Sunday, October 30, 2011

I'm an Asshole??? Really?

Although it says in the “about me” section of this blog that I love playing low limit poker and I love Vegas, this story involves neither subject directly.  In fact it involves playing No Limit poker right here in the Southern California area.  Lately I have been expanding my poker repertoire to include both No Limit tournaments and No Limit cash games.  And from both personal observation and things I’ve heard online, mostly at the great website,, I thought that the relatively low buy-in No Limit games at the local card rooms here might be profitable.

So yesterday I found myself at the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, CA.  After busting out of the nooner forty buck tournament fairly quickly (totally card dead), I looked over at one of the $1/$3 games and after debating with myself for some time, decided to give it a try.  I’ve already played in what passes for a $1/$2 No Limit game at these local clubs.  They limit the buy in to $40, both minimum and maximum (except at The Bike, where you can buy in for all of $60 if you’re feeling particularly adventurous).  These games actually play “smaller” than the 2/4 Limit games I play in Vegas.  And between the rake and the fact that no one has any real money on the table, you can’t possibly make any money at this level.  Even though the players at these games are truly donkeys (i.e., really bad players) it doesn’t matter, you can’t possible win any money, even if you’re the best player at the table, which it is almost impossible not to be.    

So I was hoping at the slightly bigger game, the players would still be weak but there might be enough money out there to make it worthwhile playing.  They actually call the game “$80/$120” because the minimum buy-in is $80 and the maximum is $120.  So even though the blinds are one and three dollars, as opposed to one and two dollars at the typical 1/2 No Limit game in Vegas, it still plays smaller than those Vegas games where the minimum buy-in is typically $100 (though sometimes less) and the maximum buy-in is usually $200 or $300.  And players almost always buy-in for the maximum, not the minimum.  Now here at The Bike, I saw that most people bought in for the minimum, as did I.

The table I was sent to was wild and crazy, to say the least.  Never at any of the LA poker clubs have I played at a table that so much reminded me of a Vegas poker game….but like one at LC1 or LC2, not BSC or any strip room.  Everyone seemed to know everyone, and it seemed like they were all friends.  Whether they knew each other from regularly playing together (as at LC1 and LC2) or had just met at the table hours before I arrived, I could not tell.  But they were all having a good time joking around, teasing each other, and playing “what the hell” poker. 

“What the hell” poker is a phrase I just made up, although I would be surprised if it doesn’t already exist—or if there isn’t some other existing term for the same thing.  “What the hell” poker means you raise with absolute crap or without even looking at cards, you call or re-raise with the same thing….or even worse. You call if you have virtually no chance of making a winning a hand.  If you have half a chance, you make an outrageously big bet, not because you will bluff anyone out, but because it just seems like the thing to do and if you lose, you shrug and say, “What the hell.”

So the good folks at this table were raising pre-flop with very weak hands, and sometimes without even looking at their hands first.  Half of the table was frequently straddling and often the live straddle was raised blindly before any cards were dealt!  And the raises were usually quite large.  At a 1/3 game, you would expect the average pre-flop raise to be between $10 and $15.  Here anything less than $20 was unusual; $25, $30 and $40 was quite common.  And some of those big raises definitely came from folks who hadn’t looked at their cards.

As soon as I figured out what was going on, I knew I had a good chance to take home some cash. I’ve played enough poker to know that this is a prime opportunity for me.  All I had to do was play extremely tight (which comes naturally to me anyway), be extremely patient and just throw away hand after hand until a really premium hand was finally dealt to me.  When I had the overwhelming advantage, someone, or multiple someones, would be only too happy to part with their chips.  Calling or raising with garbage was what they were there to do.  All I needed was a good hand or two. 

Of course, maniacs like these folks do get good cards on occasion, and also sometimes make nearly impossible draws.  So I wasn’t too upset when I lost my first $80 buy-in.  I re-bought and was able to get both buy-ins back and then some.  Plus the banter at the table was highly entertaining.  It was all I could do to concentrate on the play, but it wasn’t hard to figure out who the maniacs were and who the players were who were actually trying to play decent poker (yeah, there were actually a few of us there, and we stood out like sore thumbs).

