Poker Luck

Playing rush poker, sitting on 39bb. I pick up A/Ko in the big blind and raise it to 3x bb. Button +2, with 58bb, flat calls. Button folds. Small blind goes all in for 9 big blinds, a raise of just 6 bb to me.

Knowing I have a big hand and he could be making a play, I am debating my options; flat call or re-raise all in myself to isolate.

Then the big blind comes over the top all in for 40 big blinds. Time to rethink.

I have one guy behind me. He flat called, lets assume he is a decent player and has something like medium pockets, suited connectors, suited ace, or just 2 paint cards and a plan to use position to steal.

He is getting the wrong odds with all those. I figure Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks, or his own big slick he would have re-popped, so I believe he will fold.

I had already decided to call the small blind all in. Now I am looking at calling 36 bb to pick up 51. Roughly 1.5-1 I thumbnail it.

The problem is...I raised under the gun, the big blind has two potential callers and is re-re-raising to get it all in. That screams Kings or Aces to me and I am drawing real thin.

Of course, there is also the possibility he has a medium pair and is making a move...but that is a big, big move and not a good one.

Calling here is also a bad move and I finally fold.

Yes, I am proud of that fold.

They flip up their cards. The small blind has pocket 8s, the big blind pocket queens.

According to Sklansky, I made the correct move...I was about 36% to win but not getting 3-1 to call.

The flop was 10d, 8c, 3c.
The turn was the worst hand quads.
The river was the Ah...had I called, I would have lost 9 big blinds...and won 30ish.

So was I lucky or unlucky here?

Well...if I had Kings or Aces, I was unlucky. I got driven off a hand by...wait a second, if I have Aces, I am still in the hand and if I have Kings...I cannot honestly say I am good enough to lay them down in that spot. I am not.

On the one hand, I am unlucky in that my opponent did not set a trap, play weakly on the flop and turn and let me double up on the river.

On the other hand...I am fortunate that he did not flat call the all-in, then move all in himself on the flop or turn. I saved 6 bb.

So was it luck or skill?

I like to think a combination. Plenty of luck in getting out of the way of one hand that was ahead and one that became untouchable.

And a bit of skill in not just looking at Big Slick and stubbornly hanging on.

Yes, it would have paid off THIS time...but making a habit of making those calls will clean a lot of chips from me.