I recently spent approximately 2 weeks at the Borgata for the Winter Poker Open and recorded a lot of hands and thoughts which I hope to turn into blogs. Since there were so many cash games, which is my preference, I didn’t play any of the tournaments, so I had the opportunity to put in a lot of hours and to work on improving my game. I feel as though I have been making great strides in adjusting to the changes that people are making and though my results have been good, I hope that the changes I made and will make will cause them to be even better. It is a bit tough to stay in rhythm when not playing regularly, and I am hoping to play more frequently in the coming months.
This hand occurred towards the end of the trip late one night:
I recognized my opponent as someone who plays big games in NYC and was a winner at high stakes many years ago. He has also made instructional poker videos and I had a sense that he was not afraid to gamble and was also very good. We were playing $5/$10 no-limit, which was below his normal stakes and he had just lost a pot where he got all the money in as a 3-1 favorite, ran it twice(where you put two different turn/river combinations out, and each takes half the pot; it’s a way of reducing variance) and lost them both. He was visibly irritated and proceeded to raise the next 4 hands, make a few bad calls, and lose a bit more money. As we say in the business, he was on tilt.
He has about $2200 and I cover him. He straddles (puts out a raise without looking at his cards), there is one caller and I raise to $100 on the button with QQ. The SB calls and the villain thinks and raises to $370. In a lot of games, against a lot of opponents, I wouldn’t be thrilled about my QQ, but I knew immediately that against this particular opponent, who was both capable and tilted, that I would be happy to get all the money in the middle in this situation.
I thought for a minute or so about the best way to accomplish this, and felt that even though there was a sizeable amount of money out there, ~$600, that if I reraised him a small amount, instead of shoving all in, I could get him to make a bigger mistake(that he might not ordinarily make). I decided to raise to $870 and he responded by quickly shoving all in, exactly as I had hoped, and I called immediately. He tabled A4o, which was the sort of hand I had hoped he would have, and I was a 70-30 favorite. It is always invigorating to make a play based on a read I feel confident about, follow through for a significant amount of money, and be right about it. We agreed to run it twice, and unfortunately, I was only able to win 1 of 2, so we wound up splitting the pot. Nonetheless, I left the game a few hours later feeling extremely good about the situation and the way I had played.