Friday, September 21, 2012

"I Did The Math"

I am proud to present the first guest-post in this blog's history.  My good friend Prudence is here to tell us of a night of poker that I missed.  Take it away, Prudence....

(Prudence here. I am honored to make an appearance in Rob's special little corner of the blogosphere, and I hope this story generates some thoughtful debate—even if my opinion is clearly the right one.)

This hand, henceforth known as the Worst Call Ever, went down recently at BSC. 

Of course I have to preface this tale with the hands that took place leading up to it. For starters, I was on massive tilt because an aggressive young Asian—let's just call him SELFISH PIG—had busted me 20 minutes into my evening. SELFISH PIG played 80% of his hands, raising every time, and ordered two drinks at a time so that he could save his tip money for making retarded moves. The blow to my ego and bank account forced me to switch tables and resolve to play uber tight for the rest of the evening. After waiting forty minutes to finally get QQ in the big blind, I raised to $15 with a $100 stack. A gentleman in middle position called, and an Ace showed up on the flop.  I checked, he bet $45, I mucked, and then asked myself where the nearest tall bridge might be located.

Future starting hands looked just as good—suited connectors, AJ, AQ, pocket pairs etc—but I couldn't hit a flop or find myself in the right position to save my life. Two hours into the session, in a fit frustration, I raised 27h in late position to $20. This being my biggest bet of the evening, there were instafolds all around …except for one.  An older British gentleman called. 

Shit. It was time to check/fold.

But the flop came 2 with two hearts, Q high, giving me a (shitty) pair and flush draw. Not the end of the world.

He checked, I bet, he raised. Hmm. I gambled and pushed the rest of my short stack across the line. Flush on the river. I showed, everyone's eyes bugged out, and he made a face which indicated that he might have a stroke. I believe he had AQ. He paid me and laughed like a good sport. However, it was obvious that he was very conservative, as he spent the rest of the evening rehashing this beat to every new player who sat at the table.

I told him not to worry— I would only play Kings and Aces from then on. 

This was a half-truth.  An hour later, a young man who bore a striking resemblance to Lewis Skolnick from Revenge of the Nerds sat at the table. I limped in the big blind with 79d, and the flop came 8, 10, diamond. I bet, Skolnick called. Another diamond on the turn. I now had an open ended straight PLUS a flush draw. I bet, he went all in, I called. He flips over an already made straight but again, I hit a flush on the river. (I can hear Rob asking himself as he proofreads this, "Jesus, how does she always get it on the river?!?!")

It's hard to say if I made a bad decision there. I definitely didn't put him on a straight because he had just sat down. And anyway, I was too busy replaying the Revenge of the Nerds panty raid scene in my head to think straight. In any case, Skolnick seemed furious and reloaded to $200.

A few hands later, I found myself with KK UTG. I raised to $15 when it came back around to me, and only Mr. Tight Brit called. After losing $100 to my 27h, he worked his way up to $400+. I proceeded with caution. Of course, a dreaded Ace showed up on the flop. I bet $35 to see where I was at, and he called without hesitation.  

We checked the turn and another Ace came on the river. I checked and he bet. I folded face up and smiled. Easy. He showed me his Ace for the trips—not out of courtesy, but because he was so happy to have a strong hand.

NOW… let's get to the Worst Call Ever.

This hand is only a moment later and involves Sklonick in the small blind, a fellow who spent 12 hours earning himself a $1000+, and Mr. Tight Brit in late position. Six players limp in and flop comes:

A Q rag, rainbow.

The table checks around and a Jack of spades comes on the turn.

Skolnick checked and Big Stack made it $30. Mr. Tight Brit called, others folded, and it was up to Skolnick.

"Re-raise. $110."

Oohs and ahhs from the peanut gallery. Big Stack folded and later told me he had AJ for two pair. But Mr. Brit looked down at his $400+, smiled, and said, "All in."

Let's be real. I folded Kings face up to the man while Skolnick watched. He only played strong hands, and this was his first all-in. This guy clearly had the NUTS. But Skolnick tanked. "Do you think I should call?" he asked. He exposed 2/3 spades to the table, giving him a flush draw. 

I for one almost spit my drink all over the table. But with table talk forbidden, we all sat silent—mouths hanging open—until he finally made the call. (He had $105 left at the time)

BAM! A six of spades on the river for the win. The Brit sighed with resignation and showed his K10 for the straight. The entire table whooped and hollered. One player remarked with a laugh, "That's the world's biggest suck out if I've ever seen one."

