Sole Survivor: Poker Spanish Style
by Ian Simpson | Published: Aug 16, '12
I’ve just arrived in sunny Spain for the joint European Poker Tour and the Estrellas Poker Tour. “Hotel 4 Barcelona” is a great hotel with welcoming staff which is always a good start to a holiday.
I’ve gotten here early to enjoy some of the sights that Barcelona has to offer, but unfortunately my lovely girlfriend lead me astray and caused me to have a monumental 24 hour hangover and thus making me miss out on seeing some cool stuff as I was laid up in bed most of the day feeling sorry for myself.
I did get to wander around Gaudi’s Sagrada Família, the unfinished cathedral which is an awesome sight to behold and I’m planning on seeing more of the city on the days when I’m not playing poker.
I played the €200 + €20 freeze out to warm up and had a really good first four levels to the tournament. I had identified some loose-aggressive players at my table one of which 3-bet me with A-3 suited, bluffed and rivered me. It was worth it for the read I gained however as he 3-barrel bluffed me on a board of K-6-4-4-3.
He had 3-bet me pre-flop and he played it far too strong for the hand to make sense, it was like he was trying hard to make me think he had A-K or A-A. I made the call with K-9 and he mucked his hand. I picked off another bluff and felted a guy when my pocket rockets ran into cowboys. Easy game right?
Wrong. Three pots went awry and I was out.
I get K 8 on the big blind 150/300/25 and I’m sitting on 30,000 chips. Two people limp including the small blind. Flop comes out K Q 10. The small blind checks. I check and the limper ships all in for 3k (10 times the blind).
Now I think his range is huge here. Two checks from the blinds on this board is almost certainly weak and he knows that so his x3 the pot bet is going to take it down a large proportion of the time. He could be betting with a naked ace of diamonds or any pair and a straight draw. He could however have limped with a big hand wanting action and then shipped on the dangerous board. He could have even made this play with air having two checks from the blinds and antes in the pot to make it worth stealing, especially for him as he would increase his stack by 33 percent. I’ve got top pair which puts me ahead of his semi-bluffing hands and ive got the 8 which might give me some outs versus other parts of his range. Ive also got a big stack from my earlier play. He turns K-Q and I don’t catch a diamond. Rats.
Next a very loose-aggressive player who I’ve seen call a raise with 3-2 suited and bluff post-flop raises it from the cut-off. I call from the button with 5-4 (I’m ahead of her 3-2 right?) deciding to try and use my position to take the pot postflop.
The flop is Q-9-8 and she bets out which I think she is doing 100 percent of the time here. I raise her and she calls. Her body language says she is weak. The turn is the A and that puts 3 spades on board and is potentially a very scary card for her. I bet, she calls.
The river is a blank and I’ve just decided to give up when she practically screams “please don’t bet!” when she delays and then checks.
I convince myself to bet and she tanks for what seems like eternity before making a brave call with Q-10. I’m not unhappy with how I played this hand, my read was right that she didn’t want me to bet the river but I should have shipped all in to put her life on the line, that would have gotten me the fold I think. If she didn’t have the straight draw she may have folded earlier so maybe bluffing this co-ordinated board wasn’t the best idea, but that scary ace on the turn was too tempting not to bet on.
My stack was now hurting and so is my reputation having been caught bluffing. I get A-9 from mid/early position and raise. This is of course my first mistake. The flop is Ace high with 2 hearts and I’ve got 2 callers pre-flop. First man checks, I bet, guy to my right calls and the first man gives me a death stare before going all in. I convince myself that he wants me to fold and he probably has 2 hearts and is making a play for the pot.
I put my money in figuring the guy to my right isn’t strong enough to call two all ins. He wasn’t but he did anyway with A-10 and the first guy didn’t have two hearts he had A-K! I’m not happy with how I played this hand at all, I read his death stare as meaning strong means weak and I had got the impression when he sat down he wanted a confrontation with me just from the way he glanced at me at the table. I should have folded my weak kicker and picked a better spot.
Live and learn, roll on the main events.