Wow, there was a lot of activity here today... which is awesome! Honestly, in the busy-ness of the day, I forgot to check the blog - but here I am now.
I think I'll mostly post about my d0nkey-ass perspective about topics, styles, and strategies rather than hand recaps and thoughts (as we seem to have enough of that from the WNP crew), but today, I'll go with the flow and post about a hand last night involving Matt, our new player (Welcome Matt!).
The hand involved Matt, Royal, me, and Ryan. Royal was in the big blind, and I look down at 7c9c, one of my favorite hands to get into pots with: a middle, suited one-gapper. (These are seriously my favorite kind of hands.) I limp in, and the action folds around to Ryan, who in the cutoff, makes it 7. Matt, sitting next to him, makes it 17, Martin folds, and Royal calls. 69 chips are now in the pot.
5 6 8 rainbow
This gives me the 9-high straight: the nuts. Royal checks, I check, and Ryan checks to Matt, who I suspect has a pocket overpair or possibly c-betting an AQ/AK. Matt bets about 30, and Royal folds. I call 30 and Ryan folds.
(Scare card for any pocket overpairs, except for AA.) I check, Matt bets about 35, and I raise to 100. He calls.
I still have the nuts. The board is unpaired, no flush possibility. I bet 135, and after some deliberation, Matt folds. I rake in a pot of 269 (doesn’t include my river bet).
Where did I go wrong in this hand? Absolutely, positively, on the flop. One of the hardest things about poker is extracting maximum value out of a great hand, and I messed up getting max value on the flop. I wrote about this hand because it was a tricky situation – flopping the nuts with three other people in the hand, with my read on Matt being a strong starting hand (pocket pair 10s thru As or AQ/AK). As Ryan and Royal just called pre-flop, I can assume that they didn't have a big starting hand, and at best, have a set with some middle pair, two pair, or an open-ended straight draw with a 7.
In this situation, with 3 others in the pot, there are two possible ways of getting max value out of the current nuts:
1) Get the most chips in the pot from the most players possible. Attempt to build a pot by keeping everyone in the pot, with them calling a modest bet. For example, if the bet turns out to be 30, and everyone calls, that's 90 more in the pot (and my additional 30, to make it 120).
2) Check-raise Matt, who will bet to get value out of his pocket pair (if he has one). Check-raising, however, will likely scare anyone else off who is on a draw. If they are on a set, or two pair, it will be known right away if Royal or Ryan raises.
In this hand, I somehow ended up with a different option: Option #3, just calling Matt’s bet. For some reason, in my mind, I was carrying out Option #1. At the last second, I decided that I was going to be sneaky and let Matt build the pot for me. Talk about playing things too tricky. This was a BIG mistake in getting max value out of the hand, as I missed a chance on the flop to build a larger pot on later streets. The flop bet is SO crucial in building a pot, and I missed my chance in this hand.
That's the moral of this story - There's one thing to keep focused on when you have the nuts: Have a plan on how to get max value out of your hand. As long as you have a plan (clear or not) and follow it, that's the best you can do.