Monday, October 08, 2007

My 3,8 Suited Makes 0.61% Happen and Other Fun Math

I've seen Johnny Chan the past two nights at the Bellagio. Sources say we're working the same shift. He must be scared of me because he hasn't yet sat at my table.

I started play around 11 PM. Finished up a little after 4 AM.

The key hands you ask?

11:42 PM. I get frisky with suited 7,5 the "Mean Joe Green" and flop top two pair on a 2,5,7, board. Problem is it's all hearts. I call 20, 30, and then 40 and the gentleman shows me his flopped flush. Yep yep yep. Nice small value bets. Good for him. He deserves my 90. I was equally grateful not to have lost more. Of course the best solution would have been me hitting a full house. Second best solution would have been a 4th heart coming on the turn to help me fold. But what you gonna do? I sure could have lost more on this sort of cooler flop.

11:59 PM. I lose $45 with queen jack suited missing the flush draw. He checks the river to me after betting the flop and turn so I think I could have been able to bet him off his ace king here but I really didn't know him well enough as a player. He was new to the table and I didn't want to spend 100 bucks to find out if he'd call me down with ace high. I've been making this type of bet more often when I sense weakness. But here in this spot I thought it was better to just swallow the 45 loss and move on.

12:18 AM. I'm in there with 3,8 suited. I know. No story should begin like that.

I'm all for free speech and the first amendment but the words "I'm in there with 3,8 suited" just shouldn't be allowed. This sentence should be some sort of grammatical error.

How did it happen that I'm in there with 3,8 suited?

How does it always happen?

I was big blind. It was raised to 15 preflop. There were 4 callers. I was on tilt. I call for 10 bucks and make it 6 players seeing the flop.

I mainly call because if I fold 3,8 suited and the flop comes out 3,3,8 I'm going to lose my mind.

So it's only 10 dollars to maintain my mental health.

Think of it as health insurance.

And you know what? YOU are absolutely right. My health insurance company SHOULD co-pay.

I should be able to send them the paper work asking for 5 dollars from October 9th at 12:18 AM when I needed to call an extra 10 bucks from the big blind with 3,8 suited to maintain my mental health.

The problem of course is my insurance premiums will go up. Because if I'm the kind of person who plays 3,8 suited then my insurance company will do research that determines I probably don't take good care of myself.

In fact I had a really awkward moment with my insurance agent recently when he asked if I played 8,10 suited. I didn't know what to say because I definitely wanted to be covered for it. You just can't get good insurance for suited connectors anymore.

Anyhow sometimes in life you gotta be careful what you ask for.

The flop for my 3,8 suited came out 3,3,8.

It's completely disguised.

Are you kidding me?


You had me at 3,3.

I don't even need the 8.

It's gluttonous.

Guy in early position bets 20. I'm second to act. I call. I gotta call here. I can't raise. The button doesn't believe either of us and calls the 20 too. Usually I might be suspicious of the call behind me. But here with the 3,3,8 flop, unless he has pocket 8's I truly believe he's floating.

Turn is a queen. Guy in early position bets 20. I could raise here but I'm happy to let the pot slowly build. If we all call there will be 210 in the middle before betting occurs on the river. I can make my move then. I don't mind giving away another cheap card here.

And sometimes when there is weak betting like this (a 20 dollar bet into a 150 dollar pot) someone will pop it up $100 or whatever just because they sense the overall weakness. And usually everyone folds to this raise. So I don't want to raise and get them all to fold here.

Likewise I'm hoping that maybe my call entices the button to make this exact move behind me. Maybe he will sense the weakness and reraise in position. Please. It would be an absolute gift to me sitting here with a boat.

The button doesn't raise. He just calls. Oh well.

River is the nightmare queen. The only card that counterfeits my hand. The only card I didn't want to see.

I can't say with certainty that someone has a queen. They both came along on the flop when there was absolutely no queen out there. That's the good news.

But the bad news is they both stuck around on the turn when the first queen appeared. It's very common for someone to have a queen in a multi-way pot. And the fact that they just need to be holding one queen to beat me is suddenly sickening.

