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Here is a fun hand from the Mookie this week. One of the reasons I love blogger tournaments is the history behind the various players. At a regular online tournament, your table mates are unknowns. If you have notes on them, you have basic info on how they play, but you do not have a history to draw upon. I'm talking about knowing what they think of you just as much as knowing their style of play. My opponent's perception of me has always been a key element of my game, and the blogger games allow me to capitalize on that. Granted, I have not always had the most success, since I don't play my best online, especially as the evening wears on, but the fact still remains: the element of history between players makes blogger tournaments more interesting to me than a random online tourney.

Now, this hand is all about knowing how others perceive you.

I have 2,220 chips with most players between 2000-3000 at my table and blinds of 15/30. I'm in the BB with 66 when Jamie from WallStreetPoker (2985) raises to 120 from UTG+1. It folds around to me. I decide to call.

The flop comes down a glorious 655, rainbow. Most of the time, I check here, since I have the nuts right now and I wouldn't mind letting my opponent catch up. However, I know Jamie well from the Wall Street Games, where I have a reputation as a loose player, second only to Matty Ebs. Rather than check the 255 pot, I decided to bet out 180. It's a small enough bet that Jamie might call light or even re-raise. Keep in mind that to Jamie, I'm just playing this pot to defend my blinds and then probably just took a stab at it out of position to steal the pot. I was kinda hoping Jamie had a big hand, since he is a skilled player and his preflop raise from EP could very well be a decent pocket pair. Whatever the case, even if he has crap, he may be induced to raise me, since I'm known to bet at pots with crap.

To my delight, Jamie raised to 550. With the nuts, a re-raise isn't the worst play here. Jamie has already demonstrated that he probably has a hand, so a re-raise might be called. However, I'd rather get Jamie to put more money in voluntarily, and the best way to do that in this situation, whether he has great cards or crap, is to just call. I let the clock tick down a bit as though I am being cautious, and then I call the 370.

The turn is a 7 of spades, creating a spade flush draw and a possible straight, both of which would be a blessing, given my full house. I check, laying my trap. Jamie, naturally, can't help but bet out 850. I only have 1550 left, so it's a pretty nice bet, given that he was trying to take down the pot from a known loose player. The logic, from his end, is that a bet slightly more than half of my stack will force me to push my entire stack in, essentially. It makes his bet look like a value bet, when it is in fact a bet trying to push me out of the pot. He is toying with my perception with this play. Unfortunately, as I tend to remind myself every so often, there is no use trying to bet a player with a monster hand out of a pot. I again waited and then pushed all-in, requiring Jamie to call 700 into the now 3k pot. He calls and shows...A4o. Yeah. Not much of anything.

The key to success in this hand was utilizing my image. That image went beyond this particular tournament and stretched to all of the sessions Jamie and I have played together. I can only imagine what a name player like Gus Hansen can do with a lagtard image and worldwide recognition of that image.

Seven days until Vegas. At times, the idea of heading out there with a bunch of you fellow degenerates can be a bit much. Then I remember that I'll be playing poker and everything is right in the world.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:12 PM,


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