Sunday, February 19, 2012

Wild No Limit Hand at The Bike

Yesterday I went to The Bike to play in their $40 noon tournament, and after I busted out, I saw what I thought was an interesting hand at the No Limit table.  Fortunately, I wasn’t involved in it, but I think it’s worth blogging about.
The game was 1/3 No Limit, but they call it “$80/$120” because you can only buy-in for $80 minimum and $120 maximum.  Yeah, that’s right, the most you can buy-in for is 40 Big Blinds.  I guess that’s the way the schnorrers who frequent the local L.A. clubs want, they’re all like that.  In Vegas, for a 1/2 No Limit game, you can usually buy in for either $200 maximum or $300 maximum, which makes a lot more sense.  I talked about this particular game at the Bike here.
The two players involved were each now deep-stacked, both sitting on close to $500 in chips in front of them (maybe a little more).  Since they couldn’t buy in for more than $120, this means both players were having good days, and that the money in front of them had been won, not bought.
I’d been at the table over an hour at this point, and neither player exhibited any LAG (loose aggressive) tendencies.  Neither impressed me with brilliant play either, but they seemed fairly tight, somewhat passive but decent players.  At this table, most flops were seen without a raise, and the pre-flop raises that were made were usually $9 and sometimes as low as $7 (one guy, not in this hand, like to bet $7 pre-flop).  The guy in Seat 9 might even be called a “calling station” because he made some loose calls in my opinion.  In a hand against me, I rivered Broadway (Ace high straight) on a board of A-Q-J-10-x no flush possible.  I knew my King gave me the nuts, but I didn’t think I’d get a call unless he had the same hand.  So I bet only $20 hoping that was small enough to get him to call but not really expecting it.  But he did call and as he did, he said, “I know you have the straight but I have to call.”  Thanks.  Of course I had the straight!  He said he had 2 pair and couldn’t let it go.
The other player was in Seat 4, directly to my right.  He and Seat 9 had been playing together there long before I got to the game, so they should have been familiar with each other’s games.  After Seat 9 had earlier won a huge multi-way pot to get a lot of those chips that were now in front of him, Seat 4 said to him, “Oh wow, you made a great comeback, you got all your chips back!”  So not only had they been playing together for quite some time, but Seat 9 had had to rebuy a few times before his luck started changing for the better.
Now, in early position, Seat 4 raised to $9, as I said, a typical raise for this table.  Seat 9 was the big blind.  I was distracted a bit by getting a drink (I folded trash) so I wasn’t exactly sure what happened, but Seat 9 raised another $60 which may have been an accident.  There was some dialog between the player and the dealer that he was committed to betting $60 based on what he said, and it sounded like he didn’t mean to bet that much.  That was by far the biggest three-bet I’d seen pre-flop at this table, save for a few short-stacked shoves.  So I’m not sure he meant to bet that much.  Based on the hand as it played, I don’t think he meant to bet so big.
Back to Seat 4, who calls the $60 without any hesitation.  Interesting. Flop is K-10-4 rainbow.  Seat 9 bets $70 without thinking much and Seat 4 insta-calls.  Turn is a second 4.  Seat 9 bets $100 and Seat 4 again insta-calls.
River is a 9.  No flush is possible but there is a straight there if somebody thought Q/J was worth $69 pre-flop.  And the paired 4’s made things a bit interesting as well, but it was hard to think of a way either of these guys could have a 4 in their hands with all that money bet pre-flop. 
The 9 didn’t scare Seat 9 and he once again bet $100.  Seat 4 insta-called yet again!  Seat 9 turned over pocket Ace’s.  That’s it.  So two pair with 4’s on the board.  I was sure that Seat 4 would have that beat to call all those bets.
But no, he said, nice hand and started to muck his cards.  Until he just called on the river instead of raising, I was beginning to put him on Pocket Kings, and not just because I see Pocket Kings in my nightmares. That would explain his pre-flop raise and I could see him just calling the $60 three-bet with that.  Then I could see him slow-playing his set on the flop and his boat on the turn as long as Seat 9 was willing to bet.  But if he had that, for sure he’d shove against Seat 9’s river bet.
Anyway, another player, not in the hand, asked to see his cards.  I’m not sure why a player not in the hand is allowed to request that, but I’ve seen this before at The Bike and any player at the table is allowed to make this request and have it honored.  So the dealer flipped over Seat 4’s cards and he had Ace-King offsuit.  So, on hand where he had top pair/top kicker, he lost $340.  Wow.  Ok, he did have 2 pair, but one was the pair on the board that didn’t really make a difference
I don’t get it. And I don’t get the guy in Seat 9, who won the pot, risking so much money with just an overpair.  If these guys have shorter stacks, I can see it.  But with all that money at risk?  I really don’t get it.
As I’ve been documenting on this blog, I’m sorta making the transition from playing limit poker (which is really what I thought this blog was gonna be about initially) to No Limit.  In that process, I’ve been reading books about how to play No Limit.  One of things emphasized in the books I’ve read is not to go too far with a deep stack with a “small pot” hand…like an overpair, or top pair, even with top kicker.  True, neither of these guys went all in.  Seat 4 still had a bit over $100 left after this beating.  But that was a lot money to throw away on such a hand, if you ask me.  And for that matter, it was a huge amount for Seat 9 to risk with just the Aces that didn’t improve (though I guess the paired board helped him if Seat 4 had King-10 and flopped 2 pair, an unlikely scenario).  I don’t like the play of either of these guys.  I would love to get feedback on those of you who have a lot more experience at playing No Limit than I do.  Am I wrong about this?
A few other notes on my day at the Bike.  The tournament started well for me, early I flopped the nut flush but didn’t get paid for it, then flopped a set of 4’s, got paid on the flop and then on the turn when an Ace hit and I was raised.  I just called the raise and hit the full house on the river, a third spade.  But I didn’t get paid for it, the other guy didn’t have spades.
After that I went extremely card dead, but was losing chips slowly by being tight, and I stole a few very small pots.  Then I got pocket Queens and was deciding how much to raise when a short stack went all in first. OK, I decided to shove (still had one of the larger stacks at the table) to make sure it was just heads-up with the short stacked guy.  That worked, and he showed King-Jack offsuit.  Good, only one over card.  A Jack hit on the flop but that was ok.  What wasn’t ok was the King on the turn.  No Queen for me on the river and I lost a good amount of chips.
From there I hung on and chipped up and down a bit until I got to the point of looking for a place to move all-in and double up.  A few previous shoves had gotten everyone to fold which also was ok.  In the big blind I looked at Queen/Jack off suit.  It folded to the cut-off seat who just limped.  Button folded, small blind called and I decided not to shove.  I figured I could see the flop for free and then shove if I liked it, or get away if I didn’t.
The cut-off guy who had limped was the huge stack at the table, and really wasn’t a very good player.  I knew he’d call my shove and I thought it better to see the flop at that point.  Why did I know the cut-off guy would call my shove?  Because he called a pre-flop raise (a decent sized one) with Q-7 offsuit against a player who at that point had more chips as he did who was holding pocket Kings.  On that hand he called a shove on the turn and hit a flush when the fourth spade on the river.  The loser of the hand couldn’t believe he called his pre-flop raise with Q-7 off.  He was extremely pissed, to say the least.  But it doubled up this guy and now he was the chip leader.
Anyway. The flop was K-10-lowcard, rainbow, so I had an open ended straight draw.  I shoved then because the flop might have missed the chip leader and even if it didn’t I had 8 outs to make my straight, right?
Make that 6 outs.  Chip leader calls and Small blind folds and I show my draw and he shows….Pocket Aces! I was behind to any pair of course but I was beyond shocked to see that he had only limped in with Aces, sitting on that huge stack in front of him!  Wow.
Anyway, no 9 or Ace showed and I busted out 20th, they paid 12.  I moved over to the 1/3 game already described.  I played a bit less than two hours and came away up $15.  Sigh.  It would have been nice to have at least gotten my entry fee for the tournament back, but it wasn’t meant to be.
One other note about The Bike.  You know how they always say you never see a clock in a casino?  I don’t know why I never noticed it before but while I was playing in that cash game I noticed a huge digital clock on the wall in the poker room.  Surprising.