The first guy checks. No surprise there. I'm not that concerned with him. However I do worry about the guy behind me. Especially because if I check here and he bets I won't know anything at all about his holdings. He could have nothing and be betting in position because it's the only way for him to win the pot. I don't want to give him this option when the action gets to him.

So I move first and fire out 50 dollars. I'm not completely positive where I stand. But like I said, I can't give the player behind me the power to bet first.

If I get called here and we showdown that's fine. $50 is a small bet but it could genuinely be me having a queen and just trying to squeeze some value out of it.

If the player behind me has a queen I'm hoping he might just smooth call to get money from the 3rd player. There may not be value for him to reraise. Like either I have a queen and we're chopping or I don't have a queen and I'm folding. So a call here with the nuts (him holding a queen) isn't as nuts as it may seem.

And the button does in fact call me here. And the first player does fold.

I ask from across the table: "You have a queen?"

He says "Yes" and shows his king queen.

I show my 3 but I don't show my 8. They don't need to see the full extent of how badly I just got hurt. The 3 shows I was ahead going into the river with my trips. That's enough information. (The strange part of my showing the 3 is normally I probably raise with trips on the turn. It was only because I had the full house that I felt safe checking.)

As far as the rest of the press conference goes: I'm not disappointed with this hand. It took a 2 outer on the river for me to lose. Any other card and I'm telling a success story. I chose to maximize the money I could win by letting my opponents catch up and hit something. He was 19 to 1 to hit the queen on the river and win this hand. He sure wasn't getting that kind of payoff from the pot. So it's a chance I certainly don't mind taking.

95.45% of the time I look good here.

But you know that old expression:

"4.55% happens."

Actually if we go back to the flop it's 0.61% that happened.

That's 6.1 out of 1000. I can live with giving that action.

12:58 AM. Pocket jacks run into pocket queens on king high board. Another cooler.

1:11 AM. Pocket kings lose to ace queen. This is when the game gets real hard. If I can't win with pocket kings vs ace queen then it gets tough to play a hand.

Meanwhile I'm happy with the session so far.

"Huh?" you ask.

How can I possibly be happy?

Well mainly because I've run into some real bad results and yet I'm still not down a full buy in. That's progress. I haven't lost all of my chips despite some real bad stuff happening.

1:30 AM. We're now playing 4 handed. Short handed poker is quite familiar to me from my internet days but it's rare I get to play short handed at live casino cash games. It's alot of fun and I'm glad the Bellagio didn't push us to join another full game. The rake is lower ($2 max per pot instead of $4) and you can play way more starting hands.

1:42 AM. My opponent rivers me to hit a higher two pair. My poker game tonight is like the Yankees in their series versus Cleveland. I'm getting no hits in the clutch. And I keep giving up hits with 2 outs. I'm losing it both ways.

1:50 AM. I steal a few straddles pushing all in from late position. Poker is so simple with a small stack.

2:09 AM. Our table is full again and the miracle happens. The reason I'm still sitting here. A $10 straddle gets raised to 35. Multiple callers in front of me on the button. I call the 35 knowing full well that the rest of my slightly less than 100 dollar stack is going in on the flop if there is any hope whatsoever. The preflop pot is larger than my stack. This is a beautiful thing. And my cards are perfect for the situation. 3 5 suited.

Flop is 3,4,7. Two spades but not of my suit. Guy in early position who raised it to 35 preflop bets out 100. It gets folded to me. I push in my 90 something. From the way he's played this hand, raising preflop and betting out here I'm thinking it's likely I need to improve to win. I'm guessing I have 9 outs if I'm behind. Two 3's. Three 5's. Four 6's.

Turn is a queen. River is 9. I miss.

He looks at me to show my cards.

I say "I think you got me."

He says "Four spades" and turns over the Ace and King of spades.

I flip over 3,5 and pull in a $347 pot.

If nothing else this hand inspires me to fold for 2 more hours.

I have come to terms with losing tonight. I am ready to leave. However 3 young guys have sat down and are playing real loose. There is great opportunity here.

So I stay.

