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What You Shouldn't Do

As a fairly inexperienced hold'em player, I make a number of bad calls and ill-advised bets. Terrible situations arise whenever I believe that I have the best hand in a given situation and am willing to go broke with my mediocre hand. The problem is that I'm not a good enough player to make these types of judgment calls with any accuracy. In the whole time that I've played no-limit hold'em cash games, I have never called an all-in "bluff" and found that I was ahead in the hand.

Take, for example, the hand that I played last night. Given the scenario of an unknown player making a large all-in re-raise on a draw-heavy board, I made a huge mistake because I read my opponent's large over-bet as weakness.

PokerStars, $1/$2 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 5 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

CO: $257.40
Hero (BTN): $100
Villain (SB): $162.25
BB: $288.75
UTG: $450.40

Pre-Flop: T K dealt to Hero (BTN)
2 folds, Hero raises to $8, Villain calls $7, BB folds

Flop: ($18) 8 7 9 (2 Players)
Villain checks, Hero bets $14, Villain raises to $154.25 and is All-In, Hero calls $78 and is All-In

(I was pretty tired at the time of this hand. Without any Rockstar at hand, I was forced to settle for a Red Rain energy drink. When the Villain check-raised all-in, I thought he was weak and instantly put him on a pair or a draw.

What's wrong with this picture? First off, I gave the Villain zero credit for a hand even though I had no reads to justify this belief. And secondly: I didn't have a hand either. All I had was a draw to the second-nut straight on highly coordinated and flushing board. My opponent could have easily held a set, two pair, a made straight, any number of flush draws, or any other range of possible hands that crush my pathetic KT.

And yet I call getting 3:2 on my money.)

Getting all your money in when your either even-money to win the pot or a huge dog is not good. I felt my opponent was weak and believed that I had enough outs to justify a call. But without reads on the Villain, why did I not give him credit for a real hand? I can't even begin to imagine which outs are clean and which will leave me broke and wallowing in shame.

I was tired. And in the last hour, I'd raised pre-flop a number of times and been check-raised off hand after hand. Tired and tilting is not a good foundation for making solid poker decisions. Thankfully, the Poker Gods cut me a little slack.

Flop: ($18) 8 7 9 (2 Players)
Villain checks, Hero bets $14, Villain raises to $154.25 and is All-In, Hero calls $78 and is All-In

Turn: ($202) 2 (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

River: ($202) 6 (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: $202 Pot ($2 Rake)
Hero showed T K (a straight, Six to Ten) and WON $200 (+$100 NET)
Villain showed 7 8 (two pair, Eights and Sevens) and LOST (-$100 NET)

So it turned out that the Villain had a hand. I was a 2:1 dog and I made the call for all my chips getting only 3:2 odds. This hand cost me a few Sklansky Bucks though it could have easily cost me a lot more.

The Villain went on immediate uber-tilt. The entire table left me some choice comments in the chat window. And after all that, I left the table without attempting to take advantage of the situation.

The players present at the table have no doubt labelled me as a donkey. I don't blame them. I just hope that when I happen to meet up with the Villain, I'm able to bring a nice cold Rockstar and my best game to the table. He'll be ready for me this time and I'll do my best to disappoint yet again.

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