I finally decided he had A-K and didn't want to play big slick from out of position. But, my read was that he was bad enough to bet the same way with 10-10, 9-9 and similar hands. I could just fold, but decided to gamble with him, so I called. I was shocked to see him turn over ♠A ♣J. Sometimes, all you can do is shake your head. A-J? Come freakin' on.
Well, you know what happened, don't you? The flop was ♣A ♥K ♦Q. Isn't that special? There is one jack left in the deck, but basically I have to root for one of the four 10s to get a chop. No such luck.
It was only around 8 p.m. so I scooted over to the $1/2 NLHE game. My table was a dream and I had a profitable evening. This was an interesting deal: I checked my hole cards and saw ♦K ♠K. There was one limper to me and I raised to $15. Two players called.
The flop was good news/bad news: ♥K ♦Q ♥8. Yes, I hit a set, but the board is fairly coordinated. There was $50 in the pot ($15 + $15+ $15+ the limper's $2 and the $3 from the blinds). I bet $35 and got one caller. The pot was now $120. I had started the deal with ~$200 and the villain's stack was similar.
The turn was ♥4. I cautiously checked and the villain bet $35. Let's do some math. I have these outs: three 4s, three 8s, three queens and one king = 10. So I'm around 20% to improve to a winner (assuming I'm facing the heart flush). The pot was now $155, and it cost me $35, so it's about odds-on to call from an express-odds point of view. I can assume I'll get a little more out of the villain if I hit, so the implied odds are decent, too. If he's bluffing, my hand might be good. Also, $35 is an odd amount. I called.
The river was the ♣A. I checked again and the villain checked. He turned over ♠A ♣J!
Apparently, he was savvy enough to figure out I was afraid of the third heart on fourth street. Should I have made a probe/defensive bet into him there? Then, when an ace hit on the river, he checked because he hoped his hand would win in showdown. Um, I don't think so.
Why did he call the flop? I can guarantee you this guy has never heard of floating. He wouldn't know floating if it came up and bit him on the knee. His bet on the turn was a good idea, but not large enough (given the size of the pot) to get the job done. Sometimes, all you can do is shake your head.
UPDATE: I just played this hand online. With three players left, I raised on the button with ♣A ♣Q. The big blind re-raised all-in with ♠10 ♠7! This was pretty sweet until he flopped a boat:
Time to do something besides poker for a while.