"A suck out?" asked Skolnick. "I don't think so. I did the math."

Despite being Asian, my math abilities are as bad my driving skills. So can someone explain what-the-eff kind of math involves risking your life against an obvious, tight, older man with THREE HIGH? I can understand the bold re-raise on the turn—he had outs and this was one way to possibly get anyone with two pair or a set off his/her hand. (And at BSC, you probably couldn't get them off of it anyway! For instance, a SELFISH PIG would never fold.)

And yes, I've just given two previous examples of putting all of my own chips on the line, but both involved a combo of straight and flush draws, pairs, a short stack, and/or little information on my opponent.  Once the Brit pushed and had him covered, I'd say it was time to lay down and eat a slice of humble pie. At the very least, he could have 'fessed up to taking a big risk and getting lucky.

But just as it went in the movie, it looks like the nerd got the last laugh. Cue Queen's "We are the Champions" and... end scene.


  1. Hmmm ... no mention of breasts so this probably really is not Rob. way too short a post for him also.

    I guess the guy likes to gambool. Nobody in their right mind does what he does. Of course, my last trip to las Vegas I went on mega-tilt when the straw that broke the camel's back was a when a doofus pushed all in with a baby flush draw against my pocket Aces. Oh year -- he got his spade on the turn and won a $700 pot. Poker sucks sometimes.

    1. Lightning, I almost reject this post because it was too short.

  2. Does Prudence have a blog of her own? If not, please beg her to start one. That was very entertaining.

    1. Now, she doesn't blog. But perhaps with enough positive feedback she'll catch the bug.

  3. Prudence, I read through your post hoping to see the word "vagina" at least once. Perhaps tonight your can slam a few beers, then start pounding into your keyboard with a new post. No information could be more important to "nerds" like me. Cheers

    1. Gee, "Anonymous".....I have NO IDEA who you could be.

      I'm sure Prudence will take take your suggestion under advisement, Woody.

  4. Only Lighting has a take on this? Maybe it's because I was on my third (or thirtieth) drink, or maybe because my experience with poker has been pretty mundane, but this call goes into my top five most memorable moments in the game. (Threatening to flash the entire cash game section at the WSOP, hearing about people wetting their pants at the table, and marrying a dealer are some of the other tales I like, but they have nothing to do with the cards.)

    1. typo'd "Lightning" as "Lighting" as I used to do.

      I wanted to let your post be read "unfiltered" so I haven't commented on it myself, but I will.

      But my guess is that no one is saying much about the hand itself because you summed it up so well.

      Thanks again for a great--and popular--post.

  5. People's love of a naked flush draw is something that I will never get.
    The fact that people pay absolutely no attention to what is happening is also something I will never understand.

    Even when drinking I know I (and I guarantee Prudence does as well) have a better feel of people's tendencies and holdings than most of the rest of the table. People don't care that the tight wad just spend the last hour folding and now has all his money in the pot out of the blue.

    As far as the math - This is why I'm a bad poker player... I don't do the math.
    If the only hand you put mr tight wad on is the current nuts (straight) with no flush re-draw then you have 9 outs.
    If you feel he's could be holding one of your flush cards then you are at 8 outs - with only 1 card to come....

    So the phrase "I did the math" probably means "I'm too stupid to fold but will pretend to know what I was doing by mentioning the word math in relation to me getting lucky"

    Also - Good job changing tables to get away from something that potentially was going to cause you to tilt even worse! That is the best thing you did during the evening and it puts a smile on my face!

    1. I like your translation of "I did the math."

      Obviously, flush draws have a lot less value when there's only one card to come than when there's two.

  6. I did the math too and he was wrong to call but not by too much. Taking out the rake there was about $360 in the pot that idiot boy could win. He had to risk his last 105 to win it so he was getting about 3.5 to 1 to call. At most he has 9 outs but could have 8 or even 0 if the Brit was sitting on K-10 of spades. But let's give him best case scenario and he has all 9 outs. Odds of catching the flush are 9 out of 46 or just over 4-1. So while he wasn't quite getting the right odds, he wasn't far off. However this is his best case scenario. The Brit might have a spade putting him at 8 out of 46 or he flopped a set putting him at 7 of 46. Or he could even be drawing dead. No I fear the only math he did was, I put 140 into this pot and only have 105 left therefore I have to call.

