Aug 18
by Don

I am not sure how much more Olympic coverage (read Michael Phelps) I can handle this week.  I have to admit that it has been great to witness history and all but where is the coverage of Usain Bolt? I mean seriously, that guy is just sickening!


So now my thoughts drift but to poker and I love to talk game theory.  Not the high level math that NASA uses to compute implied odds; but playing certain hands in certain spots against certain types of players.


I don’t normally play too many marginal hands; but rather I look at the position I am in first, the action in front of me, and then my cards.  One such situation came up in a tournament that I was in that could have really been something had I just gone with my first instinct.


I have J8 off on the button at about the end of the first hour of play.  The table has been loosening up since the start and there is a min raise from under the gun and 3 other callers when the action is on me.  My first thought is that I should call just because the blinds have decent stacks and haven’t been looking to make moves preflop as of yet.  Plus with all of the callers there would be a lot of coverage so I could just see what happens.  If I don’t flop two pair or better, I can always dump my hand with only putting in 2 bets to this point.


Then I start thinking that I should just fold and save those two bets since I will need all the chips I have if I don’t get a hand before the break because of the blinds going up.  I just fold and sit on my stack.


The flop produces a nice rainbow of J-8-7.  I have that feeling of getting punched in the stomach.  This is not the first time I have gone against one of the pillars of my game, which is the skill of good risk/reward assessment, and have been punished for it. But I take heart in that I would probably not get much from this pot since there wasn’t a huge over card or and draws other than the 10-9.


There is some action on the turn when a J hits, but nothing to write home about.  The pot is fattening up quite nicely at this point, much to my dismay. 


The river brings another 7 and now it’s happy go lucky time.  The board turned and rivered a flush and of course anyone with the case J has a nice boat. 


There are fireworks and a couple of all-ins and sure enough, one guy has a J and the other flush to the A.  Of course the real crime is that I had the ultimate nuts with my Jacks full with the 8 over the 7’s. 


So the lesson is that you should go with your gut if you have sound principles and start prospecting.  Who knows, you may hit some gold!