Thursday, October 9, 2014

"That's Not The Way to Get it, Genius!"

Poker is a game of skill, right? Or is it a game of luck?  Well, of course, it’s both.  But this post is about poker being a game of luck.  You see, there was this player at the table who intentionally tried to take all the skill out of the game.  And then there was yours truly, who just got lucky.  No, I don’t mean that I “got lucky” in the sense I ran into someone like, oh, say, Christina Hendricks and, well…you know.  I mean I got lucky in the poker sense.


This is from a session in late August, mid-week. I mentioned a “former reg” in a couple of recent posts (see here and here).  As I did previously, I’ll just refer to him as “FR.”  FR grinds for a living and used to have a pretty big presence in online poker before Black Friday.  I guess I’m starting to see him more and more lately, so I may have to eventually remove the “former” from his name, but for now we’ll keep calling him FR.

The guy to my left was a local but I didn’t recognize him as a regular.  He had mentioned that he had tickets to see the show that evening at BSC, which was convenient since that was where this took place. He was pretty much an aggro, which was annoying for me since he had position on me.

His stack had grown and shrunk several times, as is fairly common with this style of play.  When the time of his show approached, as I pick up the story, he was down to about $50-$60.  On the button, he put his stack out in front of him before the dealer even had peeled off a card.  “Can I go all in now?”  He explained that he had to leave for his show in a few minutes and would just assume not have to cash out such a small amount of chips.  He would be ok with doubling it and cashing out for over $100, but his current stack wasn’t worth the effort.

I’m not sure if the dealer actually said he couldn’t do it, but the guy did pull back his chips before getting his first card.  However, it was pretty clear—at least to me—that he intended to shove blind on this hand.  A few people limped in front of him, I folded some crap hand, and sure enough, he put his entire stack out when it was his turn.

Not everyone had heard him talk about him getting ready to leave for the show, so a few expressed surprise at his peflop shove.  And he then made it clear why he was doing it, and when everyone folded and he picked up a few bucks, he made it clear he was going to keep doing the same thing until he lost his chips—or, I guess, until he got a double-up and had enough chips to warrant a trip to the cashier.  He did say, “Hey, I want action.”

Really?  That’s how you want to play?  I was not pleased.  I mean, if you want a crap-shoot, why not take your money to the craps table and put it on pass line.  Or the roulette table and put it on red or black?  Why ruin a perfectly good poker game?

I realize that this is a good opportunity for someone—if they get a hand.  Not necessarily a great hand, just a little better than average.  Right?  I mean, if you have a hand that is 51-49 favorite over a totally random hand, you should be willing to go heads up with the guy, no?  I guess you could use an odds calculator to figure out what starting hands to play in such a situation.  If someone wants to do that, be my guest.

But it certainly takes all the art, all the skill out of the game (although you do have to worry about the other players, right?).  I just don’t find this at all fun, just stupid.  It’s no longer poker, it’s just a lottery, it’s a slot-machine.  Although. when he made it clear that he was going to keep doing this, I was perfectly willing to be dealt Aces (or Kings, or Queens or Jacks….) and give it a go.  It didn’t happen.  The only hands I was getting were hands that would only be a slight favorite against 7-2.

He did this for a few hands, and of course no one called.  Some of the other players actually found this amusing.  One or two said, “This is great.”  The guy himself said, as he was increasingly getting only the blinds, “At least you’ve all got a story to tell.”  Hmm…..what could I do with a story like this?  Let me think.

Which brings us to FR.  FR came into the game a hand or two after this had started.  And as he was dealt his first hand, he had his face buried in his phone, and didn’t hear any of the discussion of this guy’s “system” (for lack of a better word).  By now, he was the only player at the table that wasn’t aware that guy intended to shove—totally blind—on the first hand FR was dealt. So FR looked at his cards, limped in, and thus was the only limper when the guy once again shoved.

FR looked up from his phone and said, “Really?”  I don’t think he even knew the guy had shoved without looking.  He folded, annoyed.

The guy said, as he took in his $5 pot, “I’m just looking for action.”

