Unheeded warning signs in big hand
I was in Los Angeles recently and played a $5-$5 no-limit hold ’em game at The Gardens Casino, formerly known as Hawaiian Gardens. I had worked my $500 buy-in up to $1,800 and was cruising right along. I was hot, but I was about to be cooled off.
It happened when one player limped and I did the same holding Ac 5c. A late-position player then raised to $25, the button called, and both the limper and I called, so four players saw a 5d Jh 5h flop.
I had flopped trips with an ace kicker and was licking my chops. I assumed it would go checkcheck and the original raiser would continuation- bet, but instead the first limper led out for $65.
This was music to my ears, as this particular player was extremely aggressive and prone to put chips in the pot. If he had either a jack or the other five with a worse kicker, I was going to win a big one.
Despite a flush draw on board, I just called, hoping to coax the other two players into the pot. The original raiser flat-called, the button got out of the way, and the remaining three of us watched the dealer burn and turn the 6h.
The flop bettor slowed down with a check, and I checked it over to the late-position player, who bet $145. The flop bettor folded, and I was faced with a tough decision. Did my opponent, who left himself $300 behind, make his flush?
Before he bet, I saw him double-check his cards. I read this as him looking to see if he had a heart in his hand. If he had something like Kh Kc or Qh Qd, I was out in front. Worst case, if he made the flush, I could still pair the board to fill up.
I called, and the 10c completed the board on the river.
I did not make a full house, but at least it was a card unlikely to change the status quo. I checked, hoping that if my opponent did have kings or queens, he’d check behind. He didn’t though, instead moving all in for $300.
A weakness in my game is that I pay off players on the river too often. This hand was no exception. Folding the turn wouldn’t have been unreasonable, but calling the turn required that I fold the river if my opponent jammed. I knew it, but I got sticky and convinced myself that he missed a flush with an overpair. (I realized after the fact that he never would have shoved with an overpair.)
I paid him off, and he rolled over Js Jc for a flopped full house. I had been drawing to the case five the whole time. Instead of seizing any one of multiple opportunities to either get away from the hand or mitigate my losses, I ignored the warning signs and lost the maximum.