Tonight I got a painful reminder of the lesson that the third raise preflop often means you're up against an opponent with aces.
Unfortunately, I lost the majority of my chips ($130 of my $160 stack) on the second-to-last hand of the evening at a wild .50/1 NL home game (the stacks got pretty deep so it played much more like a juicy 1/2 game) with pocket kings.
Here's how the action went:
I'm first to act, I raise to $5 with black kings.
A player in the cutoff makes a big raise to $30.
The second villain shoves from the small blind for $130 total.
I agonize for a minute or so and call another $125, announcing to the table "I'm not good enough yet to fold these here" -- despite knowing I was very likely beat.
Sure enough, the other player folds queens, the SB flips over aces, and I don't hit one of my two outs to improve.
This was definitely a bad call on my part. I have to learn to 1) trust my instincts more in the heat of the moment; 2) fold when I only have $5 invested to a huge raise where I'm crushed by a large (at least 50% of the time I'm up against AA) portion of my opponent's range (a few times I'm in good shape vs. AK; other times I might be up a lower PP or some suited connectors); 3) muster the discipline to throw away the second-best starting hand in poker when the stacks are so deep preflop.
Losing the $5 I had in the pot would have been trivial and I would have walked away basically even for the session, which would have been disappointing given some of the bad beats I'd taken (with about 45 minutes to go I was at a highwater mark of $250; +$90 overall). This particular hand, though, was not one of them. I beat myself with a costly lapse in judgement. Hopefully next time I am in this situation I'll make the correct decision and save myself a lot of money.
That's no-limit hold'em for you. It can be a cruel game sometimes.