Ok few readers, here is "the" single hand from Event 56 where I played a huge pot without the benefit of hindsight. Since it was such and important hand in my run (and has been nagging me for 3 days now), I am going to spew it out for your review and possible condemnation.
Setting the stage: I have spent the better half of this year trying to change my game from a "READ" based game to more of an ”Ed Miller” Frequency based game. Despite playing 10 years (or because of it) it has taken a while for "playing against ranges" to sink in... I spent the days before the event re-reading 1% cover to cover, listening to the strategy sections of thinkingpoker for the last 6 months and some coaching from TPE pro DannyN13.
All this leads to event 56, the $1500 NL event.
The Villain: I had a very low table number, so I had the luxury of really studying my opponents. By the time the dinner break comes up, I know Villain (in the 7 seat) is a cash game player, from NY but now lives in Las Vegas. He plays very frequently and is not afraid to fire a turn after betting a flop. He has accumulated the biggest stack at the table, but in the last hour has been a bit spewy, paying off hands in marginal spots. He would also flat which a wide range of suited hands from position.
The Hero: I am in the 2 seat and will be the effective stack at about $21k. (35 BB). Earlier in the day, I played 1 hand very passively against him, raising pre-flop, and then check folding a no-equity flop. I don't like to do this, but it was early, I didn't have a ton of info yet, and I had nothing good to hope for in a turn card. Chips wise, I had $17k a short while ago, but I button raised and the SB shorty shoved his 10 BB and I was “forced” to call with QTs. He tabled K7, but I came out on top. Other than this small opening error, I have been less volatile than most other players, preferring to build my stack slowly.
The Hand: Folds to me Utg+1 and I look down at AA. I take my time and raise to 1500. Folds around to the villain, who flats on the button. Blinds fold. Pot is about 4500 with antes.
Range determination #1: WIDE. He might not be doing this with any two suited, but I certainly expect to see any pairs below JJ, any suited connector (even 23 perhaps), maybe a good number of suited 1 gappers (he won a big hand with 97s in a similar spot earlier in the day), and any 2 Broadway.
The Flop: KJT rainbow. I pause to think about what to do here. I briefly consider checking. Villain would bet 95% of the time if I did. I decided I would rather retain control the betting and fired out a C-bet of 1500. (I had not decided yet how big of a pot I wanted to play yet..)
Villain now Raises to 4500... I start narrowing his range fast. I spend a small amount of time thinking about he might have. Based on the raise, I tend to think he has a Q, but not AQ as I have two blockers (Andrew really hammered this concept home to me).
Range Determination #2: I narrow his range a bit to include sets, hands with Qs (most any but AQ) and maybe 99 turned into a bluff. I drop lower pairs and lower suited connectors from his range now.
commentary before next action?
I feel like I have way too much equity to fold here, so I call.
Pot is now 13500 and the turn is the rainbow 2. I decide that I want to verify my ranges by NOT betting. Let me explain... I am expecting that if he has solid showdown value he will check back. My logic is that he can't know I don't have AQ and just flopped the nuts. I certainly would play AQ just like this up to this point and would sometimes check AQ here to induce a bet.
PAUSE for dramatic effect...
So I do check and he makes a bet of 7500. I tried not to look surprised, but I was ... and at the same time I wasn't. I expected he was used to being the one applying pressure based on his play style all day.
When he bets here, I feel he must have a Q and thus I could narrow his range to 4 hands: KQ, QJ, QT, or Q9. I have about $17500 behind and the pot is 21k.
Agree? Next Action?
Outcome: I found it hard to release this hand here. In hindsight, I see that I could have weighted Q9 stronger, but still wasnt a believer. As I sit there, thoughts swirling in my head about playing with $17k left, all I can think is why isn't Villain afraid of AQ? I am trying hard to play vs. the 4 or so hands I think he can now vs. trying to "guess" an exact hand... and I cant get the lack of concern from Villain out of my mind.
After about a minute in the tank, I shove and he calls and tables KJs. But the river is a second 2 and I rake a huge pot.
I can’t help but say to the table, "How do I not put him on KQ there?" Reg in 1 seat says, "I thought he had you beat" so I can’t just assume I didn’t get donk-lucky.
Help me understand how I could have played it better. Was this a fold at any point?
(I dont feel like at any point I was married to the hand just because it was AA.)