Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Winning the Pot Put Him on Tilt

Usually it’s a bad beat that puts people on tilt.  An especially bad beat. Someone is playing a hand they have no business playing and hits their two-outer.  Maybe even a one-outer.

This is about a guy who won a big pot and went a little crazy.  See if you can understand why.

I have no idea the name of the guy who was tilted.  Let’s just call him “JJ” and you’ll soon see why.  But I do know the name of the guy who put him on tilt.  I’ve already introduced you to him as “Amos” and you can find my first mention of him in this post here.  In fact, in that post I allude to the hand I’m about to describe. Amos is the guy who, in that previous post, heard another player exclaim “Oh shit” the second he saw Amos put his chips down at his table. 

As I explained, Amos is a major aggro and he likes to play bad hands, raise or even three-bet with them preflop, and then hit them and suck out on players who have good hands.  He tries to put people on tilt. He will admit this at the table.  This time he succeeded, although not the way he would prefer.

JJ and Amos were both at the table when I took my seat, and I got the impression they had been playing together for awhile.  It appeared to me that JJ was already well fed up with Amos, though I could only imagine why (and it was easy to imagine).

JJ was from Texas and both he and Amos had big stacks, well over $500 each (the max buy-in is $300).  Amos raised to $15, probably his normal raise from early position (or maybe a little less than usual).  JJ was the big blind and three-bet to $35.  Amos called.  I don’t recall the flop, other than it was pretty dry and had an Ace.  JJ bet $45 and Amos called immediately.  Looked like a blank on the turn and this time JJ checked.  Amos bet $55 and JJ took a while to call.

Another seemingly meaningless card hit the river and again, JJ checked.  Amos counted out his chips and finally put a bet of $145 out.  JJ agonized over it for a long, long time. 

Finally he called, and Amos nonchalantly turned over Queen-5 offsuit.  There was no Queen, no 5 on the board.  No draw for him either.  He had, as they say, zilch.  It was typical of Amos’s play.  Raise with garbage, followed by a big bluff.  Of course, often in that situation, he’d hit at least his Queen if not something better and suck out.

JJ flipped over his cards—pocket Jacks, of course—but was none too happy.  He was dragging a very nice pot, but was furious.  I could almost see the steam coming out of his ears.  I guess he had a problem with Amos playing that hand so maniacally.  And making him sweat the call on the river.  Every one said to him, “Good call.”  Of course, a big part of Amos’s range there is Ace-rag (actually, a good part of his range is any two cards) so it wasn’t easy to call.

Amos and JJ were both talking but it appeared they were talking to themselves.  I couldn’t catch anything intelligible that JJ said.  I did hear Amos refer to JJ as “Nitter Bitter” or something like that.  I knew JJ was livid, but it was hard for me to tell if Amos was pissed off or maybe actually enjoying the torment he had put JJ through even while losing a nice piece of change.

But there was no mistaking JJ’s reaction.  I honestly think that if Amos had flipped over a bigger pair than JJ’s Jacks, he would have been happier losing the pot than he was winning it.  It was the damndest thing.      

That of course, is exactly what Amos wants.  Except for the losing the pot part.  But I’m sure he felt that it was a worthwhile investment to get JJ off his game.

On the very next hand, as JJ was still (mostly) silently seething and stacking his chips.  Amos raised again.  It folded to JJ and he immediately shoved.  He now had at least $700 in front of him, Amos still had plenty of chips and had raised to $15 or so.  I don’t care what JJ had, there was no hand where that shove possibly could have made any sense.  He was clearly doing it to spite Amos.  He was on some form of tilt.  For winning a pot.

Amos found the shove amusing.  He started laughing as he held his cards.  He yelled over to JJ, “I’ll give you 15 bucks if you show me a bluff.”  He repeated it several times but JJ said nothing.  Finally Amos said “OK” and folded.  JJ took the small pot without a word.

I think Amos left soon after, not sure if he went to another table or left the room.  But after he was gone, JJ started verbalizing his feelings about Amos.  I believe a seven-letter word that starts with “a” was thrown around.  But with Amos gone and JJ holding a lot of his chips, he eventually calmed down.