2:30 AM. And my moment arrives. My comeback will be complete. Well almost. The young guys I just mentioned have been straddling and reraising preflop. It's common to pay $45 to see a flop here. So on one of these hands I pick up pocket aces and limp in. The kid in the 10 seat pushes all in. I call. Even though you no longer have to show your cards at the Bellagio when you go all in I choose to show my aces. He turns over his cards but they're stuck together and all I can see is the queen on top. I don't know what is underneath.

As the dealer reveals the queen, 5, 6 flop I say "I hope you don't have another queen under there."

He shakes his head "no" and adjusts the queen to reveal a 5 under it.

Poof. He hit two pair. Turn and river don't help and my aces go down to queen,5.

Usually when pocket aces lose to queen 5 there is a flop that comes out and gives the queen 5 the best of it. It was pretty strange to watch it play out with the queen 5 getting all of their money in there preflop with the worst of it.

On the plus side it was nice to catch my opponent doing exactly what I thought he was doing and exploit it. Against that particular player I would have called his all in with a much weaker hand than pocket aces.

And as far as the evening went, this was the moment. This was the hand I was going to win if I was going to make a profit tonight. But I couldn't close the deal.

My bad rush continued on the next hand. I flopped top pair and a flush draw but missed on the turn and river. Worst of all my pair lost to a guy pairing his king on the river. The guy had king 2. I'm not sure what he was doing in the hand, putting money into the pot before that king came.

It's kind of like he was traveling around lost on the flop and the turn, driving around and didn't want to ask for directions with his king, 2.

He doesn't have a flush draw. Has no straight draw. He has king high. And yet he continues to put his money in with the rest of us. Very strange.

Continuing with this travel analogy, it's as if he's on the wrong airplane. The wrong flight. He wants to go to Mexico but he's on an plane to Canada.

And then the king hits on the river and suddenly he lands in Cancun.

2:33 AM. Just like that I'm back down to $153. I was so close to getting over the hump. I still wouldn't mind calling it a night but these wild kids are still at the table. And since I keep having the best of it with them I stay. I want to keep "running the math" against their hands.

Meanwhile if you really think about all the disasters from tonight...from the 3,8 flopped full house not holding up to the pocket aces getting cracked by queen's REALLY not so bad to still be down less than one buy in.

3:04 AM. There's a new clueless guy at the table and he just backed into the nut straight in a huge 3 way all in. A half hour from now he will also hit a full house on the river to win a thousand dollar pot. He will leave around 4 AM with approximately 3 grand. Sometimes the deck is real kind to people.

3:07 AM. I make a questionable lay down with ace 10 suited on ace high flop. There was a pot sized bet in front of me of the preflop raiser. It was clearly raise or fold territory and I didn't want to play for all my chips with a 10 kicker against an opponent who I believed was likely to be playing a big ace here. Still, it feels weak to lay down a strong hand.

My intention of playing ace 10 suited was to flop a flush draw. Two pair. Straight. Not defend my stack with a 10 kicker.

I'm okay with this fold even if I got outplayed. But rather than focus on the negative, lets flip and it and think how cool would it be to see his cards and know I that I actually made a good laydown?

Like if I'm gonna torture myself with the negative "what if's" of getting outplayed I may as well also do a positive hypothetical where I explore the possibility that I made a great lay down.

3:08 AM to 4:07 AM. Cold hour. I miss over and over again. King queen. Ace queen. 10 jack suited. Pocket 9's running into overcards. Etc.

4:08 AM. I finally leave the table. Just wasn't my night. I didn't play my A game and obviously the breaks didn't go my way either. That's the bad news.

The good news is I managed to lose less money than I won on Friday.

And for you regular readers I gotta mention that this was my first losing session since getting that water leak in my house fixed last month.

1 comment:

Check Raise Chin said...

I so very much enjoy reading your posts. Lots of great action, drama and humor as well.

Rob, quick question:

You think that lay down with the A/10 was because you were just running bad and didn't want to risk the money (you know money saved is just like money won kinda of thing) you know a subconcious thing? From what I've read it seems like you have a good handle on your emotions.

Fucking sucks when your aces got cracked and also on your 3 over 8s boat.