Sunday, May 11, 2008

Playing The Rush

11:33 PM. Saturday night at the Venetian. I raise the first hand with my old friend queen 10 suited but give up after an ace flops and a player has the nerve to bet out in front of me. He's in the blinds and it feels like a middle pair testing the waters. Heads up I could play back at him and see how much he really likes his hand but with players still to act behind me, a fold here feels absolutely and utterly perfect.

11:49 PM. I'm up 45 after taking down a pot with pocket jacks. The hand everyone hates to play. Me? I'm not a pocket jacks hater. I'd be happy to sit in a poker game where I always held pocket jacks. The key of course would be that everyone at the table didn't know that I always had pocket jacks.

Meanwhile look who just invented a game. It's called "Pocket Jacks."

The way you play "Pocket Jacks" is the big blind always gets dealt pocket jacks. And everyone at the table KNOWS the big blind has the jacks. So if you raise the big blind preflop, basically you are saying you can compete with pocket jacks.

11:51 PM. I fold 6,8 suited to an early position raiser, mostly because his stack is so darn small. You could say his stack size protected him from me, or cost him money, depending on how you look at it. Because if he has a few hundred in front of him I'd call.

11:55 PM. Minus 15 with ace jack suited.

12:01 AM. Win 50ish pot with ace king.

12:07 AM. Miss with ace 7 suited.

12:14 AM. Seat 1 has been a bully. He's the big blind when I have the button and the last two orbits when I've raised my button, he's reraised me preflop. The first time I raised to 15 with ace 4 suited and he repopped me to 45. I hated the idea of flopping an ace and still not knowing if I was ahead so I chose to fold this first one. But now that I'm seeing just how loose aggressive he is, that ace 4 suited is looking more and more playable. I'm gonna take a stand against him soon.

12:18 AM. Down 60 bucks and feeling some tilt after calling a small stack's all in on a 7,7,7 flop with pocket 4's. Obviously I hoped he had over cards. Turn was an 8. River an 8. He looks across the table at me and I get to say the awesome sentence "I'm playing the board." He shows his pocket aces.

12:32 AM. I limp on button and the aggressive big blind raises again and makes it 15. I smooth call in position with jack, 9 off. Flop comes jack high and he fires out a $35 bet. It's the moment of truth. It's what I've been waiting for. His style of play dictates that I cannot lay my hand down. His style of play makes me excited to reraise him here. His style of play means that if he has a real hand he deserves my money. His style of play has earned him action.

I raise. Make it 100. He doesn't look happy.

What's funny is when I had the ace 4 suited hand and he reraised me, I had the feeling inside of "Hey buddy, I wasn't just making a move on the button. I actually have a real hand. And your reraise makes me feel like you don't believe me."

And on this hand I can definitely feel him having the exact same energy in reverse. Sure he plays too aggressively, but this time he has really flopped something and hates that he has to fold it.

He wants me to know he has a real hand.

When he mucks and I'm pretty sure I see him flash ace 6 for bottom pair.

12:34 AM. Playing the rush part 2. I'm in there the very next hand from the cutoff seat with king 9 off. I flop a king, bet and get two callers. I bet the turn. Two callers. The river is the 9 of diamonds. It completes the flush. Now normally I might check behind them on the river. Yet my antennae tells me they weren't chasing the flush and that their calls were more of the "I'm going to call you down with my middle pair" variety.

So me and my two pair actually make a value bet. It feels so silly. I think it was 20 bucks. This bet usually would mean that I've hit the flush and am just trying to squeeze some money out of it. However my bet could also be a missed flush draw. A total bluff where I'm betting because it's the only way I can win the pot.

But one thing is certain: You wouldn't expect a value bet from two pair here.

The first player folds. The second player however doesn't want to muck.

Then an amazing thing happens.

A third player who is not involved in the hand talks the guy in the hand into calling me! She actually tells him that she thinks my bet is fishy. She doesn't buy that I have the flush! Wow.

Can I remind you that she's NOT IN THE HAND?

Good for her and her reading abilities.

But bad for her and her table etiquette.

Come on people. We can't have this behavior at the poker table. I would have had a real hard time keeping my mouth shut if I was bluffing here and she talked him into calling.

The punchline came after the hand when she told the guy who listened to her "Well at least it didn't cost you too much money."

12:37 AM. Playing the rush part 3. I've won two in a row so I can't fold now. This time I play 4,5 suited and the flop comes out 2,3,6. Just like Doyle said it would.

Everyone checks and I bet. My thinking is I've just won 2 pots in a row. Please let it look like I'm playing too loose. Please let it look like I'm stealing.

Disaster ensues when everyone folds. I can't believe I made such a donk play by betting the nuts!

Yet that's exactly why I did it. Because if you were sitting there with a hand like pocket 7's you might think that you were good.

If I hadn't played a hand in awhile then I absolutely can't bet out here. But having won 2 in a row it seemed like a decent anti-move at the time. Oh well.

Reviewing the hand: I got lucky to hit the straight. I got unlucky that no one else had a real hand. But I didn't give them a chance to hit a hand either by betting the flop. So today, at this moment in time, at this table, this was a bad play by me.

12:39 AM. Playing the rush part 4. Minus 30 with 7,8 suited. I call 10 bucks pre flop and then 20 more on a 6,9,jack flop. Somehow I miss on the turn and don't complete the straight. Same dude bets 50 and I believe him. I consider raising but I don't he think he'll lay down top pair or an overpair here. I guess this was the time to have flopped a straight. Not the last hand. I fold. The rush is over. If this hand was against a grinder, there's a decent chance I raise on the flop or turn.

