A lesson on position.
Yesterday sitting 2/5 nl in a short stacked game. I had just arrived, and this hand was probably the 15th to 20th hand I had seen. On a table that liked to see flops but was reasonably tight. I had about $240 and was sitting under the gun. Enemy is sitting 4 seats behind me.
I have AJ off suit, and call $5. Four other calls and the BB makes it $10. All other 4 people from before call the $10 including myself.
Flop comes J, 6, 4 rainbow (suites don't matter for this hand). The blinds check, I bet out for $35. Fold, Fold, then it gets to the enemy. He asks the dealer how many chips I have left, I have about $50 more than him. He doubles the bet to $70. Everyone folds, I think for a second and make the call.
Turn is a 10.
I check, Enemy bets $75. Now I go into thinking. My usual line of thinking starts with a review of how the enemy has played the hand. Call, Call, Raise, Bet from late position. Then I go into what hands he can have, and which of those I can beat.
Smooth calling pre flop is a pretty standard move with low pocket pairs. I don't put him on over cards because he let a lot of people see the flop after having two chances to raise it. The same hand is a possibility, so is a pocket pair that missed the flop. This player is relatively unkown to me and I'm not sure what to do.
He is playing with his cards and fidgeting as I think. I flip over my Jack and say is it good? He immediately stops moving his hand that was playing with the cards (not a good sign). I find when people have a made hand they do as much as possible not to scare their oppenent, this means sitting still sometimes. Then I show the ace, and say "what should I do?". He doesn't comment and just stares ahead at the pot.
I end up folding because I put him on trips the way he reacted to seeing my hand, and the way he was raising me. I was out of position, and would have been facing an all in bet on the river. I Can't really improve at this point. As soon as I fold, he stands up and throws his A J face up on the table.
I say "thank you for showing the hand". Then review it again. He made a good play against me and it was all because of his position. An example like this shows how important seeing your openent act is. He got to put so much pressure on me, that I had to fear his action behind me. Its the edge in determining winning percentages of similar hands, like in this case. If I had position on him, it would have been a completely different hand, and I would have put incredible pressure on him, much the way he did it to me.
(He also said when he first saw my jack he thought he had me beat, so my original read on his fidgeting tell was correct. For those that don't know, in a cash game when its heads up you can continue playing after you expose your cards, can be helpful for getting some information)