I play less than 100 hours of live poker each year. I sporadically come across some of the peculiar situations that others experience more often. For example, in a previous post, I encountered a situation where the dealer folded a winner but I was the only one to notice.
Another interesting situation came up recently during a hand. Seat 5 was new to the table. He bought in for $300 and had been up and down betting/raising and mostly winning/folding without showing. He appeared to be a seasoned player. Most of the time, he waited to look at his cards right before it was his turn to act. He protected his whole cards and didn't carelessly pick them up off the table. Then, this hand happened:
I was dealt J♠,10♠ and had $900+ behind in seat 6. I'm in the SB, looking as the action moves around and towards me. The action was on seat 3 or seat 4 when I glanced to my right. At that moment, seat 5 started looking at his cards. Just for a second, my eyes followed the movement of his hands and I thought I saw 8♣. I shifted my eyes away from him before he looked at his second card.
He then bet $15. I called and so did seat 10 and seat 1. The flop was J♥,5♣,7♦. In early position, I opted to check since there were no spades and there were three players left to act. I wasn't ready to build a pot, yet. It was checked around to seat 5; he bet $30 and only two of us called. Turn was 2♣, two of us checked, and seat 5 bet $75.
This is where I decided to shift gears. Seat 5 was on the button and I believed he was holding 8♣,x. I didn't see seat 10 calling off his $200+ stack in this spot. Seat 5 had about $175 left after the turn bet.
I thought seat 5 could have been holding 8,8 or 8♣,9♣ (maybe even 8♣,6♣ or 8♣,A♣). I was ahead either way I looked at it. Since I was up during this session and I thought I could get both of them to fold, I went all-in. Seat 10 folded but seat 5 moved the rest of his chips in.
The river was K♥. I thought I was good unless he was holding 8,K. Since I had moved all-in, I flipped over my J,10. I think most of the table couldn't believe it. There were several comments about how weak my hand was. Some were saying that seat 5 had me beat. But, seat 5 didn't turn over his cards. He looked at the board one more time, folded and said, "You're good."
He asked the dealer to call a chip runner. He was very surprised at how I played the hand. He asked me what hand did I think he had. I said, since he folded, it had to be 8♣,9♣. But he said he folded 4♣,3♣ (not sure I believe it).
I was going to call the $15 even if I hadn't seen his card; but the rest of the hand would have played out differently. I've never had a situation, until this hand, where I saw my opponent's card and used it to stack him. How would you have played the hand? What is the correct poker etiquette in this situation?