Here’s a midweek cash game session from my last Vegas trip. The venue was Caesars, the game was 1/2. This was one of those tables where the players were changing pretty much constantly. It seemed like, except for my buddy Don, who joined me mid-game, and no one was at the table longer than 15 minutes. Some went to other games I guess, some just left the room, but it was a very unstable group. Hard to get a read on anyone when they don’t stay longer than an orbit or two.
Early on, I limped in with King-Jack of clubs. Five of us saw a flop of King-Queen-2, two spades, one club. The nice older woman at the table led out for $15, I called and it was heads up. The turn was a 10 of spades we both checked. The river was a blank and she put out $15, I called and she showed Ace-Queen off. Better to start off winning a small pot than losing a big one. Great insight, huh?
In the big blind I had pocket Aces. Some guy had raised to $15. I made it $45. It folded back to the original raiser who folded instantly.
I had King-4 off in the big blind and no one raised. It was six-way. The flop was King-high and I checked/called $10, it was now three-way. The turn was a 4, also the second spade on the board. I led out for $20. After a fold, the flop bettor gave me a good long stare before folding and showing a King face up. I suppose I could have tried to check-raise but I wasn’t sure the guy would bet again and two pair is pretty vulnerable.
In the small blind I completed with 9-8 off. Only three of us saw a flop of 9-8-8. Yahtzee! I checked hoping someone would take a stab at it. But it checked around. The turn was a 5 and I had to bet. I put out a measly $5 and got one call. The river was a 5. I only bet $10…but didn’t get a call. Shit. What a pathetic pot for such a monster. What a waste.
This next hand was interesting because of the weird action on the river. That river action was one of the reasons I might have missed something recording the action prior to it. I’ll do the best I can. I had Ace-5 of diamonds in the big blind. There was a $4 straddle UTG. I called, the straddler didn’t raise and four or five of us saw the flop, which was, I think, 4-2-X, one diamond. The “X”: was a biggish card and either the 4 or the 2 was a diamond. No one bet. The turn was the 6 of diamonds and again no one bet (this part makes no sense if that’s right, as you’ll see). Just as I was thinking that the 3 of diamonds would give me both a straight and a flush (but not a straight flush), the dealer actually did put the 3 of diamonds out there. Since the board wasn't paired and I had the blockers to a straight flush, I had the nuts.
Now as I was trying to figure out how much to bet, how much would get called, the guy on my immediate left, the straddler, bet $5 out of turn. The dealer of course told him that he was acting out of turn and that the action was on me. Well, knowing the guy had to bet if I checked, I of course checked. No point in chasing away business.
So I checked and the guy was obligated to put out his measly $5. Well, the lady on his immediate left raised to $10. Oh wow, this was getting good. Everyone else left folded to me.
And so while I was trying to figure out what my raise should be, the idiot next to me, who had already bet out of turn once this street, put another $5 into the pot to call the lady’s raise. Again, the dealer stopped him and warned him about betting out of turn.
Well, that made it easy for me again. I knew he didn’t like his hand enough to re-raise. And I knew since my raising would change the action, he wouldn’t be obligated to call my raise or even put that extra $5 he had tried to call with into the pot. I decided on making it $25, figuring they were both likely to call that—and perhaps the lady might raise again.
As an aside, I had to consider the possibility that I suddenly become invisible, since the guy on my immediate left had twice ignored me. How did he miss me? Was I actually invisible? Perhaps instead of playing poker that evening, I should have tested my new super power of invisibility by visiting a few Ladies locker rooms at gyms around town?
Anyway, both players did indeed call. No more raises. Still, the river had turned it into a decent pot. The straddler had a straight, I don’t remember if he showed his hand or not, but I’m sure that’s what it was. And the lady showed pocket 6’s for a set. That’s why I find it hard to believe she didn’t bet the turn. I mean I suppose she might have been worried about a straight on the turn, but if she was going to raise (albeit a baby raise) on the river with her 6 out there which made the straight even more likely, you would think should would have wanted to bet her set on the turn.
But I think that’s the way it went down, and I had a nice pot, helped by the guy who didn’t see me. Twice.
The next morning, when I was reviewing my notes, I got to thinking of a hypothetical where I didn’t know what the correct answer was.
I’ll ask my readers, perhaps some dealers or floor people can chime in. Suppose after the lady made it $10, the straddler, still ignoring my existence, attempted to make a raise instead of a call? In that case, again, I would then only want to call the lady’s $10 bet—assuming that is, the guy was obligated to put in the raise he attempted to do out of turn. Let’s say he tried to make it $25 before I acted. If I knew that he was obligated to make it $25 if I just called the lady’s bet, it would make sense for me to just call, knowing he was going to raise. The lady would do whatever she would do and then I would unleash my raise, with more money in the pot.
But I’m wondering if my calling the lady’s $10 bet would “change the action” significantly enough so that the straddler would no long be obligated to put out the raise he tried to make out of turn. Anyone know? I mean, it’s clear if I had folded, he’d have to make that raise, but what if I called?
Well, as I said, that’s just hypothetical, it didn't happen that way. But I was happy to get what I did in a hand where no one bet the flop or the turn where I rivered the nuts. And the guy’s betting out of turn sure helped me out.
I guess one of the reasons I was unsure about the details of that hand was that I hadn’t had a chance to enter it into my notes before getting into another hand. I limped in with King-10 of diamonds. The flop was Ace-high, two diamonds and yes, the Ace was a diamond, giving me the nut flush draw. It checked around. An offsuit Jack on the turn also gave me a gutshot to Broadway. This time I bet $10 and had one caller. The river was the Queen of diamonds, once again giving me the nut flush—in diamonds again—and a straight! I bet $25 and he hesitated a long time, but finally called. He didn’t show when I tabled my hand. The dealer made a comment about getting two nut diamond flushes almost back-to-back. And I pointed out that I also had straights both times.
Don raised to $10 and I called with Ace-4 of spades, there was one other caller. The flop was Ace-high and I called Don’s $20 bet, it was heads up. He checked the turn, which was a 4. So I bet $30 and he folded.
In the big blind, I had Ace-4 off and no one raised. There was no bet on the flop, which had a 4 on it and some paint cards. The turn was an Ace, putting three Broadway cards out there. Since it was a limped pot I bet just $5 and had one caller. I boated up on the river with another 4. I bet $10 and didn’t get a call. Second full house of the night where I won a really dinky pot.
I raised to $10 with pocket Jacks and it was 4-way. The flop was low and a guy donked out $10 in front of me. I made it $30 with my overpair, the donker called and we were heads up. The turn was a blank, my Jacks were still an overpair and we both checked. The rivered paired a 6 and he bet again, this time $20. Did he catch that 6? I just called. All he had in his hand was a 4, which matched one of the flop cards.
That was pretty much it . I booked a nice little profit for the session, thanks to a couple of diamond flushes and the aura of invisibility.