JOE HACHEM: There’s always a lesson to be learned

After quite a bit of reflection about my bust out hand in this year’s Aussie Millions Main Event, I decided to discuss it with several players who I respect.

This was a big step for me – in the past, I’d be reluctant to discuss such matters but over the past 6-12 months I’ve been utilising friends that I’ve made along the way to try to help me how I may improve something or look at things in a different way. You can’t underestimate the power of your peers and how much insight you can get into a situation.

Let me dissect the hand for you – we’re in the second last level of the day and the blinds are 300/600 with an ante of 75. I’m in the SB with about 31k. I’d been down to 12k. An important aspect to note was that my table was quite soft.

With about 20 minutes left in the level, the guy in the hijack limped in for 600, which I found really strange (he’d limped into several pots). I decided to squeeze out of the SB with Kc-7d for 2600. The BB folded. The first limper called and the button folded as I thought he might.

The flop came 6-8-8 with two clubs – this is where it gets interesting. As I reach for my chips he checks out of turn. The dealer says you can’t act so it comes to me. I was thinking, “now what are you worried about, I had gained more confidence from his action”, so I bet about 5k. I’ve still got about 23k.

So, now he wants to min-raise! This completely baffled me. How could he go from checking to min-raising? I didn’t think at any point that he was making a play.

So, the rule in Australia is where you can either call or fold, so he called. The turn comes a K. I insta-check and he insta moves all-in! So I tank for about five minutes and in the heat of the moment I couldn’t find the fold. I couldn’t work it out. Eventually I decided that he was making a play for a flush draw, there’s no way he could have an 8. He had Ad-8d and I was bust!

Now comes the reflection, and this is where as poker players we learn the most about ourselves; about how we can improve our play and, if this situation comes along in the future, how to deal with it.

The first five players I spoke to all said they wouldn’t fold. Then I was playing the $2500 NLHE Six-Max event with Faraz Jaka, who suggested the player didn’t check out of turn – he actually thought he was first to act and was going for a check-raise.

I didn’t even consider that angle. That made sense – why you would check then min-raise. Maybe he was checking to raise, maybe he was slow playing but it’s something I didn’t think in the moment – he may just have thought he was first to act. That would have made sense why he checked. So if I factor that into my thought process at the time, it’s an easy fold.

But there was another crucial aspect to this situation, relating to the weakness of the players at the table. Why did I over analyse and make the call instead of letting him have the pot? I’ve still got 23k left, it’s plenty of chips, I’ve got 40bb, it’s a really easy table, I can keep playing and accumulate chips.

Most of the time I’d be able to get away from it. I wasn’t sure what happened. And when I asked him why he moved all-in he said he thought I had A-K! This shows the level that he was thinking on – what was he worried about? I had out-thought myself.

The lesson from this situation is that if you’re playing an ABC player, play ABC. But if it’s a tricky player who is creative and has moves then think on a different level. Don’t try to out-think yourself. Maybe take a little more time to look at every angle as to why this situation has happened. These things happen from time-to-time and they can often cost us our tournament lives. So I don’t usually put this much time into a bust out hand but I thought the situation warranted some more thought.

Until next time, Pass the Sugar

Joe Hachem

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.