FR, now fairly livid, said to him, “Well, that’s not the way to get it, genius!”  One of his neighbors explained the situation to him, and also made it clear he had to leave soon for the show.  With that, FR got up and said, “Hopefully he’ll be gone by the time I get back,” and headed off to the Mens Room, presumably.

A hand or two later, one of the guys who thought it was just awesome that this clown was doing this went ahead and called the guy’s shove.  “I’m in, I’m in….let’s do it” were his words. 

So it was heads up, and the guy said, “I bet I have a big hand,” as he flipped them over.  Not quite.  Unless you think 8-5 offsuit is a big hand.  The guy who was willing to gamble showed pocket 4’s.  Of course, the guy caught an 8 and doubled up.  And had no choice but to take his nearly $120 or so to the cage to cash out.  Meanwhile, the guy with the pocket 4’s was laughing, he actually seemed to be enjoying losing his money this way.

There was only one hand that I was involved in from this session worth talking about.  I was having an up-and-down session, a bit more down than up, when I was dealt a couple of Aces in late position.  I had about $115 left, from $200.  I raised to $12 and had two callers.

The flop was Jack-8-x and the first player led out for $15, and the other guy called.  I raised to $50.  The first guy hesitated a bit, which I read as deciding whether to call or fold.  He finally called.  The other guy folded.  The turn was a blank, the guy checked and I shoved.  He snap-called and showed his pocket 8’s.  Ooops.  I guess his hesitancy on the flop was whether to re-raise, not fold.  I flipped over my rockets and started to reach for my wallet to rebuy.  Until I saw the river card….a very sexy looking Ace.  I guess you could call me a luckbox, right, Coach?

I managed to avoid giving the insincere apology to the guy.  Instead, I said, “Oh man, that’s tough.”  He said, “Nice hand.”  I responded, “Yeah, I know what that really means, and I deserve it.”  I think he forced a laugh.

I chipped up a bit the rest of the evening, and finally left with an extra $125 more in my pocket than I had arrived with.

It’s a skill game, right?

27 comments:

  1. i like tables like that. blind all-ins straddles,etc,etc. cant make any money off NITS,sir. i am really surprise the "grinder" didnt like it. WTF. just sit their and fold NBD. 1 of the reasons a HATE live poker anymore. toooo many"pros,grinders,rounders,whatever the new term is". dont ppl realize that u need ppl to play poker . ppl with money that they can lose and not cry about. mayb this dude isnt going to play anymore bcuz of the B.S of these "pros" so there goes money out of the game .the dude just wants to gamboooooool and have a good time. p.s the pic is B+ SHARKS biiiiiiiiiiiiiitches

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    1. I dunno....if I wanted a game where ALL the skill was taken out of it and it was 100% luck as the guy shoving preflop made it, I think I'd rather play Video Blackjack.

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    2. the luck is the skill. lucky that some1 was to donk his/her money that way. also he didnt take the luck out it is just a version of the "Kill Phil" strategy but 4 a cash game. unless he is agaainst a pp higher than his 2 random cards. how bad is it??? AK VS 58 62% to 37% . not too bad. in the hand u blogged about 44 where only 50% to win SHEEEEEEIT he could of got counterfeited and lost to 2 pair with an 8 kicker

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    3. I see this behavior sometimes and I don't understand how you can say it ruins a good game? How often do you get the opportunity to get it in waaayyy good against a random hand? Are you not there to make money? Opportunities to make money this easily don't come along often. The guy with 44 gets it in on a flip, it's just like a flip with AK. Usually in this situation you are getting it in with a dominant hand. I think the only reason you say "it's ruining the game" is that you didn't wake up with aces against this guy. Also some people truly say "nice hand" and mean it. You had aces, it is a nice hand(arguably the best hand). He got it in a huge favorite and lost, but he was 4 1/2 to 1 dog preflop so he got lucky as well. It takes a very emotionally stable person to take a tough beat and "truly" say nice hand. If they treat it as entertainment and aren't losing the rent money, it's just how it goes. Getting mad won't get the money back. Usually the opposite.

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    4. considering how angerisagift hasnt the money to play poker live in CO hes said in the past, i dont see how he could take advantage of a good action table either. i do however have both the money and the knowhow to take advantage of people like Rob is talking of.

