First of all….WTK, if you read this, I mean no disrespect. Well, OK, maybe a little, but it’s my blog and I can do pretty much whatever I want.
There is a regular player in my game known to me only by his board initials, WTK. He used to play mostly 40/80, but for some reason of late (my speculation is a combination of massive losses in the stock market and at the tables) he has made 20/40 his new home. Let us not mince words; WTK is not a great player. He’s not awful in the way that many of my opponents are, though. Namely, he is not passive. Sweet merciful jesus he is not passive. WTK is probably the most aggressive player that I encounter on a regular basis (out of maybe 50…or a 100…I don’t know).
He plays decently post flop, but the pure breadth of his preflop opening range basically ensures that a thinking player who is capable of accurately assessing said hand range will eat his lunch consistently. He might even be a small winner in the 20/40 game by way of simply gobsmacking people over and over and over again. In case you don’t know what gobsmack means, it’s because it’s not actually a word. But rest assured, it means about what you think it means, as explained by Tommy Angelo in his book Elements of Poker (a book and author about which the awesomeness is often understated, IMO). WTK just raises and raises and raises and just when you think there is no freaking way he bet the K5o all the way down with freaking air, you call him with pocket 6s cause you’re here now and theres over a rack of chips sitting out there just waiting for a home and he does in fact show you the king and the five of the off that hit on the river for one pair of fives and the table is just like “whoa”. The thing is that most of the table goes “whoa” but thinks the hand was an abberation or for some reason lacks the mental machinery or testicular fortitude to man the fuck up and call the him down with king-high.
Moving right along…My history with WTK is getting longer and already sordid. At first the only emotion I could muster when he sat at my table was fear. This was a 40/80 player slummin’ down a the kiddy table. He bets, he raises, he drags pots…and the first few sessions that is all he did. I’d be sitting there and WTK would go on a 5 rack heater, as the man who raises K8o from EP is apt to do from time to time. I reacted to this fear by over-compensating in all the wrong ways. I tightened up preflop, knowing that “there would be plenty of chances to get him” and played every hand like a fit or fold tag-fish after the flop. Both of these playing decisions were, in a word, awful.
This stage of our relationship ended when WTK toileted me in a blind steal. I flopped a flush draw, he flopped a bigger one, and wouldn’t you know it we both got there on the turn and by the river I’m standing there with my dick in my hand while he’s got 260 of my dollars in his. After this I had a discussion with Pete about how to handle the beast that is the WTK and his advice was directly on point, as usual. “Don’t try to out-crazy him, cause you can’t.” The words make perfect sense. Why try to out-crazy a crazy person? Dude’s freaking crazy! Why fight the fight on his terms? 3-bet him light, preflop, with the cover of position, and play the hands the way you always play hands…last to act and in control. Since taking this advice to heart I no longer cringe when WTK rolls up to my game. I don’t exactly lick my chops, but I do text Hank in the other game and deride him for his non-clairvoyance. Then I batten down the hatches and call the chip runner for some more bullets. Also, as you’ll see, I do everything I can to make him think I’m a complete nit that he can gobsmack along with the rest of the unshaved masses (I usually don’t even shave to further drive this impression home). Then I call him down with 4th pair as he bets all three streets and I stack the chips.
An aside….The first night I was staking Yoda he got a seat quickly in a game that was not mine. He asked me for a quick run down of the players which I happily gave as I was sending him into battle with my little round yellow foot soldiers:
“2 and 3 are loose passive loosers. Seat 5 is a winning professional who plays as high as 80/160. 8 and 9 are better than most regulars, but not better than you. But honestly, all you need to know is that’s WTK in seat 4. He’s a lunatic and the entire game will revolve around him and the pro 3-betting him with napkins”
Yoda was getting the 6 seat, and was in for quite a freaking ride as it was a mere one seat to the left of the jesus seat. Also, as an aside to this aside, the chip runner overheard this conversation as she was selling Yoda chips and looked at me with some combination of disdain and amazement. It was just a funny moment you had to be there for I guess, me pulling a fat wad of bills out of my pocket and handing Yoda $400 (my half of his buy in), giving him the run down and basically a pat on the ass and a “go get em tiger” speech. Anyway….back to the man aside….
I get to the table and as previously mentioned Yoda runs like Reggie Wayne. A hand I left out, though, goes like this:
WTK open-raises like UTG minus 2 or something. Yoda pulls out ye trusty 3-bang, I fold to get out the way and go about the rootin’. The flop goes off without a hitch heads-up and I’m practically already counting the money in my pocket. I told Yoda that WTK was a maniac, but he’s still playing high and probably not 3-betting as light as I would…Oh Jesse, ye of little faith. The board comes down with a paired paint and a low card…something like:
WTK simply checks and calls. Warning bells go off in my head…Check/call? That’s not in the WTK playbook! Danger Will Robinson, Danger!!!! The turn is a brick....let’s call it like an 8 that puts a flush draw up. WTK checks again, and Yoda bets. The check/raise is swift and merciless. Yoda looks at me and I can’t say anything but every shred of my being is scream “CALL HIM DOWN!!! YOU HAS PAIR YOU CALL HIM DOWN NOW!!!” Yoda eventually makes the call. The river is actually a pretty crappy card, I can’t remember specifically but I do remember thinking “Lots of those in WTKs range at this point” which admittedly you could probably say about deuces here but whatever, and Yoda calls a bet. WTK rolls A7o for…ace-high. No draw. No nothing. Yoda rolls…Pocket 6s. The pot is dragged and I may have actually done a fist-pump. That closes our aside, and two pages of word doc in (I’m on the plane again) I’m going to set about writing what I set about to write about.
WTK raises my big blind from reasonable position (the high jack probably) and I go temporarily insane and simply call with AJo. This is a 3-bet all day long against him. Twice on Sunday. If he caps, I’m not even in that bad of shape, honestly. But I just call, because like I said I’m temporarily insane. My image to him is “weak tight nit” probably. The flop comes down:
In other words, I have flopped the nuts. For some reason (probably the fact that I just went insane) I just check and call, instead of taking the “old reliable” check/raise line, or the “would have been sexy” bet/3-bet line. I vow to check/raise the turn. It bricks off, I don’t remember what it was as this hand was weeks ago and I check. WTK checks! Mother father, now what am I going to do? I’ve been reverse-gobsmacked! The river pairs the bottom card on board and this voice in my head says “if at first you don’t succeed…” so I check. He hems and haws and thinks and eventually…checks. I table my hand and Yoda, the pro in 5, and I all have a good laugh. I say “It’s my pot for sure” and the pro says “Well yeah, but where’s the rest of it?”
20 minutes later….
I have regained my mind and raise KQo after WTK limps in (his range is probably only slightly stronger than ATC here, due to the fact that he’d have raised like the top 40% of holdings…for example, he can’t have like, you know, a pair). The flop brings the dreaded:
And I’ve got the nut sqaudush with a redraw to second pair. WTK checks and I bet, just going through the motions really. Then I realize “Wake up man, this is WT freaking K and you just proved to him that you’re a weak tight nit-burger! It’s time to go postal!” He check/raises me (of course) and I…3-bet. He frowns disapprovingly and I can see the AJ hand replaying in his head. He check/folds the turn. I probably only make a stone cold bluff like this a few times a week, and when it works I get that rush that’s usually reserved for dragging 3-footers with rivered nut flushes. The joke goes unnoticed, but I turn to the pro and say “There it is.”