I wanted to review a poker hand that I was involved with this past Sunday at Jack Cincinnati. I was playing my usual Sunday morning $160 buy-in $10,000 guaranteed tournament. I really like the structure of this tournament, so I try to play it every weekend. The blind levels are 30 minutes, which allows you to take your time and not hurry the action. Plus, Jack just eliminated the antes at the lower levels, so the game goes a lot quicker. You don’t get blinds until way into the final table, and it saves a lot of time. Anyway, the pace is always very leisurely, and I like that a lot.
We were about to get down to 4 tables (final table made money), we were running a bit shorthanded, and I was in the big blind for 1600. Everyone folded to the button, and he raised to 3300. This guy was definitely the chip leader at our table. He came to our table about 20 minutes beforehand, and immediately started pushing people around. I was in a card slump, and for the most part, just tried to stay out of his way. The small blind folded, and I peeked at A6 suited. I know this is not my usual protective range, but something about his demeanor suggested that he just wanted to steal my blinds. I thought about it for a few seconds, and looked him over. He seemed nervous, and uneasy. So I decided to put him to the test, and shoved for over 35k. He snap called, and flipped over pocket Queens, I flipped over my A6 suited. The flop came 2 6 Q, all rainbow, I sighed in disgust and got up from my chair. There was another 6 on the turn, and 10 on the river. I mumbled “Good game” through my clenched teeth, and walked to my car.
I was really mad at myself for misjudging the raiser guy, and busing out right before the final table. At first, I was convinced that I made a huge mistake, and if only I just called, or even folded to the raise, I would still be in the tournament. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that no matter how I played it, the end result would be the same. Even if I slow played it, and not shoved preflop, I would surely get it all in on the turn, with the trip 6s and an Ace kicker. And he still would have snap called me with a set of Queens, and I would still be out.
I was running the scenario in my head over and over, all the way into Monday afternoon. Then I caught the third episode of the 2016 WPT Montreal, where Darryll Fish made an exact same shove with A2 offsuit into a beautiful AK. He was heads up, so really shorthanded, and the other guy kept raising aggressively. Darryll just had to stand up to the aggression, he saw an ace in his hand, and me decided to shove it. He got busted out too, but in 2nd place. Seeing such a successful professional poker player do the same exact move I’ve been agonizing over for two days brought me a sense of relief. I realized that I did make the right move by shoving into that raise, and in order for me to maintain my aggressive style, I will have to make moves like that every once in a while. And even though I will lose some of those shoves, it is still the correct decision. And that what poker skill is all about. Making the right decision. I’ll try to refrain from shoving weak aces this Sunday.