Today’s hand review will discuss knowing an opponent and being able to make a very risky call. Often times, we are forced to make a decision that we will not like and may dwell on it for a few days. Laying down a monster hand is never easy. Add in the fact that you could have won a very large pot; it makes the decision even tougher. Sometimes you have to go with reads and you will be rewarded.
Let's first establish our reads on the player. Villain is a loose semi-reckless and almost borderline fish. They are not a complete fish as the true weak players don't bet so aggressive. We’ve had a few run ins with this player before. After only a few hands at the table, we noticed they were open shoving all in pre flop for 100 big blinds. We were dealt AK and they shoved again. They happen to have 66 which isn't worth an all in shove, and hit a set and we were drawing dead on the flop. Right away we know this player is going to be a wild one and we should be prepared to play accordingly.
We are dealt A8 in the big blind and about half the table limps in. We could make a case for raising here, but in my opinion checking and seeing a cheap flop with a solid hand is best. If we were to raise we would likely be wasting money and still go 4 way to the flop out of position.
We hit a nice flop and the small blind checks. If the board was a little less draw heavy and we didn't have 4 people in the pot, checking and slow playing could be a nice option. However, with so many people in the pot and most of them bad players, we should just bet out pretty big.
We do lead out for almost the pot amount, which is perfect in this spot. Our loose wild player calls and we go the turn. The turn only completes a straight but it's still scary enough that we may want to take caution. We should still lead out, as we do have a strong hand, but we are treading lightly. Since this player is aggressive and capable of making big bets we don't want to be too large so that we have to call a large raise.
Well, we lead out a good amount and we are raised pretty big. Almost 5x in this specific case. We have a few options here. Get it in and hope they don't have a big hand. Call and evaluate the river. Or we can fold. All are very close decisions but against this player I feel calling is the best. If we raise and they have nothing they just fold. If we fold we will never know what happened and by calling we allow them to bluff the river if in fact they are bluffing.
We do just call and the river comes a blank. We check and villain shoves all in for an over pot sized bet. We elect to fold for some reason and live to fight another day.
Our plan here should have been to call the turn with the intention of calling any river bet. Since we have seen this player make some wild bets and with less than strong hands, this call should have been pretty easy. We played it almost to perfection with exception of when it counted the most. If we call such a large bet on the turn, we feel we have the best hand and with a blank on the river we should still feel our hand is good.
If we are not going to pay attention to our reads and use them correctly, than we may as well not play poker at all. The game is about using the information we are given to make a decision. In this case we had plenty of information to make a call on this river, yet we took the timid way out and forgot about our reads. Follow your gut and don't be scared to make that big call, the risk is always worth the reward.