Now there was this one particular guy at the table, let’s call him Young Guy because I have no idea what the hell his name was.   He was, I believe, the youngest person at the table and one of the craziest ones, but probably not the absolute craziest.  As this story unfolds, he had just gotten a very attractive young woman to join him at the table.  She had come from another game of the same level.  She had an accent which I guessed was Russian and later I found out I was right.  She wore a short, fairly low cut dress and that made me think she might be going for the “Jennifer Tilly Effect.”  (That’s when an attractive woman with a nice body shows a lot of skin at the poker table in order to distract the male players with cleavage.)  Now, she wasn’t as well-endowed as Jennifer Tilly is (few woman are) but she certainly had enough going on to get a man’s attention, to say the least.  And since she was so much more attractive than pretty much any female I’d ever seen inside The Bike, she could have been wearing a burlap sack and been a distraction to any straight male. 

Young Guy was flirting with the Russian girl, who was actually a serious player trying to play quality poker.  She joked that Young Guy was her ex-husband and was devastated that he failed at their marriage,  She claimed she had re-married and was very happy with her current husband, which made Young Guy upset and jealous.  I started to take this seriously at first but as I kept overhearing more and more conversation it became seriously that although Russian Girl was indeed married, she had never been married to Young Guy; I gathered that they had met at The Bike previously, possibly more than once, but that was the extent of their relationship. 

In the midst of this frivolity, the Big Blind came to me and I looked down to see pocket Jacks in my hand.  I knew this was possibly the chance I had been looking for but I had to be careful because Jacks are so tricky.  I figured I had to make a big move pre-flop to have my best chance of winning the pot.  As I was trying to figure out how much to bet when it was my turn, Young Guy, in early position, opened the pot with a $25 raise.  Sadly, I had not noticed whether or not he had even looked at his cards; based on his play previously he could have easily made that bet without having looked.  If he had looked, I thought the chances were good he had a much inferior hand to my pair of Jacks.  I was sure I was ahead.  But I had kind of gotten the impression he might have been starting to clean up his game, cut down on the wild moves, in order to not piss off the Russian Girl who was new to our game.  I couldn’t dismiss the possibility he had something good; even a total maniac is dealt Aces on occasion, but I had a strong feeling I had the best hand.

Everyone folded to me.  I knew I had only two possible moves.  I could either fold the first decent hand I’d been dealt in a long time, or I could raise.  Calling would get me nothing, I’d have to fold on the flop if I didn’t hit my set of Jacks and he made a big bet, which I assumed he would whether the flop hit him or not. 

So I raised.  I had to raise at least to $50 (rules of the game); instead I made it $60 to make him really think.  I thought there was a chance he’d fold….if he’d been paying attention (doubtful), he would have known I’d played almost no hands until then and that I must have something.  If he raised blind or with a weak holding, maybe he’d just lay it down.  But since he was playing “What the hell” poker up until then, that seemed like a long shot.  I expected a call and I expected that I was ahead by a lot and that I would have to sweat out him possibly sucking out on me.

What I didn’t expect was that the guy would be so upset with my raise.  He and all his buddies at the table were making all kinds of stupid, silly, ridiculously raises all day and he was fine with it.  Now a player who’d only played a few hands comes along and raises for maybe the second time of day (the first raise was a modest $12 raise when I had AK) and he is mad at me?  WTF?

He said, “No, you were supposed to call.”  I said nothing of course.  He very reluctantly called and then stood up from the table.  “I don’t want to look.”  He made it pretty clear he wasn’t going to bet any more on the further rounds.  I had put more than half my chips into the pot pre-flop, he had me covered, and so since I am naturally I low limit player, I wasn’t uncomfortable checking it down to the river.  I suppose I would have bet if I’d hit my set, but I didn’t.

I should have bet anyway, The highest card on the flop was a 10 and there was no flush out there.  A straight was possible but if he had looked at his hand I had to doubt even a maniac like him would have raised to $25 with a low enough holding to have made a straight draw out of this board.  The last two cards were also low and didn’t pair the board or put out three to a flush.  Only a baby straight, or a flukey two pair could beat me, I thought.  And since I still wasn’t sure he’d ever looked at his cards, I couldn’t dismiss the possibility he lucked into some kind of miracle suck out. 

