Thursday, January 2, 2014

"Does Three of a Kind Beat a Straight?"

The other night at BSC I had the misfortune of initially taking a seat right next to a guy who was stoned.  Not just drunk, but stoned.

He smelled of weed. That’s according to my pal Abe.  I had never smelled weed before, so I wouldn't know.  And he was practically in a comatose state.




When I got to the table, sitting immediately to his left, I noticed that it took him forever to make any decision whatsoever.  How long?  Well, longer than it takes my readers to read one of my blog posts (particularly the guy in the comment here, who apparently needed 20 minutes to read that post about Kaley Cuoco).

He was slowing up the game big time and at one point, one of the dealers actually asked him if he was awake when he was waiting for him to act.  I thought he might have dozed off—or passed out—myself.  He said no, he was awake, he was just thinking.  Most of these decisions involved small pots and small bets.  It wasn't like he was tanking over a several hundred dollar decision.

Soon after I got there, he was in a hand with one other player.  It was a decent sized pot, not huge.  There was an obvious straight on the board, let’s say there was a Jack, a 10 and an 8 out there.  No flush possible.  There was also a 4, and the river card was a second 4.  He was in early position and had been check/calling the entire way. 

The action was on him.  He was not (yet) facing a bet.  He thought and thought and thought, and then finally, after about a minute, asked the dealer, “I forget.  Does three of a kind beat a straight?”

The dealer replied that he couldn't answer that question.  The guy wanted to know why not.

“Because there’s only one player to a hand, sir.”

The guy was not at all happy about that.  He had a cell phone in his hand whenever he wasn’t in a hand, and had put it down for now.  So at this point he said, “What, I have to Google it to find out?  Ok….”

And with that, he picked up his phone and started typing into.  Presumably he was going to type—if he was even capable of typing—“Hand rankings in poker” or some such.  Maybe he was actually going to type, “Does three of a kind beat a straight?”  Who knows?

The dealer said he couldn't do that either and immediately called the floor.  The floor was nearby and the dealer said, “Can a player use his cell phone to during a hand?”

The floor person said he could talk on the phone but not text.  In other words, he couldn't use his phone to find out if trips beat a straight.

The guy bitched and moaned and said why not.  Then he said he just wanted to know if three of a kind beat a straight, and the dealer wouldn't help him.

To my surprise, the floorperson said, “No, three of a kind doesn't beat a straight.”

I was shocked, I was sure that the dealer had been correct and that a dealer or a floor person couldn't help him like that.

Anyway, the guy was disappointed, groaned and then suddenly just mucked his cards.

I want to reiterate…..he was not facing a bet at the time.  He could have checked and decided what to do if he faced a bet.  But that was clearly too much for him to comprehend in his current state.

The dealer pushed the pot to the other player, who showed one card in his hand.  It was a 10.  The guy had a pair of 10’s, no straight.  With that board, he could not have had a straight with a 10 in his hand.

I don’t think the guy even saw that the guy had shown a 10.

It was obvious that the guy had a 4 and mucked it when he realized that his trip 4’s couldn’t beat the straight that the other player didn't have

It was one of the weirder things I've seen at a poker table, to be sure.  I was reminded of the story I told here about the Crib Sheet.  And in that post, I did mention other times players asking what beat what when facing a bet at a Vegas poker table.  But it was worse because of the guy being stoned, him trying to google the right answer, and then his folding the best hand without even facing a bet!

I later asked the floor person about it.  He wasn’t clear about the rule and said he would check if he had made the right call.  He never got back to me, leading me convinced he knew he had erred.

But it worked out for the guy who only had a pair of 10’s and won a pot he probably should have lost.

Later, after Abe had the stoned guy removed the table because of his religious beliefs, I told the story to all the players at the table who had not seen it for themselves (including Abe, who I had actually texted the story when I first saw him there).  The player who won the pot was still there.

“Yeah, that was me in the hand with him.”  He said he was going to bet if the guy hadn’t just mucked.  But I’m not clear if he meant he was going to bet after the guy had asked that question, of he was going to bet in any case.  Big difference.  Once that guy asks the question, making it clear he’s worried about the straight, it’s pretty easy to try to bluff there.  Otherwise, I’m not sure..

Anyway, there’s a lot more from this night that will eventually be blogged about.  This stoner guy had a hand in me losing a big pot—very indirectly. And I will eventually have to explain the strange reference I made a few paragraphs ago to this guy’s religious beliefs and how Abe had him moved because of them.  Heh heh.  That’s a teaser, folks.

But that’s all for now.  I don’t want to take another 20 minutes out of that commenter’s life that he’ll never have back.  I’m such a giver.

29 comments:

  1. You're too busy having lots of fun Rob, making promise after promise about what you're going to eventually blog about... ;) Happy New Year!

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    1. Same to you, Coach. Yeah, it's hard to sit in the room and type blog posts when all those Vegas poker rooms are calling me. When I get home, I need to lock myself in a room for about two weeks, no work, no distractions, and just write blog posts.

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  2. How could you live in California and never have smelled pot?

