Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pocket King's—I Hate 'Em, I Just Hate 'Em

I have a few tournaments I hope to eventually blog about from my last Vegas visit, but the one that is the most pressing on my mind, and almost made me give up poker (not really) took place at the Aria on a particular Monday a couple of weeks back.  Yikes.
I made a last minute decision to play in the Aria 1PM tournament.  I would love to know how may day turned out in the alternate universe where I went with my original plan for the day and spent some time catching up on personal matters on the ol’ laptop.
Perhaps I would have slipped in the shower and killed myself.  I suppose that would have been a worse day than the one I had.  But maybe not.
There are two important characters in this stage play.  Together, we’ll call them the “clowns”.  Individually, we’ll call them “Asian Guy” and “The Punk.”  I’m calling the first character Asian Guy just for i.d. purposes…he was Asian.  He was probably older than he looked, so I can’t guess.  The Punk was early 20’s, if that.  Wool hat.  Did not have the earbuds and the hoody, though he seemed that type. 
Anyway, it was a late arriving crowd.  Asian Guy was there from the beginning, The Punk showed up later.  They were across the table from me in seats 8 & 9 respectively.  I had seat 2. 
Early on I stole a pot, which was nice.  Asian Guy was rather chatty.  He loudly criticized the player in seat 3 after he won a pot with 7-4 suited by hitting a straight on the river.  He had to call a pre-flop raise (after limping in) to be in the hand.  Asian Guy asked what the heck the guy was doing calling a raise with that hand.  He said he would be out of chips very soon playing that way.  But Seat 3 said nothing.
Despite this, Asian Guy was hardly a tight player.  I saw him take down a pot at the river with a J-9 offsuit.  He had raised pre-flop with it.  And he was criticizing a guy for loose play?
I was getting no cards, and no pots save the one I stole.   But things got weird when The Punk entered the tournament in seat 9.  He seemed to raise a lot pre-flop.  He didn’t get called down to the river much, he was taking a lot of pots uncontested (sometimes pre-flop, sometimes post-flop after he raised pre-flop and then bet the flop).  I started to suspect that this guy wasn’t raising with much, if anything.
So in early position The Punk makes his usual raise (approximately 3X BB’s)  I’ve got 99.  Ordinarily I wouldn’t 3-bet that hand but I felt that kid probably didn’t have much so I re-raised.  It folded back to him and he called.
The flop had a King and two low cards.  Certainly his raising range included King-rag, so I wasn’t too confident about my pocket nines.  He bet about 2/3’s the pot so I folded.  Instead of just taking down the pot, he flipped over his 8-6 offsuit.  That’s what he raised with pre-flop!  And of course, nothing on the board hit him, both his bets were total bluffs.  He laughed and Asian Guy loved it.  A few others laughed and someone said “that’s poker” and I just said, “nice bet.”
OK, nice lesson for me.  Not long after that I limped in with pocket three’s.  The Punk raises from the Big Blind.  I call.  I didn’t hit my set so I’m done.  He bets the flop and I of course fold.  This time he shows 7-2 offsuit! And there was nothing on the flop even in the same time zone as his two cards.  Now he’s just eating this up, Asian Guy is loving it and someone else says, “Oh, you’ve got his number now” meaning me.
Well, this really encouraged Asian Guy.  From then on, at least one of them, if not both, raised every pot, every single pot.  And they were laughing about it and between the two of them they were taking down most of the pots.  Of course all the players noticed this and so one nice lady shoved when she had top pair against The Punk.  Well, even maniacs get hands sometime and the Punk shows two pair (top two) to take down the pot and bust out the woman.
Between hands the two of them were laughing and talking and pointing out the other players to each other and I’m sure I heard one of them say “donkey” and I’m thinking they may have meant me. 
Now a couple of points.  One is that by acting this way, it was kind of bordering on collusion.  Although they did occasionally both stay in hands, usually it was one of the other (but to be fair, when they were up against each other, they really enjoyed bluffing the other one out). And I'm pretty sure they didn't know each other. But the fact that there was a raise on every hand and you know it was likely with a crappy hand made it extremely difficult to play at this table.
The other point is this—I know the easiest person to bluff is a bluffer.  And I thought about that and wondered if the best move I had was to beat them at their own game.  But the fact that there were two of them doing the same crap all the time made this seem too tricky to me.  I could maybe bluff one but not two.
So, I figured I had no real choice but to play super-tight and bide my time until I got a really good hand.  And then hopefully take some chips from one or both of them.
Well, it didn’t take that long for the really good hand.  With the blinds at $100/$200 I got KK in early position.  I bet $800 (had about $5000 left).  The guy to my immediate left (Seat 3) calls.  Asian Guy (who has me covered by a lot) re-raises to $2300.  I’m not unhappy about that.  With my KK I’m going to shove when it comes back to me.  If by some bit of bad luck he actually has AA this time, so be it.
The Punk folds because a bluff here with 7-2 offsuit isn’t going to work.   But I was surprised when the Small Blind called the $2300.  He was fairly new to the table and I couldn’t recall him playing a hand yet.  He must have something pretty good.  Could he be the one with Pocket Rockets?
