After watching USC 4th and 1 the national title away from Texas, I had to get in my usual hour of poker, lest I start scratching the red rash that would surely break out if I didn't play.
And I was struck by how, many times, the decisions we make in poker, and the consequences we suffer as a result, aren't much different than what football coaches go through.
We're either idiots or we're geniuses.
Pete Carroll was an idiot last night for going for it twice on 4th down and failing miserably both times, the second giving Texas and Vince Young a short field for the final score. Mack Brown was a genius for winning the game, even though he, too, made several questionable calls.
Two nights ago, I, too, made a couple questionable calls, as most of us do every night.
#1 - I have pocket 2s and hope to see a flop cheaply, so I call. A beauty comes down, 2,5,J, rainbow, and so I check, hoping to trap, as you can many times on the Internet. He checks. Rats.
The second cards comes a Q, so I bet the pot ($1 at this point, yes I play .25), thinking he might be on a draw and hoping to make him pay for it. He calls.
The third card is a K, and guy bets $5, far over the pot and a fourth of my stack. Shit.
Usually, players at my level can't control themselves, and so whenever they have a monster hand, they typically far overbet the pot. Even when they are bluffing, they don't bet as much as when they have a great hand. That's what this said to me, so it also said he made his straight. But $5, I think, is enough to pay for a set of 2s. I have to call even if my instincts tell me I'm beat.
The guy has K,5, two pair, and I win.
"Well played," another guy types in the box.
Right. I'm a genius.
#2 - I have A,K os and raise 4X to $1. I get two callers. I have $33, $8 more than my $25 buy-in. The flop comes A,3,8, all clubs.
OK, I've got top pair, and my K is a club, so I also have a nut flush draw. That's worth betting (if the guy flopped a flush, congratulations, I think), so I bet $2, letting anyone know they are going to have to pay for their draws and also thinking the pot was $5 with the called raises and I wouldn't mind snatching it right there.
Both call, but one guy raises me to $4. The other guy folds.
The guy was new, so I didn't have a read on him yet, so that raise could mean two things to me.
#1 - I have it and I'm trying to get more money from you, which is why I only raised you $2. I want you to call that.
#2 - I have a good pair and I'm trying to make you pay for your draw. I might even have two pair (or even trips, although it's my belief that he would have bet more with that).
I have top pair with the nut flush draw.
I push all in.
The guy folds.
I leave with $38, a nice $13 profit for the night.
It wasn't a great move. A guy will only call if he has the flush or two pair, and then I'm drawing. But I also have 15 outs (I think). Why not raise $2 more and see what he does? If he pushes in, you could probably call. If he calls, then you know he has a hand, too, and you'll just have to see how it plays out.
If he called with a flush, and I don't hit, I'm an idiot.
But he folded.
So I'm a genius.