The "Fuck it!" Factor
I recently read a post on pokerpoker where a player tried to justify folding the nuts on the flop in a 1-2 No Limit Holdem cash game when two other players went all-in before him. His rationale was that he did not have to stick his money in when he could easily get outdrawn since there was a flush draw out there and he was facing 2 opponents instead of one. If you've read my entries entitled "Bullets Kill Cowboys" and "The Artificial Edge" you know that I generally advocate a more cautious style of play and I try to avoid getting involved in a huge pot where I may be behind or even a coin flip. I do believe the ability to lay down a good hand is key to being successful in the long run. But I am also aware that there is a danger of becoming too cautious and letting people run over you at the table. In my response to the aforementioned pokerpoker post, I basically said that there is little to no justification for ever folding the nuts in No Limit Holdem.

This past Tuesday, I was playing in a local live 2-5 NL Holdem game and a reasonably tight, good player raised the standard 20$ pre-flop. I was on the button and smooth called with a pair of Queens. Another player, who's generally quite loose and who had limped in, called the raise as well. The flop came 10-7-2 rainbow. The original raiser lead out for 50$. I bumped it up another 100$ to 150$, the original limper folded and then the raiser after some thought bumped it up another 300$ to 450$ effectively putting me all in. I thought about it for a second and then called. He showed me AQ off for a bluff. Of course an Ace hit the river and I lost, but that's not the point of the story. I asked him why the bluff, there? He said that he had me on Ace-Ten and believed he could push me off of it. I thought about that, and there is no way I would have folded Ace-Ten there either. Yes, he could have had an overpair or a set, but I didn't think so. I felt I was best and would have felt the same way with Ace-Ten. When I get into a situation like that where I have a good hand and I get a good flop, I've learned it's sometimes best to apply what a poker friend of mine terms "the 'Fuck it!' factor". In other words, "Fuck it, I'm sticking my money in with a good hand and if you've got me beat well then so be it!".

In a way, this is what makes poker mastery such an elusive goal. Sometimes, you need to cut your losses and fold a premium hand because you feel you must be beat and other times, you need to apply "the 'Fuck it!' factor". Case and point, the last hand I played in that night, I had pocket nines and raised to 20$ pre-flop. Six people called me (yes that's right, SIX CALLERS) and the flop came 7-3-2, someone lead into me for 25$. I had 172$ in front of me and the pot was 165$. What do you think I did? Fuck it, I'm all in! Turns out the guy betting into me had called me with 7-3 preflop, (because he was in the Big Blind and there were five callers in front of him) and I left the table. I don't regret my decision on the flop at all. Playing smart poker includes knowing that sometimes you just gotta gamble.
2 Comments:
Anonymous Marc said...

Ok, I'll admit, I was the fish that rivered you. But I have to strongly disagree with your analasis.

The only way you are ahead here, is if I'm on a total bluff (granted I was but..). Now if you had a read on me fine, but you implied that reguardless, with A 10 your calling.

I raised preflop (which I usually only do with premium hands), and I followed up with a bet on the flop. You raised, and then I re-raised. How could I have anything less than Jacks (or a complete bluff)? I don't believe you for a second; if you have A 10, you fold in a heart beat.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Bill Sparks said...

Honestly Marc, I put you on a big Ace. I know you would probably play an overpair in a similar fashion, but I really felt I was good, even with A-10 there. It goes whithout saying that I do not think you're a fish, but I wasn't happy about losing that hand ;)

1:24 PM  

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