Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Opening Hour of April 24th

12:42 AM. I raise preflop with 5,7 suited. Flop comes jack,7,2. I bet 15. A guy who sounds like Gus Hansen calls. Turn is another jack. Gus tells me that if I bet he's going to call. So now I gotta bet. I push out 35 bucks and he folds. Gus shows me a 7 and asks me to show the bluff. I turn over a 7. He nods and says he had kicker problems.

Who doesn't these days?

12:44 AM. The very next hand there's a couple of limpers in front of me. I look down in middle position at pocket queens and raise to 20.

Guy in the blinds with a small stack reraises to 40ish. This is great. If a bunch of them call maybe I can push all in, create some dead money and get heads up against the small stack. He only has like 20 more.

But before I can execute this move, the gentleman sitting under the gun raises.

According to Gus, this under the gun guy has been sleeping at the table.


And Gus keeps making jokes about him.

So now this same guy who was just sleeping, sticks a stack out there. $102 to be exact.


Can I fold my pocket queens?

He plays one hand per hour. Yes. He has to have me beat.

The emotions kick in. Denial, anger, a certain self righteousness. Could be what Dave Matthews has been singing about all these years.

"I had queens when he had aces." That's what I'll tell everyone later on. And this story will only cost me a couple hundred bucks.

Or you know what? Maybe I'll get lucky.

You see it every time. Here comes the suck out.

This style of poker is so popular in fact that some say I have him trapped. Free will is an illusion. My opponent has no choice but to lose his entire stack to me right now, just because he picked up pocket aces at the wrong time. Sources say I've got this guy exactly where I want him.

However, mathematically speaking, it's not looking good. I try for one moment to convince myself that he could have ace king. I'm beating that hand. But that fantasy doesn't last too long.

Meanwhile Gus Hansen just can't keep his mouth shut. As I'm sitting there shuffling chips he tells his neighbor "It's the first hand this guy has played in an hour." It's terrible table etiquette. Gus should keep his mouth shut.

But that's what finalizes it. I cannot go further with this hand. Not with knowledge that the raiser plays one hand per hour. I fold my queens.

(And maybe this is what Gus wanted. Maybe Gus is frustrated with this guy for playing so tight. Maybe Gus doesn't want to see me pay him off. So much goes on at these tables for people emotionally.)

The beauty is I still get to see the hand play out. See if I would have won.

The guy in the blinds has pocket 6's. The gentleman under the gun has pocket kings. Look at him getting frisky and opening up his starting hand selection.

Gus said it had to be aces. What does he know about poker? I mean besides saving me $200.

Flop shows a queen in the window. I hit my set. Wow. But before I can feel sorry for myself I see a king behind that queen. And a jack as well. All clubs. I was not going to win this hand.

I think this is what Hellmuth means when he says he can dodge bullets.

So can I.

With a little help from Gus.

12:53 AM. Gus complains that the table is too tight. I offer to straddle along with him if he'll remind me. He reminds me and so there I am with jack 9 off seeing a flop. If I hadn't straddled I probably would have folded it under the gun. But now, because of Gus, I get to see a Jack, 10, 8 flop.

In Denmark they call that "top pair with an open ended straight draw."

No slow playing. I lead out for 15. Guy raises me to like 60. I come over the top and as soon as he doesn't insta-call I feel really good about this moment in time.

The longer he takes the more I think he's gotta lay it down. But then he calls all in.

Even though you don't gotta show your cards I do. He doesn't.

The universe rewards my openness with a 7 on the turn for the straight.

12:57 AM. Gus straddles for 4 bucks. It gets folded around. I have 3,7 in the small blind. I fold. Big blind folds too. Gus gets a walk on his straddle and wins 3 bucks. Then shows us his 2,3 off. I say "You had me." I mumble something about how his hand was good because "I only had fractions." Gus doesn't laugh but I'm sure this was just an English thing. His non-laughter couldn't have been because my joke sucked.

12:58 AM. Table is shorthanded. Everyone folds to me on the button. I have pocket 5's. Gus is the big blind. He tells me to fold so that he can chop. I tell him I have a real hand and bet 4x the big blind. I need to play a big pot with him at some point tonight. And so I wanna mix it up with him whenever I can in position. He calls my raise without looking at his cards. He also checks the flop in the dark. He asks me if I wanna bet in the dark. I say "No. I'd like to see the flop."

