Sunday, June 22, 2008


The brother and I pretty much disgraced ourselves in Killarney at this weekend's mini festival Deepstack. He was first one out after just over an hour, and I was third out (I think) after under 3 hours.

His exit hand was one of the most farcical ever. A local livewire referred to locally as "The Chief" raised blind from early position. This caused a cascade of callers and Sean completely in the blind with 67s. Flop came 554 with two of Sean's suit (so he's got a straight flush draw). He checks, the Chief makes a big bet (still blind) which makes everyone go away, Sean calls. Turn is Ace of Sean's suit so he has a made flush. He bets hoping it'll be mistaken as the Ace rather than the flush and he'll get a weak call if the Chief has a 5. Chief takes a peek, raises, Sean reraises all in, Chief instacalls with, wait for it, quad 5's! Incredibly Sean still has a 2 outer but misses.

My exit was a glorious misread. I'd worked up from 15K starting stack to over 17K and was playing really well, or so I thought, extracting maximum value from my good hands (an occasional weakness of mine) and getting away from some big but beaten hands for the minimum when I raised in early position with AK. Folded around to the blinds. SB, whose PokerTracker stats would be something like VPIP 90%/PFR 2% called, then BB (who was playing tight) raised from 450 to 1200. I figured this was either a pair over 9's, AK or, perhaps most likely of all, AQ. The bet looked like a request to define my hand in relation to his and tell him if I had a bigger ace or a premium pair, so I decided to go for the sneaky flat call. SB also called. Flop came Ad 4h 3d, and the BB bets 2500 into a 3600 pot. I interpreted this as most likely Ace queen ("Please tell me if I have kicker problems") or something like a high pocket pair ("Please tell me if you have an Ace"). In any case, it didn't look like a bet that wanted a caller so I called. SB went away.

Turn's 10d and I check back to see if my K is a diamond. It is, so in addition to top pair top kicker I'm now drawing to the nut flush. The villain bets 4500, which in my mind narrows his hand down to precisely AQ, probably with no diamond. The bet looks like a last attempt to find out if his Ace is good and also charge me to draw if I have a diamond.

I have a little ponder before deciding to push all in on the basis that I'm almost certain I'm ahead right now (to his AQ) or possibly tied (he might also have AK) but if the fourth diamond comes on the river he won't call so it's best to get the money in now if he wants to continue. I think I'm possibly getting called light here (by AQ, certainly if the Q is a diamond) and also possibly chasing away a tie (if he has AK) so I think the bet is a good one.

He immediately groans and looks pained, and now I'm certain he has AQ. He looks like he's going to fold. Convinced I'm ahead, I do what I can to encourage the call, and eventually after 4 or 5 minutes he makes the most crying of calls and flips over pocket Aces!

My first reaction is total shock. Obviously I knew from the start Aces was in his range, but with one in my hand and one on the board, it looked most unlikely. Factor in the big "shoo shoo, go away" bets on the flop and the turn and I'd more of less discounted it almost entirely. Then the capper is the pained reaction when I push all in. Obviously he feared a made flush but would I really call a hefty reraise with two diamonds, neither being the ace? And even if I had the made flush, he was practically getting the odds to draw to the flush.

I still have 8 diamonds as outs but I miss and I'm on my way back to the International Hotel still trying to make sense of the hand. Talk about getting your reads totally wrong. On reflection though I don't think I'm ever getting away. Even if it's a more standard sequence of smaller raise pf (or sneaky call), followed by check call or check raise on the flop, I think once the diamond arrives on the turn the chips would all find their way to the centre anyway. It's just about possible it goes sneaky call preflop, check raise call on the flop, smallish bet call on the turn and then I don't lose all my stack, but anyway.

Killarney's a lovely little town and the Cue Club a gem of authentic Irish poker. Kerrymen are mad as March hares to a man, glorious Gaels untouched by globalisation, but tremendously hospitable and good fun.

Got back in time to play my first Sunday online donkament, the warmup on Stars. Lost most of my stack early on to a well disguised two pairs (K5 - he called a raise pf!) when I had top pair and the nut flush draw. Almost got back into it until my 9's ran into Q's.

Vegas is next on the agenda: we fly out on Thursday and looking forward to it immensely.



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