A River Runs Through It - Pt. III
Here is the third and final hand I want to discuss from Tuesday's session. To read about the second hand, click here and for the first, click here.

In a way I saved the best for last. I hope that this will not come across as just another bad beat story or some arrogant rant about how I am the best player in the word. Those who know me realise that I post these things for my benefit and I am not looking for any praise or sympathy from my readers.

Hand #3
1$/2$ NL Holdem Ring Game 10 Handed

Effective Stack Size: 290$
My stack: 600$

Bill Sparks is the Button with :ac :as

CO Raises to 15$. Bill Sparks calls. BB calls.

Flop: (3 Players - 46$)
:Kc :Jc :8s
BB checks. CO bets 37$. Bill Sparks raises to 80$. BB fols. CO calls.

Turn: (2 Players - 206$)
:Kc :Jc :8s :6s
CO checks. Bill Sparks bets 200$. CO calls 195$ and is all in.

River: (2 players, 1 all-in - 601$)
:Kc :Jc :8s :6s :9d

CO shows :9s :9c and wins 601$ with a three of a kind, nines.
Bill Sparks shows :Ac :As and loses.

Before I describe my thinking on each round, I should tell you that the CO in this hand is a player I know very well. I have faced him across the felt many times and I am at a point where my read on him is so good, I can often manipulate him into doing exactly what I want.

So, preflop I know that the raiser has a decent hand, he doesn't usually raise with garbage. I look down at my Aces and then survey the table. The SB seems uninterested, so I decide to smooth call, figuring at worst I am playing a 3-way pot which is not bad and if the board comes super ugly, I know I can lay them down. Especially since my read on the CO is so good.

On the flop, the CO makes an odd numbered continuation bet. This is designed to scare and confuse people. He does this when he does not want to get called. Therefore, I know he does not have a monster. But he certainly has a hand. I put him on the range KQ, AJ, 77-TT. I hold the ace of clubs and both the jack and the king of clubs are on board, so I'm not really worried about the flush. My raise here is designed to build the pot. I know the CO does not like to fold when there are more cards to come so I keep the raise nice and attractive for him.

On the turn, when he checks I am 100% sure I have him crushed. Now, what you have to understand about this player is that he HATES to be bluffed off a pot. In our history together he has caught me making some whopper bluffs against him so he know I am capable of betting hard with nothing (see: Who's The Bigger Donkey?).

He went into the tank for an eternity and all the while, I did everything I could to induce a call. I gave him all the body language he needed to justify putting all of his chips in with a pair of nines when there are two overs on board and he is basically only beating a bluff. I worked very hard to get his money in the middle and I was thrilled to see his hand. What could be better than having a guy put all his chips in drawing to a two-outer on the river. Glorious!

...and then came the river. I yelled some expletive and smashed the table before walking away in a huff. I've taken my share of beats before but this one was particularly viscious. I felt I had done so much to earn this pot and the poker gods had just kicked me in the balls.

While away from the table, I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I had played the hand to the absolute best of my abilities. Sometimes, the cards just don't co-operate. there will be plenty of opportunities for me to make my money back if i can continue to play as well as I played that hand. I managed to get back to the table and play out the session whithout tilting. For me, this is a good accomplishment. I still wish I did not cause such a scene when the nine hit. It hurt, but at the end of the day, there is no need for that kind of outburst. I knew the deal when I sat down. Anything can happen, all I can do is play my very best, the cards do the rest.

As a side note, I wanna apologise to the dealer on that hand. He and I had been joking about how he always "cold decks" me. I even begged him not to do it again when all the money went in on this hand. He felt very badly when the nine came, but the truth is there is nothing he or anyone can do and I am obviously not mad at him for something over which he has little to no control.

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