Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Calling Time on the Minister

When I told the story about the Stoner Guy who took forever to make  decision and couldn’t remember whether three-of-a-kind beat a straight (see here), I made a few cryptic comments that I promised would be explained later.  Now is later.

The hand I described in that prior post happened almost immediately after I had gotten to the table.  After that hand, Stoner Guy kept taking forever to make a decision, and continued to have his head buried in his celphone whenever he wasn’t in a hand.

Suddenly, in a rather slow, deliberate fashion, he mentioned he was in the process of moving to Vegas (oh joy!) and wanted to know what neighborhoods he should be looking at for an apartment.  The dealer gave me some suggestions (this was the next dealer after the hand I described earlier).  After the dealer was done giving some suggestions, he went back to his phone.  What he was doing on it then was researching apartments for rent.

The reason I know that is he asked me for help.  He asked if I knew how to make a screen capture from his phone.  I asked what kind of phone he had.  He had the newer version of the same phone I have, so I assumed it would be the same.  He gave me his phone and I tried what I thought would work, and indeed it did.  I noticed that the screen he wanted a capture of had a list of apartments for rent.

I handed him back the phone and we kept playing.  And, a little while later, while we were both in the middle of the hand, Stoner Guy asked if I could show him how I made that screen capture.  I said I would tell him when we weren’t both in a hand.

Now, while that hand was going on, seat 1, next to the dealer opened up. I was sitting in seat 7.  Did I mention this was a Saturday night, meaning the nightclub was operating?  In other words, attractive young girls wearing dresses that covered considerably less than half their bodies were about to start parading by the poker room.  I was sitting at table near the coming parade, but facing the wrong way.  Seat 1 would be facing the right way.  So moving to Seat 1 would have been a two-fer.  1) Getting away from Stoner Guy and 2) Getting a much better view.

When the hand was over, before attempting to move, I tried to get Stoner Guy’s attention so I could show him how to make a screen capture.  I should have just moved, but that would have been rude.  Why I felt I owed this clown any courtesy, I dunno.  Anyway, I couldn’t get this guy’s attention, and I was about to give up and was just about to ask the dealer if I could take the open seat when I saw someone take it.

Now, there was probably still time for me to ask for the seat, but the new player was my pal Abe.  Damn, I didn’t want to take the seat right from out under him.  I had seen him earlier, he was playing at another table and apparently had asked for a table change.  If I hadn’t been distracted by the Stoner Guy, I would have already been settled in to that seat before Abe had even made it over there. 

This is actually critical to the big hand of the night, which I’ll get to momentarily.  Before that, I limped in with Queen-Jack of spades (as explained previously, I’m playing more suited cards, trying to get a flush for the cash drawing).  Four of us saw the flop.  It was Jack high, one club (no spades).  The club is important.  I bet $8, only the guy on my immediate left (not the Stoner Guy, he was on my right) called.  The turn card was the Jack of clubs.  I bet $20, he called.  The river was a third club.  Damn, did he hit a back-door flush?

He bet $31 after I checked and I made the crying call.  He turned over Ace-King of clubs.


So only two questions, really.  Who doesn’t raise preflop with Ace-King suited?  And why did he call on the flop with nothing?  Sometimes I forget to consider how badly people can play poker.

I didn’t say anything of course, but he must have read my mind, at least the second question.  He said, “Yeah, sometimes it pays to stay in.”  Yeah, yeah, that’s a good strategy.  Note:  he built up a decent stack but eventually lost it all.  But not to me.

For awhile after Abe took my seat 1, the table got very tight and no one seemed to play a hand, or call a raise.  The definitely weren’t calling Abe’s raises.  So on this particular hand, when he raised to $10 in early position, I’m sure he expected to just take the blinds.

Not quite.  Everyone at the table called.  I think even the dealer called.  The cocktail waitress, who was at the table taking orders, called.  By the time it got to me in the big blind, there were so many callers I almost had to call with just about anything.  In fact, I had 3-4 hearts, so it was definitely worth ten bucks to become one of the seven of us who saw the flop.  Yeah seven.  I felt like I was back playing 2/4!

