Sometimes you can “feel” when someone is making a move on a pot. It is like a sixth sense. Some inexperienced players take this too far and play too much off of their reads while dismissing some important information laid out in front of them.
One of the biggest clues that you can observe in a certain situation is when you think that someone would NOT play a hand fast due to the lack of draws. Let is take a look at a hand that I played last week at the Seminole Hard Rock casino in Hollywood, FL. The game was $5-10 and I had just busted from the $10 million guarantee tournament. I did not know any of the players at this cash game table so I was forced to stereotype based upon looks. The gentlemen that I got involved with in this hand was in his mid fifties and I had listen to him talk with someone on the phone about his business. I made the conclusion that he was most likely a recreational player.
In this hand he was in the small blind and I was in the big blind. The pot was raised from UTG +2 to $40, the small blind called and I called with QJos. We were all $2000 deep. The board came out 4♣ 4♠ T♥ and both of us in the blinds checked. The preflop raiser bet out $50 and the small blind immediately raised to $125. It looked to me like the cbetter’s sizing was rather weak and even though I did not necessary think that the small blind was bluffing I dismissed the fact that he would fast play trips on such a dry board facing a weak bet. It was more likely that he had a ten or some sort of pocket pair like 7s. Identifying this situation I thought that this was a perfect opportunity for me to take this pot down with a bluff check raise three bet.
I pondered if it would better for me just to call in between. Which play would look stronger—a raise or call? I decided to raise because I believe that players get scared of playing big pots with marginal holdings. I wanted to put the fear in him that more bets were coming and did not want to give him the opportunity to check call with a ten if I only called his flop check raise. I also thought that on the outside chance that the preflop raiser actually had an overpair he would be forced to fold now. So I decided to make it $375. The preflop raiser quickly folded and the the small blind thought for a bit, said “show me your four” and folded a ten face up.
There was a another spot in a tournament last year where I made a similar play from out of position. This time the villain was on the button and raised a preflop raiser’s continuation bet on a 9♣ 9♦ 2♥ board. I flat called the flop raise from the big blind with 8♠ T♠ and the preflop raiser folded. I thought that my call would be super scary to the button and sure enough he checked back a J♣ turn. On the river a K♠ came and I made a modest one third pot sized bet. The button grimaced, quickly folded and I knew that I had represented a 9 well.