Sunday, August 26, 2012

"Nice Hand, Sir"

Here’s a few hands from an afternoon session at another “big strip casino” I had a few weeks ago.
Perhaps the most interesting one didn’t involve me.  Two guys had around $150-$200 behind them, something like that.  Pre-flop, there was a raise, a re-raise, a re-raise….well, it actually took the 6th bet before one of them announced “all in.”
Wow, you rarely see that in no limit.  After a four-bet, it’s usually all in, if it takes that long.  So they both showed before the dealer put the flop out.
They both had Aces.
Huh?  How does either one of them not shove a lot earlier than they did?  I mean, really?  I raise with Aces, someone re-raises me…that’s an easy shove when it gets back to me.  You’ve got Aces man, it ain’t gonna get any better than that!  If you’re not prepared to get it all in preflop with Aces heads up, you shouldn’t be playing poker, right?
The guy with the Aces next to me actually laughed and commented that he was, I think, “impressed” that there were six bets before the shove.  Then he said, “I really thought of only calling that last time.
Huh?
What did you put the other guy on?  Super Aces???  Double Secret Probation Aces????
Whatever, I thought it was weird that it took so long for them to both get it all in. The hand itself was uneventful after that.  Neither of them hit a lucky flush and so they got their money back.  I just shook my head in disbelief.
Next hand of note did involve me.  I called a small raise (as did a bunch of others) with 10/9 of hearts.  Nine was the highest card on the flop, giving me top pair.  There were 2 diamonds and no hearts.  I bet $50, which was about the size of the pot.  Only one caller, a guy who had me covered.  Gulp.  How much do I want to risk with top pair, lousy kicker when top pair is only a 9?  I wonder if I should have bet a lot less there? 
A queen (non diamond) on the turn slowed me down and we both checked.  A King (also non-diamond) on the river didn’t seem to be a reason to bet.  But the other guy put out enough money to put me all in if I called.  No way I’m risking my stack with a lousy pair of 9’s, so I folded.  The guy showed his cards.  He had 4/5 diamonds.  He only had a flush draw and missed, but had bluffed me off the hand.  I was pissed, but figured it was good lesson for me.  Hey, that’s poker, you’re supposed to bluff sometime, right?  He outplayed me, pure and simple.  All I could do is tip my hat to him (except I wasn’t wearing one).
Then there was the last hand of the session.  Under the gun guy to my immediate right limped.  I look down at pocket Aces.  I bet $10, a totally reasonable raise for my position and for this table.  It folded back to the limper to my right.  He called for an extra $8.
The flop is 10-5-2 rainbow.  He checked, I bet $15.  He calls.
The turn put a pair of 5’s on the board, he checked again.  I bet $40.  He calls again.  WTF?  There’s not a lot of draws out there.  He couldn’t have a five, could he?  Ace-5 soooted, maybe?
The river is a 4, makes a baby straight possible, but I really couldn’t see that as a strong possibility.  He checked again.  Hmm……I don’t have a lot of chips left. Maybe around $80.  He has me covered.  I figured I may as well throw it into the pot and see if I can make a really nice score (if he calls).  Or, take my leave if he had me beat.
He insta-calls, which was not good news for me.  I show my aces and he turns over…..Jack/5 of clubs.  Yeah, I said Jack/Five.  But it was soooted! 
Seriously, guy, seriously?  You called my preflop raise with Jack/5?  I don’t give a flying fig that it was soooooted.  Jack/5?  OK, now if I had had a bunch of callers to my $10 bet before it got back to him, I could see it.  Pot odds and all.  But with it just being heads up, putting $8 into a $15 pot with that shit?  Shirley, you jest.
And how about calling my flop bet with middle pair—and a lousy pair of fives at that?
I couldn’t help myself.  I knew I was done for this session, so I softly muttered when I saw his hand, “Jack/five, huh?”  I dunno if he heard me, but I’m sure he heard me say this, in my most sarcastic voice possible as I turned away from the table to hit the exit.  “Nice hand, sir.”  If it wasn't the most insincere "nice hand, sir" in the history of poker, it wasn't for lack of trying.
I couldn’t get that hand out of my mind as I left.  I think there might have been steam coming out of my ears.  You see, all I could think of was, this wasn’t supposed to happen now that I’m playing No Limit instead of my old 2/4 limit game.  I mean, all you hear when you play 2/4 is, “You can never bet anyone off a hand.”  And then, “If this was no limit, I could have bet him off that hand.” 
Of course, in 2/4, I raise to $4 there and no one who’s already got two bucks invested is going to fold for another two bucks.  I’d faint if I ever saw that.  But now, he has to put $8 more in there with a terrible hand and only one opponent.  Why the hell would he do that?
So….exactly how much am I supposed to bet to get people to lay down Jack/5 (sooooted) preflop when I have pocket rockets?  Am I supposed to just shove with them every time, to reduce the possibility of a suck out?
Grrr……it still makes me mad to think about it.
But hey, that’s poker, right?  Even No Limit poker, right?  Right?