Before his fun with JJ, Amos told the story of young, good looking girl he knew who was getting paid $25/hour to sit around a pool in a bikini. Tough gig.  According to him, she was hired by a local strip club that had a pool and all she had to do was sit by the pool and in her bikini.  That’s it.  She was called “atmosphere.”  Then they closed the pool.  She still works there but is now inside and makes less money.  She said it’s a brain-dead job but the money’s good and she’s using it while in school.

I didn’t question Amos at the time but the story seems a bit odd to me.  This was a strip club.   All the “entertainers” perform topless and nearly bottomless.  If they are paying girls to sit and walk around to provide “atmosphere” in a topless club, why in the world wouldn’t they have be topless?  I don’t get it.  For 25 bucks an hour, shouldn’t they show the goods?  Just asking.

There’s really only two hands of mine from this session worth mentioning.  I was having a nothing night, as in getting nothing to play, and nothing to make notes about.  Finally, down to about $140 or so, I got my old friends, the dreaded pocket Kings.  I was in middle position.  The guy under-the-gun shoved for his last $23.  The next player had a big stack and called.  I split my remaining chips into two equal stacks and put out one of the stacks--$70 or so.  It folded to the guy who had called the $23 and he announced “all in.”
Then he said—and I think he may have said this before I even acted—“That way, I won’t have to decide whether to call on the flop.”  O.K.  It didn’t really matter.  Unless he actually showed me two Aces there, I’m not folding.  Because, you know, KK has been so good to me over the years.

When I said “call” he said, “Your Aces are way ahead of me.”  I said I didn’t have Aces, and then flipped over my hand.  He reluctantly showed his pocket Queens.  The flop was Jack high, but on the turn he picked up a gut-shot.  Fortunately for me, he missed. The short stack had Ace-King of clubs and missed a flush draw.  I had a nice double up.

I wound up winning a few small pots after that…then had pocket Kings again.  After a bunch of limpers, I made it $14 and had three callers.  The flop was King-10-4 rainbow.   It was checked to me.  I considered checking there and slowplaying it, but decided to bet just $25 instead.  Still, no one called.  I was ok with that.  I didn’t want to add to my KK stories by having a set of them lose.

And soon after, I took off.  I had made a small profit, and more importantly, I didn’t win any hands that put me on tilt


  1. Hey, congrats on going over the 350K viewmark Rob (by the way)... ;) Unique story about the jacks - I would have been relieved, and happy with myself for making the call. Oh, if I start hating kings, will I get them all the time once I arrive in town? :D

    1. Thanks for noticing the pageviews, Coach! It's humbling.

      KK is my jinx hand. Yours is Q-10.

      Do you know when you're hitting Vegas?

    2. great story,great pic.HOMER RUN. i knew u had it in u.also like the stripper by the pool story. the old stripping to go to school myth. URBAN LEGEND.

    3. Thanks, anger!

      Yeah, she may have telling a fib with that "working at a strip club to work my way thru college story.

      OTOH, it's only fair. Can you imagine how many guys said to her, "I promise I won't come in your mouth?"

  2. Rob, I always enjoy your writing and completely understand JJ. He had Winners Tilt. It happens frequently and is a MindShift that screws with us.

    Even tho I'm been a poker journalist since 1998, I love chatting with everyone about poker. Hope you can check out my podcast - Big Girl Poker Chat. You can find it on iTunes and on my site www.BigGirlPoker.com

    1. Donna, I apologize for not getting your comment up sooner. It was not intentional. I just didn't didn't see it until this morning.

      Thanks very much for your kind words. I will be sure to check out your podcast. I took a brief look around your site and was very intrigued. You have an interesting background to say the least.

      And you are 6'5"? Wow....I bet that's intimidating to the guys at the poker table! Must work to your favor, although ordinarily I would say that "size doesn't matter" when it comes to poker! :)

      I guess I have heard a bit about "Winners Tilt" and maybe even have seen it before, but never this extreme and it hit because I was so familiar with the player who put JJ on tilt and am almost surprised anytime he DOESN'T put someone on tilt.