A Dodgy Play on the River

by Lou on August 6, 2009

There Is Poker Content; It’s Just Five Paragraphs Down

I ride my bike nearly every morning, and during the summer here in the desert—where temperatures can climb up to 115 and above during the heat of the day—I go early. Very early, in fact, when most other people and every poker player I know is still sound asleep or just getting ready for bed.

Because of some road construction that has to be gingerly navigated to get to my favorite routes, I’ve lately taken to riding in an area I call the ghost towns. It’s part of north Indio, where there are a gazillion new gated communities all built a few years ago, but because of the depressed economy, they’re still pretty much empty.

But that’s good for cyclists. The roads are all new, smooth, and the main roads are mostly six-lanes, so there’s plenty of room to ride and no traffic to pose any dangers.

In these conditions, it’s easy to mentally drift away while riding. It’s like meditating on two wheels, and this morning I found myself thinking about some really poor play I witnessed playing $2-$5 no-limit hold’em with a $500 maximum buy-in at my local casino.

Overly Aggressive on the River

The game was only about an hour old when this hand came up. I’d already pegged the two participants—a woman who was aggressive whenever she had a hand and was not afraid to go all-in, even when it meant overbetting the pot significantly with a good hand, but not necessarily a great one—and a guy seated immediately to her right who made a lot of calls he probably shouldn’t have.

Five players saw an unraised flop, and the woman, who was third to act, bet after the previous two players checked. Everyone folded around to the guy on her right who called a flop of K-J-7 of mixed suits.

The turn brought an eight. The guy checked; the gal made a smallish bet of about half the pot and the guy to her right called. The river card was a nine, and while no flushes were possible, numerous straights were.

Now the guy came out betting. It was a smallish bet, and whether it was a blocking bet or a bet with a nut hand designed to get a call was tough to tell. But the gal thought for a moment and then raised all in—a bet of about $270 which was close to the amount her opponent had in front of him.

The guy went into the tank and stayed there for nearly a minute before he said, “I call.” The gal turned over J-9 for two pair and the guy turned over the same hand for a split pot.

I was pretty surprised at the cards that were turned over. I think the gal’s raise was extremely aggressive, especially since she should have realized that her opponent had demonstrated his willingness to call river bets during the first hour, even when he had hand he probably should have released.

She couldn’t beat much, and with a board of K-J-7-8-9, any ten would have beaten her, along with 6-5, Q-10, or even K-J. While there could have been a set out there, I didn’t think that was very likely, because neither player made an attempt to protect their hand and knock out any straight draws with a big bet earlier in the hand.

Her play was better than his. At least she had some fold equity attached to her action on the river. Calling with J-9 was very dodgy. After all, what could he beat? I don’t think she would have made that move with A-K, or any other one-pair hand, because while she was aggressive, she was that way only with good hands—and one pair with that board is not a good hand by anyone’s judgment.

I was in that game the better part of four hours and while I came away a winner, I never did get a chance to confront either of them heads-up. Oh well, there’s always another day.

{ 1 comment }

BigTPoker August 11, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Strange indeed. I keep thinking he made a blocking bet, but neither action after that made sense.

It is really too bad you didn't get to confront one of them.

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