I Can't Fold This

I took one on the chin last night and I'm not here to tell you a bad beat story. I'm not looking for pity. 

No one knows more than me that poker can be a brutal game. I'm numb to coolers, bad beats and poker variance, it's just part of this game. I've been on both sides of these beats just as every recreational, amateur and professional has. 

I've accumulated countless hours, educating, absorbing and analyze poker hands in various different situations. 

However I personally never been in a situation, in which I just witness a few hours ago. Never in all my years I've been playing, did I come across a scenario like this. This one left me feeling like I've been suckered punched.

If you allow me, I want to put you in my shoes and you can tell me what the correct play is. Then humor me what you would of done?

I blew my chance at a $10,000 seat plus air fare to this year’s WSOP Main Event. This one will sting for quite some time. 

I'm my own worst critic and value any opinion of this hand history from anyone I respect in this game. 

So yesterday I'm playing in a charity event which raises money for kid with disabilities. I'm such sucker for charities. I'm actually affiliated with this charity and have a small part in making this event a huge success. 


This event had 153 players competing for two WSOP $10k Main Event seats. My expectations were never about winning a seat but rather playing my best and maybe put myself in position to win a seat.
Nearly 12 hours later, we are 4 handed and the next player out is guarantee a $1675 WSOP circuit event seat. 3rd place receives a Borgata $2700 championship seat. 

I've put myself in good position to win one of these seats. I was sitting on a stack of 1.3 million. The chip leader (1.5 million) was a reckless LAG female player. She was a level one thinker and only saw her own cards. Scouting her for several hours she has zero to little disregard to what anyone else is holding or play post flop well. 

Let me explain, 6 or 7 handed on the final table she flatted my opening raises OOP on several occasions and only to have her donk out on the flop with poor bet sizing. Numerous times I folded top pair, including AQ on an Ace high rainbow board.

Why did I make such tight folds? Well because we were the two chip leaders. I didn't want to tangle with the one person that can cripple me or eliminate me.

We are building!

We are building!

In one instance, she limped UTG and I flopped top pair with A8s and I check folded showing my top pair. I even made a comment that, if this was a regular tournament I would 3bet shoved in this spot because of her loose image. She was totally oblivious to any tournament dynamics at this point. The tournament dynamics at four handed were such as a Survivor format. Rather then your back room $50 bar game freezeout. She had no concept that she doesn't need to win every chip in play.

So I folded on numerous occasions while shorthanded. I only folded because felt like I had an edge on the field.  Plus also the table stack sizes played a major factor too.

I don't think her antics tilted me but did slightly annoyed me because she didn't get it. She was the type who bets into a dry side point with Ace high. Her reckless style proved that she was fearless. Her aggression was based off hand values. That's what dictated how hard she pressed the action. She had no clue to other factors surrounding her such as stack sizes, game theory or any table dynamics.

So this history leads her, limping 80k UTG 4 handed from a 1.5 million stack. The button who has 350k folds. The SB with 400k completes his option. So with Kh 3h in the big blind I was happy to see a free flop. 

FLOP: 9h 5h 2h

The SB lead 125K into roughly a 250k pot. 

I thought for bit and methodically and carefully raised to 250k. Figured this was the best way to induce / commit the SB to call off his remaining chips. 

No sooner I raised, the chip leader instantly announced she was "Allin". My eyes grew wide upon her announcement. The SB slowly got out of the way and folded his hand. 

She did it again, raising me this time now for all my chips without a second to consider any of her options.
It took me ten seconds to conclude that she DID NOT have an Ace high flush. Her range is so wide here. I felt very confident that she would of raised PF with any Ace as she had done in the past. 

As I stood up in my seat, I told her, "I can't fold this!!!!". I'm sorry I can't fold nor good enough to let this hand go. I just have too much equity. I flopped the second nuts and I'm pretty fucking confident I'm two cards away from a 2015 WSOP Main Event Seat. 

Very smugly, I announce CALL!!!!

She turns over a set of 5's and remarks, "OMG, I never thought you could possibly have a flush?" 

Then again when did you ever consider what anyone holds, I said to myself.

This is the same girl who called off 80% of her stack with KT against KJ PF allin, earlier in the event.

So I walked away from the table, too nervous to see my fate. I was half way across the room when I heard her the dreaded scream of excitement. My head hung low upon the bad news.

I was greeted back to the table with apologies from the chip leader. I shook her hand and congratulated her and wished her well. 

Call it a cooler, call it a bad beat I don't care. I'm not looking for pity. I'm here to ask you how bad did I blow this?

Can I fold this hand? Professional high stakes poker player and poker ambassador Jason Koon attended our event. He consoled me and remarked that nothing you can do there buddy. Then congratulated me for winning a $1675 WSOP Circuit Event seat. 

Jason doesn't know who I am, nor does he probably care. He doesn't understand how seriously I take this game. 

When emotions calmed down, I asked him later if I was supposed to fold that hand and indirectly to my question he told me a story.  Jason proceeded to tell me how he busted 4th in a $25k satellite into last year for the One Drop Million Dollar buyin event. He busted 4th like me when top 3 were awarded seats and 4th got nothing.  So he shook my hand and shrug his shoulders.  

I still don't think his comments were truthful or he at the very least didn't understand the situation I was in. 

Why? Because the more I think about this hand, the more I think I played it wrong. I don't think I'm good enough to lay down the second nuts with two cards to come. Is Jason really going to say yeah you blew it?

Anyways, poker is about edges, I had a huge edge when the money went in. Unlike previous confrontations with her, my edge was no bigger than this spot.

Evidently, if I did somehow find a fold, I'm still left with just a bit over one million chips. I'll also be in good shape over the short stacks.

To be honest, when she went all in I only gave it only about 10 seconds of thought. Her limping range PF is so wide here. Can I really talk myself out into a fold again?  

My biggest regret I made in this hand regardless if I won or not, I did not take my take my time and clearly think through all my options.  I made my decision in just ten seconds.  My only thoughts we re, if she had the nut flush or drawing with the ace of hearts.  That's it !!!  Just maybe, if I gave more thought to the situation and assess the short stacks situation.  The blinds we so high that their fate would be determined very soon.

Now open admittedly to that, I'm not sure if I would still folded after considering all my options. My edge was so big here and she may be drawing dead a lot of the times here.  

On the contrary, if I somehow found a way to fold and I still bubbled the Main Event seat, I will have the pain of regret, of  not taking my chances with my second nuts.

Can you fold this? Hindsight it definitely screams fold. I'm the type of player who doesn't shy of bubbling, I always play for the win. Yet I don't get to play for $10k Main Event seats too often.

Greg Candido