Friday, August 10, 2007

Ali Needed Frazier

Wednesday night I played in a cash game at the Venetian.

I got myself into some good situations in the first hour and doubled my stack.

The key hand for me was hitting a set of jacks from the small blind on an ace high flop.

A guy on the button with an ace bet. I called. A 4 came on the turn. He bet and I called again. Another 4 came on the river. I decided to lead out with a pot sized bet. I thought it might confuse him and make him think I was attempting to steal the pot by representing I had a 4. I figured if he had an ace he'd call. And if he didn't have an ace he'd check it down anyway.

Much to my surprise he came over the top of my bet and went all in. I thought to myself damn if he has pocket aces I'm about to lose a big pot. But of course I still called.

He turned over ace 4 for a runner runner 4's full of aces house. But my boat was better with the jacks full of 4's.

I was lucky to hit a set of jacks on the flop. But the reality is I was even luckier that he made his hand with the runner runner so that I could get paid.

Ali needed Frazier.

The Yankees need the Red Sox.

Pocket aces need pocket kings.

And a set of jacks sometimes needs runner runner 4's.

After this hand the guy was clearly on tilt. He was raising with crap like 2,8 and stealing blinds.

I knew I was going to get even more chips from him. Since he was playing so super aggressive I sat back and waited for the right spot.

Little while later I picked up pocket aces under the gun and limped in. Some guy in middle position made it 20. There were 2 callers. And then this same ace 4 guy repops it $100 more from the big blind.

I go all in on him and the ace 4 guy calls. Just like we knew he would. He doesn't want to show his cards so I don't show my aces. Meanwhile I'm sure he doesn't show his cards because I'm sure they're not that strong. He was just making a move to steal the preflop money and got caught.

Flop is 2,4,7. Turn 3. River 10. Now he turns over pocket 7's for a set and the dealer shoves the pot to him.

I've been doing alot of work away from the table on my mental state at the table. And here was my first test. I laughed out loud and took a walk to the bathroom. Alot of my profit from the previous hour was gone. I recognized that the key for me at the moment was to not lose the rest of my chips trying to get back to where I was before this hand.

So I folded. And folded. For an hour.

I got no cards so I played no hands.

What was sort of amazing to me was how hot I had been before that hand. And how losing that hand basically took the wind out of my sails. From as many hours as I sit at the poker table I'm starting to feel how things happen in bunches. And so I was real focused on not losing my stack while in the midst of a bad run of cards.

I eventually played one hand. Had the nut flush draw on the flop but didn't get there. Which is sort of expected during a run like that.

And so I went back to folding.

Finally after more than an hour I started to get some cards again. I won a small pot with pocket kings. I won a larger pot with king jack suited. I could feel everything changing again.

I even limped in and played my button with jack 3 suited only to flop a jack jack 3 full house.

Unfortunately none of my opponents held a jack.

In other words- no Frazier for my Ali on this hand.

After 4 hours I'm ahead exactly 100 dollars. I laugh to myself at the math. I guess despite some crazy fluctuations that's $25 an hour.

I decide there's no need to stay. It's 320AM. I will call it a night. I'm about to be under the gun so I make the decision to leave after one more hand, before I have to pay my blinds again.

Under the gun I pick up pocket 8's and play them. Flop comes 8,8,9. It gets checked around. Turn is a jack. I check and call. River is a jack. I know I'm not getting paid off here unless my opponent has a jack. I check again and hope he bets. He does.

This was an interesting spot for me. I can push and hope he calls with a jack in an attempt to chop the pot. But if he doesn't have a jack he's not going to call an all in. So I choose to make a value raise and just triple his bet. He calls. Indeed he had the jack. I got paid off on my river raise because my Ali once again had a Frazier. It took runner runner to make it happen. But Frazier finally showed up.

Tonight I went to the MGM. I sat down at a passive table and decided to open it up. I'm usually lurking in the weeds but because of the tightness I came in for alot of raises.

I decided that if I was going to play a hand I was going to raise with it. I was bullying the table for the first 15 minutes. Then I switched gears and really tightened up. I doubled up hitting a set of 8's and incredibly got paid off by a guy with ace 8 when 8 wasn't even the high card on the board.

Soon after I hit a set of 3's on king 8,3 flop. The guy who raised preflop bet and 3 of us called.

Turn was another king. Everyone checked. I bet small but everyone folded. No Frazier for Ali on this hand.

Two more hands worth mentioning:

There was one that didn't work out for me but ended up being a display of zen poker.

I held the jack and 8 of clubs in the big blind and called a standard preflop raise from middle position.

Flop was an exciting queen, jack, 10 with the queen and 10 both clubs. I got all sorts of draws and of course a pair of jacks.

I didn't end up hitting my straight or flush but I did hit a 3rd jack on the river. Anyhow at showdown the dude turned over ace king for the flopped straight. (Interesting that I was still 40% to win this hand on the flop despite him hitting such a great flop.)

But here's where it got interesting. For some reason my mind was in outer space and I thought the 3rd jack on the river won me the pot. Almost as if I thought he had king queen for top pair and I sucked out with the trips. So I'm sitting there expecting the dealer to shove the chips towards me.

I was humble. Indifferent really. My mood did not change one bit when I thought I won the hand on the river. It was just another hand of poker. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I lose. This time I thought I won.

So of course there became a specific moment when I asked the dealer why she was shoving the pot the wrong way and she pointed to his straight.

And here's where it got interesting. I honestly felt no different.

I found it funny that I misread the board. I tapped the table and told the guy "nice hand." It really made no difference to me. Sure it would have been nice to win the pot. But it wasn't like I was sitting there with any kind of disappointment. I think I am developing the stomach.

And it gets worse. On my way out of MGM I dropped into Hooters again across the street. By now it's after 3am and I bought into their ridiculous 1/2 game. Everyone was pretty drunk and I thought this could be good action. I folded a few hands and then picked up pocket kings.

There were a few limpers. I raised it up to 17. There was a guy to my left from Calgary who had played every single hand since I sat down. This guy raises it to 40. We're at 1/2 with a 200 max so I don't have too many moves here. Like whether I reraise 100 or push all in it really makes no difference. Either way it looks like I'm representing aces. And all my chips are going in.

If he has aces then good for him. This is part of the fun (and importance) of playing low enough stakes and within your bankroll. I can make this move after getting reraised and live with it regardless of outcome.

Calgary is holding pocket queens and he has to call $160 more to win $240. Good for me.

If he puts me on aces or kings (what other hand reraises a reraiser?) he would need a pot of at least $640 for this call to be correct. But we're at Hooters playing 1/2. He ain't folding.

The dealer puts the queen out on the flop. And just like that my evening is over. 20% happens.

I was lucky to get pocket kings on the same hand where an opponent picked up pocket queens. Another Frazier for my Ali.

Although I wouldn't exactly call my pocket aces vs pocket 7's all in hand from the Venetian an Ali-Frazier.

That was more like Ali-Jerry Quarry.

No comments: