Must be something to the “90th minute”

Our Outdoor Soccer Season starts tonight and the world cup is just around the corner, so I figured I would give this entry a soccer feel to it. Speaking of the world cup, you heard it first on the Poker Pub (which means it must be true, right?); the US will not go through to the second round. I repeat, the US National squad will not go through to the second round (read: they will finish last in their group).

In fact, it is far more likely the world ends tomorrow (you can actually bet on this) than for the US to win the cup. “Beer guy, how can you say that?” you ask. I look no further than our “back-up” keeper, Tim Howard. He failed to get one start all season long at United, yet he is our number two guy? I’d be willing to bet he has match fitness… not!

More on the World Cup later this week. Onto the point of my post. As we all know, a soccer game lasts 90 minutes (two 45-minute halves). I think there is very little more exciting than a goal in the closing minute. There’s just something about that last second effort in stoppage time that gets my heart racing and keeps me on the edge of my seat. Hitting the through-ball to the forward on the run, separation of defenders, chip on the keeper and that’s the ball game.

I’ve had my second “90th minute goal” of sorts in three days. Just like in “football”, there’s really nothing more exciting. Off we go to prima (32 Red, to be exact --- also has football ties) where the Beer Guy is UTG in the “90th minute”… Peaking at the hole cards, he sees “4-5 suited!” This is a playable hand, providing the table refuses to raise, as they have been most of the afternoon, so I limp. Two other limpers (mid position and cutoff), big blind completes. Four handed we see the flop of 6 (hearts), 7 (clubs), 2 (diamonds).

Big blind checks, middle position bets out the pot, folds around to me. With two to one odds, I make the call. I am not really wanting to raise here, and certainly not fond of folding my draw, especially considering we are in “stoppage time.” For the record, “last hand of the night” does not mean we have the green light to donk out. I knew I should not be playing this hand before even limping. I stand ready to release if the board and bet seems to go against me.

Continuing in the hand, the turn card delivers a queen of spades. This time, my opposition offers me 3 to 1. Again, I call, figuring if I take 2:1 on the flop, I’ll gladly accept 3:1 on the turn for this hand, right? The river delivers my through-ball, sending me an 8 of hearts. Keeping in mind, I do not have the nuts; I still have one “defender” to beat. I check, figuring he is going to step in. He does, with a pot-sized bet. I put the move on him, raising to place him all-in. He bites on my move and I bury the ball in the back of the net, showing a straight to his set of queens.

Overall, there has been more to my game than these last second suck outs of mine. And rest assured, they were in fact both suck outs. In fact, just to demonstrate such, we will walk through a hand where I played “more correctly” and the best hand (from your hero) held up.

Same day, same game… same position, this time I am dealt Kings under the gun. Ideally speaking, I like to limp/raise with aces, kings, AK, and 2-7o under the gun. The table, being only 5% preflop raise does not give me confidence I will have the opportunity to re-raise before the flop. That being said, I throw in a small 3x raise to see who wants to play ball. I get three callers, the semi-loose passive/aggressive button, and the small and big blinds that have yet to fold to a steal. Four handed we see a flop of Jack (clubs), 9 (hearts), 4 (clubs). Blinds check to me, and I throw out a suspicious looking 1/3 times pot bet. S-LPA puts in a raise of pot size. My suspicion is that he has either KJ, QJ, or J10, of which he may be willing to play some ball. Action folds to me and I reraise him, merely doubling his bet. He moves all-in, which doubles mine. Is he stronger than I am right now? Was he stronger pre-flop and playing possum?

Aces are unlikely, as his summary demonstrates he would have correctly re-raised preflop. Kings, well… I have kings, so unlikely. Queens? Perhaps. AK? Unlikely, especially considering the all-in move. He has to have “something.” While he could have set, I think not. I put him on a pocket pair, most likely Queens or tens. I make the call, he shows me his queens and the board misses everyone on the turn and river. My kings hold up as he calls me a… “Donk.” Nice!

More tomorrow.