Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What Would Fred Do?

I played a crazy pot in the 2-5 NLHE game at the Vic the other night.

Effective stacks £1,600. Me UTG with KK - I make it £25. Two callers including Tore (sp? He's Norwegian - a very nice guy and guess what? He is a super-LAG. Has anyone out there ever met a Scandinavian player who was weak-tight? I know I haven't) who is the big blind.

Flop 9 6 4, two clubs.

Tore checks, I bet £75 and before the other player has a chance to act Tore goes all-in for £1,470 more!

WTF!!!???!!! Jeez, that is a highly aggressive check-raise. Most likely a draw, but having played with Tore a little bit I also know he could do this with two-pair, maybe even a set, a small percentage of the time.

As I'm thinking about it, Tore even names my hand -"Maybe you have pocket Kings?" - which is always unnerving.

After a long dwell I make the call - turn 7, river 10, no club. I turn my hand over and Tore tells me it's good.

Tore later tells me that he had 7c5c, "It was a sick raise, but you made an even sicker call".

In other words, I was a small dog and made an iffy call. So how did I, one of the tightest poker players to ever walk the planet, call such an insane all-in raise?

Thinking about it, I realise that many roads led me to saying, "I Call", closing my eyes and pushing my chips into the middle.

1) I was losing - that should be obvious. But, believe it or not, I wasn't really steaming even though the very first hand I sat down I'd lost a big all-in pre-flop coup with aces Vs kings (K on the turn). After this standard bad beat I'd pulled up and won a nice pot with pocket queens against Ron Seymour, so I had recovered a little and was not feeling tilty.

Having said all that, I was still thinking about a big pot I had lost the previous time I had been to the Vic - once again with aces, where I felt I had misplayed them on the flop, so I guess deep down I was trying hard to not make another mistake.

But that's not all! Another hand from probably two weeks ago was on my mind too. This particular coup was one where I dogged it on the river when I knew that a bluff would have had a decent chance of succeeding.

So, yes, a couple of hands now lost in the swirling mists of time were having an affect on me, and yes, I know that sort of stuff shouldn't have any bearing on the pot you're in at that instant, but it's amazing how all the poker one has played over the years does have a bearing on what you're about to do. I mean, think about it, if you actually are trying to win you have to have learnt something somehow from all the previous times you have played.

In other words, I was trying to make up for past poker sins.

2) As soon as Tore said all-in I kind of knew I was going to call. I guess because I know he views me as a tight player, probably even a total nit, so, for purposes of the meta-game I have to let him know I can't be pushed around. In fact, it would have been even better to insta-call because that's what I felt in my heart of hearts I was going to do, as that would have blown him away ("Wow! How the fuck could you call so quickly?!?").

3) I really believed I had the best hand, and I guess old habits die hard, but back in the day you would put the money in if you thought you were winning. I realise nowadays you work out your equity in the pot and your opponent's range and all that shit (actually, I did think about Tore's range and had decided, perhaps wrongly, that he wouldn't play a made hand like two-pair or a set this way). I decided to not let the fact that I was probably flipping - something I'm not really that keen on usually - distract me.

4) I had the king of clubs in my hand.

5) Finally, if in doubt, ask yourself, "What would Freddy Carle do?"