A Proud Moment

You may have noticed I’ve made about 4 posts in the past couple hours. The past few days have been pretty intensely crazy, so I’ve been breaking them up into several posts that I think don’t necessarily fit together that well. They’re in approximately chronological order, so hopefully you’ve still been able to follow what’s been going on. 

Here are a couple relatively straightforward live hands from the other night:

– EP limper, MP makes it $14, next guy flats, and I flat with J9hh in the CO. Two more callers behind me. The flop is K52, with two hearts. Checks to the PFR, who bets $37. I call getting about 3:1. The limper in EP calls. Turn is an offsuit 2, and it checks to me. I think about betting, but something in the PFR’s demeanor makes me think he has a K and isn’t planning to fold at all. Plus his flop bet represents some strength (the flop was 5-handed). I check it back. River is the 4h, and it checks to me. I bet $80 (into about $180), since I think both their ranges are fairly weak now – weak Kx at best most likely. I get called by both and my hand is good.

– AK in the BB, in a straddled pot. UTG loose-aggro, somewhat spewy player makes it $15. BTN and SB (very loose bad preflop, unpredictable postflop) both call. I make it $60, and UTG and BTN both call. Flop Q82 rainbow, I bet $80. Both players fold.

In contrast, this next hand was kind of a big deal:


On the button, one limper, and someone makes it $12. Two callers to me, I call, and and both blinds call. 6-way to the flop. 

Flop: ($70)    (6 players)
The BB leads for $15 into about $70, and there are 3 calls to me. I make it $110 to go, and it folds to the first caller of the $15, who SNAP-goes all in. He has about $570 before he calls the flop bet, and I cover the table. The next player to act (a terribad, loose fish) calls all in for $70. It folds to me. I’m last to act, and everyone is all in but me, so I flip my hand over and watch the player who flatted/3bet-jammed the flop. He doesn’t seem at all concerned by my hand, but he doesn’t react strongly positively either.

I tank for perhaps a minute, going back over the action in my head. I’m instantaneously worried that my hand is no good, and I can’t think he would play a set this way. This player is tight with what he puts money in with postflop, and he almost certainly would have raised a hand as vulnerable as a set on a monotone board here, when someone leads for 1/5 pot. He must have a flush… But what price am I getting? I can pair the board… But he has a FLUSH. WHAT PRICE AM I GETTING?

By this point, some regs have come over and are observing the hand play out. No one calls the clock on me, despite my having taken over 2 full minutes and making a spectacle. I can’t do the mental math right now. The spot is too gross – I just can’t think the numbers through. But I know it’s close. But if it’s extremely close, do I really want to call it off for over 200 more bb? The table is loose and bad, and most are deep-stacked. I can make money in other spots, and potentially sacrificing my stack here would mean even if I rebought I would have a much smaller stack. And on a table like this, a smaller stack means a smaller edge.

I pick up my cards and do a couple swings toward the muck, but I don’t let go yet. I watch the villain who jammed, hoping to get something, anything out of him. He says “you know what the right decision is.” He doesn’t seem particularly concerned with what I do. Yep, that’s a flush 100%, I concede to myself.

After my pump-fakes I had set my cards back down, still face up. One reg watching wondered aloud, “is he really going to fold that?” Another replied, “you couldn’t pry those cards out of his hand if you tried.”

About 30 more seconds passed.

“I fold.”

I couldn’t bring myself to toss my cards in, but I forced myself to form the words before I could do anything stupid like throw a stack of chips into the middle.

Half the table gasped in surprise, and seemingly a hundred more people behind me did the same. I turned around, somewhat surprised. It was very clearly the right fold – the only question was whether I could make it or not.

The villain who jammed says, “well, you’re going to get to see it anyway,” and turns over the AQdd. I sigh audibly with relief.

“Don’t pair the board, Richie,” I beg the dealer. “Don’t do it.”

An offsuit T hits the turn.

“Don’t do it.” I am staring daggers into the spot where the river is about to go.

“Just don’t.”

Deuce on the river.

I explode back from my place at the table and do a 2-second lap around the people behind me. I can’t believe it. Neither can anyone else.

“I snap-call there,” says seat 9. I’m beside myself, but I hold back any condescending remarks and just sit back down in my seat.

The regs eventually disperse, and the game continues, but the conversation is locked onto the hand I had just played. Everyone had an opinion, but the one man in seat 9 kept saying how he would have snap-called, and he wishes I had called, because he wanted to see me win.


I refused to try to explain to him why a call was wrong. But even as I was outwardly exasperated with the board’s runout, there was a feeling growing inside of me. I couldn’t identify it at first, but I realized it was pure satisfaction. Relief. Incredulity, but also pride. I could hardly believe that I’d just correctly folded top set on the flop. But I had done it. And board pair or no, it was right. I wouldn’t have made that fold a year ago. Hell, I probably wouldn’t have made it 3 months ago. But I made it that time. And that’s something worth feeling proud about.

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