Losing a poker hand is not fun, but sometimes you can feel like you lost even when you win. You know what I mean—when you have the best hand and you can’t get your opponent to call and give you more money. You were entitled to that money, right? I talked about one such hand recently (see here) when Victor didn’t call my river shove when I only had quad Queens. In that case, I probably blew it by not shoving the turn with a set. This session started with another such hand.
When I got to the table, I recognized one of the players as one of the brand new dealers I’d seen at MGM when I first got to town almost a month earlier. I’d seen her in the room a few times and she’d dealt to me maybe twice, no more than that. I’d never seen her play before. For the purposes of this blog, we’re going to call her Ellen.
It was just my second or third hand since taking me seat, and I looked down at the dreaded pocket Kings. After a limper or two, Ellen raised to $5 and I made it $20. Ellen was the only caller. The flop was Ace-high, rainbow, and she checked. I bet $30 and she called. Obviously I was concerned she had an Ace and I wasn’t sure what to do on the turn, but the decision was made easier for me when the King of diamonds landed. That put a second diamond on the board. She checked again and I bet $40. Ellen went into the tank for a good long while, then finally called.
The river was a third diamond but otherwise looked harmless. She checked and I meant to bet $60 but somehow only put out $55. I really wasn’t too concerned about her hitting a back door flush. She went into the tank even longer this time. But finally, she folded. Hmm….Considering the size of the pot, I was surprised. If she had a missed draw she would have folded instantly, so what did she have? Well, she asked me what I had and I just smiled. She started teasing me about what I had, what she had, trying to get me to tell her. At this point, we were sitting a few seats away from each other and there was no way I was going to say anything that anyone else could overhear. I said to her, “I’ll tell you when you get up to deal.”
She moved next to me and kept bugging me about it. Obviously she made a pretty tough laydown to be so obsessed. At one point she asked, “Did you have pocket 9’s?” There was no 9 on the board, so she obviously could beat pocket 9’s. Then another time, she asked, “Do you ever bluff?” I chuckled and said, “Yeah, of course I bluff.”
She finally gave up, and then, about an hour or so later, she picked up so she could get ready to start her shift. But I was in the middle of a hand when she got up, and I didn’t get a chance to tell her what I had. Why did I want to tell her? Well, I dunno, I usually do in a hand like that when one of us leaves, especially if it’s someone I know. I figure Ellen and I are possibly about to embark on a long relationship—strictly over poker, you understand—and why not become pals? Besides, I was very curious about what she had herself.
I’ll jump ahead another hour or so to when I was done for the night. I cashed out and tracked her down. She was dealing and when she was waiting for someone to act, I whispered to her, “I had pocket Kings in that hand.” She spent a couple of seconds recalling the hand and then the light bulb went off over her head. “Oh….so you got me on the turn, you sneaky boy?” I laughed and asked what she had. “Ace-Queen.” She had to get back to the game and I took off, still obsessing a bit over the last hand of the night (which I’m about to get to) so I didn’t think too much of it.
But by the next day, I was thinking about it a lot. She had Ace-Queen? Top pair, really good kicker? Seriously? How does she lay that down, I wondered. I mean, it’s not like I bet a ton of money. For the size of the pot it was certainly worth a call. For the rest of the day, all I could think of was, “How does she lay that down?” I knew I was gonna bitch about it to her next time I saw her. Unfortunately, she has a sporadic schedule and I didn’t see her again until pretty close to my last night in town. But I did find her and tell her that I was mad at her. “Huh?” I reminded of the hand from over a week before and then asked, “How do you fold top pair there? It wasn’t even that big a bet. It was a third-pot bet.” She had moved on and didn’t recall it very well, so she just shrugged and said, “I just thought I wasn’t good there.” Hmmph. To this day, I wonder how she laid that down.
Anyway, after that hand, I won a few small pots but as soon as a new dealer pushed in, I went incredibly card dead. In fact, about an hour later, Ellen said to me, “I don’t have a chance to win my money back because you never play a hand.”
