Awkward

Anthony limps in early position and I raise from the cutoff with A7 offsuit. I expect him to fold a decent amount of the time and to play somewhat weakly out of position when he calls, so I think it’s a profitable raise. A weird Indian kid calls in the small blind and Anthony calls as well. The flop is K75 with two diamonds. I have the A of diamonds. It checks to me and I bet 90 into 170. Weird Indian kid calls with about 500 more back, and Anthony raises to 275.

My first reaction is to fold — check-raising against two opponents shows a lot of strength and all I have is middle pair. But I start thinking about what I know about Anthony. He has a strong tendency to slow-play nutted hands on the flop, but he often raises draws and top pair hands. Against that range, re-raising looks like a good play. If he has a draw I’m ahead and I deny him an opportunity to see a free card and possibly suck out. If he has a K I think it’s very likely that he’ll fold: he hasn’t gotten many hands to showdown against me in the past and he perceives me as tighter and more straightforward than I actually am.

Additionally, my hand has a ton of blocker value. I have the A of diamonds, so he can’ have the nut flush draw; and if I get called that gives me a little extra equity, as about 4% of the time running diamonds will give me the nut flush. Having a seven in my hand reduces his possible combos of 77 from three to one: he’d need to have both of the remaining 7s in the deck, extremely unlikely.

I still have to worry about weird Indian kid, but faced with a cold 3bet he’ll be hard pressed to call even with a hand as strong as KQ. Even if he does call, I have about 25% equity against Kx, so with Anthony’s dead money in there it’s not a disaster.

I ask how much Anthony has behind and he says, “About a thousand.” I glance over and that looks about right. After quickly double-checking my reasoning I announce that I’m all-in. I then do what I always do when I’m all-in: assume a relaxed posture, stare at one spot on the table, and breathe in and out while thinking, “Breathe in; breathe out.”

Weird Indian kid quickly folds. Anthony starts thinking. That’s good for me. If my assumptions are correct, he should either be snap calling with a set or else folding. A few more seconds pass, bringing worse news. One, he hasn’t folded yet, and two, I see out of the corner of my eye that he has an orange chip. I realize he didn’t say, “About a thousand,” he said, “I have a thousand,” meaning he has a $1000 orange chip. He actually has substantially more in play, probably enough to cover my $1700 all-in. Basically the risk of my play has just almost doubled, while the reward has stayed exactly the same. That’s awkward, I think, but he would already have called if he had a set, and this just makes it even harder for him to call with one pair. It’s embarrassing, but it looks like I’ll get away with it this time. Obviously I don’t register any of this physically;  I’m still doing my breathe in, breathe out routine.

He picks up his cards several times as though to fold, but eventually, unhappily, puts in a call. With 55. Awkward. A diamond comes on the turn, and for a second I think everything might work out spectacularly, but the river bricks out and Anthony scoops in the $3700 pot.

Given that he had the strongest hand he could possibly have and he seriously considered folding, I think it’s likely that my play was still profitable against his range, but I probably wouldn’t have done it if I knew how much he had.

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