So of course I flopped the nuts.  2-5-6. No hearts, but two diamonds.  Nice, but vulnerable.  Abe led out with $40, and another guy called.  I had about $140-$150 in front of me, and at that point I realized I was going to have to shove, no raise I could make less than a shove would be enough.

But before it got to me, the next player shoved first.

Well, that was interesting. I recognized he guy who shoved.  Oddly enough, he was the father of the kid from England I mentioned in this post here about the bubble bitch.  That story had taken place the week before.  I had recognized his son playing at another table, and I had run into the two of them the day after the tournament cash right there at BSC.  So this was the third time within a week I’d seen this father and son team.

He had me covered, but I was going to shove anyway.  I thought he might be aggressive enough to make that move with a flush draw.  He was British, after all.  Of course I put all my chips into the pot.

It folded to Abe who insta-folded.  Then it was back on the guy who had called Abe’s $40 bet.  BTW, he was the guy who had won the hand earlier when Stoner Guy thought, erroneously, he had a straight and actually showed his pair of 10’s. 

He went into to the tank for a long, long time.  I really wanted him to call.  At least I thought I did.  I figured he had the flush draw as well.  My thought there was that “Dad” had the flush draw and this guy probably did as well.  With his hesitancy, I was thinking he probably had a draw to a small flush and was wondering if, even if he hit his flush, he’d still lose.  He had a bigger stack than mine, but less than the Englishman had (I think the Brit’s stack was a bit over $200).

So I figured his calling wouldn’t affect my chances of winning the pot and would mean a triple-up rather than a double-up if my straight held.  I figured wrong.

He took as much time to decide as the Stoner Guy did with every decision.  But he eventually called.  I dunno why, but I decided to turn over my cards and I announced, “Well, I’ve got the nuts right now.”

The Brit turned over 5-2 of hearts for two pair.  And the guy who took forever to call turned over Ace-4 of diamonds.


What took him so long to call?  He not only had the draw to the nut flush but a gut-shot as well.  True, the straight he was drawing to was smaller than my straight, but he didn’t know that.  With all that money in the pot, drawing to the nuts, it should have been an easy call.  My assumption when he took so long was that he had the flush draw but it wasn’t to the nut flush.  He might have figured the one of us already all-in had a bigger flush draw and he was drawing dead.  But with the Ace, I don’t see how he didn’t insta-call.

Whatever, I knew I had a lot of bullets to dodge. The turn was a black Ace, giving the guy with the flush draw a pair of Aces but that didn’t really help him.  Only a diamond would help him.

As we waited for the river, I was praying for a big, black card.  Any black card, 6 or better, would be just fine.  But no, it was indeed a diamond.  I think a 9.  Didn’t matter, any diamond was equally bad.  The guy who hesitated took the main pot and the side pot.  I was left with nothing.  The Brit had some money left, but soon left.

Ugh.  That was painful.  But hey, that’s poker, right?  I really hadn’t lost that much.  It was just that it would have been such a nice pot to have taken down.  And did I mention that I flopped the nuts?

I also kind of wondered what anyone of us was doing in that hand.  Ace-4 suited, call an early position raise?  Five-deuce suited?  Four-three suited?  Well, I had an excuse.  By the time it came to me, I had the odds to call with 7-2 offsuit.  What was their excuse?

When it was over, Abe said, “This would make a great blog post if you were sitting here.  I had your hand!”

Well, I knew what that meant.  He had the dreaded pocket Kings.  Of course, with three all-ins in front of him, that was an easy fold for him.  But wait a minute,,,,,,wait a minute.  I should have been in that seat, right?  If that idiot Stoner Guy hadn’t distracted me, I would have been in that seat.  I would have had those damn Kings.  I would have folded just as Abe did.  I would have only lost $50 instead of nearly three times that!

Damn stoner guy.

It would have made a better blog post from my perspective…..losing less money and still having a great story about how I lost with the dreaded KK.  Instead I have a story of how I lost after flopping the nut straight.  Ugh.

I rebought.  When the Brit left, Stoner Guy moved over one seat to take his place.  And Abe moved into his seat right next to me.  So he was between the Stoner Guy and me.

The Stoner Guy continued to take forever to make all his decisions.  And Abe was glancing over as he was looking at his phone, which his face was constantly buried in.  According to Abe, he was no longer looking up apartments.  He thought Stoner Guy was trying to arrange buying and/or selling drugs!

