11-20-05 [poker]The big local live game was today; I made 3rd place for a small profit, but I had the chip lead with four players in, so it was a very disappointing finish. With 4 to go, I had about 150k out of 350k total chips. After that I got completely cold-decked. I rarely got a decent hand, and whenever I did, it didn't work out (like I got TT once, and Dustin hit his ace on the flop). Worst of all, I made a few major errors. There were a few big pots I could've taken down with bluffs, where I had a really strong read that all I had to do was raise and I'd take the pot, and I just didn't pull the trigger. That's a major error, when you see a pot that's free for you to take, you have to take it. Worst of all was this big hand :
I'm in the BB with KJs. SB in the 2nd chip leader with nearly as many chips as me. I really don't want to get in confrontations with him, but KJs is an ok hand. Folds to the SB and he raises to 3x. I call. Flop is KT7. First thought is I'm in pretty good shape. He bets out about half pot. That could be a lot of hands, so I raise a solid big raise, about 3x more. He reraises, about 2x my raise. Now I'm thinking whoah, what's going on here. He opened raised and now reraises. He must have a king, or he could even have TT or 77, maybe he has KT or KQ or AK. I don't see a lot of hands that he can do this with that I can beat. I fold. (the main hand I can think of that would do this that I can beat is QJ, the straight draw, but I figure there are a lot more hands that beat me).
Later he admitted he had K8. I really don't have a good read on what he was doing; I guess he thought he was value-raising with K8, that it was actually a good hand. I have a lot of trouble against players who think that any top pair is a very good hand. They put a lot of pressure on you because they won't fold even to reraises when they have what are actually mediocre hands, so it's very hard to tell when you're ahead or not. After this hand I was just hoping to hit a good hand like top pair 2nd kicker so I could bust him, but I never got a hand that good. The best I got was Q8 with top pair Q, and that's a trouble hand. Again he reraised me, and I can easily be beat. I'm one of those players who likes to keep the pot small when I have a decent top pair, and I'm succesptible to being moved off the hand.
I think an allin rereraise by me would have been a good move on this KJ hand. Against a solid tough player, I'm surely beat. But, consider that there could be three types of guys I'm up against - a loose fish will have a worse hand and either fold or call with a worse hand, a super tight rock will fold even better hands, only a tough, tight, smart (or lucky) player will call here and beat me. On the odds, pushing is +EV.
Anyhoo, the whole thing made me feel sick. I played okay most hands, but in some key situations I played badly. Clearly in my climb up the poker ladder I've slipped a bit.