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!