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    5. STUpid UNGER U HAVE SOOOOOO MUCH MONEY that u cant go to the dentist or buy prescription glasses ,right????? and of course, u need to have Vince get u a phone bcuz UR IS RICH!!!!! u r just a deadbeat father/bigot

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    6. Thanks for the comment, Dealer. Regarding the "nice hand," I've made the joke here many times that "nice hand" is really a polite way of saying "f-you." I suppose there are people who don't mind losing the money, and maybe they mean it. I think the guy who lost with pocket 4's might have actually enjoyed it and felt it was worth it. But even if the money is not a big deal, most people enjoy the competition and even if it's not much money, they prefer to win than to lose.

      Regarding the guy shoving blind, I've stated my case. Yeah, it would be real nice to wake up with a premium hand against the him. And there are a lot of hands that are better than 50/50 against a random hand. I acknowledged that and in theory, at least if you're heads up, you should want to get all the money against him.

      But that's if your heads up. That's if you're last to act. Say you call his shove with 99 and then another player wakes up with KK. Now you've not only most likely lost $60 with a lousy pair of 9's (something you ordinarily wouldn't do in a 1/2 NL game), but you might end up playing for stacks against the guy with Kings.

      I see your point, I acknowledge it, but I still think its more like roulette than poker and I don't play roulette.

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    7. funny how some1 who a couple months ago was sleeping in the bushes and THRILLED to b making 40 dollar hit and running in LA . U were crying like bitch about ppl buying for the table max and straddling .what happen to the 1300 a month condo or vacation to wherever. hopefully 4 yr sake P3 lets u sleep on the floor ,when u go busto in Baltimore. but knowing u it is ALL TALK,sir.

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    8. For 30BBs effective I'm getting in 99 all day. I understand your annoyance with the shove-bot (although I don't share it). I've been in such situations and they're trivial to handle if you know the math.

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    9. Thanks, Kat. Appreciate your feedback.

      I guess once a nit, always a nit. However, the guy who gave me the quote I used for a title of this post is a grinder, as I said, who makes a living playing this silly game. In fact, I'd be surprised if you hadn't run across him yourself, either live or online (or both).

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    10. Many grinders are more variance-averse than I am.

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    11. "'Nice hand' is code for 'You're an idiot.'"

      --Howard Lederer, 2009

      http://pokergrump.blogspot.com/2009/11/poker-gems-327.html

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    12. "Nice hand" is the safe-for-TV version of "f-you."

      I bet Lederer hears "nice hand" a lot these days.

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  2. rob is Dumb as fuck if he thinks VBJ is more luck than skill, theres pretty much no luck there (over the long run that is--and u will come out ahead whatever the math says will happen).

    Rob is also dumb as fuck if he dont think that guys action was good for the game. i wish a lot more of the people at my table played like him. The fact people in vegas play so horribly tight and i cant win here anymore and over $3000-4000 of my wins in the past month all came from VBJ and not poker is why ill either fly to reno, or baltimore tomorrow just so i can be back where theres good poker.

    nits are easy to win money off in a 4 handed game, but at a full table, they destroy the game. also its funny, a lot of people who complain about others crying about losing, are the ones who bitch the most when they lose a big pot, and get right up and quit if i beat them.

    man did i play like a donkey tonight at the nugget. i rebought $1300 after losing all my chips trying to bluff a guy off his straddle when i had nothing but Q2 offsuit and totally missed the board. kept betting more every street, and $112 on the river, and he actually flopped top pair with KT and only called. so i thought id get value paid BIGTIME if i got a hand when i rebought the $1300 and i did later twice, to 2 shortstacked guys and only lost about $55 instead of $300. never got a real hand against anything but a shortstack.

    then left to go buy Vince and I into a tourny at the stratosphere.

    reason i was on tilt so much at the nugget was 3 things. one my cell was dying since i had no charger and service sucks horribly in there. (just like the ACTION sucks in there). 2, i thought one lady looked like alysia chang but i couldnt remember for sure if it was her. 3. the guy who straddled talked about how much more he preferred the unfair type of straddle u complain of instead of the more fair way the wynn nugget and binions do it, and him speaking up in favor of the unethical type of straddle harrahs uses thats bad for the integrity of the game pissed me off, since my ethics are above reproach. since mine are and others arent, its no wonder i feel no need to respect other people.

    its really annoying others only want whats best for THEM at the table, and not the long term health of poker or the game.

