? Was he trapping and then lost his nerve? Did he start seeing ghosts? Was he too mesmerized by his apparenty characterization of the player that he wouldn't bet into him even though he had taken the lead in the hand and flopped top pair, best possible kicker and a somewhat unthreatening board. My only guess is that he was trapping and then lost his nerve. Which brings up a very important nugget of wisdom that I have heard through the grapevine. If you are going to INDUCE a bluff then you have to be ready and willing to pay off the bluff bets. Not everyone is willing to bluff the same size as they value bet so they very well bet BIG in order for you to fold. So if you start off a hand checking in the effort of check/calling then check/call the whole way. Don't start seeing ghosts just because the bets get big.
As for me, I ended the session with a nice tidy profit and I plan on riding the high tomorrow at Hawaiian Gardens if I can get up at a reasonable hour. 5pm has been my rising time for the past two days and I think a little earlier would be better.