This is about a single hand that happened in my very first session of my recent Vegas trip. In fact, it was the very last hand of my first session. There was a lot from this session to write about, but at the time, this hand haunted me so much that I really wanted to isolate it into its own post so I could properly vent about it. Originally, I was going to write this up while I was still in Vegas--a quick short post that wouldn't take me too long to write.. But I never got around to writing it up while I was up there..
Now I find myself in need of a post I can write quickly, this time due to the fact that my deadline for my next Ante Up column is breathing down my neck, and I need to finish this post tonite so I can start writing the column. So as originally planned, I’m gonna talk about this one hand from a 4-1/2 hour session.
For reasons I will explain eventually—when I get around to talking about the rest of this session—I was down to $68 and had no intention of adding any more to my stack. I mean from my wallet, that is. Contributions to my stack from the other players would be most welcome. Actually, a bit before this hand, I was down to $19. Again, I will explain why I was playing such a small stack in a future post.
In late position I looked down at pocket Jacks. Several people limped in and I made it $14. I thought about just open-shoving, but thought that $68 was just a bit much to try it there. I was surprised to get three callers, including this old dude I had already decided I was calling “Brillo Head.”
It was his hair. As I said, he was an old guy and he had this ridiculously looking mop of long, curly hair. It was extremely blonde. Did I mention it looked ridiculous? Sorry, I suppose it is good that at his age, he still had so much hair. But curly as it was, it would have looked a lot less hideous if he kept it short. Now I suppose since it was blonde, “Brillo Head” isn’t really apt. It certainly wasn’t the color of a Brillo pad. And it wasn’t really coarse enough for a Brillo pad. So, really “Brillo Head” is actually not a good name for this schmo. Perhaps “Cotton-candy Head” would be more appropriate. Tough. My first thought when I saw this guy was “Brillo Head” and I’m sticking to it.
Brillo Head had been at the table for awhile when this hand took place, and had not really made an impression on me. As far as I could tell, he was a nit. I couldn’t recall a hand he had played. That said, I should point out that this took place on St. Patrick’s Day, and it was a Slut Parade night. It was in fact, a very, very good Slut Parade night. And I had an excellent seat to view the festivities. So it’s possible I was a little distracted.
Anyway, the flop came 6-5-2, two hearts, one diamond. All three of the other players checked. Well that sure looked like a great flop for pocket Jacks, right? So I shoved (really didn’t have a big enough stack to bet less). The first guy folded instantly, and then it was Brillo Head’s turn.
He had at least $200 in his stack. He asked for a count, and when told it was $54, he thought for a bit and started counting out chips. Very methodically, very slowly. But he hadn’t said anything yet, so he wasn’t committed to calling. You see that all the time of course, someone counting out the chips even before they decide what action they will take. Sometimes they just want to see what their remaining stack will look like if they call and lose (you see this especially in tournaments). I should mention that I noticed the guy next to him, the last player still in the hand, was obviously ready to fold. You could tell by the way he was holding his cards that they were about to fly into the muck as soon as Brillo Head completed his action.
Finally, after Brillo Head counted out exactly $54 (because he had at least four dollar chips, of course), he said “call” and pushed the chips forward. As expected, the next player’s cards hit the muck a nano-second later.
We were now heads up with no further betting action possible. We didn’t show. The turn card was a black King and the river was something not relevant to this story. I turned over my Jacks, and he turned over…Ace-King. Ace-King! One was a heart, one was a diamond. He caught his card on the turn and thus ended my night of poker. Also notice that he had originally limped in with Ace-King. Didn’t like it enough to raise with it pre-flop. But now, with just two cards coming, he loved it enough to risk $54 on it! Huh?
I said, “nice call,” as sarcastically as a person can. Really? Really? Does anyone like that play there? Yeah, he had a back-door flush draw. And yes, he did have a back-door wheel draw. But basically, he had a pair draw. And he hit it. I suppose he could have decided I was c-betting a flop that missed me. But the most likely hand I would show up with then was…Ace-King. Was he calling $54 just to chop the pot? Yeah, I could have had Ace-Queen or worse, sure. Still…..he had nothing.
Now if there were some implied odds available, I could maybe see his call. But since I was all-in, that wasn’t a factor. And if he noticed the guy next to him, as I said, couldn’t wait to get rid of his hand, he’d have known he wasn’t getting any money from him. And since I was all-in with a pretty big bet, you can’t consider his call a “float.” He was calling either because he thought his Ace-King might be good or he figured he had 6 outs. Of course I could have Aces or Kings there myself, right? I would have played it the same way with Aces or Kings.
Anyway, I was done, and pretty pissed. Even though the poker hadn’t been treating me kindly, I was having fun at the table and as I said, I was committed to putting no more money in play. If I had been willing to risk more this night, I would have already topped off my stack, and not let it get to $68 (or $19 before that).
Well, that stinking hand—the interesting call by Brillo Head—put a damper on the rest of my evening. Of course it would have really nice if he had made the call and missed. That would have given me a decent stack to play with. But I would have been very happy with him folding there and taking the pot as is (especially in light of how it played out).
At the time, I didn’t realize it, but now, a few weeks later, in retrospect, I think it’s fair to trace all my poker woes for the trip back to this single hand. It started me on the downward spiral from which I never recovered. If only Brillo Head had folded there, my whole trip would have been different. I would have won at every session I played. I would have come home several thousand dollars ahead. It wall goes back to that one stinking hand.