The weekend after this story took place, I returned to The Bike (in luxurious Bell Gardens, CA) with the same game plan.
I won the first hand I was dealt when I bet on the turn with air and didn’t get a call. A few hands later I won another pot betting the turn against three opponents—also with air.
But of course, it wasn’t going to be that easy.
I raised to $12 with pocket 8’s and only got one caller. The flop was King-Jack-X. My opponent led out for $10, I called. He checked a blank turn, and I bet $25 expecting him to fold. Ed Miller said he would. But he called. A blank river and he put his last $15 in. I shrugged and called. He had Jack-10 but it was good enough.
I lost a few bucks paying a guy off on the river for his quad Aces. Well, I did have a full house (10’s full of Aces—three Aces on the board). It wasn’t a lot of money, and I couldn’t convince myself the guy wasn’t bluffing.
I won small pots by raising with King-Jack suited and Ace-7 suited and making c-bets that weren’t called. I called a raise with pocket Queens and called a flop bet on a scary board. Out of position, I just checked it down and to my surprise the Queens were good.
I raised to $14 with 8-7 of hearts. Two players called, and this older, British gentleman made it $100. Ugh. Last time he three-bet, he had pocket Aces. It was the only time I’d seen him three-bet. I folded. The other two players, with short stacks (both less than $50) called. Note: I had over $300 when the hand started, and the British guy had over $400. So I saw it play out. The shortest stack had King-Queen and flopped Broadway. The next shortest stack had pocket 8’s and missed. The British guy had pocket Aces again, and flopped a set. But he didn’t catch up to the flopped straight. Oh, and by the way…..there were two hearts on the flop. And a third on the river. Had I stayed in, I would have won the pot. However, if I had foolishly called the $100 preflop bet, the Brit would have in all likelihood bet me off the hand. Based on how he played, I don’t think he would have slow played his set of Aces with that flop.
Oh and by the way, this was, I noted, the second time he had been dealt pocket Aces that I saw. They came within about a half hour of each other. In two sessions at the Bike since I got back to town, I have yet to be dealt pocket Aces, pocket Kings, or pocket Jacks.
In the small blind I called $15 with Ace-Jack of hearts. As soon as I called, I realized that was a mistake, I’m supposed to either three-bet or fold there. It was heads up and I flopped the flush draw and called $15. The turn was the third heart. I checked and he checked behind me (I was hoping for a check-raise). The river paired 10’s, but I bet $30 and the other guy called, and showed his pocket Aces. The nut flush was good.
I was on the button and UTG straddled to $6 (that’s the only straddle allowed at the Bike). It was raised to $12 and I called with King-Queen of clubs. Six of us saw the flop. It was King-high, rainbow. It checked to me and I put out $50. Only one player called, and the $50 was a bit more than half his remaining stack. I checked a blank turn (I think that was in keeping with something Miller said on his video but I can’t easily explain it). He shoved on the river ($40-$45?) when the board paired 7’s. It had been runner-runner 7’s and I didn’t consider folding for a second. Of course, for that size bet, I couldn’t fold anyway, considering there was $170 or so in the pot before he bet. The Kings were indeed good (he had second pair).
That put me up nearly $150 from my $300 buy-in. And then….and then…..
At this point, two women joined the table, sitting right next to each other. I assumed they were sisters. They looked very, very similar. Not twins, but just a very, very strong family resemblance. The both came to the table carrying racks of $1 chips. I assumed they had been playing at the $1-$3 game (which I described a long time ago, here). Yes, that’s a $1-$3 game (max buy in is $120) where they use dollar chips, not $5 chips. They both had to buy some more chips to get over the $100 minimum for the game they were joining.
Under the gun, I raised to $10 with Ace-Jack of hearts. One player called and then the action went to sister #1. She made it $30. She had $139 when the hand started, pretty much what she started with, except for the $3 she had to post to come in on the previous hand. I think this was her second hand, but she may have played one or two others where she just folded preflop.
Sister #2 folded behind her, but another player called and in keeping with the strategy I was following, I called. Of course, I had no read on sister #1 other than the fact that she came from a smaller game and had bought in fairly short. However, most players in this game buy in for way less than the $300 maximum. The player who called my initial raise also called, putting $120 or so in the pot before the flop, less the rake.