But basically, considering he could have been playing anything and have actually hit something, I was happy with getting his $60 if I could, and not risking the rest of my funds (the only bet I could have made, with the pot already at $120, was to go all in).  After we both checked the river, I showed my pocket Jacks.  He didn’t show, but as he mucked his cards he said, “I had Ace King suited.  You were supposed to call.  I was looking for a jackpot.  We could have had a jackpot hand.”  As I started stacking my chips, I heard him say, if not to me, surely about me, “Asshole.”

Wow.  I’m an asshole?   He’s been playing like an asshole all day, I make one move (the right one, as it turned out) and I’m the asshole?  Now, by “jackpot hand” he meant that if he hit a Royal Flush with his AK suited (assuming he even had that) and someone lost with Aces full of 10’s or better, there would have been a jackpot for the two players (and, I think, everyone at the table) worth tens of thousands of dollars.   But then I would ask, “If you were thinking about a jackpot, why make such a big bet in the first place?  He got everyone but me out of the hand, at a normal table someone with a low pocket pair (that could have made quads) would likely fold to his $25 pre-flop bet.  I wasn’t playing for some incredibly long-shot jackpot; I was trying to win a damn pot.

Anyway, I said nothing to him.  No point.  The fact that this clown thinks I’m asshole will not cost me one second of sleep.  Ever.  But it made the $60 bucks I took off him even sweeter than it  would have been anyway!

BTW, in retrospect, I don’t think I missed any bets.  If he was serious that he was playing his AK suited for a jackpot, when he saw the flop, he would have been very unlikely to have called my all-in.  Although it’s possible he might have down so for spite, because he was pissed at me.  In this case it would have been a case of cutting off his nose to spite his face. 

Oh well.  That table broke and I moved to a game where there were mostly serious players and the game got a lot tougher.  I went up and down and still left the game a slight winner.  Not bad for an “asshole."


So I posted a shorter version of this story on that great website, that I mentioned at the beginning of this post. You can see the thread here. It was the unanimous opinion of all the respondents there what the Young Guy was saying about playing for a jackpot was total bull. I was right; you don't play that way if you have a jackpot in mind. It also turns out that I played the hand wrong pretty much the whole way! I knew I played incorrectly after the flop, but I should have shoved all-in before the flop instead of just betting sixty bucks. A good learning experience for me and if you are at all interested in poker, you should check out the comments I got on the thread, very good stuff.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Straight Flush and Flopped Quads

This happened a few days ago, Thursday night, to be exact.  It was my last night in town, the ninth night of the trip.  Although I’d had a lot of fun on this visit to Vegas, and had gotten many great stories, most of which will eventually appear in this blog, it had been a particularly bad trip in one sense.  My luck at the poker table had been quite bad.  Really this was probably the worst results I’ve had in Vegas since I switched over to playing mostly poker a few years ago.  I lost and lost and lost, with very few winning sessions to contrast with the many losing ones.  The winning sessions were all modest, and I can’t say the same for most of the losing ones.  My luck was just awful.

Just to give one example, two days earlier I walked into BSC and helped open a 2/4 game in the late afternoon.  I played less than an hour and dropped $75.  I play tight—I don’t play a lot of hands.  If I get bad cards I never force the issue, I throw them away without investing a penny into the pot.  So it is really hard to lose money that fast the way I play.  And I don’t recall getting an unusual percentage of good starting cards and then getting beat a lot at the showdown.  It seemed like I never made it to the river or even the turn, and hardly ever even to the flop!  I don’t know how I could have lost money so fast the way I play, but I did.  I guess it was partially due to the fact that I couldn’t win a single pot the whole time. 

My luck didn’t improve much the rest of the night or the next day.  And then it got even worse on Thursday, the last day of my trip.  I started out downtown, playing in a tournament.  I was totally, totally card dead.  I dragged not a single pot.  I got only one hand to play, pocket Kings early.  When no Ace fell on the flop, I bet out (I had raised pre-flop) and got one caller.  When I bet out on the turn as well, I got raised.  The player hadn’t played a hand to that point, I had to assume he had two pair or a set.  I decided not to risk any more chips at that point, probably a mistake.  I never got another hand to play, couldn’t hit anything on my blinds, and eventually went all in with Ace-9 clubs against a lady who had pocket queens.  I turned a flush draw but it didn’t come.  And I was out of the tournament without winning a single pot.

