OP, I'm not trying to be a jerk, but I think you misplayed this hand mostly by not c-betting the flop. Had you c-bet, the villian is either calling or raising (I actually think there's some merit for him to raise in that spot). I disagree w/ kReATivE that the turn is going to get checked through if you c-bet the flop. In the actual hand, the villian bet small after he was checked to twice. If he raises you OTF after you bet, I'm assuming you'd fold. If you'd checked to him after he called your c-bet, I think he's betting almost always and you're probably giving up.
The way the hand was played, you're getting about 2:1 on a call OTR, so you only need to be good about 33% of the time. It seems like a call (and it probably is), but given the fact that he shoves over your pot sized river bet, it's probably more of a crying call imo. In a spot like this against most small stakes live players, they're never bluffing and it's always a nutted type of hand. I think he could take this line w/ AA, 22 and A2. I don't think most players in a small, live NL game will do this w/ 54 (they're scared of a boat) or even 33 (although it's better than A2/I understand that makes no logical sense, but w/ A2 players will blast away because they smashed the flop and can't imagine losing. With 33 they feel like they got lucky). Against a range of AA, 22 and all A2 combos, you're a 60% favorite against that range. If he's only playing A2s you're equity actually drops to 20% as there's only one combination of A2s w/ that board.
I agree 100% with you Meow, and it's part of the reason I posted the hand. I realize I was playing scared and wanted to see if the mistake is what caused this. If I cb the flop, which I should, he probably flat calls and I check the turn, he probably bets and I have to fold.
Thank you for the detailed response. I appreciate it!
I don't we're cbetting to see where we're at, I think it's to jus take down our equity share of the pot. We most likely has good equity and it's really only going to get worse if we check down.
You are turning your 88 into a bluff by cbetting the flop. I would probably cbet IP, but OOP I'm just not a fan.
Three ways is kinda tricky. We can definitely play our hand like it has SDV against one opponent and take a x/c line. Against more you're definitely check folding. Sandwiched between two opponents, you aren't definitely against an ace but at the same time you don't want to let two guys take a draw with what could be a combined 12 outs against you for free. Knowing nothing about their flatting ranges, I think this is a very good spot to make like a 1/2 pot or less c-bet. I don't think anyone is going to get too fancy on you unless you have some history and all you're trying to do is get them to fold like QJ and take it down. You get called, you shut down.
too much results-oriented thinking in this thread.
this is called a cooler. you played it fine.
if you cbet here you are bluffing against most players. the only point would be to bluff someone off 99-JJ (which isn't likely for one bet), and to pick up dead money (which is usually not a good argument for betting in and of itself).
checking is standard against straightforward and overly bluffy players. you also give yourself a chance to realize the little equity you have when behind, which could lead you to stacking a guy who slowplays A2 or improves with 33.
OTR you beat all boats that he normally plays this way. (you must heavily discount AA). you lose to one combination of hands, and you beat 4. call and shrug