My big mistake, and how I lucked my way out of it.

An afternoon session of $6/$12 at Garden City Casino yielded this hand in which I executed a strategy that would have been otherwise smart at this table, and it backfired on me.  I caught a lucky card and ended up with a big pot.

Sitting in middle position, I was dealt black Aces.  A strong player to my right ("Taylor Made") raised it to $12 and it came to me.  I re-raised it to $18 and we got three cold callers, all of them players with a wide range of crap they could play.  The original raiser called and we saw the flop with a pot of $90.

My thought was that given the broad range of hands, depending on the flop I was likely to be up against a big card, like Ace-King on a King-high board, and I’d still be good even if the Ace came and paired him up.  Three of the four other players had a habit of playing weak holdings, so I was pretty happy about it.

The flop came Jack-Eight-Five rainbow and the original raiser bet $6.  I raised it to $12, and one of the weak players to my left, "Pro-Am", made it $18.  Two more players folded until we got to the original raiser, "Taylor Made".  He just called, and I capped it.  They both called.  We saw the turn card for a pot of $162.

The turn brought my ace, giving me three Aces.  I stared at the board.  I knew I had to be good.  There’s no straight on the board, and everyone showed aggression already, so the two flush on the board was an incredibly expensive flush draw, and unlikely.  I had to assume I was up against something in the range of Jack-Jack through Ace-Ace or Eight-eight or Five-Five.  Seven-Six was a possibility, but a very remote one.

Taylor Made wasn’t going to let this go any farther and he bet out.  I raised, and Pro-Am raised again.  Taylor Made capped it, and we both called.  We saw the river with a pot of $306.

The river was a Five making quad-Fives a possibility.  Taylor Made bet out $12, and I raised to $24.  Pro-Am just called and said how frustrated he was.  He showed his cards to his neighbor and I saw an Eight of Hearts.  I told the dealer, "I saw one of his cards" and Taylor Made asked me what it was.  "Eight of Hearts" I said, and in frustration Pro-Am showed his pair of eights for a full house, eights over fives.  I knew I had him beat.  Taylor Made raised to $36 and said, "Well ,if you have quad fives I’m dead."  I capped it ($48) and Pro-Am called with his Eights.

Taylor Made showed down Jacks, for Jacks full of Fives, and I showed my Aces, for Aces full of fives, and scooped up my $446 pot.  (I lost $4 to the rake)

The entire table tilted for the next twenty minutes.  Pro-Am just bitched repeatedly and bought another $400.  (heh)  Taylor Made said, "There was no draw on that board, I was beat and there was no draw."

About 40 minutes later after I got up, Taylor Made insultingly said, "Well I’m not getting my money back from you, I’m leaving too then."

I like my strategy, but I misjudged Taylor Made.  He’s a talented player and I shouldn’t have pulled it when he was in a hand.  I’d like to think that if it was just me and Pro-Am, a generally weak player with a large range of possible hands that I could have beat with my Aces, I feel pretty good about it.

I’ve been folding Aces a lot (and correctly) lately, and so I’d like to think I could have done it on the turn or river without my third Ace coming.  Unimproved I could certainly have done it on the river, though it would have been expensive to get that far.