ideal poker hand, you play well and your opponents play badly. But sometimes
there is a curious knock-on effect, where two contestants in a pot end up
playing badly, or both play it well.
On the second day of the WSOP
Europe, I raised with 77 and was reraised by Ram Vaswani holding QQ. I could
afford to call, and was rewarded with a juicy flop of 247. I checked to make
way for Ram's continuation bet, and he opted for a pot-sized 10,000. I called.
The turn was a 9 and I checked again, but this world-class player did not fall
into my trap: he checked behind. The river came a 3, and I bet 17,000 (just
over half the pot), which he felt obliged to call. A lesser player than Ram
would have kept betting and raising with QQ, but this guy is smart enough to
deduce from the action that I held a small pair and might well have flopped a
set. So he lost the minimum he could - but conversely, by giving him a chance
to bet and then pricing him in on the river, I won the maximum that I could. It
was good poker from both of us.
A few hands later, Vaswani, Gus Hansen and
Rehne Pedersen limped on my small blind, so I "completed" with the terrible
hand of spades9 and spades5. The big blind, a short-stacked German, checked,
and we saw a flop of diams6 spades6 spades3. I checked, the German went all-in
and the others folded. I couldn't resist calling with the flush draw, and he
rolled over AA! To check his big blind with small chips, that hand and those
opponents was almost suicidal. Nevertheless, it was a bad call from me. I was
obviously behind, maybe drawing dead, and I ended up losing a pot that I didn't
need to play in the first place.