One of the important things about today's hand from the $25,000-buy-in World Poker Tour Championship at Las Vegas' Bellagio in 2010 is knowing some history.
Aggressive pro Josh Arieh had just lost about $40,000 in doubling up an opponent. The next hand, he raised with pocket kings and won. In this next hand, with blinds at $500-$1,000 plus a $100 ante, Arieh raised under the gun with pocket aces and was called by Cliff Josephy and Kathy Liebert, the pros immediately to his left.
"These people think I'm steamed up," said Arieh, winner of two World Series of Poker bracelets. "My image is a little bit looser.
"Then the sucker in seat 9 (in the big blind) calls."
"He's the guy playing every hand," said Arieh, who finished third in the 2004 WSOP main event. "He's dying to give his chips away. Everything at the table is revolving around him right now."
Four-handed, the flop came 9-9-Q.
The "sucker" checked. Arieh made it $6,400.
"It's a pretty standard continuation bet that I would've made with just about any hand," Arieh said.
Josephy and Liebert folded.
"I was fortunate they folded because I would've been in a real tricky spot if they called, because they could have a 9," said Arieh, a pro from the Full Tilt Poker online site. "The value of my hand goes way down if they call behind me."
The big blind called.
"I really thought I was going to beat him in a huge pot because I thought he had a queen and was calling with queens and 9s," Arieh said. The turn came the queen of diamonds.
"The worst card in the world for me," Arieh said.
"I'm pretty sure if he had a queen there, he would've bet. He checked, and I wanted to have the bluff factor on the river. I checked the turn, and I'd already decided I was calling on the river no matter what because by checking, I'm telling him I don't have a queen and I don't have a 9, and as active as he is, there's a good chance he's going to try to bluff me at the river."
The river came the 9 of spades. The big blind checked.
"I know he doesn't have a queen because he would've bet something to make me pay off, because there's a full house on the board," Arieh said. "I bet $13,000, knowing the guy's going to call because it's $13,000 to win about $13,000 (if they both play the board and split the pot)."
The big blind called and mucked his cards when he saw Arieh's aces.
"Afterwards I was upset that I didn't bet more," Arieh said. "I think he would've called $18,000, because he called $13,000 pretty quick.
"The main lesson is don't just think about a street sometimes. Gather all the information. The information I used in that hand was from prior hands: what my image is, but mainly who I'm playing against. Find the sucker. If you can't find the sucker, get up."
Loose: Playing a lot of hands.