Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rabbit Hunting

I have never been a fan of rabbit hunting. 

That said, I am guilty of asking for it during live games.  I know I shouldn't but sometimes I just want to know.  I think this is related to playing online - especially at Full Tilt where the board cards are not fixed with the shuffle but instead the deck is constantly shuffled.

It took me a long time to reconcile myself to this constantly shuffling deck.  I really struggled from time to time with the randomness/riggedness of Full Tilt based on the constantly shuffled deck.  It can be comforting when playing at PokerStars to know that the deck was fixed and the board would not have changed based on any action on my part.

It is very common at the cash game I play to rabbit hunt.  And, yes, I am guilty of asking for it as well.  I have complained to Fike, the host, that I can't out luck him and other players in this game.  I have repeatedly put chips in good only to loose in the end.

We were playing 5 handed when I pick up QQ in the BB.  UTG raises, Fike calls, fold, fold, and I make a pot sized re-raise.  Fike calls and we see a flop: AT3.  I lead out for about 1/2 pot.  Fike min-raises. 

At this point I tank.  I'm trying to figure out what hand he would call my re-raise, could he really have an ace here, is he making a move?  Mostly Fike just lives to outplay me so there's always that consideration.

One thing that weighed heavily in my mind was Fike's tendency to start wildly gambling it up as it gets closer to quitting time if he's behind for the night.  +1 for a call.

Fike knows I play tighter than most of the other players and that I can and will lay down a hand if pressured.  +1 for a call.

After some consideration I finally said, "I'm all in."  Fike squirmed.  I knew this was a good sign.  He looked me in the eye and said you don't have an ace, I know you don't.  I fold."

I rarely show uncalled hands.  Almost never.  I don't know what possessed me to do it but I showed my QQ.  He showed his 77.  At this point the dealer decided to run the rest of the board.  The turn was a 7. 

Had he called, I would have probably lost it when that 7 hit.  I so wish I'd never seen that card.  I know I made the right move and got the result I wanted - I won the hand - but knowing that had he called he would have won just irks the shit out of me. 

A few months back I had QQ in the BB that I re-raised and Fike called with 22.  He spiked a 2 on the flop and I doubled him up.  Had it happened again after all the other bad beats I've taken in this game I think I would have done a major flip out and gone postal on his ass. 

It wasn't long before Fike was indeed gambling it up trying to break even for the night.  In one hand I  hit top pair/K kicker.  I bet out and was called in 3 places including Fike.  The turn pair the T on the flop: QTxT.  It was checked around.  The river was a 9.  It was checked to Fike who shipped it.  I showed my Q and folded - out of turn.  D'oh.  My bad.  The guy before me also showed a Q and folded.  Fike scolded me saying, "He would have called if you hadn't shown your Q damnit!" 

The other player said he wasn't calling because his kicker was a duece.  Then the discussion started about whether or not I should have called him since I had a K kicker.  I flat out told Fike that I wasn't going to double his butt up at this late stage.  Even if my Q was good on a QTxT9 board there was no way I was going to risk 100BB when I had less than 5 BB invested in the hand.  The regular player to my right nodded his head in agreement with me when I said I wasn't going to double Fike up.  He's played enough to know what Fike gets like when he's trying to get back to even.

A few hands later Fike admitted he had made a straight on the river.  I was happy with my fold without that information but it was nice to have the confirmation.  Isn't that what we're looking for when we rabbit hunt?  Confirmation that we made the right decision?  Why isn't it enough to trust ourselves and our instincts?

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