Friday, July 25, 2008

Beautiful Hand of the Week

I should probably be busy studying right now, seeing as how I'm taking two teaching certification exams tomorrow - both in social studies, one on content knowledge and one for pedagogy. The content test is 130 questions on basically everything I learned in social science courses from 1st grade through college... U.S. history, world history, economics, geography, psychology, sociology, political science, etc. I've been brushing up a little bit, but it just seems like the kind of thing where I'm either going to know it or I won't. I'm fairly confident that 1) my retention of all things social studies is above average (just to give you an idea - September 1st, 1939, Germany invades Poland! Damn! That's just a little sample from my gigantic noggin!), and 2) that the standard to be considered "highly qualified" is probably around a pathetic 50%... tops. Basically a passing score on the test to become a teacher would be a failing grade in any normal classroom. Some fun food for thought.

Anyways, so I basically just accepted that I'm as prepared as I can be for tomorrow, and I decided to play a game or two this afternoon. Occasionally I like to drop down in levels and just experiment with different styles of play or dick around in general. This specific hand was kind of a combination of both, but it definitely made me feel smart enough to teach kids about properly slowplaying Aces (not that I would ever devote classroom time to such a topic... honest).

Just to set the scene a little... 2 hands earlier I had reraised the villain here on the button. With blinds at 40/80, he had opened it from the cutoff to 280, I popped it to 600 rather than just flat calling with my AKo, and he thought a bit and folded. Probably smelled to him like I was looking for a call with a big pair. Then came this beauty...

Full Tilt Poker, $2 + $0.25 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 40/80 Blinds, 6 Players - Hand History Converter

UTG: 2,925
Hero (MP): 3,560
CO: 1,405
BTN: 1,465
SB: 1,680
BB: 2,465

Pre-Flop: (120) Ad Ac dealt to Hero (MP)
UTG raises to 320, Hero calls 320, 4 folds
Flop: (760) 5s Ah 8d (2 Players)
UTG bets 760, Hero calls 760
Turn: (2,280) Td (2 Players)
UTG checks, Hero bets 400, UTG raises to 800, Hero raises to 2,480 and is All-In, UTG calls 1,045 and is All-In
River: (5,970) Qh (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 5,970 Pot
UTG showed Ts As (two pair, Aces and Tens) and LOST (-2,925 NET)
Hero showed Ad Ac (three of a kind, Aces) and WON 5,970 (+3,045 NET)

In a way I really got lucky to bust the guy like that, given what he had. A reraise before the flop probably wouldn't have gotten much more out of him, unless he was a bit peeved at me and tried to push back. Before the flop I put him on TT-KK, and AQ-AK... not really expecting him to play such a weak Ace in early position like that. But the table had been fairly passive so I guess he was taking a worthy shot at it. His raise was big enough that I felt safe just flat calling and not getting too many more players in the pot, and the key was that it gave him the obligation of leading on the flop, which given his aggression I was confident he would do.

The only worry I had on the flop was that it was going to kill my action. The Ace made my hand a virtual lock, but also made it less likely that he had an Ace. His pot bet looked more like a "give me this pot now" kind of continuation bet than an AK or even AQ value bet. I decided to continue my charade and just call, as if he didn't have an Ace a raise would've surely pushed him out.

Little did I know how beautiful the turn was for me. When he thought for a bit and checked to me, I figured he was either willing to give up his JJ, QQ, or KK at this point, or that he had TT and just nailed what he thought was a made hand. Either way, I wanted to keep him in this pot, so I bet real small to keep him around in the case that he did miss. No time to worry about drawing hands like KQ, KJ, QJ, or two diamonds... much less likely here and I'm surely not going to fold this hand no matter the river card. A small bet also gives a daring and aggressive player an opportunity to make a move for all or most of their chips, in which case the only work I would then have to do is to click the call button.

So after I bet 400, I get what I want. He check-min-raises me. Now I'm thinking TT is quite likely. Pocket 8's would not have bet so much on the flop, nor would 5's, and I don't think he'd be coming in for a raise with either as he did. Whatever he has though, he's telling me that he's quite willing to go to the felt right now. I go ahead and drop the bad news on him, he makes a committed, and probably confident, call, and proceeds to type "FYF" into the chatbox from the peanut gallery on his way out (I can definitely guess what the first two letters stand for, and I don't think it's "Fantastic Yogurt"). So yeah, for once I slowplayed Aces and managed to get just the board cards and opponent I was looking for. See... it can be done. And that, my friends, is the beautiful hand of the week. I'm going to try to do these every week or so now.

For now though, time to hit the hay. First test is at 7:30 tomorrow half an hour away, so I'll be waking up with the sunrise. Goodnight and good luck ya'll.

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