Un­heeded warn­ing signs in big hand

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - Showtime - Palm Beach - - POKER - By Chad Hol­loway

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.

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