A couple of times, the guy was taking so excessively long to make a decision that Abe called “time” on him.  I couldn’t blame him.  He was really slowing up the game, and other than that one hand I described in my prior post, hadn’t really demonstrated a propensity for donking off large stacks of chips.  So after the second time, Stoner Guy, in a near catatonic state, expressed some concern over having time called on him.  He didn’t understand it, I guess.  I was impressed he was actually aware of it.

Anyway, the dealer was our pal Mike, and he called the floor over.  The floor happened to be Jane.  Mike whispered something to her and then Jane called the Stoner Guy away for a little chat.  We had no idea what that was all about but when they came back, Jane was helping the guy pick up his chips.  We thought they were kicking him out for being too stoned to play.  But no, Jane was merely escorting him to another table. 

When Jane was done moving the guy, she then pulled Abe away from the table for a little chat with him.  Was Abe in trouble?  Jane sees Abe in there nearly every night and knows him well.  She certainly knows he is no trouble-maker.

When Abe returned to the table, he told me what Jane had said to him.  Apparently Stoner Guy was moved based on his own request.  But the weird thing was, the guy had told Jane that Abe was only complaining about him because he (Stoner Guy) was a Christian Minister and that Abe was anti-Christian!

I can assure you, the “fact” that Stoner Guy was a Christian Minister—or even a Christian—had never been discussed at the table.  And frankly, the idea that this guy was a Minister was incredibly funny.  In what church is it ok for the Minister to partake in massive quantities of devil weed?

We were chuckling at that all night.  In fact, that was so funny I had to text my pal Prudence about it.  Her reply was great:  “Huh?  Is Abe some famous stone cold atheist activist leader?  WTF?”

For the record, I have never seen Abe rip anyone’s cross off and stamp it into the grown.

By the way, the next day, when I checked into the room with Jane, I asked about the guy and she told me that he had said the same thing about me.  He was actually conscious enough to realize Abe and I were friends and had determined that I too was upset with him for being a Christian Minister.

And he also had accused Abe and I of colluding!  Of course Jane knew how preposterous that was.

He also told Jane that all his winnings from poker were donated to his church. 

Yeah, sure.

There’s only more hand I’ll mention, mostly because of a comment from a kibitzer and a dealer.  We’re going to call the kibitzer Paul.  Paul is a regular in the room and I guess it would be fair to call him a professional grinder.  He is good friends with Prudence and he and I have become quite friendly the past few months.  He’s also quite friendly with Abe.   At one point, while he was waiting to get called to a game, he saw us and came over to chat with us.

So he witnessed the hand I’m about to describe.  I had Ace-King on the button.  Abe, immediately in front of me, raised to $10.  I’ve talked about Ace-King before (see here, for example).  I don’t think it’s a three-bet hand, usually.  Maybe I undervalue that hand.  But usually, unless it’s a raise from a super-aggro, I usually just call with it.  So I called.   The small blind behind me also called.

The flop was Ace-2-2.  The small blind (who was the same guy who went runner-runner flush on me in the first hand I described) led out with a $10 bet.  Abe folded.  I made it $25 and the small blind called.  The turn was a Queen and the small blind went all in for about $80.  I dunno.  I figured he very well could have a deuce, but for the size of the pot, and the fact that they’d be no more action on the river, I went ahead and called.

The river was meaningless and of course he had a deuce. I don’t remember the other card, but it was just part of some garbage hand he had no business calling a raise with. 

It was at this point, as the guy was dragging in the pot, that Paul leaned into me and said, “Way to three-bet before the flop there, Rob.”

Way to rub it in, Paul.

I didn’t bother to explain to him why I didn’t.  Obviously in this scenario, I should have.

Meanwhile, the dealer was George.  George has only dealt me approximately 789,123 hands of poker.  George heard Paul’s comment.  And so he said, “He doesn’t know how to say ‘three-bet.’”

That got a laugh from Paul and Abe.  And from me, it got this response:  “I’ll remember that next time I need to tip you.”

George said, “I deserve that.  That’s fair.  But it had to be said.”

You know, I didn’t come into that poker room to be insulted. 

