I signed up for an account on Partypoker a long time ago. This was just before I actually started learning how to play hold ’em. Which is to say that I thought I knew exactly how to play every hand in every situation, based solely on the fact that I had caught a couple of old WSOP repeats on ESPN. It didn’t go well. A couple days ago I was cleaning the PC of unnecessary programs and Partypoker was on the chopping block. Partypoker just has the most counter-intuitive interface of any poker program I have ever played (this in my opinion, of course), and with Pokerstars, Full Tilt and Poker Room still on the PC, I see no reason to keep it.
I logged into the party account to see if I had a balance, though I was relatively sure I had blanked it before I quit using it some time ago. I found that I did have a balance, but only 4 bucks. That was too small to waste the time withdrawing, and too small to get into a tournament with, so I decided to play blackjack until I had either a buy-in or wiped myself. I actually did fairly well with the blackjack and turned the 4 dollars into twenty in only a few minutes. So why didn’t I just continue to play blackjack instead of signing up for a hold ’em tournament? That is a damn good question actually.
I was plugging away in a ten dollar tournament (well, 11 dollars, but 10+1 on every other poker site), noting that the competition seemed to be every bit as bad as it was the last time I played there. In the first fifteen minutes, I saw two all-ins, both of which involved the winner having no better than second pair. It turns out that everyone else in the tournament might have been doing an elaborate hoax to bait me though (yeah, I love me a good conspiracy theory).
We’re in level two of the tournament and I haven’t paid to see a flop yet. I am on the button with pocket 4’s. There are two limpers ahead of me, and I chose not to raise with a small pair in this position. Still in level two of the tourney, if I were to put in a standard bet of 3 or 4x, it would only be about 100 chips. A lot of players who maybe aren’t very good don’t see that as indicative of a strong hand and will call it anyway -particularly on Party poker-, the small blind folded. At any rate, the flop came up Q-7-Q and it checks around to me. I assume that one of the three limpers has a Queen, so figuring that I want to find out right away, I put a pot sized bet out. I got a couple of quick folds, and the big blind called it, which tells me nothing of his hand, though I have to guess that he has either a pocket pair or the flop hit him in some way. The turn comes out another 4, giving me a boat that can only be behind to pocket 7’s or Q-7. It is checked to me again, so I put in another pot-sized bet which is again called by the blind. The river is a rag, and it is checked to me again. I bet out with about half the pot (which was getting pretty big at this point) and got instantly minraised by the blind. I can’t realistically put this guy on a hand. There is no possibility of a straight or a flush and the river was a 2 or 3 that couldn’t possibly have helped him. I am dead sure that he is trying to bluff me out of this one with the minraise, so I push ’em all in. No way he can beat my boat. Insta-call. His cards: Q-7.
In the little chat box, I typed “well played”, which he didn’t get to see, because I was already on the rail and Party doesn’t allow observers to chat. At any rate, he played this hand far better than I give anyone at party credit for being able to play. About 90% of the players at party would have pushed on the flop from first position with a made boat. 9.9% of them would have pushed on the turn. .09% of them would have pushed on the river. I happened to run into the one guy on that site who was capable of checking on every street. I did put out a bet on each one, which made that easier for him, but I have to ask, how many people do you know that could have played the river that way? Checking to me meant that he may not get any more chips out of it at all. Then when he did raise me, it was for the minimum, which he had to know I would read as weak and put him all in on. If other players make it to the river without betting that hand, I bet there are very, very few that would be capable of minraising in that position.
He had been trapping me from the flop, and I never saw it coming. I thought he may have a queen for trips, but never did it even cross my mind that he would be capable of playing a made boat that well for three streets. Well played, Sir.