Friday :: September 5, 2008
Firing That Third Bullet!
Oh the freakin agony! "My God do you ever fold?" you scream at the monitor as the calling station from hell shows you down with pocket ducks on your huge river bet with 5 over cards to his pair on the board.

SERIOUSLY DUDE!!! You showed strength preflop raising in the cutoff position after this poker spare limped under the gun. Your raise was significant enough to force the blinds to bail like farmers in hay, but not Ol' Couldn't fold a small pair if you played with your cards face up showing him AA.

You continued to show strength when you raised the flop after Limpington Checkagain II checked to you on the flop Kh-Js-8d. You know you made a position raise preflop with the 10h-9h, but how could Barney Callbets III know. After all he hasn't raised back to see where he is in the hand.

An Ace of hearts shows on the turn giving you more outs than a Gay Pride Parade and Duh What-cha-Doin' George checks back to you again where you cool as a fan in an igloo in Canadian February bet again. Of course super spare just flat calls again. It's almost as if his action buttons on his software read dumb, dumber,dumbest as opposed to check,bet,fold.

Now You have a problem. You've raised preflop, post flop, and the turn. You have position on Limprod the Limpcalling checkstain and he's checked again. He couldn't possibly be slow playing with all those action cards could he? Did he soft play QQ and is just too weak and unsure what to do with the board? There's no way he's got that strong of a hand the way he's played.

Now a new rush of questions start filling your dome like Paris Hilton in the locker room shower after a Laker game. "Which knob do I want first, how many am I going to play with, and do I just take 'em all at once?" Come on folks it's no secret she's dirty. Those of course aren't the questions you would be facing, but hey I gotta get my jokes in where I can. You most likely are starting to ask yourself more relative queries like "Has this moron routinely called all the way? or Is he setting me up for a reraise on the river and my transparent as saranwrap poker given away the fact I'm on a draw?"

No way he's slowplaying. He has never attempted to see where's he's at at any point in the hand and with all the scare cards on the table, he'd have to be the worst player in pokertivity to play that way this hand. If he had a set wouldn't he have made his move when I bet the ace on the turn figuring that I now have hit my hand and he has me dead to rights? This guy is acting like he can count cards in a virtual deck Rainman style and he can't see the shuffle.

The pot has ballooned thanks to you and Johnny Neverfold. You have an open end straight draw, are now four flushed to a top end flush (only the Q or J high flush would beat you if that last heart hit and the odds he played hearts is very slim). If Bobby Sparegame has an underpair then you have 6 more outs. Even if Captain Dumpy-do-do-pants has QQ he can't like it the way this hand has been played. After all you have shown strength the whole way.

Although you have 19 outs assuming he has an under pair the 6 of spades on the river missed your hand worse than a blind man throwing darts. (Ooooohhhh.......bad subreference there Cdub.) I know somewhere someone reading this is cursing me for a lack of sensitivity towards the visually impaired. Well all I can say to those undersexed, nosey pick-a-ninnies that knows someone that is blind and their extra-sensitive, drama-queen, over-bearing mentality doesn't allow them to unclinch just enough to free that bug up their ass is this. Somewhere else someone else is telling their blind cousin what they just read and his response is "No Shit! If I have a dart you better get your ass behind me or you might find a new orifice in the morning!"

(That is my blind cousin's punchline and I throw cudos to you Jabrone my main mellow jelly.)

Back to the topic of poker. Do you now fire that last salvo after he checked the river and if so how much? This guy is invested and seems to think he has a clue.He checked the dry river and you are about even in chips. If this were a cash game there is no question you push it all in and lean back relaxed knowing if you lose you just say hell-of-a-call and reload. However, this is a tournament you've been working on for hours and you're close to the money now.

If you go all in and lose to Checkcall Von Neverbet you will have lost time, money, and have that bad taste in your mouth like you bit into a huge crapsandwich from a truckstop vending machine. You didn't read the label missing the fact that the expiration date pre-dates your date of birth and although it looked like a tasty egg salad sandwich the fading lettering also read Ham & Cheese. I know that's pretty damn nasty, but so is the feeling of leaving a tournament with nothing because some anus beat you with a pair of twos he should have folded faster than a teenage boy who's mama caught him reading Hustler.

He hasn't shown a willingness to go away at any point in the hand being played so it's likely he won't now. If you do fire away and underbet he will certainly take the pot odds. If you overbet he will assume he was right you missed a draw and cripple or eliminate you. If you make a strong bet and he calls and loses you will have at least shown that you are going to bet and anyone on the next hand had better be prepared to pay to play.

Many old schoolers would just say "Damn!" and check the river surrendering the hand living to fight another day with all of their remaining ammo loaded for bare. They swallow their pride easily and are only upset at themselves for picking a bad spot against a bad opponent to make a move.

Some more aggressive types like the Matesows and Ariehs would shove it all in here with their "Go Big or Go Home" speech cursing the player that beat them as they leave the table using more colorful language than a sailor on shore leave in Bangkok.

Still there are others that would make the last strong bet knowing they are likely to be called and lose, but in turn showing a willingness to bet which leads others into calling when they do make a hand making it easier to reclaim the loss.

After all of this you are probably now asking "What then is the right play?" Well that is entirely up to you and every situation is different. I personally like to go ahead a fire the last shot in hopes that they move all in against me leaving me the option to fold and save face after a long pause making it look as if I really hated to fold. I also like to set up my plays for the next few hands hoping that the better more observant players will find an excuse to pay me off when I do hit.

I will close this long article with one other option. This is very risky, but considered power-poker to the UMPTH degree. It is however a very difficult call for even the callingest of calling stations. Have the idea set in your mind before the flop is even dealt that you are going to move all in on the turn or flop. After you raise preflop you are representing a strong hand like AK or better. When the flop comes K-J-8 your all in looks defensive and gives horrible odds to any drawing hand like a gut shot straight. This forces the opponent to gamble even if they have the best hand and 80% of the time they will bail. Even if some idiot calls with a small pair like 22,44, or 55 you have a world of outs and in many cases with two cards coming are actually the favorite if not even money. You have to have this play qued up as soon as the action gets to you. You cannot hesitate. Of course part of the drama that is poker is that there a many people with more dollars than sense and they will gamble, but that is why we play the game isn't it.

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