No matter, I had to take my chances.  I shoved in the rest of my chips.  Now it was up to Seat 3. He thought about it for a long time and then folded.  Asian Guy instantly says “all-in.”  And Seat 3 says “That’s what I was a afraid of.”  Now it’s back to the Small Blind,  He takes his time and Asian Guy encourages to call (risking his entire stack).  This is clearly against the rules at Aria but the dealer says nothing.  I could have asked for the Floor but I wanted him to call, I figured if he had AA he would have called instantly, so since it was a tough choice for him, I was probably ahead of him..  Finally he calls.
We flip over our cards and Small Blind has QQ.  Asian Guy has A10 offsuit (great hand to go all in with when you don’t have to, he wrote sarcastically). 
At least he only had one “live” card, I thought.  I’ve got a good chance to triple up.
Wrong.  There were not one but two friggin’ 10’s on the flop.  Nothing helped anyone after that.  Somehow it was worse getting beat by two 10's than a single Ace, as I feared.  Anyway, he busted out the Small Blind as well as me, and he was just whopping it up, high fiving, fist bumping The Punk and just practically doing a table dance right there on the poker table.  And he said nothing to me or the other guy.  Uusually in that situation the lucky winner says “sorry” or “that was sick” or something acknowledging how damn lucky they got, but he was just celebrating.
Needless to say, it left a bad taste in my mouth as I exited the tournament.  I don’t mind busting out (ok, that’s a lie, but you know what I mean), but to see such poor sportsmanship, to see such immature behavior…well it just really angered me.  Worse, to see bad, silly, crazy play actually rewarded by the gods of poker was quite infuriating.  I was actually too upset to get in my car and drive.  I had to walk it off. 
I left the Aria and before I knew where I was headed, I found myself at the MGM.  Unfortunately they do indeed have a poker room there…..a very nice one (though this was when they were in their temporary location so it wasn’t as nice as the usual room).  They had a 2/4 Limit game just starting when I got there, but it was quite short-handed.  I didn’t want to play in a 2/4 game that wasn’t close to full.  Instead I noticed a 1/2 No Limit game starting and I could take the last available seat, so I took it.  I guess I figured I would get my money back and wash the bad taste of that tournament out of my mouth with a nice session.
I bought in for $100 and after about an orbit or two where I wasn’t really playing anything, I looked down at KK in middle position!  At first I had a quick nasty flashback to the tournament, but then I thought, “No way I can burned twice with this hand in less than an hour.”  I figured this was my chance to get a score on the Kings.
One person limped before me, and I raised to $8.  One caller and the limper called, so three of us saw the flop.  The good news, there was a King on the flop, I made my set of Kings.  The bad news, two hearts.  I bet out $10 but both my opponents called.  The turn was the third heart.  First to act now bets $20.  Well, I am not going to fold a set of Kings for a $20 bet to a guy representing a flush.  I call.  Then the guy in late position raises all-in!  Damn.  The other guy folds (did he have a small flush or perhaps just the Ace of hearts?  Dunno).  I had to figure the guy had the flush, or at least was making a heckuva bluff at it.  I hadn’t played with him long enough to have a handle on whether or not he was capable of that. 
I feltI had to call, even though it cost me my entire stack (he had me covered).   Even if he did have the flush, I still had 10 outs to beat him.  And he might not have the flush anyway.  So I shoved.
River was a blank and the guy flips over Queen/Eight of hearts to take down the pot…and my stack.  I showed the set of Kings to get sympathy from the other players…which I got.  I would have preferred the pot.
I re-bought for $60,  My mind was elsewhere but I managed to win a small pot.  When I got blinded down to the re-buy of $60 I left and vowed never to play poker again.  Or at least, never play pocket Kings again.  Of course neither vow lasted more than a few hours.
But just to reiterate …I hate pocket Kings!!!!!!


  1. Nice post biatch!

    Mama likie blog.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Josie. I aspire to some day have a blog as good and as popular as yours.

  3. Its your fault for losing at the NL game with KK. You misplayed it. There were 3 $8 callers and the blinds, so about 30 in the pot. you bet out 10 after the flop, leaving 40 in the pot and giving a caller 4:1 pot odds...or about the chance of hitting a flush...if the first player to act calls the second one is getting even BETTER odds. you should have opened with at least 1/2 the pot, and preferably closer to 2/3 to 1x the pot.

    1. You are absolutely right, Anony, I definitely played the hand poorly. In my defense, this was before I had played much at NL cash games, I was still almost entirely a 2/4 player and didn't know what I was doing. In the same situation now, I would definitely have bet out more on the flop, probably $20 or even $25. That said, I think the guy on the flush draw still would have called. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't have made the right play in the first place. Thanks for the comment!

    2. I know what you mean about moving from L to NL games, it changes the process alot. I think 25 or 30 would be about right, particularly with 2 players to act you want to keep the price high- at that price any flush draw is priced out, so even if they call and hit the flush you will still be making money over time with that play, as long as you dont call an all in with 3 to a flush on the board!