Ever get the feeling in poker like you could not only call the cards in another person's hand, but you could call the suit too? That's the zone I was in last night. I love the looks I get from people when I tell them what they're holding, or on the same note, what they are NOT holding. They think its magic. I think its just the fact that I've played thousands of hands and I've learned a thing or two.
First example: I'm big blind with 6-6. Someone raises preflop the normal 3 times the big blind. One caller. So I'm priced in if I want to call, and I do just that. Flop comes Q-10-Q. Three overs to my hand. And what does Mr. Raiser do? He checks. DING! A-K. First thought. Could be K-K or even A-A....and he's scared of the two Queens, but I'd still bet them, and he should too. Second guy....check. I'm a little more scared of him. Turn comes, 9. And now....he bets. No chance he raised out of position with garbage. Not this guy. Maybe on the button, or in the small blind, but not under the gun. So.....I change my mind. A-J. Maybe A-K, but I still think A-K does a continuation bet. I call.
River? Well lets talk about it for a second. I have put him on A-J, with an outside chance of A-K. So what I don't want to see on the river is anything that completes a straight. Any other card and I'm golden. And the river comes a 2, and HE BETS. Now, I could have been wrong, but I don't care. I had decided what he was holding, and I knew in my heart I had him beat, with everything I see on the board.
Since I call him, I just wait. He's going to show those cards. I'm not going to let him save face by mucking after I show the 6's. And he shows.....tah dah! A-J. "HOW CAN YOU MAKE THOSE CALLS?!?" Its the same question every time. I could put it on a tape recorder and hit it before they speak.
What's the answer, honestly? The answer is....the check on the flop. If he was super strong he might check, but that flop was no better than trips, so he wasn't SUPER strong. After all, with most that I might be calling with I've got a straight draw already. So his check indicated weakness. A simple continuation bet and he's cruising to the next hand with my chips. Everything after that was him betting when he might as well have been doing it with his cards exposed.
Maybe 20 minutes later, it happened again with another player. I was big blind, and I called a minraise with 10-6. Not because I think its smart to call raises with 10-6, but a minraise automatically gives me the right pot odds to call with any two cards. We've talked about this. Flop comes Q-9-6. He checks. A-K, reporting for duty sir! Why do so many people misplay this hand AFTER the flop. Turn, nothing. Now he bets. I give up. Just give me your chips and we'll call it a day. I call. River, pairs the 9. He thinks about it for nearly 2 minutes. I'm OK with that, because I don't care what he does. I've got this hand won with crap. He finally bets 3000. I want to raise, but if I do, he'll fold.....and I want him to show his blanks. He finally turns over A-K, and I show him my 10-6 for the winner.
Now many people will read this and think "Wow, he's just calling and praying". But I guarantee you that I made those calls because I knew I was winning.
One last example that hopefully settles the point. One lady we play with will bet every time after the flop if she's first to act, or if everyone checks in front of her. It is so bad that if I flop quads I'll check not to get her to bet, but because I KNOW she'll bet. So last night it was just happening over and over, and I kept reraising her and getting her to fold. Then one hand the flop came down K-5-5. I had a K-8 in the big blind. She bets, exactly like she had a dozen times before, only now something makes the hair on the back of my head stand up. Something is different, but I don't know what. But I do recognize it, and I turn up my King and tell her "You've got a 5, don't you?" And she laughs and turns over A-5.
So the point is, trust your gut. They call it instinct, because it is instinct. If your guts says call, even though your brain says fold.......listen to your gut sometime.
And if you doubt it, ask Jonesy if he shows up to read the blog. He hates it when I get on a roll reading other people's hands.
And if Perkachino shows up.....he's 100 times better at it than I am. He makes me ask "how?"