A Big Fold

I just played a short $2/$3/$5 cash session at Casino M8TRIX in San Jose. I won $75 which is uneventful but I made a big fold I won’t soon forget.

Early in the session I saw a flop 5-way with Q10 in the big blind. The flop came K1010ddc and got checked around. The turn was the Qc giving me a full house. I checked, another player bet $60, another player called and I raised to $135. The first player folded and the second player called. At this point the pot was about $430.

The river was the 5h and I led out for $185. To my surprise my opponent went All-In. As I thought the hand through it became clear to me that he had me beat. If he had just three 10s or a straight (AJ or J9) he would just call because he’d be afraid of a full house. Therefore I knew he had a full house too and almost certainly a better one than me. Most likely he had K10 though he could have had KK or QQ as well. The latter two hands are less likely though because he did not re-raise the initial raiser preflop.

When I folded my hand three of the other players were flabbergasted. They told me that for sure I had folded the best hand. I tried to explain to them the logic above but they weren’t hearing it. My opponent said he had a missed flush draw to which I said: “If he made a big bluff he would have shown”. My opponent replied: “I never show”. Translation: I was bluffing. Meaning: He wasn’t bluffing. Interestingly enough – as I continued to insist that he had K10 and “for sure wasn’t bluffing” – my opponent soon thereafter gathered up his chips and left. My sense was that he didn’t want to play with me anymore because I had read him perfectly.

Earlier in my poker career I would have talked myself into a call telling myself that my hand was too good to fold and that my pot odds were good enough to call given the possible hands he could have that I could beat. But tonight I realized that those hands (three 10s or a straight) were really not in his range.

It’s a fold I could only have made as my poker game has ascended to a higher level. I don’t want to be grandiose but it reminds me of one of my favorite plays in poker history when the poker legend Daniel Negreanu correctly folded AK to Joe McKeehen’s All In with AA very late in the 2015 Main Event. Apparently Negreanu busted as a young man in 2001 in a similar spot with AK. He later said something to the extent of: “I wasn’t ready then but I am now”.

Very excited to be heading out to Vegas on Monday to play in the World Poker Tour event at the Wynn which includes a $10,400 buy-in $15 million guarantee – the largest in poker history. I am planning to play the $1100 buy-in $2 million guarantee that starts on Thursday December 8. We’ll see about the big one.

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