Saturday, June 21, 2008

Two Hours of Poker From June 2008.

1:12 AM. I pick up pocket 10's and raise preflop. My opponent calls in position. Flop comes ace king queen. According to sources who were there, I didn't even bother making the continuation bet. Instead I apparently used double reverse psychology and held my cards out over the muck. My opponent bet and I let them go. I wasn't bluffing. No string fold from me. That's because when I hold my cards out over the muck, I'm usually gonna drop them.

Oh sure every once in awhile I make this same move when I flop a set. You know. Just so it doesn't become a tell. The last thing I need is for word to get out all over the poker community that whenever Robert holds his cards out over the muck it means he's going to fold. That would make playing against me too easy.

For those of you keeping score at home my opponent showed king queen.

1:18 AM. I call preflop with 5's but fold to a bet and a call on an ace high flop. The third 5 comes on the turn. How come anytime my cards are mucked, and then I see I would have hit a bigger hand, all sorts of betting fireworks ensue? How does this happen every time?

To quote Mr. Seinfeld, "Why is that?"

Like if I fold 4,7 and the flop comes out 7,7,7 there will be a raise and reraise before I can even open up Outlook to find the time to feel bad for myself.

Oh I still will. I'll schedule a meeting to punish myself for folding there. And then as soon as I get the reminder for my meeting, the turn and river will go runner runner 8's and some guy shows down pocket 8's at the end for bigger quads.

And then my superego will go out and rent a megaphone, just so he can walk around the house for the next 4 weeks screaming:

"See? That's why you fold 4,7 preflop!"

Truth be told my superego is wasting his time. My Id has already forgotten about this quads hand 30 seconds later when I pick up suited connectors. For him life is good again. My Id doesn't need chips to have a party. Oh sure he might need some dip, but he certainly doesn't need chips.

1:39 AM. I bump it up with pocket queens and get two callers. No one cares that I haven't raised a hand in 27 minutes. I ask for the floor to see if I can get insurance on one or more aces flopping but they don't want to take my action.

So what happens? Flop comes ace, ace, 6. Too bad for me. You know back when I was playing at Binions in the 1950's, Benny absolutely would have taken my bet on whether or not an ace flopped. And if Benny wasn't around I'm sure Johnny Moss or Nick The Greek would have laid me odds. But not these days. Not with these corporations posing as casinos.

Meanwhile I hope this whole "anytime I have queens there will be an ace on the flop" thing doesn't come off as me whining. If anything I'm bragging. I'm just like the kid in the Sixth Sense except instead of seeing dead people, I make aces flop when I hold queens in cash games. It's my magic trick. I might even go on tour with it if my Red Ant speaking gigs start to dry up.

So me and my queens check the flop. We're out of position. It's also what I'd do if I had ace king here. And both players are hip to my thinking because they check behind me. They've missed as well. After the dealer delivers the turn I bet $25 and they both fold. But this isn't me making any kind of move on them. I have the best hand. These guys aren't folding an ace here.

1:51 AM. Folded around to me on the button. I look down at ace rag. I don't love this spot. I'd prefer something like jack,9 here. That's how I roll. But what are my options? No one has entered the hand so I can't fold my button with an ace. I can't limp either. It's an obvious raise. And even though it'll look like a position raise, I think I probably have the best hand. I raise 5x the blind and they both call.

Flop comes out ace high. Small blind bets, big blind raises. I fold. They get all in. One guy has ace jack. The other a set. They both had me beat. Preflop too.

My inner child wants to throw a tantrum and say something like if I can't win when I raise and flop top pair then what hands am I supposed to win with?

As if I'm supposed to win! That's a good one.

1:58 AM. Three inexperienced players sit down. I'm in a pot with two of them and flop top pair top kicker. Before I can bet, one of these guys has the nerve to lead out from the blinds for 25. Other guy calls. I have position and want to raise but I decide to proceed with caution and just call. I want to see what happens on the turn. The board pairs the middle card and the blind fires another 25. His friend raises it to 50. I was scared before but now I'm terrified. So I lay down my top pair top kicker because one of them has to have trips.


The guy in the blinds goes all in. Other guy folds and shows top pair! Heck of a play by him raising to 50. Got me to fold. The guy in the blinds helps to maintain my sanity by showing me his trips. Thank you sir. I knew there was a reason for me to fold here.

Reviewing the hand- if I could have gotten him to fold on the flop when I had the best hand then I could have won the pot. But if he calls my flop raise then I'd just have lost more money.

If I raised to $75 or $100 would they both have folded? Or would they both have called? I'm not so sure I can trust these guys to fold. Which is why I'm playing with them in the first place.

2:01 AM. I limp with ace suited under the gun. Flop is beautiful. Ace high with two of my suit. Nice. I got the whole top pair thing going so I'm present, legitimate and in the moment. But people are also saying I've got the nut flush draw so clearly I've got a future and a 401K plan. I think we call this the best of both worlds. It almost feels like Omaha.

The adrenaline kicks in. The high that comes from knowing your chips are about to go into the middle. Going all in on the river and winning this hand would get me even. I took a break and stretched my legs. The past 4 hours of frustration were suddenly erased.

