I played a hand this weekend and lost all my chips, I’m going to relay the hand to you now, and maybe you can tell me if I could have escaped from it.
Please bear in mind I only consider myself to be an intermediate player, so really advanced stuff will be way beyond me at the moment, but at my level, I don’t know if I should have got away from this.

Blinds are 50/100, every player has around 15k stack, and a local player, whom I’ll call “The C-Man”, raised to 250 from UTG+1. I know C-Man well, and he’s a better player than me. He’s got more live experience than I have, and he consistently makes better decisions than I do.

Female poker players in the eyes of male players suffering from FPOS.

That said, he doesn’t trust me, I think he suffers from ‘Female Player Opposition Syndrome’.
This is a serious illness, which I made up, and it is where male players assume all female players are total nits until they see them make one light bet, and then they assume that the female in question is a maniac.

FPOS affects some male players’ (by no means all) ability to believe a female player can have an active and elastic game style, they must be one thing or the other at all times.

The button and small blind limped. I considered a raise, but I convinced myself C-Man would be happy to 4-bet me light, because he thinks I’m aggro.
I made my first mistake here. I did not factor in the effect the two limpers would have on his temptation to get messy, so I limped from the bb with Kh10c.

Flop- Kc 6c 2s

I check, with full intention of raising C-Man’s inevitable c-bet, and he bets 400.

I think I made my second mistake here. This is too small for a c-bet bluff from C-Man, and I know enough about his style that he would actually be fairly unlikely to bet light into this pot with two pre-flop limpers behind him this early in a tournament.

The limpers pass, and I raise to 1200.

The C-Man looks at me.

“Got clubs, Kat?”

“Not going to raise clubs, C-Man, I’m a massive fish.” At this point I’m happy my K is good. I believe I’m betting for value here, although I don’t think he’s going to call, which, of course, he does.

Unfair fight
Lovely visual representation of where I think I am in this hand at this point.

I am now sure I’m in trouble. He never calls that bet with a hand I love to have K10 against. I know some players would happily call with much weaker hands, but not the C-Man. When he calls me here, I know the absolute bottom of his range has me racing him.

If he’d raised, I’d be more likely to narrow him down to include QQ, JJ, 1010, even 99 here, but when he calls, I have his entire flop range as this, starting at the bottom (brackets mean I think they’re so unlikely I’m not too scared of them):

Club draws – AQ, AJ, A10, A2, + KJ, KQ, AK, AA, (K6, K2, 26) 22, 66, (KK)

I think the 2pr combos are unlikely both due to pre-flop action and because I think he raises here with them. I think KK is unlikely because I’m holding a K.

Turn- 6d (Kc 6c 2s)

I was shut down. I expected him to bet the turn. When he didn’t, I narrowed him right down to the smacking top end of his range – (KK), 22, (66) or a hand with showdown value – KJ, KQ, AK, AA. He knows I love to bluff a river.

“That 6 stops the clubs being scary, huh?” I said to him, and he gave me a strange look as the river was dealt.

River- Kd (Kc 6c 2s 6d)

I check. I think this was my third mistake. I could do that thing where I look back at a hand and pretend that I had a complicated thought process at the time, but it would be a collection of well punctuated lies. Honestly? I think I just “liked my cards”.

The story always changes in the telling
The story always changes in the telling

In an instant I saw I had the 2nd nuts, knew I’d bet the flop and checked the turn and stank of a K, so assumed a bet would never get called, and could only hope he’d bluff at me.

By checking so quickly, I had tried to look slyly like I’d “given up”, but to a player like C-Man, this was just a MASSIVE telegraph that I had a K, or at absolute worst, a 6.

I imagined he could put me on holding a 6, because he knows I’d raise his flop bet wide, and definitely would have checked if I’d tripped the turn.

He instantly went all in for 15k into a pot of 3400.

I didn’t think, I called immediately.

If he knows I have KKK66 or, at least, 666KK, then he will have at least KKK66 as well, or the only better hand 6666K. Yes?

The majority of the time, he has the K as well, and the pot is chopped. Should I be calling this bet, when, given the range I assigned him on the turn, I have to accept that this is most likely a chop? He’s never making this bet with a 6; I believe he would not think I would call with less than 666KK, he knows I’m not that rubbish. Probably.

I have to assume that he would make this bet a large amount of the time with a K, because he might think I’m weak enough to call him with a 6, but still, even given the fact I’m holding the 2nd nuts… should I call it? Or at this stage of the tourney just toss the 1450 and chalk it up to experience? Am I the player who waits for the nuts against a better player? Is that who I am at a poker table?

As it goes, he had 66 and I gave him my stack.

On reflection, it was pretty obvious.canstockphoto1793947

Why was it so hard to see at the time?

After the hand, C-Man told me he “is never bluffing there, I check AA behind”, and I think I knew that. Why couldn’t I see it when it counted?

The biggest mistake I made in this hand was that I didn’t stop to think, and I’m doing that too often. I don’t think I get away from this particular hand at this point, I’m not good enough, but I called 15k to win 18.5k in a millisecond, without any consideration.

I play too many players at my normal online stakes ($10), and in live £50 games against whom this would never be a fold. I made a default move against a uncommon player at the stakes I play and I did not think about it at all. At all.

The truth is, I think I have to call the river here, once I’m there.

An inescapable corner
An inescapable corner

I think the other truth is, that if I 3-bet the pot preflop, C-Man has to fold out because of Limpy and Limpy. I think I win the pot pre, or with a c-bet.

I was scared pre-flop, and I think the call with K10 was shite. I should have raised or folded.

I needed to stop and think when facing the massive river bet. Even for a moment, even if it did not change my instinctual decision, I needed to stop and think before calling off my entire stack.

C-Man is the one player at the table I could guarantee would understand the concept of maximum bet for value with the stones, because the one time a total donkey pays you off with the 2nd nuts makes it a profitable bet.
C-Man’s bet here was the very epitome of NL Hold ‘Em play, the sole reason for the NL format to exist at all. 15k into 3.4k… Happy Xmas, buddy; I let you make me your donkey.

So, you know, I’ll wrap up by giving you the usual advice:

Know Your Opponent
Don’t Limp With Weak Hands Out Of Position
Don’t Play Scared
Think About What You’re Doing, You Fucking Numpty

It’s clearly not advice I’m yet capable of following myself in really important poker moments, but I keep on repeating it, and hopefully, learning.

No matter how much poker punishes me, humiliates me, and rubs my face it in to show me how bad I am, I will keep coming back to her for more.
I get a little bit better all the time, even I can eventually learn a lesson, one day, I hope to learn to not put myself in a position where I have to pay off a better player with the 2nd nuts; maybe it’s a bigger dream than it sounds…?