So I headed over to BSC for my last session of this trip.  I figured I was due to finally get some cards.  For a awhile, it looked like I figured wrong.  Once again, I was doing just terribly.  I lost and lost and lost.  I managed to win a few small pots here and there, but I had to rebuy chips once, twice, three times.  In 2/4, I start with a $100.  If I get below $50, I buy in for another $40.  So when I say bought in three times, I now had put $220 cash on the table.  And I was still losing.  After that third re-buy, I started getting close to the $50 mark in remaining chips, and I started thinking about whether or not I was going to rebuy a fourth time, something I’d never done before, or call it a real early night on my last night in town.  It was now only a bit past 9:00 PM….I usually play into well past midnight.  I was actually considering not rebuying but playing short stacked something I don’t believe in doing in a limit game.  I hated to do that and risk finally having a monster hand and not having enough chips in front of me to get full value for it.  But I was actually contemplating that.  My luck was so bad on the trip overall, and on this day in particular, it was hard to justify putting any more money at risk.

I won a small pot or two and managed to keep my chip count barely above 50 so I never got to the point of having to make that decision.  Then George came to the table to deal. I thought to myself, George really owes me for that bad beat he dealt me a few months ago, but I know it doesn’t work that way. For awhile he didn’t give me any cards to play so I kept my head above water.  Midway through his down I was dealt 10-9 spades in early position.  That’s a hand I’ll play in later position, but in early position I often fold it.  Depending on which low limit poker book you read, you could make a case either way. Considering how bad my luck had been for such a long time, I had no business playing that hand here.  I don’t actually remember any conscious decision to play it, but somehow I found myself reaching for two dollar chips and calling.

There were about 4-5 to see the flop, which I liked.  I liked it a whole lot.  It was Jack & 8 of spades, and the 7 of diamonds.  So I had flopped a straight, the nut straight at the moment.  I also flopped a flush draw and an open ended straight flush draw.  Yeah, you could say I liked the flopped.

But there’s no way you should slow-play a straight, too many cards out there can make draws that could beat you.  Another spade could make my flush runner up to someone play Ace-rag of spades.  Two more spades could make my flush almost definitely worthless.  The board pairing could put a full house in play. 

So, first to act, I bet out.  I got a couple of callers.  The turn card was a low red card, a blank.  I bet again and got the same two callers.  Now I was looking at the 7 of diamonds on the board and thinking a 7 of spades would be the perfect card for the river.  Not only would it give me the straight flush I so desperately wanted, it might possibly give someone a full house and they’d be willing to re-raise me back and forth any number of times.    But instead of that card, the Queen of spades came instead.  Yeah, I did indeed make my straight flush.  And since that put three spades on the board, I had to hope that maybe someone had made the nut flush and would still want to bet a lot on the river.

Having bet every street, I couldn’t take a chance on not betting here and going for the check-raise.  The third spade could have scared off betters just as easily as it could have encouraged them.  Since no one had shown enough strength to raise to that point.  I had to bet and hope for callers.  I got two, but no raisers.  Ok, that’s still not bad.

They called my bet so I had to show first, which I was only too glad to do.  George said, “How pretty is it?” as he is wont to do.  I said, “Oh it’s very pretty” and turned over my cards, revealing my Queen high straight flush.  George, who’s dealt to a million times, said, “Yeah….I had a feeling.”  The other guys didn’t show their cards, I’m sure one of them had some kind of flush.  I dragged in a nice pot—not huge, but definitely my biggest of the night.

I told George how bad my luck had been up to that point.  And I said that now I could no longer give him a hard time for the four Queens he’d given that lady when I flopped a set of 8’s a few months ago. He laughed and said, “We’ll see how long that lasts!” Then I mentioned that this was only the third straight flush I’d ever had since I started playing poker six years ago.  The first came just a year ago at around the same time of year.  I said that I figured I had probably pretty much used up my luck for the night with that hand.  George said you never know.  Then I recalled the story of the time at another big strip casino I saw a lady in a 4/8 game get a straight flush and quads in back to back hands.  I didn’t remember which was first but it doesn’t matter….that’s the time that you know it’s your night.

