It's been a long time since I posted an interesting poker hand for discussion. I was involved in such a hand a week ago that might generate some good arguments ... not that many of you play live limit hold'em cash games, but here goes ...
Last Saturday night, I found myself at my regular live 4/8 LHE kill game -- in fact, this hand took place during the session I mentioned in my previous post. I am up for the session and have consistently shown down winners. I have noticed that some of the players have begun to realize that when I raise preflop, I usually have a premium hand. The table is the usual mix of loose players who will play any two cards preflop. Postflop the play becomes a bit more aggressive, but not significantly so.
In this particular hand, the UTG player limps in. He is an older player who is the epitome of the table. LAG preflop, TAG postflop, calling station when on the draw: very exploitable; I will always know where I stand. He pays off more than most with second best hands because he hates to be bluffed. I paid him off earlier with AA when he flopped a small set; I got my revenge soon afterwards by extracting maximum value in a kill pot with TPTK (where I held AQo in the big blind *with the kill* but I didn't re-raise preflop; the flop came queen-high with a flush draw and he called my turn check-raise and river value bet with worse). Four other players limp in and I look down at my cards and see QQ.
Because of my table image and innate dislike for being out of position, I check my option (there are sound arguments for raising here with a preflop equity edge, to be sure).
The flop comes down with a rainbow board of J98. The pot contains five small bets.
I check, looking for clues on how to proceed from the actions of my opponents. Depending what happens behind me, I was definitely planning to check-raise. Somewhat to my surprise given this dynamic flop, it is checked around. Before seeing the turn, I quickly formulate a plan of leading out almost 100% of the time.
The flop brings a very interesting card, a queen (no backdoor flush draws have materialized). So I've improved to top set in a very small pot, and it's reasonable to suppose that one of my four opponents might very well have improved to a straight. I decide to execute my plan and lead out, but this is a close decision. The UTG player immediately raises. I decide that if it's folded around to me I should reluctantly fold the river unimproved, because I think my opponent is never bluffing here (given my read of the situation, this is a fairly easy laydown but I'm not in the habit of regularly folding top set before seeing all five board cards). However, a third player calls two bets cold, throwing a new wrinkle into this situation, and I opt to close the action with a trivially easy call. The pot is now 8.5 big bets.
The river is a jack, giving me the overfull. I lead out hoping that I will get raised by my left-hand opponent, but the UTG player pauses for a few seconds and only calls, the third player folds, and I drag the 10.5 BB pot.
Comments on how this hand was played on every street are welcome. What, since folding is not a palatable decision at any point, would you do differently to maximize your positive expectation in this situation and others like it?