Once in a while, someone attempts a play that leaves you scratching your head and thinking that it must have seemed like a good idea at the time.
I was playing in an $11 re-buy on Merge, and had been fortunate to chip up from 2,000 to about 24,000 thanks to some bizarre (and by this point, departed) players. Blinds were 100/200 or 150/300 or something at this point, and I was in middle position when an EP player made what I euphemistically refer to as a donk-push from EP, for a little over 5,000. Quite a few players will do this, but a lot of players do this to protect marginal hands, such as middle pairs.
I had J-J and I had notes suggesting this player was likely to do these marginal pushes. I had the table covered at this point, so I just smooth-called. Lo and behold, the button pushes for about 8,000 more. I go, "Wait, what..." but given the amount already in the pot, it's a pretty easy call. I'm as much as a 30:70 dog against his range but the pot is offering more than 3:1, and even if I drop it I still have a playable stack.
So I call. The EP player shows 8-8; about what I expected. And the button shows... wait for it... 4-2 off.
Yes, I won the hand and went out to a nice overall lead, though I finished sixth. The question is, is there any possible rational explanation for trying to squeeze me out with 4-2?
I can't think of one. Even if I fold, which is unlikely, his 4-2 would still be racing against the EP player. The button would be getting slightly better than 2:1 odds on what's in there, but the problem is that 4-2 is almost certainly worse than a 1:2 dog against the EP's already-all-in range. And then there's me. I'm more likely to smooth with a monster and reraise with a solid-but-perhaps-not-awesome hand, though I did go against the grain here, mixing up my play. The button, though, could just as easily be three-betting into my K-K or A-A. The button simply got it in his head that he was going to make a move and disregarded all the available information.
What this player did, in effect, was take a very playable 13,000-chip stack and toss it out the window.
The lesson: While good players make their profits from bad players' plays, sometimes the depth of those bad plays is nigh on incomprehensible. Such was the case here.