Sometimes one fish playing a hand really badly can turn the night around. Or at least save you on a night when nothing else seems to be going right.
When I encounter a player like this, I wonder if I should be playing either live or online every chance I get. Maybe I should be playing in poker tournaments or cash games online every night?
I was seriously card dead this night. I lost about half of my $200 buy-in just calling small raises with pocket pairs, suited connectors, etc. I added another $100 just before this hand happened, against the biggest fish at the table. He had less than me, about $140 when the hand was dealt. I had already realized he was a terrible player but I never had the cards or the opportunity to do anything about it….until now.
I had Jack-10 of diamonds in the small blind. The fish, in late position, raised to $7. I called, as did one limper. The flop was Queen-6-5, two diamonds (not the Queen). I checked, the fish bet $18 and I called. The other player mucked. The turn was a black King, giving me the open-ender in addition to the flush draw. Based on his play, I really didn’t think he’d fold to a bet. I thought he would pay me off, however, if I hit my hand. I checked again, and this time he checked behind me.
The river was the Ace of hearts, giving me Broadway, and incidentally, the nuts. I suppose I would have preferred a diamond so I could have gotten a drawing ticket, but this had to do.
I bet $35. It seemed like an amount he would call if he had anything at all. I thought he would call if all he had was a pair of deuces.
He tanked. He counted out chips. He restacked them. He thought some more. Finally, instead of calling, he said, “Raise to $100.” Thank you, sir!
I thought it was possible he had the same hand as I did and we’d chop, but I doubted he would have taken that long to make a decision with the nuts.
But the weirdest thing was that he bet $100. He started counting the chips after he made the verbal declaration. But I knew he had barely more than $100—no more than $20 more. Why not just go all in? He was certainly pot committed.
I didn’t waste any time. I announced “all-in” right away. He said, “Well, I’m probably beat, but I have to call.” I loved hearing that.
Since he called me I had to show first, and I was only too happy to show the stone-cold nuts. He didn’t have to, but he did indeed turn over his cards.
Care to guess what he had?
It was Queen-10. Offsuit. He never had a flush draw. Or a straight draw. He did pick up a gut-shot on the river, a bit too late. He had top pair, weak kicker. I understand raising with that preflop in late position. I understand betting the flop. I could even see him making a crying call on the river, even though he had to think he was beat.
But raising me on the river? Wow. Instead of just losing another $35, he lost his whole stack. Needlessly.
I told you he was a fish.
He asked the dealer where the nearest ATM was, and she dutifully told him. I said to her, after he took off in the direction of the ATM, “Please come back. Please come back.”
He did. Unfortunately, I went back to being card dead and he gave away his new chips to other players.
That pot was the only significant one I won all night, and it helped me break even on a night where I was getting no cards. Not a great night, but I could settle for it.
Sometimes all it takes is one really bad player to help you out.