Hands change with each street, and with those changes come decisions that can change with every street as well.
That means there's always a chance to make a good decision even after you've made several bad ones.
I've got Q-Q in the cutoff. One guy limps and I raise to $2, four times the Big Blind in this .25/.50 NLHE game. I instantly get re-raised by the button to $7. The player who limped CALLS two bets cold and it's to me.
Wow. OK. I think I need to call here. I'm playing on Bodog, and for some reason, the players don't seem as good to me. Maybe I play with more confidence on that site because I've won a lot, or maybe the players really are worse, I don't know, but a re-raise on the button doesn't scare me as much as it would on PokerStars or another site. Besides, if I do hit my set, I could win a lot of money.
The flop comes - - . Gin!
My heart pounds a bit as I'm already thinking about how much money I'm going to make. I check after the first position player checks, confident that the button will bet after his re-raise. Despite my justification for calling earlier, now I'm thinking he has A-A.
Checking is a mistake. If I do think that he has a big pair, he'll either call or re-raise me. And if he does bet, do I just call or do I check-raise and give away the strength of my hand? More and more I believe slowplaying a hand is just stupid unless you flop a full house or something stronger. I didn't need to slowplay this hand at all given the preflop action, yet I did, thinking I was all crafty. Plus I've failed to notice that there is, in fact, a straight draw on the board.
Sure enough, I can almost hear the poker Gods giggling as the comes on the turn. That completes a straight draw, and I roll my eyes in frustration. Suddenly, instead of thinking about how much money I'm going to win, I start to think about how much I'm going to lose. When the first player checks behind me, I just check, and the third player obliges.
A check is probably a mistake too. I don't hate it as much as I do my check on the flop, but if anyone is backing into a club draw, I'm letting them have it, and it's possible someone could still be working on that straight draw. The only good thing about the check is it allows me to draw to a full house.
The comes on the river. Sometimes the poker Gods must really hate me. This completes a club draw and definitely puts a straight out there too. The first player checks behind me and I check to control the pot size. I'll probably call a small bet but that's it.
The button fires out a pot-sized bet, and I think I'm folding. I definitely think I'm folding after the first player calls. I fold. It's the best play I make in this hand. I can fold top set if I allow my opponents to catch up to their hand.
The first player had - . So he flopped two-pair, then slowplayed it to death and finally paid off the button, who had - .
I really played this hand poorly. Had I bet, I'm pretty sure two-pair would have raised me, and it's possible I could have jammed it right there and taken down a big pot, or he would have folded and I would have taken a decent pot. It's even possible that a big bet on the turn might have chased the 10s out, though I kind of doubt that.
Regardless, I had a great chance to make a lot of money and failed. I console myself by knowing saved myself some money with a good decision on the river, after so many bad decisions on the flop and turn, and I didn't play this hand nearly as poorly as my opponent.