I think George may have pushed me one more pot before he was finished.  I wasn’t anywhere close to being even, but at least I had some working capital and figured I could now likely last to my customary finishing time without having to worry about buying more chips or running short.  Jack was the next dealer, one of my best poker dealing buddies.  I of course had to tell Jack about the straight flush, and of course he asked if I got paid off for it, and I said yes, there were two callers on the river.  Nice, he said.

We chatted about other stuff and suddenly in the big blind I looked down at pocket Jacks.  Now pocket Jacks is a tricky hand… sure looks pretty but it is very vulnerable to getting beat.  Once a Queen .King or Ace hits, you’re probably behind.  So if you are in early position, it’s a good idea to raise with them to get people playing Ace or King-rag to fold, but in late position or in the blinds, there’s really no point in doing that because no one will fold once they’ve put in the initial bet.  And in the big blind like I was, you are in bad position the rest of the hand, I see no point at all in raising there. No one else raised either and again, about 4-5 callers. 

Now, if I liked the flop in the previous hand I detailed, I absolutely loved this flop.  In fact, if I could, I’d marry this flop.  I don’t recall what the card in the middle was, it didn’t matter.  On either side of it were two Jacks.  I had flopped quad Jacks!  Awesome.

And I had just told the story of the lady who had gotten a straight flush and quads in back-to-back hands.  This was quite up to that standard, but having those hands with back-to-back dealers was pretty damn good, to say the least.

This one was trickier to play.  Once I saw the flop, I knew the pot would be mine.  Now the only question is how to maximize my winnings.  With a high pair on the flop, you frequently don’t see a lot of action.  In fact, no one betting a flop like that is very common.   Unless you have a Jack, you’re afraid to bet, and if you do have a Jack, you don’t want to scare anyone off (although that’s dangerous, especially if the pair is higher than Jacks).  I figured if in first position I had bet there, I might not get any callers and I’d waste a monster hand.  So I checked, hoping someone would bet.  If no one did, I’d have to reevaluate on the turn card whether to bet then.

To my good fortune, someone in late position made my bet for me.  To my even better fortune, the guy on the button raised.  I couldn’t hope for a better result.  I acted like I was thinking about whether to fold or call (or at least, I tried to act like that) and gladly just called two bets.  The original better called.  We were down to three players.

The turn card was a club of some kind.  It was then I noticed that the non-Jack on the flop was also a club, as was one of the Jacks out there.  So there were now three clubs on the board, very good for me.  Surely someone with a flush wouldn’t go away on the river, and would pay me off.  Having seen a bet and a raise on the flop, I gladly checked the turn.  The flop-better checked this time, assuming the flop-raiser would bet.  He did.  Too early for a check raise I thought, wait for the river.  And I didn’t want to lose the guy who checked, he might fold if I checked raised there.  So I just called.  The other guy called too.

The last card was another club, which probably hurt me.  In my dream scenario, the guy who raised on the flop had a flush draw then, was raising for a free card, and made his flush on the turn.  The other guy had one club, the Ace, and had the flop-raiser beaten and would want to bet too, or go for a check-raise himself.

Hoping for that result, I checked again.  Surely one of these two guys would give me a chance to raise, if not both.  But alas, no.  The first guy checked and the last guy just showed his 7-5 clubs for a baby flush.  The fourth club on the board scared him off betting, indeed fearing one of us had the Ace or even the King of clubs.

So I was disappointed I didn’t get any more money on the river.  I just said, “Oh, you didn’t bet this time?  Darn.” And then flipped over my pocket Jacks.  Still, I got a fairly big pot and a lot of action for such a monster hand.  I dunno what the other guy had, he may very well have had the Ace of clubs and was going for a check-raise himself, he never showed.  Jack of course remembered that not 10 minutes ago I had told him about my straight flush, so he commented on my luck indeed turning around.

