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May Showdown At The Rock

June 12, 2013

May_Showdown_at_the_Rock_22x28_v1

The last 2 weeks have been a pretty awesome poker journey for me. I have played the May Showdown at the River Rock Casino in Vancouver and several tourneys in London right after that.

I will not bother you with things such as ‘My aces got cracked twice’, ‘Lost with trip queens’, etcetera but since I have not blogged about poker in quite a while I figured I would give you an update on how I did in the last 15 poker-heavy days.

In that time I played in 7 tourneys. I won two of them, came in second once and 4th once, bubbled one and bust in 2 of them. In addition to that I made oodles of cash in the cash games ($1/2; $2/5; and £5/10)!

Still I do want to mention one hand that I played. It was in the £5/10 cash game. I mention this hand not because it was a dramatic event or a bad beat but rather because I elaborated on a very tricky play to win a pot I could normally never win.

We were 2 hours into the game and so playing styles  and pictures from what the players had from each other were well established. There were no crazy or out of line moves happening during that time and at the table there were just solid regulars, a few Pro’s and me! 🙂

I was in the SB and peek down to see two red 7’s. Since it was a limped pot when it came to me I decided not to limp behind, miss the flop and fold. A fold was out of the question as well so I raised 5 times the blind to 50. The BB calls and both limpers fold. It was not the best of all scenarios since I really wanted to take it down right there but so be it. Now I have to still hit my 2 outer, especially when over cards peel off, or keep betting and try to win it with brute force.

The flop comes and it’s 9-9-10 rainbow! Bone dry! I lead out with a c-bet of 80 into the £120 pot. I am out of position (which I hate to be) and effective stacks are 1500.

I get raised right there to 220 which is really no surprise since the BB (a solid regular) knows that I am c-betting this flop with 100% of my range and I know that he knows that and is trying to take this pot away from me (or he’s trying to build a pot right there if he has a monster). I call and we see an inconsequential deuce coming on the river.

The Swiss Rock In The Big Game In London

The Swiss Rock In The Big Game In London

By now I have the feeling that most likely I am way behind and that he has either a bigger pocket pair or something like A-10 or J-10 (a random 9 is possible but less likely). What now? If I am right I have exactly 2 outs and a standard bet from me will not make him fold any of those hands and a check would leave my ‘children’ out there unprotected in the rain. Then I would have to give up to his turn bet which would be around 300 which would leave him a pot-sized bet to jam the river.

Somehow I have to convince him that I am the one that has a random 9 and made trips (and so far the story I am telling is consistent). A raise pre-flop with something like 8-9 is very likely, flopped the world and called his raise. The only weak element in there is my lead out on the flop since if I had really had flopped trips I might have checked to him. But no story is perfect and I could as well had bet out to build a pot myself.

So I make the most strange and unexpected bet on the turn. I bet 1 single blind of 10 into this already big pot of 560 leaving him completely puzzled and throwing him totally off. My idea is to check the river if he calls and to give up to his river bet. But if he raises me, which is more likely and makes it a proper sized bet for this sort of pot, I will move all-in making it look like I threw out bait to come over the top with my trips (which, of course, I don’t have).

He tanks for about 3 minutes and I can really see that he has no clue what he is up against and that this £10 bet has thrown him entirely off of his comfort zone. That is very good when they have to guess and are in no-man’s land. It definitely raises their willingness to fold (even if they have a monster) as long as they perceive me as a solid player.

When he comes out of the tank he raises me 350 leaving him about 880 behind. Within 3 seconds and without hesitation I jam over his bet and move in with all my chips (over 1000 at this point). Disgustedly he folds his pocket kings face up as fast as I moved in on him, totally convinced that I have trip 9’s!

This gutsy play went really well. If I had bet a standard 2/3 of the pot or so on the turn he would have never folded. This 1BB bet made all the difference and made it cheaper for me to fold if I had to on the river. It might not always work but I gave myself a chance to win this pot with a non-standard play and it is certainly very sweet when it works out exactly as planned.

I showed the bluff and raked in that pot without even having to see the river card. I also got compliments from around the table regarding how well I played this.

Now it looks completely donkish if this play does not work and he calls and I have to fold the river – or even worse, if he calls my all-in for all my money – but as so often in poker when it works it looks like a very sophisticated play that only a few could pull off. This time I was on the right end of the stick! 🙂

What a poker journey that all was too! Truly a May-Showdown for me!

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