On the button, limps to me. A2o?

I had a difficult session at Greektown Casino this week that ended with a disastrous hand all-in preflop with aces.  I lost the main pot to QTdd and the side pot to KK, but that’s not what this post is about.  Before that hand, I was fairly card dead in the four hours leading to that catastrophe and had the opportunity to play this hand.

I am on the button in  a very average, passive, friendly table about $200 deep. Stakes are $1/$2 and we’re playing No Limit Hold’Em. There are two limpers to me, and I look down at A-2 off suit.  Now, I know what most people are saying here.  Why are we even talking about this hand? Snap fold, next hand.  All I can say is: indulge me.

I never play this hand, even on the button.  But something was telling me, give it a try.  It was probably boredom, but let’s not get on that tangent. So I compound my choice to play this hand by limping in.  Small blind completes and big blind checks.

Flop is J-5-2 rainbow: super dry board.  Small blind, a tight solid player with about $350 behind bets $8 into the $10 pot.  A middle position player, in his 40’s, studious, from Rochester, calls.  Everyone else has folded and it gets to me.  Another snap fold decision?  Well, I decide that this would be a good position to float with bottom pair.  There are no real draws that can get there on the turn besides maybe a wheel, but I have two players that have been playing passively that might be able to fold on future streets. I don’t really read either of them as very strong right now, especially MP, but I have my mind open to someone having a very strong hand. I call with the intention of bluffing if checked to me on the river.

The turn is pretty good for my plan:  a queen that doesn’t bring a flush draw. Predictably, the small blind and the MP players check to me.  Without hesitation, I bet $30 in the pot of $34.  Small blind tanks.  He shuffles chips. He seems unsure of what to do.  He decides to call.  MP folds pretty quickly.

Now the river is a 6. I have a pair of deuces with an ace kicker.  I have $160 left, and the pot is $94.  The small blind checks to me.  I can easily shove here with my stack size since my opponent has me covered.  I am dead certain I am behind, so this would be a pure bluff.  I cannot win the hand any other way. I think about it. I shuffle chips.  And I check.

My opponent turns over J-3 of spades. Wow, what a great call on the turn.  He read my soul and made a great call with one player still left to act. Did he have some tell on me?  Did he plan on folding the river to a big bet?  He seemed like the only other solid player at the table, so he easily could have folded such a weak holding to my shove.

The only thing is, what would I be representing?  QJ? A set? Why would I jam the river when the 6 hits the OESD?  I basically have to be saying nuts or air.  Would an OESD bet $30 on the turn with 4 high when I can take a free card?  I should be checking behind any hand with decent showdown value or value betting closer to pot to get a call with the nuts. So if I wanted to bluff, I would have to bet about $90 leaving me $70 behind. Very hard to sell in my opinion, specially against a thinking player.

So it all comes back to the A2 offsuit on the button.  Why did I even get in this spot?  I evaded losing a bunch of chips on a bad bluff, but I could have saved myself about 20BB if I had just folded pre-flop.  Thank goodness I didn’t hit an ace when someone else had A8 or A9. Really, what was I thinking?

I am taking the rest of the weekend off from blogging, and I will be back next week.  Thanks for everyone’s comments this year and for reading the blog.  Merry Christmas, everyone!

About Frank Panama

Frank Panama is the host of the Michigan Poker Monster podcast, a podcast about Michigan poker. He lives in Saint Clair County, Michigan, and loves to play and talk about poker.
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