Daniel Negreanu Ė Poker Articles
More From BorgataPoker article written by Daniel Negreanu and published in Card Player Magazine
In the past I have written several three- or even four-part columns dealing with my run toward the final table of a tournament and my eventual win. Well, these days I havenít gotten out of the first day in a while, so Iím stuck with writing about hands that happened early in a tournament!
In the last issue, I shared with you the very first hand of the Borgata event, in which my Q-Q cost me $8,350 against my opponentís K-K. Well, in this issue, I am going to recount a hand that happened at the next level with $50-$100 blinds and me sitting with $14,450 in chips.
A middle-position player made it $225 to go and was called by the player in the cutoff seat. The button, whoíd already busted a player, reraised to $1,000. Now, this player was in lots of hands, but he didnít raise before the flop all that much, and had never reraised anyone before.
Well, I was sitting in the big blind and looked down at K-K. For some odd reason, the situation had me a little worried right off the bat. I considered flat-calling, but then I worried that the other two players might call, flop a set, and send me to the rail.
With about $1,500 already in the pot, I thought it was best to protect my hand and put in a raise. I called the $1,000, and made it $3,000 to go, leaving myself with $10,450. The first two players folded, and then the player on the button moved all in.
Yikes! Never in my 14 years of poker have I ever had a situation come up in which it was correct to lay down a pair of kings before the flop. Thatís just not my style. If I was ever going to make a laydown like that, this seemed like the right spot to do it.
It was early in the tournament, and there was a raise, a call, a reraise, my reraise, and yet one more reraise before the flop. The only tricky part of the situation was that I was dealing with a novice player who might not understand that I would need to have a very strong hand to make a reraise in that spot.
So, before I made this crucial decision, I decided to try to talk it out of him. I wanted him to tell me he had aces. He looked at me and said something like, ďI have you beat,Ē in an honest tone, ďIíll even show you the hand.Ē
Now, normally when someone says that, they arenít all that strong, but this guy liked me. He was playing in the tournament for a good time. I could tell that he was being honest and wasnít bluffing at all. It seemed as though he was happy with winning the pot right then and there, and was slightly worried about getting his aces cracked.
So, after our dialogue, I was 100 percent convinced that my opponent wasnít bluffing, and didnít have A-K, either. The only possible hand he could have that I could beat was Q-Q, I figured, and I could tie him if he had the other two kings.
The next step was to count up the pot and see what kind of price I was being laid. There was $6,500 in the pot, so I had to call $10,450 to win $16,950. Thatís right around 1.6-1 odds. The trick now was to factor in the chances that my opponent had aces, coupled with the chances that my K-K would beat A-A.
I finally figured that with my K-K being a 4-1 underdog and me being well over 95 percent sure that my opponent had A-A, I simply couldnít make the call. Plus, the deciding factor was that I still had $10,450 in chips and the blinds were just $50-$100. There was no need for me to do any guesswork in such a marginal situation, since I could surely find a better spot at such a soft table.
So, after agonizing for a little while, I finally sent my two kings to the muck before the flop for the first time in my career.
My opponent promised that he would show me his hand, and I felt a lump in my throat before he turned it over. Before his cards hit the felt faceup, I saw paint on the cards and knew before he showed me that he had Q-Q! Oh, man, those queens were tough to look at.
As tough as it was to see that hand, I went over the hand again and again in my mind and didnít think I made such a horrible play. Sure, as it turned out, it was a statistical nightmare to fold as a 4-1 favorite when the pot was actually laying me about 1.6-1! If you look at it like that, then boy, did I ever blow it.
Of course, thatís just not how poker works, though, and if you never make the wrong laydown from time to time, well, you just arenít trying very hard to play well.
In this situation, I put extra emphasis on my instincts and my reading ability, and less emphasis on the pot odds I was being laid. Why? Well, because I have a lot of confidence in my ability to make the right decision in difficult situations.
I was wrong this time, but Iíll tell you what ó I was proud of the fact that I was giving it my all. I easily could have just made the call and said, ďWell, there was nothing I could do.Ē I just donít believe in doing that. If you try your hardest, there is often something you can do to avoid disaster.
If you never try to play ďabove the rimĒ and just make automatic decisions based solely on the numbers, you simply will never become an elite poker player.
There isnít one successful player in the world who can win at the highest levels without having confidence in his ability to make sharp laydowns based on what his gut is telling him.
Card Player Poker Articles
With over one hundred poker articles spanning the last five years and a new poker article written every two weeks and published in Card Player magazine, Daniel Negreanu brings the world of poker to the tables of countless poker enthusiasts and poker players alike.
As a regular Card Player columnist, Daniel's poker articles have helped many readers learn the game of poker from the early days of an upcoming professional poker player to the realization of a true poker champion last year as Daniel became the 2004 Card Player Player of the Year, as well as, one of the most successful tournament players in history with 36+ worldwide wins and bragging rights as the WPT All-Time Top Money Winner.
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