This is a hand I played in a live 5/10 No Limit cash game at my local casino. I've been grinding the lower limit games for the last two years, and feel I have enough experience to take a shot in the bigger games which in my case is 5/5, and 5/10 no limit. I don't aspire to be a professional poker player but I do take the game seriously since I'm trying to raise enough money to fund my way through music school. I'm a newbie and if some of my thoughts come across as illogical please feel free to point anything out. I'm a very competitive person and simply want to be the best player I can be. Thanks!
Firstly, I'd been playing with this fellow since I arrived at the Casino. He happens to be one of those hyper loose-aggressive asian folk I see from time to time. Guy went broke on the first few hands played at our table, kept re buying and it seemed like there was no end in sight to the madness. After watching him for the first 3 hours a few things became clear. Here are some that I think are relevant to this hand.
1) Has no problem opening pots in E.P. with marginal holdings.
2) Will flat call a 3 bet pretty light, especially if he opened the betting.
3) Will play almost any draw extremely aggressively. By any I mean it doesn't have to be the nuts he's drawing to (EX: bottom end of a straight, 3rd nut flush...etc).
Right before this hand started I felt on top of the world. I finally managed to bring my stack up to "Deep" status (200bb), after grinding with a short stack with what seemed like forever. All through the night I went after the pots I felt were up for grabs when I read my opponents as weak, but I did play quite a few hands to showdown so as far as my image went I felt the table read me as a solid-tight player.
Opponent: 3400$ approximately
My opponent opened the betting under the gun for 45$, and I'm sitting right next to him. I take a look at my hand and its Q
. Right away I decided to 3 bet, 1) for its semi bluff value, but more importantly to isolate the loose aggressive raiser and get us heads up. I know he has an extremely hard time folding hands pre-flop, but I'm not worried about seeing a flop especially since I have position on him.
Opponent: bets 45$
ME: Raise to 130$
Action is folded around, and my opponent calls 130$
Definitely a good flop for me. A pair and an over card with back door flush possibilities is a good start. Opponent checks, and I'm expecting to take this pot right away with a continuation bet. Despite my opponents loose aggressive nature he's not an idiot. He probably knows I'm going to bet my whole range on this flop. With that said its a pretty dry board without a lot of room to manoeuvre so even though the C bet is expected a fold is probably in order.
ME: bet 155$
Opponet: calls 155$
To be honest before the turn card came I didn't give A LOT of thought to what my opponent might have. Despite the action up to this point I still can't give him credit for any "big" hands due to his previous play during the night but the possibility is still there. The check call did tip me off, and at this point I do think he's got something. In my mind I came to a few possible holdings containing broadway cards, and maybe a pocket pair. Suited connectors a little less likely. I'd expect him to raise in this case since its his M.O. if his cards were connected to the board. Weak Aces also crossed my mind. He's very capable of 4 betting pre flop with AK down to AJ. He opened quite a few pots with A 10 suited and below in previous hands so he could of called with some Ace rag type hands. Remember, this guy hates folding. If he had top pair on the flop I think he'd almost certainly raise.
The Ace I felt was a very good card for me. Now not only can I continue with my "big hand" story, but I can win with a backdoor flush if a spade comes on the river. What happened was once again he checked, and I had to think what two checks in a row are suppose to mean given all the info thus far. My assumption was he must have some sort of hand with showdown value but didn't want to commit to a big pot. I had to give some thought whether taking the free card would help or hurt me. I also had to think of what would another check call mean, and whether or not I could still win the pot if a spade doesn't land on the river. I also gave some thought as to what was gong through my opponents head. If I was him I'd know that if he calls a decent sized turn bet he may need to face a big sized river bet because I can represent SO many hands on the river, and he could easily get bluffed out. Whether or not this was in his line of thinking is still in question, but again this guy has played in the big game at this Casino for 18 years so I'm told. He should be capable of thinking relatively deep.
I decided that two checks is a good show of weakness in this hand, and considering how strong my line in this hand has been if he has tens or even a big Ace the value in his hand shrinks to nill if I bomb the river. I go ahead with a semi bluff turn bet which I figure is a +EV play.
ME: Bets 355$
Opponent: Calls 355$
I should mention something about my bet sizing. My C bet was slightly on the smaller side because I figure there's no point in betting more given the board texture, and how much went in pre flop. I said earlier I was expecting a fold given the dry board and my opponents reputation to get involved in pots with marginal holdings. The turn bet was a little different. Again it was on the smaller side but I found two good reasons for this. 1) If I feel I have the best hand I should be trying to give my opponent just the right odds to stay in the hand with me. We know I only have a seven but I want my opponent to think I want him to stick around. 2) I want to leave myself room for the big monster river bet if that blank card comes. If I make a pot sized bet or slightly less on the turn my river bet won't carry the same weight.
So my draw doesn't come in on the river, and once again my opponent checks. Now I'm honestly terrified because I've shown strength the whole way, but indirectly he's shown even more strength by calling every street. I really went in the tank for this one, and figured he must have at least two pair. I did second guess myself a lot of the time because this guy is pretty crafty, and it's very possible he only has an Ace. A combo draw like 9 T is also possible but unlikely given his aggressiveness. I'd expect a big raise with that hand on the turn because there are lots of cards that could scare the action on the river if the turn goes check/check. In the end I decided he couldn't be THAT strong considering how the hand went down. I decided to go for the all in river bet like I set up on the turn. Now I said earlier that he should realize that if he calls a turn bet he almost certainly has to be aware that a big river bet is looming if a blank card comes.
This is where all that meta game stuff comes into play. I really tried to get into his head and figured he was capable of trying to get into my head as well. I really want him to think I have a set of Aces or even jacks. I think I can even get away with having a set of sevens in this scenario if he puts sevens in my three betting range. The one thing I don't have going for me is if he thinks I think he has something like two pair wouldn't a value bet make a lot more sense rather than a shove? If he thinks I'm putting him on a two pair like hand the all in shove wouldn't be the best play, and so why would I do it? These are all things I thought about while I was tanking, plus some other stuff I'll omit since this post is getting pretty long.
ME: ALL IN for 1360$
The guy tanked for a long time. I don't know how much time passed but this was the biggest pot of the night so far, and the whole hand lasted quite a long time. People were so sick of sitting three out of the nine were standing up. The guy asked for a count of my chips, asked the dealer to spread the chips in the pot. He really agonized over it, and you could see it on his face. He said a few "wow's", and things like that. The expressions on his face were painful. After a while I really thought I had this one. Remember I said earlier this guy really hates to fold? Well I took that into account as well, and figured he was capable of thinking I knew his tendencies and could make this play with the nuts against him. Another thing I felt I had going on my side was most people aren't capable of making this play without the nuts, and he's never played with me before.
If anybody feels like contributing to this thread I'd appreciate peoples thoughts.