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    1. Was Rob dumb as fuck when he decided to be a friend and give you a ride home from the Venetian the night we al hung out? Like, even though Vince lived the exact opposite direction he was heading . . . and, like, it was late at night and he probably just wanted to get home to must sleep immediately?

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    2. not straddle in a good way. the way rob likes it

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    3. I DO like straddling in certain situations. But the kind of straddling I like has NOTHING to do with poker.

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    4. STUpid UNGER is a special kind of dumb fuck . he cant figure out were the freezer is on a refrigerator

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    5. Be fair, anger....refrigerator's are tricky.

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  3. oh yes. Baltimore/Reno the hotbed of Poker. y not Toledo/South Dakota????

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    1. Plus the weather in Baltimore is so much better than the weather in L.A. or Vegas.

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  4. Hi Rob I was in a tournament the other day and we were down to 16 and nine were getting paid. I was an average stack and the guy to my left was an aggro who I had let steal my blind three or four times. I was small blind he was big blind. I call and here goes all in again . I had A 7 unsuited and I knew I was good. I snap call and he turns over K 3. Board goes 5 blank and he is out of the tournament. He picks up his stuff and tells me " Gee you sure got lucky there with that crazy call" Yeah it sure was a crazy call. I loved it. I cashed out in third place for $400 with that crazy call.

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    1. Nice! Always nice to win a pot when you make a great read. Congrats. But he does have a point, his raise is a better play than your call--ALL OTHER THINGS BEING EQUAL. But since you knew he was maniac, you caught him.

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  5. I love to be at a table with a maniac. If he is playing poorly, he has a negative expectation. Where does that money go? Over the long run it gets distributed to the people at the table with a positive expectation. In my opinion this IS poker - part of poker is adapting to the conditions of your table. Play like a super nit. As long as he's in the game don't play any hand that you're not planning to snap call his shove with (I would fold 44 in most situations). $3 per round is well worth the cost of waiting for a premium hand to smash him with. You of course need to be aware of other players in the hand in various positions and adjust the range of hands that you will play with, but that's part of what makes the game interesting.

    [ ] maniacs are bad for poker
    [x] tony has anger issues
    [x] anger has tony issues

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    1. Thanks, Dave, appreciate the feedback. As for playing like a "super-nit", well....

      You might want to check out this old post of mine, I'm sure you never saw it. Although it is about a crazy female player (who gave me a bunch of "woman saids") a comment I made caused a boatload of comments from Poker Grump (aka "Rakewell") about the need to actually loosen up around maniacs. He ran the numbers to prove it and even did a blog post of us own about it.

      You can find all of that here (make sure you read all the comments).

      http://robvegaspoker.blogspot.com/2013/01/can-i-spread-my-legs-around-button-part.html

      Ahem, LOVE your little quiz there, very clever!

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    2. Not all maniacs are created equal. She wasn't shoving her stack blind every hand preflop, she was just playing every hand with calls and raises but not too many 3 bets. There were lots of flops to be seen for a reasonable price. The maniac in this post was shoving blind so the only decision you have is shove or fold, there is no way to outplay him after the flop. I would certainly play differently against these two maniacs. I agree with a lot of what Grump said in his post, but it really only applies to that type of maniac. The part where he says your opponents can put you on a very narrow range, it's true, but in most good low stakes games people don't even try to put you on a hand, they aren't paying attention to how many hands you are playing, or even if they are, they don't care - just like when she called the $200 shove, she most likely thought she was behind but called anyway. I think image in a 1-2 game is overrated. Tony talks about it frequently, he says he straddled for $50, or he triple barrel bluffed and got called by top pair, but it's okay because it got him action later. There's a good chance he would have gotten that same action anyway, because it's 1-2 and people don't like to fold.

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