Sunday, February 12, 2012

All the Fun of a 2/4 Game But With Big, Beautiful Stacks!

Since my last two poker posts (see here and here) were downers, it’s high time for a good story.  Ooops, I spoiled the ending.  Sorry.
This took place the same night, and in fact at the same 1/2  table as two previous stories I’ve posted, here and here.  Yes, I was sitting between Ginger and her pal all night.  As I mentioned, this was a real fun table because Ginger and her pal were chatting up a storm, having a good time, and it was totally contagious.
I bought in for $200 and almost immediately started added to my stack.  I started getting chips from a number of folks at the table but definitely not Ginger.  Ginger’s friend, yes.  I took her stack once and won a couple of early pots I was in with her to the point where she was making comments about me being her nemesis. 
My stack was up to about $380 when this hand happened.  A LAG (Loose Aggressive) guy from Germany in early position raised to $10.  He had been raising a lot, and won a lot chips, and also lost some chips.  I’m guessing he was down around $180 from a $200 buy in but had been ahead not long before.  In one hand against me, he took down a pot from me when he raised my flop continuation bet and I folded.  He showed a total bluff.  I wasn’t concerned because I didn’t have the goods either, I wasn’t going to risk a lot of money on Ace High and it was good to know that he was bluffing.  Ginger’s friend immediately to my right called the ten bucks (she called a lot of pre-flop raises).
In late position I looked down at pocket Aces.  Thank goodness it wasn’t Kings!  I re-raised to $30.  It folded to the Big Blind.  Mr. Big Blind hadn’t been at the table all that long, but he had been there awhile and I didn’t have much of a read of his game.  He’d won a few small pots, lost some money in some small pots, hadn’t really gotten involved in a big pot yet.  My gut reaction was that he wasn’t a terrible player, but he wasn’t a great one or a particularly experienced player either.
Without almost any hesitation, he re-raised me to $60!  It was a rather odd bet, it seemed to me.  If he truly had a hand worth four-betting, making the minimum re-raise was not a great play.  Seems to me he should have either called or shoved all in there, depending on what he had.  And since I was looking at the best starting hand in Hold Em, it was hard for me to imagine either a fold or a call there wasn’t the right play for him.
Meanwhile it was the German guy’s turn to act, he looked like he was in great pain.  He gave the Big Blind a glance, but he just stared at me and also the big stack of chips in front of me.  He said aloud, “I really like my hand” and thought some more, eyeing me a lot more than the guy who raised me.  We had been playing together for way more than an hour, and he surely was an observant enough player to know that this was the first time I’d three-bet pre-flop since he’d gotten to the table.  And then there was my stack to consider, which was a lot larger than his (in poker, size does matter!).
After a few seconds he said, “I have a good hand here, I have a really good hand.”  He showed it to a guy standing behind him, who was neither his friend nor in the game.  Finally, almost painfully, he folded. Ginger’s friend took no time at all to muck her hand.
Back to me.  The one thing I knew for sure about Big Blind’s hand was that it couldn’t possibly be better than mine.  The minimum re-raise made me strongly think that he had the other two Aces.  The odds of that are small but I’ve seen it many times.  More likely, in my mind, was that he had pocket Kings (better him than me).  I really couldn’t imagine him making that $60 bet with anything else.
I paused only a few seconds, then softly and emotionlessly (I hope) said “All in.”  The German guy now exclaimed, "I knew it!"  It was the fear of my acting behind him, doing exactly what I did that caused him to fold.
I figured that Big Blind might at least think about it.  I had him way covered.  If he had Kings, well, the rule is that you “never” fold Kings pre-flop in a cash game, but….but he wasn’t pot committed and he certainly must have considered there was a strong possibility that I had what I had.  He hadn’t seen me play a lot of pots since he’d sat down (because I play tight, probably too tight) and he saw all those chips I’d collected in front or me.  He might have thought for a bit if he had Kings and maybe even found a fold there.
But he wasted no time at all.  He insta-called my all-in.  “Ace’s or King’s” I thought to myself, now even more likely Ace’s.
Although it was a cash game and we didn’t have to show, we both did.  I showed my bullets and he flipped over….Ace King offsuit!  It was a lot better than I hoped for.  Pocket Kings is basically a two outer for him.  But AK he needs a lot of help.  Two Kings on the board, or a lucky straight or a miracle flush (his King was the same suit as one of my Ace’s).  I was in very good shape.
No Kings, no Ace’s, no straights or flushes hit, my Ace’s held up, and I won a very nice pot.  But there was a Queen on the flop.  Why is that significant?  Because the German guy groaned when he saw it.  “Oh no…..I had Queens!” He said.  Since there was no further betting action, it was ok for him to say that.  So if he was telling the truth, he made a great lay down but in reality, would have won one heckuva a huge pot if he’d called both the $60 and then my all-in.  But hey, that’s poker. 
Big Blind said nothing, and just left the game, never to be seen again.  But he had done me a huge favor.  If he had merely called my raise, I’m pretty sure German guy would have called my $30 bet.  And then been deliriously happy with the flop, to say the least.  I suppose it’s possible he would have re-raised me himself (in which case I would have shoved) but I doubt it.  It was really a bad play on BB’s part.  AK is a good hand, but it’s not a hand you want to fall in love with pre-flop when it’s already been 3-betted to you.  Or if you have to go all in with it having a big stack,  He made two bad plays, the four-bet and then especially calling my shove.  Calling my shove with AK offsuit there is unforgivable.  And the German guy will in fact never forgive him!  But I will.  Thank you very much, kind sir!

Big Blind's seat was taken by the guy the German had shown his mucked hand to.  He confirmed that he had indeed folded two ladies.
That wasn’t the last of my success on this night, I kept winning, but nothing as big or as memorable as this hand.
By the time Jack came to deal at the table, I had well over $600 in chips in front of me.  Knowing me as a 2/4 player, and not a particularly successful one at that, he asked, “What’d you buy in for, $600?”  Of course he was joking, knowing full well the most you could buy in for was $300.  I told him it was $200 as I laughed and he nodded, impressed.
Some time during the evening, Brent passed by my table while going to deal at another table.  He had been dealing at this table much, much earlier in the night. He stopped for a second to lean into me and say (loud enough for Ginger and her friend to hear), “I commend you sir, for being able to sit between these two for so long.”  I laughed and he was off to his new table before I could respond.
But when I was finally ready to call it a night, and had two racks holding about $700 in red chips in my hands ($500 profit), I saw him at a table, held up the chips and said, “Now do you see why I was willing to sit at that table for so long?”  He nodded and laughed and said, “Yeah, I kind of figured that might have something to do with it.”
A great evening to say the least.  A good time (more like a 2/4 game) and a very successful night, profit-wise, poker-wise.  Couldn’t ask for more than that.


  1. So it is possible to win at poker.

    Good trip report, Always enjoy reading about a good session instead of losing one any day of the week. Hope you have many more in the near future.

    1. Thanks, grrouchie.

      Yeah, it is theoretically possible to win at poker.

      It really helps if you never get dealt pocket Kings. At least in my case.

  2. The only really big winning sessions I've ever had were from 1/2NL... well done working your aces btw

    1. Thanks, Gary. I've had a some nice winning sessions at the limit tables over the years, but that hasn't been the norm for me, to say the least. This was my biggest score at a poker table for a cash game. I've already blogged about the two tournaments I scored in for paydays of around $1200 each.

  3. One reason I love poker is that you can always find something to blog about each time you play.

    1. Yes, Memphis, and sometimes it can even be about poker. Or not.

      I just added your excellent blog to my blogroll. What took me so long?