Flop is jack,8,9. I should bet. But I also took that pot from him earlier with the 5,7. He's seems like he could be a good enough player to raise me here to see how much I like my hand on this scary board. He talks alot and has been naming people's hands. He's good but just bored and playing too many pots. I check.

He bets when a 7 comes on the turn. I fold and show him my pocket 5's. My message is I raised preflop because I had to. I had pocket 5's. It wasn't like I was just using my position. I'm also showing him that I didn't continue bet on the flop when my hand might no longer be the best.

I'm showing him a tight aggressive image.

1:09 AM. Next orbit. Same exact situation. It gets folded around to me again on the button. This time I have queen,5 off. How to play this one is a classic "Depends" situation. I raise here because I want to keep this guy off guard. He thinks I'm tight. But at some point he will play back at me. So I need to keep the pressure on him.

He does his routine again and calls blind. Checks in the dark.

Flop is ace, 2,4. I have queen high and a gutshot straight draw. This time I bet the flop and represent the ace. Gus agonizes over my bet and then folds his king, queen suited face up. Chastises himself for not repopping it preflop.

1:15 AM. I raise. Gus calls me in position. Flop comes queen, jack, 6. I check. He checks behind me. 10 comes on the turn. I bet 15. Gus folds and tells me my ace king is good. I wanna ask him why he didn't bet the flop and take it away if he can put me on ace king. But I keep my mouth shut and don't show my cards. Gus tells me I never show. I tell him I've showed him a few. Which is true. Usually I show none.

1:22 AM. I limp with jack 9 from the cutoff. I've raised the last few times in position so perhaps this adds some sort of variety to my game. At least I know Gus is paying attention. Maybe this will look to him like I'm slowplaying a monster. The button sitting in between Gus and I raises to 12. Gus calls from small blind. I call from cutoff. Flop is ace, 9, 4. Gus acts first and checks. Sure I have a piece, but more importantly, what did the button raise with preflop? If it's a hand that does not contain an ace, how can he call if I bet?

So I use my position and fire out 20 bucks. If I get called I'm done with the hand. And maybe I'll get lucky and hit trips or two pair on the turn.

One thing is for sure. The button is tight. He can't call this bet without an ace. If he had something like pocket 10's preflop then now he will fold.

I was right. He folds. I get excited.

And then remember that Gus is still in the hand. Damn.

Forgot about him. If he raises me I've probably gotta fold. I feel vulnerable. Gus talks for a little bit. I look at him occasionally but say nothing. Gus folds. My image is gold here. I'm playing somewhat loose but still pegged by Gus as tight.

I can't wait till someday when people think I'm a loose player so that I can go back to just playing tight again.

Way better for my blood pressure.

1:39 AM I raise to 12 preflop with ace king and get two callers. A tight player and Gus. I put the tight player on a medium to small pocket pair. Gus? I have no idea what he has. Flop comes king,10, 8 and tight guy leads out for 20. I just wanna get rid of Gus here. He has position on me. So I miniraise to 40. Gus folds. This bet hides whether I'm already there or on a draw. If I get reraised then maybe he flopped a set. Tight guy just calls.

Turn is a 5. Tight guy checks.

I try to rationalize the check. If I check here I can just call him down on the river.

But the problem is that I'm probably ahead. He's probably on a draw or got a weaker king. Either way I can't let him see the river and potentially out draw me for free. I have to bet this hand right now. Later on I can check the river if I'm still feeling scared.

So I bet 50. I thought it was a pretty small underbet and would definitely get called. Especially after he put in 40 on the flop. But he must have assumed it was a pure value bet and that I was slow playing a monster because he quickly folded.

After which Gus looks over at me and asks if I had ace king.

I told you he was good.


Lucypher said...

I really enjoy your stories from the tables and wish I was in Vegas, too.

Check Raise Chin said...

Funny post Rob.

Sounds like you're on your game.

Folding QQ was definitely the right move there bud.

Just curious did you ever stack this Gus dude?