Knowing when to fold ’em

by Lou on September 10, 2007

Here’s a hand I played a few days ago. When it ended, an opponent told me I made a “… very strong laydown.” I’m not so sure. I think it was an obvious laydown, but you can decide for yourself. Here’s how the hand played out.

I caught pocket jacks in a $25-$50 hold’em game at the Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage. The player under-the-gun called and so did one other before the action got around to me. I raised, and both blinds folded. Nevertheless, I was called in two places.

The flop didn’t figure to help anybody. It was 9-4-4, and three-suited too. It was checked around to me, so I bet. I was called by the guy in early position, whom I regard as a good player. The guy sandwiched between us folded, so now the hand was heads-up.

The turn was a seven. My opponent checked. I bet. He raised. I thought for a minute, and then tossed my hand away. Other than a naked bluff, what could I beat that he was holding? I did not think he was bluffing, and I couldn’t come up with an answer.

I knew he didn’t have a four because he never would have called under the gun with any hand containing a four. If he intended to represent a bigger hand in that position he would have come in raising. But he just called, and then called the flop with no draw possible.

I though he might have a pocket pair of sevens and turned a set, or perhaps he flopped a set of nines. He might have slow-played a pair of kings or aces under the gun too, though I felt a set was more likely. It didn’t matter. I was drawing dead to two jacks if I decided to call his raise.

When I tossed my hand away, he showed me a pair of kings. I told him I released a pair of jacks, which was when he made the comment about my making a terrific laydown. I told him I thought it was a rather obvious laydown, since I could not think of a single hand he might raise with in that position that I could beat.

In retrospect, I was kind of shocked that he slowplayed kings from early position, since that allowed any ace to stick around and beat him if the flop was favorable.

But my hand was dead in the water. That’s the way it goes with jacks. They’re a dicey hand and you’re only about even money to see a flop that does not contain at least one card of a higher rank than your jack.

I didn’t see any cards on board that could beat my jacks, but I was convinced that the two cards my opponent held was a better hand than mine.
Sometimes you do have to “… know when to fold ‘em.”

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