In fact it did.  I got nothing like those two hands the rest of the night, but suddenly I was taking down pots with some frequency again.  And making straights like you wouldn’t believe.  It seemed like every time I got Queen/Jack I made a straight with it.  Suddenly the stack of chips in front or me was growing, and before the night was over I not only caught up but I got slightly ahead for the night.  I left at the usual time and ended up twenty bucks ahead.  Not great, but considering at one point I was down almost $150 it was a heck of a nice comeback.

But I was just due.  My luck had been so bad the whole trip, and especially that night up until the straight flush, I was just due to finally get some cards and make some hands.  Luck is streaky, and this was just a extreme example.  I went from famine to feast in a very short time.

Since my luck had finally changed, maybe I should have extended my trip and tried to play out my rush.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Why I Seldom Play Tournaments

This is hot off the presses, this tale of woe just happened today as I write and post this.

First time ever I played at Hollywood Park Casino.  I’d been there once before and didn’t like the vibe, but today I felt like playing in a tournament and the $40 noon tournament they have at The Bike that I would have preferred, is cancelled for awhile due to some other special tournament event going on there.

So I gave the 11:30 AM “deepstack” tournament at HPC a try.  For $70 you get $4,000 in chips, with alternating 20 & 25 minutes levels (yeah, weird).  I figured I could get some play for my money.  I figured wrong.

During the very first level ($25/$50) I had already lost some chips by being too timid.  A couple of times I had pretty good hands but thought the raises I needed to call (or re-raise) were too big to risk.  So late in that level, I was under the gun (immediately to the left of the Big Blind) and saw pocket deuces.  At that low blind level, I figured it was worth $50 to limp in and try to get a set, which could get me some chips.

I limped.  A few others called.  A guy who had been the most aggressive player thus far raised to $200.  A couple of others called his raise and I figured at least one or two of the other limpers would likely call.  So when it came back to me I felt I could afford to call.  No deuce on the flop and I’m done.  If I hit my set, I could really help my chip stack with a nice pot.

Sure enough, I get my set.  In addition to my deuce, the flop had Jack and 10 of Diamonds, which was scary.  I bet $450.  In hindsight, probably too low, but in this case I don’t think it mattered.  I would have been happy to have seen no callers—I would have gotten a decent amount of chips.  Everyone folded to the raiser, who raised to $1,000.  It folded back to me. 

I didn’t figure him for a bigger set than mine.  My thought was that if he had pocket 10’s or Jacks, he would have made a bigger pre-flop raise.  So I put him on a medium pocket pair or a pair of Jacks or 10’s, or maybe a pair of each.  Maybe he had a straight or flush draw but that was a pretty big raise for just a draw. 

Still, I couldn’t dismiss the possibility he had the straight or flush draw, and I also couldn’t ignore the chance he had Jacks and 10’s and could fill up with a bigger boat than mine would then be.  So I desperately wanted this guy to go away.  He had me covered but I didn’t think he’d risk being crippled at this early stage.  And he had to have noticed that I hadn’t played many hands at that point.  It wasn’t like I had the image of a wild player, or a guy who would risk all his chips on a bluff at this point in the tournament.

So although before the start of this tournament, I would have told you that there is no way I would ever go all in during the first level of a tournament, I did exactly that.  I wasn’t going to lose another pot by being a wus.  I was pretty sure the guy would fold and I’d get some chips. 

But that’s not what happened.  He thought for awhile and then called.  I gulped and we flipped over our cards.  I liked what I saw—he didn’t.  He had an Ace (diamonds) and a Jack (hearts).  Top pair, top kicker.  I didn’t like the fact that the Ace was a diamond—he could go runner and runner and beat my set with the nut flush, but I liked everything else.  I thought I was in pretty good shape.

The turn was a black 10, filling me up.  I no longer had to worry about a straight or a flush (any non diamond would have killed the flush chance).  I was mentally counting my chips and then the river card showed up.  It was the other black 10.

So now I no longer had deuces full of 10’s.  I had 10’s full of deuces.  Unfortunately the trips on the board gave my opponent 10’s full of Jacks, making my boat totally worthless.  I meekly uttered “Nice hand” as I got up from the table.  “Lucky river” he said, somewhat apologetically.  I agreed with him.  “Yeah, very lucky.”

And that ended my tournament experience at Hollywood Park Casino. 


