I’ve been really focusing on the mental and player side of poker lately, and am really enjoying doing so. On Friday, I made a great read on a player and then played that read accordingly, and I have to tell you it felt great.
I’m in the BB with the stellar holding of 9d5c.
Three people limp, the SB calls, and I check.
The flop is Ah 5s 2d
I check, two others check, and the hijack bets. The SB folds, and I think about the hand.
The Hijack is somewhat loose, and very aggressive preflop. He’s young (I had him figured for an Internet player, for those keeping score at home), and I’ve seen him raise with 85s and KJs UTG, and with a wide variety of hands in late position. Note, though, that he’s not a maniac. Limping from the hijack, his likely holdings are low pocket pairs and suited and unsuited connectors up to KJ.
I can NOT put him on any ace (he would have raised) or any medium sized pocket pairs that beat my pair of 5s (he would have raised with those hands, too). He might have a set of 5s or 3s, but he might also have 44 and 22, so I am not too worried about that part of the range. Really, I am pretty sure he would have raised with 55, leaving only the 33 holding for me to be concerned about.
If I check raise him, he’ll likely fold to me, as he would put me on an ace or two pair. While a fold may well be the best thing for me, I think I can get another bet out of him, and I call. The remaining two players fold.
The turn comes 7c, making a flush impossible, and no straight on the board. I check it to the kid, who also checks (I would have check raised him this time). I know I’m ahead as soon as he makes that check.
The river is a 10h, a card that may be bad for me. If he had JT, QT, KT, T9, or even 86, I’m beat. On the other hand, if I bet out, he’ll only call (or raise) me if he can beat me, so my best option is to let him bluff at it, so I check.
He bets, I call, he turns over KdJd, and I take the pot while he raises an eyebrow. He had the confidence/arrogance of many young Internet players, and I believe he felt himself to be the best player at the table, which factored into my analysis of the hand.
For great players, this sort of analysis is routine, but it’s something I am just now beginning to work on, and I was quite proud of myself for making a good analysis, a very good read, and then acting on that read in such a way as to get an extra bet out of my opponent. I am fairly confident I can continue to make some progress in this area, and I have a long way to go.