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Pavlik Survives Early – Batters Taylor Late

Pavlik Survives Early - Batters Taylor Late

Round 3. It was this round that told the story of the fight. I had pushed all in with about $15.00 in the middle. Big slick was playing very aggressive and again I had good position. I figured he would either call or re-raise with JJ. He did the first one, I the second. I figure I have the better hand so I keep the bet small and slowly get paid off. Next in line is JJ and again I have good position. I figure he will raise so I call. Problem is the button only ever raises when he has a strong hand. I don’t want to push my chips as these are monster sized bets. I make a pot sized bet to try and get maximum chips. The button averages about $1.50/small bet.

The turn produces a miracle 2c. I am so happy the flop has improved my hand. Not only that, the button bets out a healthy $4.00. Usually a strong pre-flop hand would push the other two out, not this time. The small blind snap calls for another $2.50.

The river produces a miracle 7s. I have flopped top pair, full house, straight, flush, and I have the third nuts. I figure my opponents could either take this pot away from me, or I could go all in and double up. I call. Everyone else folds, except for the button who shoves all of his $10.25 stack in the middle.

The flop comes 6s, 4h, 3s. Again, the small blind check calls for $2.50. Can I draw? I feel like I have top pair, so I make a half-pot bet $2.50 again. pot sized bet! Large raise! Only the button knows I have him beat, but he also doesn’t give me any information on his hand. If he had a set, would he raise so much on such a obvious hand? Maybe he is passive-aggressive. Since I have no information, I make the call.

The river produces a King of sorts. I figure he made a trips or two with his king. That explained his slow play on the flop, and his passive on the turn. Now I am wondering why he called my bet on the flop. Is he passive because he wants me to fold? I don’t think so. Maybe he is just trying to draw out some money. Checking out the other players, I don’t think any of them have made a pair of Ace’s. Not that I have any proof of this, but I have no reason to believe this either.

After thinking about this hand for a while, I mostly realized that if I had just called the flop bet, or raised on the Naga303, I could have taken down this pot. Checking back through the hand a couple of times, I realized that if I had just made a pot sized bet after the flop, I could have stolen the pot. There were so many opportunities to steal this pot. If only I had paid attention to my hand selection the whole way, I could have created a premium hand that would have earned me a lot of money.

The thing about hands like this, is that they are very dependent on their opening situations. You can play AA poorly, and it may only be a couple of bucks in the end, or you can play a premium hand very well, and it may be a lot of money in the end. The selection process is a lot like transposition. Sometimes you want to lay big bets. But what if the context is the only thing I need? At that point, I realize I have to take a stand. I either get out of the hand, or play it to its’ fullest extent.

There is an old adage that the bet is better than the hand. Playing pocket queens and AK looks weak, but sometimes it may be the best decision. If you don’t know where you stack up, or if you are on the button, it doesn’t really matter what you call. Fold when you should get out, raise when you are sure you have the best hand, and live to fight another day.

My attitude was to play aggressively. This usually meant that I would make a continuation bet after the flop. Against one or two opponents, this worked out quite well. Against more than one opponent, I started to see a lot more flops my opponents were calling with middle pair or bottom pair.