Everyone hates to be slow rolled, right? Well, yesterday I was slow rolled and didn’t mind very much. I even got a chuckle out of it.
Once again I spent a Saturday afternoon at Player’s Casino in Ventura. This was the first time since I started playing there that I was able to get a seat right away into the 2/3 game. The place was the least busy I’ve ever seen it. It might have been due to the gorgeous Southern California weather encouraging folks to engage in outdoor activities. But we have that about 335 days a year. So I suspect it was more due to a lot of folks taking their summer vacations. I took the last available seat they had—there were 3 tables of it running the entire time I was there. I didn’t recognize anyone at the table.
After going through an orbit and a half without playing a hand, I looked down at the the dreaded pocket Kings in middle position. There had been a limper so I made it $15 and had 3 callers. When it got to the guy on my immediate right, the original limper, he tanked and actually asked for time. He had a fairly smallish stack, around $40-$45 and I wondered if he was considering putting it all in. But he folded and later volunteered that he had Ace-Queen—and was only thinking of calling, not shoving.
It was a rather nice flop, King-9-4, rainbow. The first two players checked and it was on me. I wasn’t sure what to do. Pretty safe flop for my hand—should I slow play it? That might have been my default play. But then I remembered the latest Ed Miller book, where he talks about “streets of value” and if you have a hand that’s worth three streets of value, you want to have a plan to get it all in by the river if you can. Actually, I got a comment reminding me of the “streets of value” thing on a recent post. So I thought that I should bet. After all, the pot isn’t going to build itself. And I hadn’t been at the table long enough to have a read on anyone—like anyone who might try to steal if I checked, or might overplay a mediocre hand. With no information on the players, and having been the preflop aggressor, I went ahead and put out $30. But no one bit and I didn’t get much for my set of Kings. OTOH, any kind of win with that hand is a huge win for me.
And then—stop me if you’ve heard this before—I went card dead. Completely and utterly card dead. For a good 90 minutes, I got virtually nothing to play. A few suited Aces I called raises with which whiffed every flop. No Ace-King or Ace-Queen or other playable Broadway cards. The next biggest pocket pair I got was pocket 10’s, when I was in the small blind. It folded to me and we chopped. I did get pocket 3’s an inordinate amount of time—maybe five times—called raises with them and never hit. It was weird how often I was getting 3’s and no other pockets.
Finally, in the small blind, I got Ace-King for the first time. By this time, my $300 starting stack had dwindled below $200. An aggro who had just busted and bought in for another $100 raised to $35. He did like to make big preflop raises. There had been a number of limpers and when it came to me, all I could think of was how badly I had played Ace-King two weeks earlier (see here). What I should have done was shove in an attempt to get heads up against the aggro (assuming he would have called). But with a bunch of other players behind, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was fighting the last war, thinking about the disastrous Ace-King hand from before. So I just called. Everyone else folded behind me anyway.
The flop was low and I checked. I should have bet the $65 or so to put the guy all-in. It was unlikely that ragged flop had hit him. But again, I couldn’t pull the trigger and just checked. He shoved. I thought about calling, thinking Ace-high might be good, but I gave up. He turned over one card, an Ace. I bet my hand was the best when I folded. Damn. Gotta get over my Ace-King hang up, apparently.
I found myself down to around $130. I was getting close to calling it a day, so I didn’t top off my stack. I got King-Queen off and opened for $12. One guy called and then the big blind shoved for his last $23. We both called. The shorty announced he was playing blind. The flop was King-9-X, rainbow. I bet $40 and the other guy called. The turn was a Jack and I put all the rest of my chips in. The other guy tanked for quite a bit and then finally folded. So I won the side pot, and then, because of what happened next, I don’t remember the river card. But I flipped over my hand, and had totally forgotten that the short stack had announced he was all-in blind.
Instead of flipping over his cards immediately, he took just one card and turned it over—not knowing what to expect, just like the rest of us. It was then that I remembered he hadn’t looked and had no idea what he had. But the first card he flipped over was a 9 and I had to hope his other card didn’t match the board. There was a dramatic pause and he slowly flipped over his other card. It was another 9. The guy had flopped a set of 9’s and didn’t know it. He was excited and happy, but nowhere near the over exuberant jerk the guy I described in this post was. I’d played with him all day and he was a good guy. His stack had been up and down the entire time. But a few people did point out that it was definitely a slow roll, even if it wasn’t intended to be.
In the fact, the guy to my immediate right thought it was just about the best thing he’d ever seen. He thought that it might be the first time in the history of poker someone ever slow rolled someone because he played his hand blind and didn’t know that he had won. I assured him that this same situation must have happened plenty of times before. Meanwhile, the guy with the set of 9’s apologized for slow rolling me, reminding me, as if I didn’t know, that he had no idea what he had.
I actually laughed and said, “Well, yeah, you did slow roll me, but since it was an ‘accidental slow roll,’ I’m ok with it..” Since it wasn’t a huge pot. that was mostly true. And actually, I was grateful that the guy didn’t have a bigger stack, I could have lost some serious money running my top pair into his set.
After we finished laughing about the accidental slow roll, the guy who folded on the turn said to me, “I would have won if I had stayed in. I should have called, I would have hit a straight. I was open-ended on the turn.” Hmm….in the commotion about the slow roll, I forgot some of the cards on the board, including the river card. But I’m trying to figure out what he would have had for the Jack on the turn (which I am sure of, cuz I didn’t like it) to have given him an open-ender—and where it would have made sense for him to call on the flop. But if he was right, I was certainly happy my shove there got him to fold. I still had chips to play with.
My stack was around $125-$135 a bit later when I got pocket deuces. I was in the cut-off and no one had entered the pot yet. I’m not limping in one from the button, so I made the min-raise to $6 and got three callers. The flop came Jack-9-2, two hearts. It checked to me and I made it $25. The guy on my left, another aggro, called, then another player raised to about $60 or so. I didn’t bother asking for a count, because as soon as I saw he was going to raise, I knew I was putting the rest of my chips in, which I did. The aggro folded but of course the guy who had raised called, it wasn’t that much more. The turn was another 9 and I no longer was worrying about the flush. But when I flipped over my hand, he just mucked his cards and I had won a nice pot.
I won a few more very small pots from the blinds, both times, oddly enough with trip 10’s when I had 10-7 and 10-3, respectively. But I didn’t quite get back to even, losing around $50. Considering how card dead I was for the day, it wasn’t that bad a result. And I didn’t even mind the accidental slow roll.