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Daniel - Poker Journal

The Borgata

20 Sep 2005

I used to hear all this talk of laying down KK before the flop and always said, "Whatever man, I just don't do that. If the guy has AA, oh well, I'll just hit a king!."

Well in the Borgata event I finally was involved in a situation where I could get away from KK before the flop. The Borgata has an awesome structure with 20,000 and 25-50 blinds which really give you a chance to play "above the rim."

Unfortunately for me, I lost 8000 of my stack on the very first hand dealt. On hand #1 I was dealt Qh Qs in the small blind and everyone folded to me. I made it 150 and the big blind called.

The flop came 8 5 2 with two hearts and I bet 250. A younger kid I'd never seen before made it 600 to go. I didn't think he'd flopped a set since he appeared a little nervous when he raised, so I re-raised to 1800- he called.

The turn came the Jh and I didn't love the card, but I wasn't about to give away any free cards. I also had the Qh just in case, so i bet out 2800- my opponent called.

By now I was worried that I might be beat, but since my opponent had shown no strength, when the river came the 9d I decided to fire out a half value/half defensive bet of 3600.

If I had the best hand I might get called, but more importantly if I checked my opponent may have made a much larger bet and really put me to a tough test. He finally called and turned over two black kings. Oh well.

During the next limit, with blinds at 50-100 a middle position player made it 225 and was called by the cut off seat. The button, a novice player re-raised to 1000 which is something he'd never done before.

I looked down at KK in the big blind and considered smooth calling to set a trap for him, but then felt it might be better to just protect my hand now and made it 3000 to go, leaving myself with 10,450 after the flop.

The first two players folded and the button immediately stuck it all in. "Oh no," I thought, "does this guy really have aces?"

I started talking aloud as I often do looking for a reaction. Wow, did I ever get one. My opponent wasn't bluffing, that much was certain. He seemed like an honest guy and was almost telling me that he had me beat. In fact, he did tell me that when he said, "There is no way you can beat this hand. It's impossible he said."

He gave me every indication that he had aces, and with a fourth raise before the flop there was no reason for me to think otherwise.

With 10,450 in chips and the blinds only at 50-100 I felt like I could easily avoid this hand and chop my way back to even. I folded my KK face up and my opponent, who also promised he'd show me turned over... QQ!

Oh brother, that sucked. The first time I ever folded KK before the flop and I had to be wrong! Looking back, though, I was still proud of myself for going with what I felt was the right play given the information I had. I'd hate to say I'd do it again if I had to since it was the wrong move, but man, I was well over 90% sure I was looking at AA.

I was never able to recover from that hand as much as I tried. Nothing went right for me after that, and while I fought hard with my short stack I eventually ran my A-9 on a 9 high flop against.... pocket aces! It just wasn't meant to be.

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Right now I'm at the airport on my way to Grand Rapids, MI. I won't be back home for about two weeks, mostly relaxing and catching up on some writing while visiting with Lori, and her friends and family. I don't think I'll get a chance to play ANY poker until my next challenge match at Wynn Las Vegas in early October.

To stay sharp, though, I plan on working on my game by playing some online poker over the next couple of weeks. The biggest games against some of the better players. I definitely need to work harder on my game in order to get out of this funk I'm currently in. Not enough hours, and not enough playing opportunities in general isn't good for anyone's game.

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