I usually go to singles bars for that.

Since my luck obviously hadn’t changed after Abe and I chased away Stoner Guy—or should I say, “Reverend Stoner Guy”—I left not long after that.  With less money in my wallet and a couple of expensive blog posts rolling around in my head.


  1. Not sure how serious you are with your 'devil weed' comment, but cannabis has only been demonized for less than 100 years, having previously been used medicinally and for shamanic purposes for at least 5000 years. The Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church considers it a sacrament, and there is no scriptural admonition against its use (it was probably a component of ceremonial incense offerings).

    Genesis 1:11-12
    1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)
    11 Then God said, Let the earth bud forth the bud of the herb, that seedeth seed, the fruitful tree, which beareth fruit according to his kind, which hath his seed in itself upon the earth: and it was so.
    12 And the earth brought forth the bud of the herb, that seedeth seed according to his kind, also the tree that beareth fruit, which hath his seed in itself according to his kind: and God saw that it was good.

    1. Thanks for the biblical info. Hey, was it you who was sitting next to us? :).. I guess not, I'm prettty sure there's not enough weed in the world to make you forget that trips doesn't beat a straight.

      Yeah, I was just when I sometimes refer to alcohol as "demon rum."

    2. Rob I am not going to get on you for not 3 betting AK. It only makes sense if you want to win the pot right on the spot. Then you only win the blinds. I have seen to many players cold call big bets with worse hands than low pocket pairs. Its seems sometimes no matter how correct you play you will get sucked out on. Of course I play worse than you do so I should know

    3. 13 And then God said, "Rolleth thyself a big fatty and smoketh from it until thine eyes are nearly closed and thine lips spreadeth into a smile.

      14 And whence the munchies commence, shalt thou eat of anything of the land or sea except the tree of knowledge, because that would be a giant bummer, man.

    4. LOL....thanks, Jeff.

      Oh and back to Ed....I hope for your sake you were kidding when you said you play worse than I do!

  2. I "stole" your quote to facebook and Twitter, and I may use it in my blog too: "Sometimes I forget to consider how badly people can play poker..."

    That AK hand (and how to play AK at any time) is one that you can ponder endlessly (which makes you a better player in the long run, thinking about the game, so why not?)... ;) What happened in your hand reminds me of that quote (Brunson I think) about aces: "They're good for winning small pots and losing big pots." That's obviously an exaggeration, but I think you get my drift. If you three-bet preflop, you'll either take the pot/make him fold right there (you win a small pot), or he calls and the hand plays out the same way anyway... Just keep constantly analyzing your game though - that's how you improve (according to the books anyway)... ;)

    1. Thanks, Coach. I'm honored that you used my quote....maybe I should have used that for the title of the post?

      Ace-King is tough....maybe I should just always fold it, even if it isn't raised in front of me? :)

  3. Rob, I think you should definitely consider 3 betting AK. Here are the advantages to doing this:
    1. You win the pot pre-flop with the raise.
    2. You thin the field to where you are usually heads-up or 3 handed with the 3 bet. This should eliminate the hands that are weak (player with a 2).
    3. You take the initiative in the hand. A player will miss the flop 2/3rds of the time. Therefore, the player with the initiative (continuation bet) will usually win because the other player missed the flop.
    4. 3 Betting with AK will balance your range. If you are only 3 betting with AA, KK and QQ then it will be much easier to play against you.
    5. If you get 4 bet, you can usually determine (based on the player) that you are up against a big pair. You can lose the minimum and get away from the hand.
    6. When you do flop an A or K, you are usually ahead and the pot is much larger, giving you more value.

    I typically like to bet about 1/2 the pot after a 3 bet. Give it a shot and report back on if it is working for you.


    1. Thanks, Cowboy. Vern nice suggestions. As I said in the post, for me it's usually player dependent, and I'll repop it if the riaser is a real aggro. Maybe I'm not thinking enough about the players behind me.

      Also, I probably don't think enough about my own perceived range to the other players....however to be honest, it seems that this matters little to a lot of the other players!

    2. Do I need to make another trip, this time to show you how to win with AK, and re-enforce my KK lesson?? lol

    3. Nick, I need all the help I can get, clearly.