Running Bad at 10/20

First hand back from lunch break, Anthony opens in the cutoff, it folds to me, and I find two aces staring back at me. We’re playing 10/20 and he made it 85 — the huge open sizing is typical for him and for most players in the game. I 3bet to 275 and he instantly calls. The flop comes 764 with two hearts. I have the ace of hearts and we have about 3000 back. I decide to go for a check-raise. If I bet, I think he’ll usually call with his overpairs and there are a lot of turn cards that can kill my action; if I check, he’ll bet all those hands and, I think, often decide to stack off once I check-raise. By checking I also get a bet out of his air if he decides to stab, since I could be checking to give up on this board. In any case, he bets 325, I raise to 875, and he makes it 1900. It’s a little weird that he bet a committing amount but didn’t shove, but I’m certainly not folding. I go ahead and put in the rest and he calls. He has J3 of hearts and hits the 2 of hearts on the river to scoop the $6500 pot.

I think I made two small mistakes with my sizing: I should have 3bet a little bigger because we were over 150 big blinds deep, somewhere between 295-325. Then on the flop I should have check-raised a little smaller to make it more credible that I could be bluffing (which I definitely could be occasionally, say with AK with the Ah). But those points aside I think I played the hand alright. From Anthony’s perspective, obviously calling a 3bet with J3s is pretty loose. As you get deeper you can call 3bets with more hands in position, but we’re not THAT deep (160 bbs), his huge initial raise sizing effectively shrinks stacks, and J3s is quite a weak hand. He’ll need to find lots of opportunities to steal the pot post-flop to make his call profitable. And while I 3bet bluff more often than most players in this game (which is to say, more often than never), I’m not really getting too out of line. I’ll show up with 76s sometimes, but not with Q2s. Given all that, his call might not be quite as bad as it looks from a basic poker perspective, but it’s still going to cost him a lot of money in the long run.

The frustrating part is that we don’t play 10/20 very often, so it takes a long time to get to the long run.

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