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    1. Well, either I've lived a very sheltered life, Lightning.....or I was joking.

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    2. Ohhhhhhh ... :-) Now waiting for the latest escapades of Rob, the Mad Toker.

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    3. So, anger...I guess it was you I saw on the news, the first person to buy pot legally in Colorado?

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    4. lmao. the last shall b 1st and the 1st shall b last

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  3. And yet TBC cannot find any games in Vegas that isn't filled with regs.....seems you and Grump always find (found) enough to fill blog after blog about them. Of course you both had more than what, 3 places to play in Vegas?

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  4. Plenty of games in Vegas that aren't all regs, Ithchy. Although you do find a few in most every game and it is important to identify them early.

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  5. there were more non-regs years ago when grump was still here--and i consider european tourists regs--since they play regularly back home, same for most out of towners. Rob just dont realize most of the people he dont count as regs--are regs in disguise.

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    1. LMAO.yeah they wear fake mustaches,so u cant tell they r regs

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    2. LMAO. they wear masks like the x presidents from the movie POINT BREAK. they r sneaky. what a dope

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    3. Tony, whatever you call them, you can assume that all visitors to Vegas are bad players, that's definitely true. Some "tourists" are good players who crush games online or wherever they come from, Europe or in parts of the US where poker is readily available.

      Then too, not all "regs" are that great either.

      But you should always be able to find a game with a few bad players.

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  6. was he drinking a white russian too? that was the DUDE. OVER THE LINE. shut the fuck up,donny.

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    1. Heh heh. Pretty sure he was drinking beer.

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  7. i have a question does a pair of AA beat a pair of KK

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    1. Well, anger....if I'm the one holding KK, pretty much any other hand beats it. :)

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    2. And If I'm holding KK against Rob, I usually win the hand...lol

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    3. Yes. Nick....but so does everyone else against me!

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  8. I think the floor was fine to answer his question. Some poker rooms hand out hand-ranking cards for novices to use, and it's perfectly legal to use them at the table. I think the dealer is OK to answer that question, just as the dealer can answer when the player asks what his options are (check, bet, raise, fold, etc), or whose turn it is, or what the bet is, or what the flop cards are (for a visually impaired player). Those are all examples of information that is just out there, freely available to everyone, and it doesn't really matter whether a player acquires those bits of information by experience, by another player filling him in, by the dealer answering a question, or by consulting a hand-ranking list in card form. (In principle, I wouldn't object to a player consulting a web site for the same information, but in practice, it's much harder to police that and assure everyone that he is not going beyond that to getting advice on how to play some specific situation either from a web site or from texting a friend.)

    Furthermore, even if it were technically a rule violation for somebody to answer that question for him, I'd turn a blind eye to it for pragmatic reasons--because somebody that needs to have that answered is somebody I want to keep in the game and happy as a clam, having the most awesomely fun time he can have, without being shut down or annoyed with technicalities.

    One of the best times I've had at a poker table was the time at the Stratosphere that we had a player who knew literally nothing about poker, and had to always be told what his options were. He didn't know hand rankings, so he was entirely dependent on the dealer to tell him whether he had won or lost the pot. But he was having a lot of fun, and it was fun to watch him beat much more experienced players. See http://pokergrump.blogspot.com/2010/04/beware-newbie.html.

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    1. Thanks, Grump. I think you're right, but until this incident, I think every time I've heard someone ask that question, the dealer always told them they couldn't answer. The exception might have been the very first time I heard it, I'm not sure.

      So I did check back with the shift supervisor and he said that in fact, they "have" to answer the question, it's not only ok but it is the correct thing to do. I told him he needed to clarify that with the dealers.

      Great old post of yours that you linked. Very fun read.

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  9. I thought the grinders in Las Vegas wanted the tourists and gamblers who are drunk to play against. I am sure he slowed the game down but if you can not beat these players who are you going to be able to beat???? I mean if he does not know hand rankings that should be a big edge. Of course I have seen these guys get hot and crush a game also.

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    1. Ed, ordinarily you would be right, this is the kind of player you'd want to stay forever. However, he was playing so s-l-o-w-l-y that we were actually getting half as many hands to play as normal. It was just maddening. It was worse than in a tournament when they go hand-for-hand.

      It was just too extreme. When there's only four hands dealt an hour, it's hard to win anything even from a donkey.

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  10. Very interesting and entertaining post. (as always) ... when you speak of "It was a decent sized pot..." I assume you aren't referencing the maryjane. hehe

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    1. Thanks, LM. Heh heh.....I didn't see the double entendre when I wrote the post. Otherwise I could have titled this, "He had too much pot to win the pot." OR...."He passed on the pot, but not on the pot."

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    2. That reminds me of a great line from a short story I read a few years ago. Guy gets murdered (by poison) while playing poker, leaving a large pile of chips in front of him. Story says, "Mr. Beckman had not cashed in his chips because he had cashed in his chips."

      See http://pokergrump.blogspot.com/2009/04/dead-mans-hand-review-part-4.html

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    3. Yeah, that is a great line! Thanks, Grump.

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