Less than a week after my last visit to the Bike took place, (see here), I returned for some more poker. In that last post, I had a fun time because of the group of people I was playing with. This time, I had a fun time and it had nothing to do with the personalities of the people at the table. They were all fine, nothing wrong with any of them. But this time the fun was in the results. This is going to be poker post.
I was on the waiting list to get into the $2-$3 game for awhile, and finally got called to an existing game. I went over there and saw no open seat. Not to worry. The floor person told me that the guy in seat 6 was just about to move to a bigger game. And with good reason. He was sitting behind a mountain of chips. Looked like he had about $700-$800 or so. But a hand had just been dealt, and he had cards in front of him so I was going to have to wait at least one more hand before I could claim my seat in this game. So I watched the hand in progress. It was an interesting one, to say the least.
Seat 3, with a stack of about $150, raised to $15, I think another player called and Seat 6 shoved. He had everyone at the table covered. It folded back to Seat 3 who snapped called. It was heads up on the flop, which included a King and a Queen. Nothing else on the board mattered. Seat 3 turned over the dreaded pocket Kings for a set of Kings. Seat 6 showed King-Queen off suit for top two.
As the guy in Seat 6 counted off the bet he had to pay off, someone else muttered, “This is an action table.” Ya think? Guy three-bet shoved with King-Queen offsuit? Of course, he was leaving the table, to be replaced by me, the famous nit. And you can’t blame Seat 3 calling the shove with the dreaded hand. I assume he had seen enough of the big stack’s play to know his three- bet range was pretty wide.
I took over Seat 6. At the Bike, at this level of game, you have to post to come in, so I decided to wait a few hands until I was the Big Blind. Every hand I saw before I started playing was raised preflop. And I never saw a showdown. This was going to be interesting.
Finally coming in on the Big Blind, I looked down at King-deuce off. As I explained in this post, that hand will forever be known to me as “a duck and a schmuck.” I didn’t expect to have to play this hand, I was sure someone would raise me off it. But to my surprise, no one raised—for the first time since I had come to the table—and I got to see the flop. Perhaps an even bigger surprise was that eight of us—yes eight, and the table is nine-handed—saw the flop. Really hard to believe one of the late position players didn’t put in a raise.
The flop was King-2-5, rainbow. The small blind bet $17. I made it $50. It folded back to the small blind, who just called. The turn was a 9 and had put all four suits on the board. And the small blind immediately moved all-in. He had around $110-$115 left.
That put me in an interesting situation. Outside of the general action of the table, which was clearly aggressive, I had no specific read on this guy. He hadn’t won any of the pots I saw before I came in. There was no reason to think that he might be shoving light there, other than the Bike is known for super-aggressive play and this was definitely an action table. But usually there’s always a couple of pretty tight players at this game. Maybe he was one of those.
There were no draws. He might have hit a lucky two pair (perhaps he had King-9 and the turn card hit him?). Or perhaps more likely, a set. I would prefer not to have to make a decision like this on my very first hand, but the deck had other ideas. If I was beat, my session would be getting off to a very demoralizing start. But if I was good, it would be a really nice beginning.
I didn’t think very long. “Call.” I said. If he was even close to the average player at the Bike, my two pair had a good chance of being good. I don’t remember the river card, but I turned over my King-deuce and he turned over King-8. There was no 8 on the board. My duck and a schmuck was good. He shoved on the turn with top pair, crappy kicker. Welcome to the Bike.
Nice start. I had played one hand and was up over $180. So I immediately racked up and booked the win.
Just kidding. As I was stacking my chips, I remembered all the things I routinely hear at a poker table when someone wins their very first hand. Sometimes it’s, “You can’t win ‘em all if you don’t win the first one.” Other times people say it’s a bad omen to win the first hand. Really? I’ll take it every time.
Just a few hands later I had pocket 5’s in middle position. Seat 3 raised to $15 and one player called in front of me. This was the Bike I was used to. I called, as did one other. Again, the flop was good to me. I flopped bottom set, two spades. The highest card was a King. Preflop raiser bet $15 and the next player called. The $15 bet seemed way too small. With the flush draw out there, I made it $75. It folded back to Seat 3, who took a long time to decide, but finally folded. So did the player behind him. I took the pot.
It was again just a few hands later when I looked down at two red Queens. I was in early position and there was a $6 straddle (there were a fair amount of straddles at this game). First in, I made it $18. Three players called. Yeah, it was that kind of table.
I didn’t get the Queen I wanted but there were no higher cards either. It was 10-high with two clubs. I put out $50. No one called and my $300 buy-in had grown to over $600 in less than 15 minutes. Also, at this moment, I think my table image was that of an aggro, if not a maniac. A bit strange for me. But I fit right in for this table. .
Of course, my run of good cards couldn’t last forever. I went card dead and looked for some spots. There was going to be no way to bluff anyone at this table off a hand. I figured I’d just open my calling range, especially in late position, and call raises with hands I wouldn’t ordinarily play. Anything decent, semi-decent, or barely decent would be considered. But for a long time my best hands were things like 9-4 or Jack-2, so I folded a lot.
I played enough hands to dip below $600 a bit. Then I had King-9 of hearts on the button. It limped to me. I considered raising but decided to just limp. Only 5 of us saw the flop, which was low for this table when it wasn’t raised. Or even if it was. The flop was good, a King and two hearts. It folded to me and I bet $10. Since no one had bet before I thought I might take it down there, but no, two players called. A blank hit the turn and I checked behind everyone else. Then an Ace on the river kept me from betting the river (no one else did). My King was good.
A bit later I had Ace-King offsuit, the only time all day I had this hand. The Ace was black and the King was a diamond. Only three called my raise to $12. The flop had two 10’s and 2 diamonds, but no Ace or King. Two players called my $25 c-bet. The turn was a Queen of diamonds. I checked and so did everyone else. The river was a low diamond, giving me the second nut flush. I bet $100 and no one called.
I never saw pocket Kings myself, but I did finally get a couple of Aces. I raised to $12 and three called. The flop was low, two diamonds. I did have the Ace of diamonds. I bet $30 and only one player called. The board paired deuces and I checked. The other player bet $40 and I called. Meaningless low card on the river and I checked it. The other player checked behind me and showed 10-8 for one pair, 8’s. So he called my preflop raise with 10-8 offsuit. Thank you, sir!
This put me up over $400.
I can’t do this entire post without mentioning one hand I didn’t win. So a bit later I had King-Queen off suit and limped in late position. Six of us saw the flop, which was King high, two spades. My King was a spade. It checked to me and I bet $15, two players called. The turn was a blank and we all checked. Ace of spades on the river. I was one spade short of the nut flush. This time, a player bet, the next guy raised, so I didn’t think my Kings were any good and I folded. I was right. The first guy shoved, the other guy called. The first guy had flopped a set of 4’s. Really bad decision slow playing that with two spades on the board. The other guy had 9-3 of spades for the flush.
The right play for me there was to raise preflop. Of course, I am quite sure if I had, neither of those two players would have folded (especially the guy with pocket 4’s) but that still would have been the right play. It occurred to me that I might be thinking a little too much about how a $400 win was going to feel to play right.
I played a bit more, but didn’t get anything close to a playable hand. So, with just a buck or two under $700 in front of me, I decided to call it a day. The $400 I won was my best cash session at the Bike to date, and I was happy to take it.