Protect Your Cards, Because I'm and A**hole
by dtools22 | Published May 08, 2012
So this past week I found myself in an interesting situation. It was the first time in a little while I had encountered something completely new to me at the tables. Therefore I reacted without really considering my options as carefully as I should have. I reflected on what went down later that night and decided that not only did I feel like I handled the situation as best I could, but I was also completely justified in what I did. I don't think the entire poker community is going to agree with me on this one but I'll tell my side of the story here today and let you be the judge as to whether or not what I did was justified and ethical.
So I'm playing in a 1/2NL game down at Foxwoods. The game has been pretty soft for most of my time there. One such villain has been chatting up a storm. He's in his early 40s and has been frequenting the casino since it opened 20 years ago, or at the very least that's the story he was going with on this particular day. Anyway, he did seem to have a basic knowledge of the game but I wouldn't call him a threat to me at the table by any means. He was sitting three seats to my left so he wasn't really someone I was expecting to get a whole lot of value from in this game. We both for the most part just stayed out of each other's way. For whatever reason though, we got involved in one of the more interesting pots of last week's sessions for me.
Action is folded around to me and I raise to $11 in the HJ with KhQd. Our villain in question is the only caller in the SB and we see a flop of Th4d2h. Our villain checks to me and I decided to check behind. This guy was the the type of player to not fold if he has any piece of this board. Bottom pair is worth seeing one more card over so I decided to take my free card option. The turn comes the 4h giving me two overs and a K-high flush draw. Our villain wakes up suddenly and bets $10 into the $20 dollar pot. I think there is a reasonable chance I still have the best hand, plus I have plenty of outs to see one more card turn. I call and the river peels off the 8d, what appears to me to be a total blank. Our villain fires out a $20 bet this time. I start to really think about my decision here. I really didn't want to fold my hand because this player had been getting a little splashy over the past few orbits and this could easily just be another example of that. My only problem here is he could be getting splashy with A-high and still have me crushed. I glance over at our villain, he looks like he wants nothing to do with this hand anymore. He's sitting perfectly still as though a cheetah just spotted him and he really doesn't want to get into a foot race. I grab my cards to looks at them again, more to kill time while I think than anything else. As I do this my opponent grabs his cards very sloppily, and in doing show partially flashes them to me. I see two black cards and one of them is a face card. Given this new information and coupled with my villain's disdain for his holding I make the call. He rolls over Ks9s and I take down the pot.
I thought about this later on. Was what I did ethical as a poker player? While I was pondering this at the table the villain in question was just kind of in shock. He finally said to me, "I couldn't get you off that hand for $20 huh?" At this point I felt like if I mentioned to him that he flashed his cards at me he would have thrown an angry fit. So I just calmly said to him, "Nope." I've been thinking about this hand for a few days now and I've told the story to a few poker buddies of mine. Each time the reaction has been the same, "Sick call down with K-high." I'll be honest here, I don't feel particularly achieved having made this call. I imagine this is what a slight of hand magician feels like after pulling off a trick. He or she knows the only reason it looks amazing is because you are standing at a certain angle or you just missed one or two moves in the process. I don't feel like I had a soul read on this guy by any means. He just freely gave me a ton of information and I took it.
Upon reflection I can say this for certain, I have absolutely no remorse for this guy. Yes I did call because I saw what he had, but I wasn't the one who made him reach for his cards. I wasn't shooting an angle to make him fumble with his holding and let me sneak a glance. I wasn't ducking my head down to try and sneak a peak at the answers in the back of the textbook. I simply sat there, observed my opponent, and played my hand accordingly. I feel completely justified in my actions. If you don't protect your cards, you deserve to be posterized like this. Plain and simple.
Let me know what you think. Am I just some angle shooting donkey or is there some merit to my argument? Leave a comment or contact me via any of the following platforms.