22 comments:

  1. "But now, he has to put $8 more in there with a terrible hand and only one opponent. Why the hell would he do that?"

    To get exactly the result he got. He is a gambler more than a poker player. His lottery numbers were chosen.

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    1. I hate when that happens.

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    2. To add to Lightning's comment, gamblers often get an even bigger rush when they crack hands of significant strength being played by tighter players. At my home turf casino there are plenty of guys who flick in the $15 or $20 preflop call just because it was a tight player raising.

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    3. Wow, I never thought about that. It seems to me that in poker rooms, tight players get more respect than that, perhaps too much respect than we want! But interesting theory. Thanks.

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    4. Prosk has a point. If the tightest guy at the table raises, I more than likely can put him on a super tight range of hands, and if we are deep enough (at least 100bb)I will call with any 2 playable cards, mainly sooted connectors or even one-gappers. If I hit the flop I stack him, that simple. I know what he has, he has no idea what I have.

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    5. That's a great insight, Stump. I'll have to keep that in mind when I play....both offensively and defensively.

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  2. Wait, you want Jack-5 to fold when you have aces, or would you rather have him make a horrible call?

    Same as on the flop. Do you want him to fold or call as a 4:1 underdog?

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    1. Thanks, Matt. I guess what I want is for him to make those calls and then not hit them.

      Is that too much to ask?

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  3. I see you putting in nearly a full buy-in with just one pair.
    At no point in time did you ever think he could have had you here and saved some money? Maybe a Reluctant river check?
    Maybe a check on the turn before the pot got bloated that way if he did decide to wake up and throw money into the pot by betting into you on the river you could easily call since the pot, at the time, was only $50 or so?

    On the hand with your Top pair of 9 -
    You checked twice and allowed him to bluff you there. Did you have a history with him? It's fairly easy to assign a flush draw into his range because people will call any amount trying to hit it, however the turn and River were also scary for you because if he had a flush draw the K and A are two very probable cards that he is holding to go with his pair/draw/whatever.....

    I don't know how I would have played that, but I'm weak so I probably would have played it very similar.

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    1. I did think of checking the river with Aces, but just decided to play a little "what the hell poker" at that point.

      I think I wouldn't have minded losing so much if he at least had a hand where I could see he was justified in calling.

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    2. Do not think about your opponents stupidity think about your own. Grouchie's points are all dead on and exactly what I was going to say.

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    3. Thanks so much Waffles? I realize that the hands played out a lot differently but basically---With flopping a top pair of 9's (which didn't stay top pair) I should have bet more money, but with the best possible overpair I should have bet less?

      O.K.

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  4. My fellow poker friends and I have a saying...Nice hand...which means Fuck you in english..

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    1. Indeed, flasherman, indeed. Pretty much exactly how I meant it.....Thanks.

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  5. "'Nice hand' is code for 'you're an idiot.'" --Howard Lederer

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    1. Kinda the way I meant it, except Flasherman's version would be more accurate.

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  6. SUPER ACES - nice... :) And see, you have to wear a cap to tip it to someone... ;)

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    1. When I do wear that cap, I always wear it the right way, never flipped around backwards.

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  7. Rob,
    I have been reading your blog for a couple of months (really enjoy it) and just want to say that sh*t happens. I think you played it correctly. Sometimes you just hit a nit and cant do anything about it. Over the course of an evening you would take him, but he won the battle.

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    1. Thanks Anony, for the kind words and the encouragement.

      You're right, if I wasn't interested in leaving soon anyway, I might have resolved to stay and thus tried to get my money back from the guy. But I was planning to leave soon anyway. I understand that suck outs happen, believe me.

      But....it felt kinda good to blog about it and get it off my chest!

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  8. When you play a lot of no limit poker, you will realized, against a loose player with the Jack five type of hand when you have AA or K K, YOU just have to bet higher than you normally would against a regular player. It was a tough decision because you don't. know he is making a move or not.

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    1. Yeah, excellent point, Anony, thanks.

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