I need to trust my reads. This is something that you hear often in poker. Seems like an easy concept, but, at least for me, is difficult to master.

Here are some memorable hands for me so far this month. I apologize for not posting the exact hand histories. I am writing these from memory so bear with me.

In a recent home game, I was UTG with AK. I 3 bet and am called in the BB. The flop comes K-10-rag. I put out a C-bet and am called. The turn brings a 9 and fire a second bullet. The button then re-raises. I am obviously beat. “He wouldn’t call an UTG raise with QJ would he?” I ask my self, channeling Phil Hellmuth. I talked my self into re-raising all in. I was hoping he was on some funky draw with AJ or AQ. A bad decision. He did have the QJ and I was ousted.

In a ring game this week. Again I was dealt AK in the BB. The button tries the squeeze and raises. I 3-bet and he calls. I had only been on this table for one orbit. But given the table chat, and the short history, I have pegged the villain as very loose and aggressive. The flop comes all rags with two diamonds and he raises. I call. The flop comes another blank, he moves all-in. I don’t know why, but I put him on AQ. I didn’t think this is what he had I KNEW IT! I called. When the cards were flipped, he had EXACLY what I put him. Stronger than what I thought but he did flop a flush draw and was lucky he didn’t draw out on me.

I was very pleased with my read. Poker is easy! I OWN these guys! This is going to be a good session!
A few hands later, I’m still full of myself. Again I’m in the BB with a different player on the button. Everyone folds to the button and. he 3 bets. I look down at a pair of fours. A button raiser never has a hand does he? I re-raise, he calls.
The flop comes all rags, he bets, I quickly call, turn is another rag. He bets, I call. The river is another rag. He bets again. I re-raise the minimum. He thinks for a few and he calls. He has pocket Jacks. BLEH!

What a dumb play by me. I thought he was stealing. Even if he was, there was nothing on the board I could beat. I liked my idea of raising on the river. Like Tony G says I was playing it like a set! But a min raise? What was I thinking? The play may have worked if I had bet more on the river. Too bad he didn’t have the AQ.