The flop was Jack high, rainbow. I checked. Honestly, my normal play there would have been to check anyway. I’m probably not betting into a three-bettor there unless the flop hits me harder than just top pair. But I somehow felt that Ed Miller would want me to check there too.
Here’s where things got a little weird. The next player to act, before it got to sister #1, had been moderately aggressive, but nothing out of the ordinary for the Bike. He started counting out chips as if to bet. I had my eyes glued to him waiting to see how much he was going to bet. He had at least $35-$40 in his hand, and he made a motion forward, and then suddenly just as it appeared he was going to put his chips down over the betting line, he pulled his hand back, and then, in a very quick motion, took his two cards and mucked them.
What I hadn’t seen, but he had, was that, seeing the guy about to bet, sister #1 had put her whole remaining stack out. That’s why he not only didn’t bet, but he mucked, he knew he wasn’t going to call her all-in for $109. Sister #1 complained to the dealer—didn’t he bet? The dealer offered to call the floor, but as far as he was concerned , he hadn’t put his chips down, so he hadn’t bet. Sister #1 jumped the gun by not waiting for him to actually drop his chips. I assumed that she was going to insist the floor be called, but, although she seemed quite frustrated and upset by his actions, she didn’t. After a bit of thought and discussion, she said go ahead and continue the hand. The next guy folded.
So I was the only player left, and the guy behind me had already mucked his cards. So it was pretty straightforward for me. As I said, I had no read on the woman. But it sure seemed like she was upset the guy didn’t put his money into to the pot. I had to put her on a overpair. Maybe a set, though that was unlikely. There were no good draws out there.
But the pot was now $225 or so, it was $109 to call. The math—and the invisible Ed Miller whispering in my ear, were telling me to call. Plus this was the Bike. She bought in short, and lots of players there look to get a short stack in without much regard to how strong their hand is. In Vegas, my default player—before I have a read on them—is a fairly tight. My default player at the Bike—until I see evidence otherwise—is a maniac. Please feel free to tell me why I shouldn’t have called there.
But call I did and neither of us showed our hands. The turn card was a 7, which seemed innocuous to me. But she liked it. A lot. As soon as she saw it, she picked up her two cards and then slammed the face up on the table. Of course, they were both 7’s. I was now officially drawing dead.
There went my profits for the session. I know that in poker this happens all the time, and you’re supposed to feel fine if you got your money “in good” which I had. I was ahead when I called her flop bet. She had a two-outer and she hit it. That’s poker.
But man, I would have felt a lot better if she had a bigger pair or had flopped a set. Then I could just shrug and say, well, I knew I was behind but the math dictated that I call. But now, knowing I was ahead when I got it in….it just stung. Damn two outer. And this was the second straight week that I had a huge hand against a set of 7’s. I liked the previous week’s outcome a lot better.
I pondered whether the guy’s “fake bet” had made any difference. I don’t think so. She might have bet less if he had just checked normally, but considering her stack and the size of the pot, that strikes me as doubtful. And I can’t see her checking behind the guy if he had just checked, seeing as how she was willing to risk her stack when the guy was indicating he could beat her pair of 7’s. But of course, I’ll never know.
Although tempted to leave at this point, I stayed on. Maybe I’d have a chance to win my money back from sister #1. Instead, I lost about $50 when my top pair (10’s) succumbed to trip 4’s on the river. Ugh.
Then I had King-Queen of diamonds and called a raise to $15. Five of us saw the flop. It was Ace-Queen-10, 1 diamond. Two players checked, the preflop raiser checked, and there was only one player behind me to act. I had middle pair, the gutshot, and the backdoor flush draw. I bet $50. At least two players tanked, but everyone folded.
In the big blind, I had pocket Queens. Second time this day. Still no Aces, Kings or Jacks. Anyway, UTG had straddled to $6, a couple of players had called the straddle. The Brit made it $15 and it folded to me. I put out $60. No one called
And that was my last hand of note. I managed to win around $60, even with that bad beat against sister #1.
Just another fun day at the Bike.