One of the most difficult aspects of poker is bluffing. It's easy to win a hand if you're holding close to the nuts (getting someone to pay you off is another matter entirely) but bluffing is what separates the wheat from the chaff. I always think that if you're not caught bluffing enough then you probably don't do it enough - it's a reason why I very rarely show bluffs unless there's a player who is likely to go on tilt when he knows he's been bluffed.
But bluffing at lower stakes can be especially tricky - some players are such call machines that they'll "hero call" with such marginal hands that bluffing against them essentially becomes unprofitable. The majority of low stakes players generally don't think too deeply about other players' starting ranges and positions, or even notice when the the tightest player at the table is 3 barrelling for the first time in 2 hours.
I'm on the button and call a raise from MP holding 9-10 of diamonds and we're 5 ways to a flop of Jd-8d-4s and it's checked to me. I bet and only the preflop raiser calls. The turn is another Jack which is actually a good card to continue my bluff - my opponent is unlikely to have a Jack considering he checked on such a wet flop into multiple opponents. I again bet once my opponent checks, which is called (after a minute or so of thinking). The river is another 8 and I'm not likely winning the hand without bluffing so I bet 1/4 of the pot. This screams a value bet with a Jack - betting more really says I've got nothing or a Jack whereas such a small bet looks like I want a call. Given the run out I really don't think my opponent has a Jack and I'm only getting called by a hand that beats me - if I'm raised I'm obviously folding. My opponent doesn't snap call which is good and internally I'm screaming for him to fold. He doesn't. He thinks for a good couple of minutes before announcing call. Fuck.
I announce "Good call - I have 10 high" and turn over my hand. I'm expecting to see a hero call with Ace x or maybe even a badly played overpair. He announces 2 pair and turns over pocket 7s.
I don't think he's clocked the board is double paired as he's waiting for the pot to be pushed to him - his face is a picture as the dealer pushes me the pot. What have I said about players in Vegas not paying attention?
Drinking challenge update:
1 Jan - 6 beers, 2 whiskies
2 Jan - none
3 Jan - 2 beers, 1 wine
4 Jan - none
5 Jan - 1 champagne, 3 wines, 1 whisky
6 Jan to date - none. As soon as we got back to NY on Sunday night I felt a bit "peaky" so apart from heading to the office I've quarantined myself in my hotel room, hence now having time to write some stories up. Unless I've got Ebola in which case my organs will liquefy and I'll leave a bit of a mess for housekeeping to clean up. I think it probably is Ebola though as I feel dreadful - it's that or a heavy cold!