Poker Basics: Sometimes going all in isn’t the best choice

I did it again. Twice in fact. At last week’s freeroll at the Tipton Fire Company, I called off portions of my stack of chips that I never should have. I had the hands figured out. I still called.

In the first hand in question, I had top pair and bet accordingly – until the river card resulted in a straight for my opponent. I knew he’d hit something. He was playing any two and hitting most everything he went after. It cost me 1,600 chips, but it was early and I thought I had the cards.

At the end of my stay in the tournament, I was holding a Queen and the flop came two pair, maybe better. Queen-4-x. Before I had a chance to, Bill Weigly went all-in. The best I could have hoped for was that we both hit top pair, but my kicker was better. More likely was that Bill’s big blind hand had hit at least two pair, maybe better.

Still, I didn’t have more than a few big blinds left, so I called the all-in. Of course, he had a Queen and a Four. I was left with 500 chips. Three hands later, after doubling up twice, I was done.

And even having seen this, there is no way my play was as bad as Chuck Tonne’s play in the Heartland Poker Tour event I just watched on TV. Tonne came to the final table with a big chip lead, and it grew through the first few eliminations.

The HPT televises a 10-person final table. Chuck fell back a bit. There were now three players left. With the blinds at 50/100K, Chuck raised with 4-8 of spades. Ron Bell, the eventual winner, called his raise to 230K. Ron held Queen-Seven.

The flop came 6-10-Q. Chuck threw in the continuation bet of 320K. Ron called immediately. For those of us who do try to play with some control, we’re likely not going to bet the turn. Chuck did and it was another 10. 540K more in the pot. Ron thought for a short time and called. The river was a Q.

Chuck, you cannot bet. You haven’t hit anything. Even if Ron was just calling with a pair of 6’s, your 8 high will not stand up to a call. I get it, you don’t think he has anything. Or is it just that you are feeling your oats and refuse to go away?

Chuck went all in. Snap call by Ron with the full house and Chuck gets third place money. I was stubborn in Tipton. What Chuck was is beyond stubborn.

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