This is from a session very early in my trip from last month. I’m going to talk about this session more in a future post, but I felt this particular hand was so unusual that it deserved it’s very own post.
It was a 1/2 NL game and I had worked my $200 buy-in up to around $300. The action at the game wasn’t great, but I’d caught a few cards and had won a decent pot catching a guy’s bluff. At the other end of the table there was this Asian man with a lot of chips. He was totally not the stereotypical Asian player. He was one of the tightest players at the table—maybe the tightest. I really couldn’t remember a lot of pots he’d played, and when he did play, he was content to limp in or call a raise. Couldn’t remember him ever raising himself preflop more than once or twice—if that.
For most of the time, he had about the same average-sized stack, he didn’t really do anything that could have changed his stack much. But by the time this hand started, he had a really big stack, way more than my measly $300. Listening to my voice notes now, I didn’t make any note about how he had gotten his big stack and suspected he may have won it while I was taking a restroom break. It is possible that I did see the hand and didn’t recall it by the next day when I made my notes.
Anyway, on this particular hand, I found myself with the dreaded pocket Kings. Pretty sure it was the first time that I had seen them for the trip. But before it got to me, the Asian fellow had opened for $15. That was an unusually large opening raise for this table, $8 to $10 was the typical opening. And as I said, I was hard pressed to recall this guy making a preflop raise of any size.
The next guy shoved—but only for a total of $16. It folded to me.
Now, pretty much 100% of the time in that situation, I’m going to re-raise. That was certainly my inclination. But then I gave it some more thought. You don’t have to three-bet there. I’ve seen plenty of players just flat with Kings preflop. I just don’t do it myself. And I’ve had so much success with Kings, you know. And I was looking at this guy’s huge stack and my little $100 profit and thinking—do I want to risk that with my ultimate jinx hand? And I really thought that there was really a very high probability that the tightest player at the table had the one hand that beat me.
You could say I was experimenting with how to play Kings. Or you could say I was scared of those damn Kings. But I ended up just calling the $16. The Asian man of course threw in another buck and the three of us saw a flop.
It was all lowish cards, two spades. I did have the King of spades. He led out for $35. Pretty good flop for me, unless he had the one hand I was worried about pre-flop. I just called, hoping I guess that he was c-betting with an Ace-King type hand and would not continue on the turn.
The turn was a medium rank card—and another spade. So now I had a draw to the second nut flush. He didn’t check. Instead he put out $75 and I went into the tank.
Sure, he could have had Jacks or Queens. He could have also had Ace-Queen or Ace-Jack of spades and I’d be drawing dead. I was still thinking he mostly like had two Aces—but did he have the Ace of spades? I took quite a long time to think it over.
And then, while I was still thinking, from across the table, I saw the guy, ever so subtly, lift up one of his two hole cards and flash it to me. It was Ace of spades!
Well, I think I was leaning towards folding anyway, but that clinched it. I folded. Note: Yes, it’s entirely possible his other card was an offsuit King or Queen and he did that to get me to fold a hand that was behind his. But nothing I had seen from this guy all day gave me any real reason to think that.
Since there was still a showdown to come—against the guy who was all in for $16 preflop—the guy flipped over both his cards. He had a red Ace to go with his Ace of spades. So he had exactly what I had put him on the whole time.
I was relieved. The guy had possibly saved me some money by showing me his card. And honestly, I cannot figure out why he did it. Why did he not want to take my money?
Is there a thought-process that showing me the Ace makes me more likely to call? Like I would assume he was doing it because he did have Ace-King or Ace-Queen off and I should call (or raise) with my pocket pair? Is that what he was thinking?
Otherwise, he’s just showing to get me to fold. But why? What is he afraid of? If I already have a flush—if I have King-Queen of spades—am I ever folding there? Knowing he has the draw to a better flush (or maybe he already has a better flush) am I ever folding? He would love for me to call if he had Ace-Jack of spades, right?
Am I folding a set? He only showed me one card so I don’t know he has a flush. He has a draw to it, at the least. But if I have a set, I have a draw to a boat. Am I ever folding a set on the turn there?
It seems to me his showing me the Ace of spades was designed to get me to fold the exact hand I had—pocket Kings with the King of spades.
So my question is….why didn’t he want to take my money? We had had no conversation at all. So it wasn’t like we had become fast friends and he was doing me a solid out of friendship.
Any thoughts you might have on why he didn’t want my money will be appreciated. I’m grateful of course. But baffled.