Well, I played a few and despite my inactivity, I managed to drip, drip, drip down to almost break even. And since I had gone so long without any getting anything worth really playing, I decided to end the boredom of fold, fold, fold and leave. Even though it was fairly early, I was ready to call it a night. I wasn’t protecting my $10-$15 remaining profit; I was just fed up with the cards I was getting. Not my night, not since the very first dealer I had.
So down to my last orbit, and then finally down to the last hand I intended to play. I was under-the-gun and not prepared to post one more blind. And then I looked down at King-Queen of diamonds. It was literally the first playable hand I’d seen in an over an hour. I raised to $8 and four players called. The flop was Ace-7-4, two diamonds, including the Ace. So I had the draw to the nut flush. I made a c-bet of $25. The guy to my immediate left, with a shorter stack than mine, called. And then the lady at the table made it $75.
This lady had gotten my attention when she sat down. She was most likely Hawaiian, and she was skimpily dressed. She had real really short-shorts and a crop top. She wasn’t showing any cleavage, but the top barely came down below her boobies. The result was a large area of bare midriff exposed. And I must say, she had an incredibly flat stomach. So it wasn’t exactly at unpleasant sight. Let’s call her “Bare-midriff girl” or BMG for short. Her play had been a little erratic. A few times it seemed like she was on the aggro side, but other times she seemed almost nitty. It was hard to read her.
But since I had the draw to the absolute nuts, I wasn’t reluctant to call. Now, it did cross my mind to come over the top (she had me covered by a fair amount), but I don’t usually raise with just a draw and the last time I tried that (see here) it didn’t work out so well. So I just called.
The guy on my left shoved--but only for $67. Obviously it made no sense for him to call and leave $17 behind. And then, as soon as he shoved, BMG announced, “all-in.” Really?
Well, of course, she couldn’t raise. Her bet had only been raised $17 on top of her $50 raise, so his raise didn’t re-open the betting. But I sure took note of the speed with which she announced her intention. I recognize that her actions could possibly be something she intentionally did to throw me off and that she knew she couldn’t raise. But I was pretty sure that she genuinely wanted to raise there. So she called the $17, and of course I did as well.
But I had to think that she was going to shove on the turn, unless she really didn’t like the next card. I spent a nano-second wondering if I should bet if I caught my flush—a third diamond might have been the one card that would have prevented her from voluntarily going all in there.
But the card was black and another 4, pairing the board. Not at all what I wanted to see. I checked and she wasted no time announcing her all in. Ugh. I thought long and hard, and then longer and harder. As I said, she had me covered. I counted my own chips. It was around $135 left. The math didn’t really work, even if my hand was still alive. I couldn’t put her on just a pair there, not with her aggressive action on the flop. I figured she likely had two pair or a set on the flop. Which meant that she might have had a full house on the turn and I was drawing dead.
It didn’t make sense to do anything but fold, so I did. And then I watched the dealer put another diamond on the river. However, it was the 4 of diamonds. Yikes. There were three diamonds and three 4’s on the board. I knew of course there was no way the flush I would have caught could be good. The short stack flipped over 10-9 of diamonds. BMG flipped over Ace-5! Seriously? Wow, not only had she wanted to shove the flop with just top pair, but she had no kicker to boot. I totally misread her strength there (or lack thereof). Of course, with the trips on the board, she did indeed have a boat to take down the pot. I guess I would have been pretty unhappy if the river had been any other diamond, since my hand was very much alive when I folded. But again, I wasn’t getting the right price to call.
BMG was quite giddy at the turn of events as she scooped in the nice pot. She kind of did a bit of dance, and it was one of the few times I can remember not enjoying seeing a hot girl wearing very little clothing dance. I believe I revealed what I folded (since I was leaving anyway) and she said, “I wish you had called—I wanted you to call.” You know, if I had, and instead of the 4, the 2 of diamonds hit, I don’t think she’d have felt that way.
I did wonder though what would have happened if I had shoved over her re-raise on the flop. Would she have called? I should have asked her, not that I would be able to trust her answer. Based on how aggressive she had played it until then, I can’t assume she would have folded for $134 more.
That hand gave me no reason to change my mind about calling it a night. I cashed out with a small loss. See? Even when I win with pocket Kings, I lose.