California Trip Report – High Stakes Poker Adventure – Part III

When we left off I had just doubled up and was getting back into the action with a stack of ~$4k, playing 20/40 NL in a fast-paced live game running 6-handed.

The Waiting Game

The game was playing very aggressive, and very “actiony” – players willing to call raises preflop, reraise preflop, and get involved with less-than-premium holdings after the flop. I’m willing to play relatively tight and wait for high equity hands because of the action at the table.

I tread water for a few hours, losing and winning some small pots. I’m forced to fold postflop a number of times after raising and missing my hand – 88 doesn’t look so hot on a K9T flop when 3 people call your preflop raise.

I didn’t get many hands for a few hours, fortunately I was able to exploit my image a bit. I stole a couple pots on pure bluffs – I could donk the flop into the preflop raiser with backdoors and overcards and get a quick fold because of my nitty image. I also 3-barrelled(bet the flop, turn, and river strongly) a particularly dangerous board (AKxxx, 3 spades) against a good player who was capable of laying down an Ace.

I start to splash around a bit, but raising light is counterproductive when it is hard to take down a pot postflop and multiple players call raises – so I get a snack and settle in.

The Pots Keep Getting Bigger

I’m sitting with $3800 having lost a bit while splashing around. Everyone folds to an aggressive player in the small blind who covers me.

He open-raises to $140, I call with Ts8h. I’m happy seeing a flop in position with different types of hands.

Flop: Jc 9h 7c (Pot: $280)

Jackpot! I flop the nuts on a drawy board against an aggressive player. I’ve been splashing around a little, hopefully I look a bit more “action” than I did a few hours earlier.

He leads for $200, I raise to $700.

I need to build this pot early before an unfavorable turn or river card could kill my action – and raising the flop is the best way to give myself a chance to get my money in. Hopefully he will think I’m semi-bluffing, or trying to take a stand against the big stack. If I can encourage a “pissing contest” type confrontation, so much the better.

He calls in tempo.

Turn: (Jc 9h 7c) 7s (Pot: $1680)

The turn isn’t a great card since it could potentially make him a better hand, and gives worse hands like AA a four-out redraw. It doesn’t change my plan, though.

He checks, I bet $900. This will leave about $2000 left to bet in a $3500 pot if he calls the turn, a good sized river shove.

He starts reaching for chips, and asks the dealer for time. He asks me “Do you want the money to go in now, or on the river?”
I reply with my standard response to any question: “Whatever.”

He says “this is for the turn” and puts out a call of my $900, and then says “and this is for the river” and puts about $5k down, betting the river dark, and putting me all-in.

I call instantly, before the dealer gets a chance to burn + turn. My opponent seems a bit taken aback, I guess he put me on a draw and expected me to fold the river if I missed…

The River

The river, unfortunately, is the 9s, leaving the board:

River: (Jc 9h 7c 7s) 9s (Pot: $7600)

My opponent looks dismayed, so in my haste I turn over my cards before waiting to see his, and he mucks facedown! His likely holdings were an overpair, a draw, or a pure bluff – nothing else makes sense.

It’s incredible to have the dealer slide such an enormous pot in my direction, especially after such bad card for my hand hit on the river and it seemed like all might be lost. I was so stoked – it took me three hands to stack all my chips!

I played for awhile until I stopped for dinner, though no eventful hands followed.

Fortunately, I’d made quite a stack, turning a rough start into an awesome day!
The last day I played limit – I may do an Epilogue discussing some of the interesting LHE situations that came up, if there is interest.

I can’t wait to go back, live poker is a great change of pace, and it is exhilarating playing higher stakes than ever before. I hope you enjoyed the recount of my NL adventure!

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