  1. Most cardrooms have a rule in place that allows any player at the table to ask to see a hand that made it all the way to showdown (even if the hand was mucked at the end). The rule is in place only to prevent collusion and really shouldn't used for info gathering, but some assholes will take advantage of it for that very reason

    1. Thanks Bob, you know now that I think more about it, I think that may the rule everywhere. I was originally thinking that in Vegas, you had to be in the hand on the river to ask to see the loser's cards. But it might be anyone can. You just don't see it very often. I understand the reason for it but the one time it was used against me no one could have possibly thought I was colluding with anyone and they just wanted to see what I was playing since I had played so few hands. And it really pissed me off that it was allowed.

  2. At my room in SWFL, anyone at the table can ask even if they weren't in the hand. I know rooms in Sarasota and Tampa that have the same rule.

    1. Thanks Stone, the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced it's the same way in Vegas, and I just mis-remembered it.

  3. Good, only one over card. A Jack hit on the flop but that was ok. What wasn’t ok was the King on the turn.

    In tournaments, you gotta win the flips and your good hands have to hold up.

    1. Yeah, that's true, MOJO.

      Just tell me, how do you arrange that?

  4. In $1/2 (or $2/3) NL there is virtually nothing that would surprise me anymore. Of course, this comes from a guy who had his Aces cracked by A-J os tonight. Total moron.

    1. AJ is a monster hand, what are you talking about?

      Seriously, I thought I'd be getting away from stupid play and awful suck outs when I started switching from 2/4 limit to 1/2 NL.

      Boy, was I wrong.

  5. Some rooms in Vegas are anyone can ask, but it seems to be more standard that you have to have at least been in the hand and put some sort of money into the pot to ask about it.

    Some rooms will only allow only people who went to showdown to ask.

    From the bit that I have been playing, it's getting more rare that people ask to see the others cards unless that person showed one person and then tried to muck.

  6. waking up. not surprised at all by the AK hand.