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Four Queens (And They Weren't Mine and I Don't Mean the Hotel)

A few months back I was having a rough night at the 2/4 game (BSC of course).  George was dealing and this one middle aged woman was having a good final night in town.  She was raising way too much pre-flop, but she kept making hands and taking down pots with mediocre to awful starting hands.  At one point she announced that she had to leave to catch a red-eye back home and began stacking up her chips.  No one was going to miss her at the table, I assure you.
George starting dealing as this woman was about to be “Under the Gun” (player immediately to the left of the Big Blind).  She waived off George saying she was out.  George, however, pointed out that she could play this hand for free, and she was still finishing racking her chips.  So he sort of talked her into playing one last hand.  This turned out to be a very fateful hand.
I picked up my cards and saw a pair of 8’s.  The lady playing one last hand had raised, but there were enough callers and potential callers (it had been at least 6 to 7 players to see the flop, even on a raised pot, almost every hand) for me to play a medium pair for two bets.  I knew I could score a big pot if my set hit.  If I miss my set, I fold to the fist bet on the flop.
However, someone raised behind me and the “Red-Eye” woman raised back.  Now it was two more bets to me but no one had folded and the pot was really going to be huge if I hit my set.  I called two more bets and the guy behind me capped it (four raises/five bets is the cap at BSC).  So now I was in for ten bucks and was praying I’d hit my set.
Which I did.  In addition to the 8 on the board, there was a straight draw and a flush draw (but not a straight flush draw) too. I believe the highest card was a 10.  But I made my set.  The woman bet out, and I raised.  The other pre-flop raiser raised too.  Lady raised back.  I figured I had the best hand but I didn’t raise again….I didn’t have to.  The other two got the action capped again at 10 bucks.
The turn card was a Queen and completed a possible flush for someone.  I didn’t like that at all.  So when the woman bet out yet again, I merely called, thinking I might be behind a flush.  The other pre-flop raiser called too, no raising this round.  There were other callers, this was a now a huge pot for a 2/4 game.
The river was another Queen.  The woman bet out.  With my full house I was no longer worried about a flush.  I raised.  The pre-flop raiser just called but the woman raised back.  I raised.  The other guy called and the woman re-raised.  I raised back.  She capped it (other guy kept calling).
Now I was sure at least one person had a flush that I could beat.  It crossed my mind that the woman had raised pre-flop with pocket Queens but I remembered her raising so many times with very poor raising hands I really had dismissed the possibility that she had something really great.  Yes I knew she could have had a better full house than mine, and if it had just been heads up, I would not have kept betting.  But I really felt that with the hands she had been showing (and winning with) my boat was probably good. 
Well, she flipped her cards and she didn’t have a boat.  She had indeed raised pre-flop with pocket Queens and thus took down the pot with quads.  I showed my boat if only to get sympathy.  I forgot the cardinal rule of maniacs…..even maniacs who constantly raise with crap sometimes get good cards. 
I’d lost $44 on that one pot (all but the turn round had been capped) and estimated that the pot she took down was $180…huge for a 2/4 game.  I meekly said, “nice hand” and this bitch didn’t even say thanks.  Worse, when she was done racking her chips (this took a while, dammit) she said to me, “Nice playing with you….thanks for the donation.”  She didn’t have to rub it in.  Nothing worse than a sore winner.
At least I got a lot of mileage out of this tale, repeating it to anyone who would listen for the rest of the trip (and the next one, and the next one…..).  And of course I gave George grief over it.  Naturally, he pointed out that I was already beaten on the turn, the fourth Queen on the river was just gravy.  So I said to him, “That’s true, but you could have just as easily put my fourth 8 on the river instead of her fourth Queen!”  He agreed that this was theoretically possible.  Then I reminded him that the whole hand was the result of his begging this woman to play “one more hand.”  He said he merely suggested it to her, but I maintain that he actually ordered her to play the hand!
Well, it was a bad beat, but at least I have a story I can tease George about every time he deals to me.  I subsequently told him not to ever deal me a pocket pair again just to keep me out of trouble.  Once I told him if he dealt me pocket Aces I’d immediately fold.  “That would be the safe play,” he admitted. 
If you insist on playing poker, it helps to keep a sense of humor.