World Series of Poker Europe Coolbet Open

Cash Catastrophes, Vol. 1: Out of Position and Out of Ideas

Cash Catastrophes

My name is Carlos Welch. You may not know me, but I am the best poker player in the world.

Actually, that’s not true. I am not even the best player in the live $1/$2 no-limit hold’em games I play. I am a former math teacher and current math tutor who is trying to learn how to play poker to supplement my income since I decided to work part-time.

Fortunately, I am friends with some of the best poker coaches around and they frequently guide me in my journey. Unfortunately, I am hard-headed and make huge mistakes at the tables while trying to apply the skills they’ve taught me.

Occasionally, I make catastrophic mistakes at the cash game tables. I’ve created this series to publicly shame myself into learning the lessons I pay for with my stacks. Maybe you haven’t had the pleasure of making these boneheaded moves yet. If not, I invite you to learn from my pain.

The Hand

It’s my regular $1/$2 no-limit hold’em game.

The effective stacks are about $450. Five players limp in, then the action comes to me in the big blind where I’ve been dealt {K-Spades}{9-Clubs}. I check. There’s $10 in the pot.

The flop comes {9-Diamonds}{7-Hearts}{6-Clubs}.

I decide to check because I don’t want to bloat the pot with this hand from out of position (OOP). (Remember this.) I’m happy to play my hand as a bluff-catcher.

It checks around to the player on the button, probably the best player in the game. He bets $10 and gets calls from the small blind, me, and the player in the hijack seat. Now there is $50 in the middle.

The turn is the {K-Clubs}, giving me two pair.

I decide to check. Again, I am OOP and not sure what I’m supposed to do if I bet and get raised. (Remember this, too.) It once more folds around to the button, and this time he bets $40. The small blind calls, and I go into the tank to consider my options.

Wow, really? (I think.)

The small blind has a very wide range, I decide. He could have a number of draws or worse made hands here. I expect that he would have raised with anything that beats me.

The button also has a wide range, but since he is betting he could have draws or monsters. The only hands I can exclude from his range that would make this bet are the ones with which he would raise preflop like {K-}{Q-}, {A-}{K-}, {K-}{K-}, and {A-}{A-}. His bet looks like he has a set or better, or a strong draw. And there are way more draws in his range than there are made hands.

If I call, I believe the hijack seat is also going to call because he’ll feel priced in with as little as a pair plus a gutshot. I decide I cannot let all these draws see another card cheaply.

I raise to $130, leaving myself $308 behind. The hijack folds, then the button thinks for a while before raising to $305. He has me covered, I note. The small blind then thinks for a while before folding. The action back on me, again I tank.

You cannot be serious!

Okay, let’s see. I know there are more draws in his range than hands that beat me, but would he really play a draw this way? I’d expect him either to shove for maximum fold equity or just call with those hands. This feels like a hand that wants a call, like maybe a straight or a set of nines or something, I guess. And top two pair isn’t the top of my range in this spot, so I can fold here.

I fold.

The Problem

Remember those moments where I told myself I didn’t want to bloat the pot OOP because I wasn’t sure what I would do if I bet and got raised? Notice how I then talked myself into doing it, anyway... like a boss. Idiot!

Even though there were a bunch of bad cards that could come on the river to complete a number of draws, I knew exactly what they were. The board was {9-Diamonds}{7-Hearts}{6-Clubs}{K-Clubs} and my hand was {K-Spades}{9-Clubs}. The river cards I was worried about included any club, a {3-}, a {6-}, a {7-}, an {8-} and a {10-}. Most other cards were either not bad for me or they improved hands that had me beat anyway (e.g., a {J-} really only improves {10-}{8-}). There were more good cards for me than bad, so I really didn’t need to raise for protection and risk getting reraised.

In fact, this hand wasn’t even worth protecting. It was a glorified bluff-catcher. When the board is this coordinated and there are four people in the pot, top two pair loses a lot of its value. That’s like check-raising for value with {K-}{K-} on a {A-}{7-}{2-} flop.

The Lesson

Next time I am OOP in a multi-way pot with a coordinated board, I am going to make sure I have a hand strong enough to get my whole stack in before I start raising and act without a plan. If it’s not worth my stack, then it’s a bluff-catcher and I will check-call with it accordingly.

Photo Images Money, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Get all the latest PokerNews updates on your social media outlets. Follow us on Twitter and find us on both Facebook and Google+!

What do you think?

More Stories

Casino News

Other Stories