Thursday, November 5, 2009

Calling Down is the New Raising

I got three texts from Pete today where he detailed the following hands to me:

Hand 1

Some fish power limps the CO and Pete raises in the small blind with AA. The board wasn't really explained, but I imagine it involved an ace, a king, and some other cards, because Pete managed to get eight (8) bets out of the guy's Ace King on the big streets alone.

Hand 2

Pete flops the nut straight on a board of like 765 or something and puts in either 3 or 4 bets on the flop. The turn and river are both 2s and the guy with AA raises him on the river, allowing him to 3-bet. He drags another monster.

Hand 3

With the mighty 72o in the big blind he gets a free flop of 872 with two clubs. He check/raises and gets 3-bet and only calls. The turn Qh he check/raises again, and a 3rd player is still calling all of these bets. The river brings the 7 of clubs and Pete manages to check/raise both players a 3rd time.

In a nutshell, this is out Pete runs. He played all of these hands well, and maybe even better than I would have. I'd be pretty unlikely to get that 3rd bet with the nut straight, but I might opt to bet/3-bet the full house in hand 3. Anyway....In the last week I've made 3 very fun call downs in 3 different casinos. This is what I have to do to win:

Hand 4

The venue is Hustler Casino in Gardena, California. I have been in the game for an hour or two, having sat at 10:30am in a short game. We're now full, but the action is still being driven almost entirely by the manic currently occupying the 7 hole. Originally he was in the 2 seat but moved to the 7 shortly after I sat in the 6. I then moved to the 9 just as the game filled up and he kinda got stuck there. I had this guy pegged as a lunatic from the moment I saw him. 30 years old or so, Asian, wearing full on Ed Hardy gear, sitting with 8 racks of chips in front of him (all in racks) and three (3) wrappers of hundreds labeled as $5K each. That's $19,000 for a 25/50 limit game. Anybody with that many chips is in some way insane. Either he plays enough hands to have won that much money, or he is insane for bringing it. Either way...insane.

So my blinds are in the kill zone of this guy's constant open raising, but it doesn't matter too much because the game is rather loose. Every single time it folds to him in the cutoff or on the button, however, he open raises. I start keeping track and get to 5 for 5 before this hand comes up (for the record I folded 4 of the 5 of those hands). He opens on the button with literally two napkins and I behold the mighty Q2 of clubs. Not quite as much as I'd like, but a clear call. The flop is:

Ac Kc 6s

And I check/raise him for value. He 3-bets and it hits me that I have to show down this hand pretty much no matter what comes. I consider a 4-bet but realize he's never folding anything ever so why bother. I call only.


A great card for me, as it doesn't change a damn thing. I call him again.


Well, this is the moment. I check and he bets. I think for a second and then come to my senses. This is a super easy call, so I sling in $50.

"Good call, you got it" he says. This is music to my ears, but I wait for a moment before turning over my hand. A strong hand would often be fastrolled here, and my opponent is clearly well-versed in the handling of being called on the river and holding air. I do not fastroll, and he tables his hand, Jack-Five of clubs. I flip over my hand and tip the dealer in one motion (using one hand for each) and a murmur passes over the table. Someone finally says "Looks like we have a professional here" and a chuckle is had by all. The next two times it folds to the maniac he opts to leave my blind alone, and when seat 1 opens up he moves to it instantly.

Hand 5

The venue is Bay 101 in San Jose, and I'm playing 40/80 because the game is absurdly good. Like, better than most 20/40 games I sit in. It's just incredible, and I even have a great seat. The table maniac open raises in the high jack and I 3-bet the cutoff with AThh. The button folds, but MCI, my lone competent foe, calls 3 cold in the small blind. "A competent player calling 3-cold in the small blind?" you ask? Yes...he's competent, which pretty much means he has a very solid hand here. In other words, I'm in big trouble. The maniac calls and we see the flop 3 ways

984 with two spades

They both check to me and I fire my c-bet. MCI calls and the maniac check/raises. At 14:1 I decide I can't fold and consider briefly raising to knock out MCI. In retrospect I probably should have, but instead opt just to call. MCI calls, and the pot has swollen to almost 8 big bets.


Look at that, I've picked up a gut shot. MCI checks and the maniac bets. At 9:1 folding would be insane, unless I can pick up a read that MCI making some elaborate slow play (or opting to check/raise AQ), so I call. MCI folds, setting up a beautiful situation for me. He almost surely had be me beat, but was faced with over-calling and just couldn't do it with whatever he was holding (almost certainly Ace King).


A total brick. The maniac bets and I pause for a moment. At this point it still hadn't occurred to me that I could call the guy down, mainly because I figured MCI was still gonna be in the pot. But since he's now gone, I realized I pretty much had to call and hope to catch the maniac with a busted flush draw. So call I did and he....mucked face down instantly. MCI turns to me and says "Big slick any good?" and as much as I try to hide the answer I'm sure my face told the truth.

Hand 6

The venue is The Oaks 15/30 game just this morning. A new player, whom I've never seen before, just sat down in seat 4 and was asked if he'd like to post (the button is in seat 5). His response of "How much? 6 chips?" strikes me as odd, because he surely knows it's 3, but whatever. The dealer informs his as much and he posts. The pot folds to me in the low-jack (seat 2) and I open raise with AJcc. He calls, along with the button, but both blinds fold. I'm wearing my ear buds listening to music, but not so loud that I can't hear what's going on. The flop is:

Qc 8h 6h

I fire and they both call. Not great, but there's lots of cheese on this board they could call with.


I was considering checking and giving up but realize that it's pretty likely nobody has anything. I fire again, and the poster calls but the button reluctantly folds. Not great...but I suppose OK. I resolve to check the river and probably fold, depending what comes.


Well then....that's an interesting card, since there is basically no way this guy could not have raised at some point with a queen by now. Still, betting is silly, since he's probably gonna play perfectly against another barrel (calling with exactly every hand that beats me and folding exactly every hand that doesn't) so I check.

He turbo bets. Like as in as soon as I check he reaches for chips as fast as he can and fires them into the pot. He does it in a way that looks very strong, so strong in fact it's hard not to think he's trying to look strong. I pause and think and the speech begins.

"Oh come on, you've come this far. You know you've got pocket kings, maybe ace queen. It's only 6 more chips"

I take a moment to process all of this and decide he's completely full of shit. I stare directly at him and he squirms. Like literally squirms and diverts his eyes from my gaze. He then pushes his cards with a chip on them sorta to the left like and towards the dealer and it just looks so awkward it's hard to believe. I peel off 6 chips and call and he says "Nice call, I told you you had it" and turns over T9o (which had a double gutter). I roll my hand and he can only comment "Ace Jack? Wow...."

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