2:13 AM. Back at the table I go on a rush. Win with queen jack and king rag on consecutive hands from the blinds. Yes. On some nights, my winning two pots in a row can be considered a rush.

2:15 AM. Our table breaks. Unfortunately.

2:49 AM. 30 minutes at a new table and I've played pretty tight thus far. What can I say? I'm appreciating having chips again. On this hand I flop a clubs draw on an ace, king, jack board. My opponent bets small. The kind of bet that looks scared. I call. Turn is a second ace. He bets again. Still small.

Now despite my chasing a flush, I'm not terrified of the board having paired because I don't think he has ace king or ace jack. If he has an ace then it looks like he's scared of his kicker. I call again.

The river is the lovely and talented 3 of clubs. I hit my flush. He acts first and pauses before he bets. I watch him think. He eventually puts 5 chips out there. Only 25 bucks. Huh. This is somehow completely different than his two previous bets. Those felt weak. This feels like a value bet.

I could swear he's acting like he has the best hand. I'm suddenly nervous. Could he really have hit a bigger flush? Maybe my read was way off thinking he had an ace. Maybe his small bets on the flop and turn were semi-bluffs? He sure looks like he wants the call. My raising him is now out of the question, but of course so is folding. So I do what I have to do and call his value bet. And he turns over...

Ace 3 for the boat.

3:01 AM. Guy raises preflop in early position and announces he's has pocket kings. I call from the button with ace king and no longer trust his words after he checks a rag flop. He bets the turn and I call. Then comes his Oscar moment. After an ace comes out on the river, he grimaces and then bets. I call. We chop. Yes he had ace king too.

Damn it Robert. I told you to bet the flop!

But you don't listen.

3:04 AM. Highly entertaining hand. A good example of the kind of play you see in Vegas during the WSOP. Solid player raises from the button and gets 2 callers. Solid player bets 20 on ace high flop and both players call.

This causes the solid player to make faces. If this guy's face could talk it might say something like "I don't understand what the two of you could possibly be calling me with here because I have ace king!"

The two callers check the turn and the solid player makes another confused face and then checks behind them. I guess he assumes that someone must have two pair. The river comes and puts 3 spades out there.

One of the callers bets out 100 from the blinds. The second caller calls! Solid player freaks out. Can't figure out what to do here with his ace king. He's still got top pair top kicker but like I said, there are 3 spades out there.

Solid player asks out loud "You both got spades?"

After a few moments of silence the solid player folds.

But shows us all his ace king because he's a solid player.

Player who bet the $100 on the river shows ace 3. He has a pair of aces, 3 kicker.

Second player who called the $100 shows ace king and takes down the pot.

It's not always like this in the Vegas poker rooms.

But sometimes during the month of June it is.

3:14 AM. Under the gun I look down at the ace of spades. I decide that I don't need to see the second card. It'll only discourage me. I limp in. If it gets raised I can look and see what I've got.

It doesn't get raised behind me and the flop is king, 9, 2 with two of a suit. I check and an active player bets 10. Second guy who may be on tilt calls. I look down at my other card and see it's a king. I call too. I'd raise against some players but against these guys I don't wanna lose my customers. I want them to fire again on the turn. Then I can raise.

Turn comes. It's a harmless rag in that it doesn't pair the board but it does set up double flush draws. So the future might be dangerous but for the moment I'm still alright. The same active player bets, this time $20. Second player pushes all in for less than $100. I think I'm ahead of him so I reraise all in behind him. It's the first player in the hand who I'm slightly concerned about. Since we all limped in preflop he could have king,9.

He doesn't insta-call. That's good news.

He asks for a count of my chips. That's bad news.

He makes the call. Uh oh. I could be in some trouble.

Dealer turns over an unmemorable river and no one wants to show their cards. So I do. Lets win or go home. Here's my ace king.

Active guy to my left looks disgusted and shakes his head. Then shows us his king jack.

Second player shows king jack as well. Wow. I somehow win the pot.

I didn't outplay anyone. All I did was sit at a table and play with people who have even lower standards than I do for putting in their chips. That's what it often comes down to. Playing with people who make poorer decisions than you do.

My play was real borderline here, shoving with top pair top kicker against two opponents. That's how people lose their stacks each and every day. On this hand, against these players, it worked. I guess times are hard you get people calling all ins with top pair, jack kicker.

If that's not proof of a recession I don't know what is.


KajaPoker said...

this is one of the best posts yet. pure joy. pad your 401K with all those winnings.

one thing I love telling people (in the chat box cause i barely play live) after they reveal what they folded that would have won them the hand is "don't be results oriented". you should try that on your table donkeys. it generates immediate tilt. guaranteed.

Lucypher said...

The surest way to make money in poker is to find players that play worse and then play with them as much as possible. Keep up the good work.

jusdealem said...

3:14 AM. Under the gun I look down at the ace of spades. I decide that I don't need to see the second card. It'll only discourage me.

Love it. Good stuff, Robert. :)