1:03 AM. Button raises my big blind to 15 and I call with queen, 9 suited. Flop comes 9 high with a flush draw. Of course it does. How does this hand never lose? He bets 20. I say raise. He folds. Everyone starts complimenting me. As if I outplayed him. But I think I didn't. I had the best hand and let him get away. I could have smooth called and given him the chance to bet again on the turn. (Of course if an ace comes out on the turn and he passes me, I'd have a much different opinion of how I played the hand.)

1:17 AM. I'm up around 150 after I play ace,2 suited on the button, and see an ace, 10,6 flop. I bet twice and get called down by a guy with king jack trying to gutshot the queen. How wonderful to have someone call your bets on the flop and turn trying to hit their gutshot.

Usually the only time I get to know people are chasing gutshots is when they hit and show their cards. All of the times they're missing their gutshots they usually fold at the end and I don't get to see their cards. But this guy showed the king jack.

When I win money on a hand like this it makes me wonder why I ever bother to try to out play people.

Playing against a guy like this is so much easier.

1:26 AM. Up 142 about to play blinds.

1:29 AM. Major table turnover. I'm now a big stack.

1:42 AM. I limp with aces. Unfortunately there's no action behind me and we see the flop 8 handed. I laugh thinking about what the math must be for me here with aces against 7 opponents. Flop comes 3,4,10 with 2 spades. Dude bets out 20. Guy to my right calls. My first instinct is to fold but I call too. I want to see the turn.
3 players also call behind me!

Turn is the queen of hearts. Puts double flush draws out there. The dude who bet 20 on the flop checks the queen. Guy to my right checks. They're giving me an opening. I bet $45. Gotta charge folks to draw here and just as important- I need to find out if I have the best hand. Everyone folds except for the guy to my right who announces he's all in. That's the bad news. The good news is his remaining chips are less than my $45 bet so there's no decision for me to make.
I show my aces. He shows 5,6 of hearts for what is now a straight flush draw. Whew. I'm just grateful he didn't raise on the flop. Sitting to his direct left, I wouldn't have been able to call if he had pushed in after the first dude bet 20 on the flop. 5,6 suited misses on the river and I take down the pot with my aces. You know. Because aces never lose.

2:02 AM. I call 10 bucks preflop with 4,7 suited against a tight player. Flop comes 2,4,5 and tight player leads out for 25. I think he could have ace king, ace queen kind of hand so I make the call here to see what happens on the turn. We both have big stacks. Even if he has a real big pair I could get lucky hit two pair or trips. But I'm mostly curious to see if he fires another bet on the turn. I'm not sure he has the courage to do that with just ace king.

The only thing that comes in the way of me and my plan is a 3rd player in the hand to my left who has also called the 25 dollar flop bet behind me.


Now that he's called I think a raise may have worked better for me here. Makes it much harder for him to call. And I'd find out real quickly what the tight player has.

Poker tragedy occurs when a 3 comes out on the turn. Now Mr. Ace king has a straight. Why can't I have 4,6 right now instead of 4,7? I fold.

Further "horror on the felt" is revealed when we go to showdown and I see that the guy to my left had pocket 5's. He didn't raise on the flop with his set of 5's! Thus I can't agree with him that the 3 on the turn was a bad beat. If he raises and it comes out then yes that's awful. But his not raising (and then still calling down when the board had the 4 card straight) removes all the empathy I might usually offer this human being.

By the way. For your amusement. The betting on the river was...

Guy with set of 5's bets 25.

Guy with ace king for bottom straight raises to 75.

Guy with set calls.

I told you I wished I had a 6.

Let me also say that this kind of river betting is EXACTLY why I'm playing 4,7 suited in the first place.

2:06 AM. What do the poker books say you should do when you are holding ace king and an ace gets exposed preflop? How much value is lost? That's what happened to me on this hand. I still flopped a king and took down the pot. But seeing that exposed ace definitely made me feel weaker preflop.

2:08 AM. I'm holding ace king on an intriguing and dangerous flop. King, queen, 9. Top pair top kicker ain't so impressive here. When I bet and got two callers I wasn't exactly psyched. Incredibly one of these callers was a guy with ace 10. Similar to the hand where I held top pair with my ace and the guy tried to gut shot me with his king jack. Only this time it works out for him when a jack comes on the turn.

Note to the Universe- I'm supposed to lose this hand to someone with jack,10. Not ace, 10. Please correct this in the future. Thanks.

2:13 AM. Table becomes shorthanded and I stopped taking notes.


Memphis MOJO said...

Quote: But bad for her and her table etiquette.

Come on people. We can't have this behavior at the poker table. I would have had a real hard time keeping my mouth shut if I was bluffing here and she talked him into calling.

The punchline came after the hand when she told the guy who listened to her "Well at least it didn't cost you too much money."

The dealer isn't doing his job. He is the one who can't allow that. If you say anything, you might be giving away your hand. Dealers play for tips. I always tip, but a tip is for good service.

Robert said...

There are different agendas going on at the poker table. I'm there to make money. However most players are just having a good time and looking to get a few free drinks.

The dealer is trapped between these two worlds. He's trying to make tips and keep everyone happy.

Now these players who don't know the rules also happen to be ideal opponents. They play poorly and give money away.

Where it gets frustrating is when the majority of the table behaves like this. In these cases when I speak up, suddenly I'm the grumpy guy who is taking low stakes too seriously.

So many times I just shut my mouth and accept this lack of rules enforcement as the cost of doing business.

No, it's not right. But I also don't want to alert the other players that we're sitting at the table for different reasons.