It is so tempting to write a blog post about a hand that one lost after “playing it correctly”. This is one of those, such, hands. Playing it correctly, is of course, in quotation marks because (a) this is a subjective measure, depending on who you ask, when you ask, and the respondent’s bias, and (b) even through my own lens, I’m often not confident about my decision making. If nothing else, I very frequently feel differently about a hand the next morning than I do the night before. This is not one of those times. Even so, (a) applies, and many of you will disagree with me. At one time I had the time and energy to invest in continuously improving my game. I had visions of being an accomplished player, but given my other interests and commitments, I know that I will be relegated to a semi-occasional poker punter. Had I continued to develop my game beyond where I am today, my analysis of this hand would be undoubtedly different. Were I a more recreational player, of course, my analysis would be simpler. The irony is those times when the effect of my analysis on my actions is the same, despite the analysis being so different. THIS is why so many people enjoy the game of poker.
I was at the Northside last night, and pleased with my play for the first time since Jimmy Carter was in office (no, I am not that old). Sobchak was two to three seats to my left, depending on the table population and I had just button raised his big blind with AJo while the table was 5- or 6-handed. Sobchak three-bet me out of position, and I decided this was one of those times he had a big hand, 88 or better, and very possibly dominated, and I folded my button. If you’re thinking “he doesn’t have enough information to narrow a wild man like Sobchak’s range in this spot”, you don’t know how much history the two of us have, and you’re still correct.
Sobchak does such a great job of merging his ranges, mixing up his betting lines, and also taking advantage of his great familiarity with my game. In short, he’s a bitch to play against, but we play the same games, he’s a friend, and he forces me to play better.
I showed my AJ in this spot, sending something of a message – I am playing tight, I’m not screwing around against you, I’m making “solid” decisions. (See my previous expose on quotation marks).
The fact that I folded my AJ in position in this hand will make you scratch your head a bit when I tell you about the hand in question, and it’s all a part of this dance that Sobchak and I do.