The World Series of Poker Circuit recently made a stop in my home gambling town of Black Hawk, Colo. I was excited for this event, as I love every main event up here, and the Circuit brings a pleasant energy along with a lot of familiar faces.
Unfortunately, many of those familiar faces were at my starting table, and my mountain-town poker game was suddenly playing like a WSOP event in Las Vegas. I had a poor spot at a tough table and was playing very tight. I was paying attention, although I could have easily been perceived as ignorant to table dynamics, since I was also giving some attention to an iPad.
Late in the fourth hour, blinds were 150-300 with an ante of 25. My stack had hovered in the 15,000-21,000 range all tournament. We’d started with 20,000, and I had been involved in zero substantial pots. I had never reraised before the flop.
A weak opponent open-limped from the cutoff eight-handed. Next to act, a competent player who was winning most of the pots raised to 750. He had been isolating this chronic open-limper. The small blind called next. My turn in the big blind, and I was holding 4c 5d. I had about 21,000 to start this hand and decided to reraise.
I think most people would call in this spot – just 450 more to have a chance at a pot that figured to be at least 3,200. While I don’t hate such a move, I do hate getting involved in a bloated pot out of position with a hand that starts with the phrase “five high.”
I do like this hand for squeezing, though. If I get called, at least the hand does something after the flop, and if I get reraised, then I’m not going to regret having simply called, because I think that folding preflop probably would be better than just calling based on my position and stack-to-pot ratio. Reraising should have a high success rate, since the initial limper doesn’t have anything, the small blind can’t have anything good, and the likelihood of the button being light is high.
The only problem here was that the player on the button was good. However, I thought that my diminished stack size and nearly four hours of not three-betting him would overcome his suspicions. There was a little more than 2,000 in the pot, including my big blind. I wanted my reraise to represent the top of my range, and I chose 2,800. I was risking 2,500 to win just over 2,000 preflop, so I needed to be successful a little more than 50 percent of the time for this squeeze to be profitable. I liked my chances.
The limper folded. The raiser called pretty quickly, as did the small blind. Oops.
The flop was Kh 9h 4d. I bet 2,200 – small, I know, but it’s what I’d bet with anything given my stack size. I don’t think either of them could have Q-Q or better, or A-K, but I could. I was concerned about nines and fours.
The button called, and the small blind folded. The turn was the 7c. I checked, giving up, basically, and the button bet 3,300. I talked myself into believing that either he had nines, or I could get him to fold by shoving. I shoved, and I was wrong again, as he called with Kd Qc. The river was a blank. I thought he would fold that hand preflop, or at least 56 percent of the time. Although I still like this spot, it didn’t work out, as I lost the maximum.
Bryan Devonshire is a professional poker player. Follow him on Twitter: @devopoker.