Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pocket Kings....Again! And Again!

I’m beginning to think maybe I should change the name of this blog to “Rob’s Pocket Kings Blog.”  Seems like this is the hand that is destined to provide me with the most stories.  My jinx hand.  My curse hand.  At this point I think I throw up a little in my mouth every time I check my cards and see those bad boys staring back at me.
This tale happened at the Aria tournament last week.  There was a guy who started out the tournament being the table bully.  He was over betting and raising big an awful lot.  At first he bought himself a lot of pots and was the early chip leader.  In addition to buying pots, he had some nice luck, making some nice draws when he needed to.
But eventually it caught up with him, and he was down to around $3500 in chips from having $25,000 or so not that long before.  And this was still in the early levels of the tournament.  My stack was about twice his and that was putting me close to desperate mode, though I still had enough chips to make some moves other than an “all in.”
In early position I looked down and saw two cowboys.  Gulp.  I was first in so I raised 4X the big blind.  Folded around to the former table bully who spent almost no time at all in saying “all in.”  Folded back to me.
OK.  I had him covered but losing to him would cripple me for the tournament.  But there was no way I was going to do anything but call.  I figured that his raising range was big before when he was doing well, and now it must be even bigger because of his small stack.  He could have easily had Ace-rag, even King-rag, two paint cards or a medium or even low pocket pair.
When I called and we flipped over our hands, I was stunned to see two Aces!  I’m sure he would have made the same move with many, many hands but he just happened to pick up the only hand possible that was better than mine.
I cursed to myself.  I thought, “Pocket Kings will definitely be the death of me!”  I started thinking about how many hands I could play before I found even a semi-decent hand to shove with.
And then a beautiful, sexy, drop dead gorgeous King fell on the flop!  I said “Wow” and started praying that the turn and the river were Ace-less.  They were.  Finally, finally, a nice lucky win with those dreaded pocket Kings!  Justice at last!
Ok, so now I have enough chips to play with for awhile.  About an orbit and a half later, while dealing out the cards, the lady dealer says to the guy directly to my right, “The King of Diamonds flashed, turn it over please.”  I’m pretty sure no one but her saw anything, it was really subtle.  The player sure didn’t see it and as the player next to him, I would have been the most likely to see it, and I saw nothing. 
The player had two cards face down in front of him, and hadn’t seen or looked at either card.  He kind of said “huh?”  Dealer repeated that one of his cards flashed, it was the King of Diamonds, and he needed to turn it over so that the King would be the burn card and she’d deal him a new card.  So the player said, “Ok, which card is it?”  She pointed to one of the two cards sitting face down in front of him.  “This one?” He pointed to one of the cards.  “Yes,” the dealer said, “that’s the one, flip it over please.” 
The player shrugged his shoulders and flipped over the card.  It was the 3 of hearts!  Since no would confuse a King with a three, the dealer must have told him to flip the wrong card.  She then said, “Well, you have the King of diamonds, let’s see the other card.”
Again with a shrug, he flipped over the other card and it was indeed the King of Diamonds.  Since he had exactly zero unexposed cards, the dealer called it a misdeal and asked all the players to turn in the cards and she would just start over.  Apparently there was no other option.
As I complied, I peaked at the two cards in my hand as I was sending them back to dealer for a new hand.  Of course, one was the King of Clubs, and the other was the King of Hearts.  I had just mucked pocket Kings due to dealer error. 
I showed everyone.  I got a lot of sympathy.  Even the dealer apologized, but said there was nothing else to do.
Now, I’m not the most optimistic person in the world, to say the least, but I tried to look on the bright side:
1. I had just finally won a nice hand with my cursed pocket Kings, what were the odds of doing so twice in a row (or….had the curse finally been lifted????)?
2. Had the hand played, I could have lost a lot of chips on that hand.  With my track record, that would be the way to bet.
3. If I needed to improve on those cowboys to win the pot, one of my outs was out of play anyway.  I wasn’t gonna get quads for sure, and the odds of hitting a set were greatly diminished.
Anyway, I kept telling myself all those things as I busted out of the tournament, an hour or so later, a long ways away from cashing, with hands that had nothing to do with pocket Kings, at least.
But clearly, pocket Kings are still my curse, one way or the other.


  1. Maybe you should just play the mighty 2-4 like Poker Grump never loses

    1. Hmmm.....I think I'll try time I play poker, I'm insta-folding pocket Kings and insta-shoving 2-4. Stay tuned for the blog post following that session!

  2. Thanks for continuing to focus on pocket Kings. I am sure that some bad karma rubbed off on me as I played Omaha on BCP last night. My final play started with two Kings in my hand. The flop brought a King, so the play went raise, re-raise, all -in -- you know the routine. Unfortunately, the villain flopped a set of 4's and was ecstatic, I am sure, to see the case 4 come on the river, snatching the $100+ pot right out of my grimy mitts. *sigh*

    1. Ugh. Omaha is an insane game. I tried it a few times, it seemed more like "bingo" than the worst 2/4 game I ever played. There was no strategy at all that I could see, other than trying to figure out what was a good starting hand. I know I flopped a lot of sets that didn't hold up. I never bet them because they seemed like losers to me. Once I won with a set and almost fainted. Sorry about the bad beat, losing with a boat to quads is enough to make anyone give up playing poker.

  3. The curse was broken - your hand would have been set over set over set on a K high flop and the Turn and river were going to be bricks.
    You would have eventually gone on to win the tourney - but it was not to be as the guy with the King of Diamonds wasn't paying enough attention and didn't look at his cards to give back the one in question.

    However, nice hand!

    1. Ummm....thanks. Yeah, that one hand would have been the difference for me, I should go back to the Aria and demand first place money! You are so right.

      I do wonder why the dealer didn't ask the player to look at both cards before flipping one over, that's just common sense. But she was SO sure she knew which one it was.....