In early July 2015 I sat down at a 1-2 NLH game at The Excalibur. I had heard that it was a great place to find fun, inexperienced players and my quick observations while waiting for my seat confirmed this. There was one name on the list ahead of me when I arrived and as I watched the table play for a minute I immediately saw that there were some seriously weak players at the table that were not just shoving chips in everyone's direction, they were doing so with big smiles on their faces... they simply didn't care that they were losing.
So, my name got called, I bought $300 in chips (that is the table max for 1-2 NLH at Excalibur) and sat down. I played TAG poker for about an hour and a half. I was following an ABC strategy that had netted me about $250. I had never come this close to doubling up in such a short time at the tables. This was insane. I wasn't even getting that great of hands, I just kept knocking players off their hands with well played aggression. I had won one pot that was over $100 with top pair top kicker against a maniac fish who thought it was hilarious that he called my bet with ace high... OK, Buddy... laugh it up.
SO HERE IS THE HAND IN QUESTION:
At this point I am on the BB and I'm dealt 7 ♦ 7 ♥ (my best hand so far, BTW). Two middle position players limp as does the cut off and the button. SB folds and it gets to me. I raise to $12. it folds around to the button and after a few moments he calls. I should point out that the button is one of those people at the table that has been care free with his chips and since I've been at the table he has reloaded with $100 at least three times. But through some equally bad play on a fellow maniacs part and some great luck he is now sitting behind about $600+ in chips, a fact that is not lost on me. The flop comes 5 ♦ K ♦ 7 ♠ . I flop a set of 7's, I'm first to act and fire a second bullet and bet $60. The button thinks for a few seconds and calls. At this point I put him on pocket fives, I know he doesn't have KK cause if he did he would've shoved for sure. The turn comes 10 ♥ , I check just to see what the button will do, and he checks as well. At this point I feel I have him beat for sure. River is K ♥ , I just made my full house 7's full of K's. I'm first to act and I shove ALL IN!!! He snap calls and flips K ♣ 5 ♥ showing me his bigger boat K's full of 5's. Before the river I was 95% to win, with him having only 2 outs in the 2 remaining K's and he rivered me.
As earlier stated, by some bizarre set of circumstances this guy who has been playing some of the worst poker I have ever seen has me covered. He is either bathing in dumb stupid luck, or he was specifically hunting for that one situation to play one brilliant hand of cards to finish my night and rake a huge pot. Regardless, I say good bye to one of the biggest heads up 1-2 NLH pots I've ever seen at a casino. That pot was a little over $1100 by my reckoning. And as I make it a rule to never lose more than one buy in a night while on vacation, I push myself away from the table and sulked back to my room.
In retrospect, I feel like I played that hand pretty well. If I could go back and change anything about how I played that hand, the only thing I think might have changed the outcome would have been to bet big on the turn ( 10 ♥ helped neither of us and I should have been able to see that by his earlier play) and forced him to fold. But, hind sight being 20/20 and my lack of a crystal ball at that table, I feel like if I faced that same situation again, I would play it the same way.
I'd love to hear some feed back.