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Two Hands

May 2, 2009

Last night was one of those sessions where I just couldn’t get anything started. I’d pick up a few pots, lose a few pots and, generally, hover within $100 either way of my original buy in. The word frustrating comes to mind. Still, there are two hands that stand out.

In the first, the action folded to the guy on my right, who had been on a little rush. He raised to $12 for the third straight time and I looked down at 7-6 diamonds on the button. I made the call. The blinds folded and we were heads up. I didn’t love the flop of 6-J-9, but I did catch a piece, so I called his $12 continuation bet. The turn brought the 8c, and he bet another $12. This time, I decided to see how serious he was about his hand, and popped him to $45. He thought for a few seconds before making the call.

When the river paired the 9, he checked the action to me and I quickly led out for $100. He thought over the situation for a few seconds before finally mucking his J-10 face up. I showed my 6-7 for the worse two pair, and took the pot. Most of the table laughed and applauded my hand, while my victim was a little less than pleased. He tilted off his remaining chips about four hands later and walked away.

I know there’s nothing really remarkable about this hand. I won because of position and aggression, and I’ve been convinced to fold the best hand in the same exact situation. It’s part of the game. What I do like about this, however, is the reputation it helped me build. I’d been playing a decent number of pots and, as usual, never revealing my cards when I took down a hand without going to showdown. Here though, I thought the “bluff” was good for my game, as I was hoping to generate some action when I might possibly have a real hand later on. Which brings me to the next hand.

This happened about a half hour later and I was again on the button. This time, a tight player raised to $8 from under the gun and got min-raised by another tight player in MP. The action folded to me, and I looked down to find A-K, so I popped the pot to $60. The original raiser got out of the way and the player in MP immediately shoved for about $300. Hmmm.

Considering this guy’s range, I immediately put him on Aces and thought at the outside, he could be holding Kings or maybe even Jacks. In any case, I’m either horribly dominated or racing for the majority of my stack so I did the right thing and mucked my cards face up. He was amazed and couldn’t understand how I could possibly lay down my hand to him there. I started to fashion a response and then stopped myself before saying anything than “Nice hand, sir.”

Again, there were more than a few people at the table who read the situation the same way I had: Tight player –> min raise –> shove = instamuck. It wasn’t a brilliant play on my part, just reasonably good situational awareness. Still, I think what may have confused my opponent about my decision was the 6-7 hand from earlier. I think he assumed I was just playing completely fast and loose, and would be donkeyish enough to commit most of my stack preflop with almost any two cards.

So, my question is, did making this pretty standard laydown destroy the somewhat aggressive reputation I had built earlier?

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