    1. Thanks, Neo, good analysis. The thing I think about is that he wasn't getting the right odds even if he was drawing to the nut flush, but he was drawing to the lowest flush possible. So even if he hits his flush, there's no guarantee of him taking down the pot.

  7. If no one else was dealt a spade he had a 20.5% chance of making his hand on the river. Based on Neo's numbers the guy would have to call $105 to win a pot of $360 which is 3.4 to 1 and give a break even percentage of 22.7%

    Mathematically it was incorrect to call, however he may have considered himself pot commited or was thinking about leaving shortly and thought it was worth the gamble.

    1. Thanks iNco, I definitely think he felt pot committed. I'll have more to say in a separate comment.

  8. Ok, my turn to comment. First off, thanks again to Prudence for such a great post. Any time you want to tell us about your poker misadventures, your insight and humor are welcome here. Or, as JT88Keys suggested, you could start your own poker blog!

    Now, I have to say, that I think the reason that Prudence found this such a memorable hand, to some degree, is that the guy exposed his hand before making the call, giving everyone at the table the knowledge--and time--they needed to think that he was nuts for even considering calling.

    I think it might also have been more memorable for Prudence because the guy reminded her of the lead character from a favorite movie of hers. She's never confessed this to me, but I suspect Prudence has been lusting after Lewis Skolnick since she first saw the film, dreaming of the day he would ask for her panties.

    That said, if you look at the math that Neo did above, although it is a bad call, it isn't that god-awful a call. And btw, Neo, he had only put in $112 into the pot before the call, not $140. But still, his bet before the Brit shoved was more than half his stack, which makes him pretty much pot committed as long as he had outs, or a reasonable expectation of them.

    To me, what makes it so bad is he is not drawing to the nut flush, or the 2nd nut flush, or even any decent flush. He's drawing to lowest freaking flush on earth. So even if he makes it, there's no guarantee he wins the pot.

    But as I see it, the idiot play here is the $110 raise in the first place. Trying to bluff (or semi-bluff) the Brit is the real crime. I assume he hadn't been paying attention as Prudence had to the way he was playing and thought maybe he'd shove with only top pair and a draw (?) But what if the Brit was drawing to the nut flush??? It is incredibly stupid to make a move like that unless you really know your opponent, which he clearly did not.

    Once he made the play and got caught, I can see him resigning himself to call (pot committed, as I said) and hoping for the miracle that he got.

    My guess is he thought it would look worse to admit that he was a lucky SOB there, so he bluffed his way out of it by saying he did the math.

    1. My mistake, I interpreted his raise to 110 as a raise of 110 on top. And I'm sure you're right, the Brit's table image means nothing to someone who doesn't pay attention enough to know that he is bluffing at a guy sitting with the goods.

    2. No problem, Neo. And sometimes in poker, ignorance is bliss.

  9. Rob, first off lolz for your post almost being longer than Prudence's entire post. Secondly, I wanted to say it matters none that the caller has the lowest possible flushdraw as long as he does not put his opponent on a flushdraw as well (which it seems he clearly did not). Therefore calling with the 3-high flush draw is no different than the 8-high or even the Ace high flush draw provided the latter doesn't give you more outs. The only other factor the Brit should've accounted for is whether or not he was drawing a against a boat-draw (two-pair or a set) in which case board-pairing spades have to be subtracted from his outs.

    The other related helpful hint that I would share is that counting how much you put into pot (in general) can hurt you rather more than help you. Once you put it in the pot, it's gone. It belongs to the pot, not anyone else. I see so many people call off their stacks and pay people off and literally, verbally announce that "I know I'm beat" or actually call their opponent's hand because of how much they've put in the pot already, and they lose. It's a mistake. The money's gone unless the dealer pushes it back to you. The only thing that matters is if your ahead, if you're getting the right price, or if in the right spot to take it down.

    BTW: Love the blog and guest post! We need more of both!

    1. Thanks very much for your comments and your kudos, Jack. I'm sure Prudence appreciates it as well.

      Folks, this indeed is the "Jack" who deals at BSC and has been featured in so many of my posts.

      Your comments make good sense, of course, but regarding the low flush draw, I just remember one time at BSC when I had a draw to the 2nd nut flush and did NOT put him on the nut flush draw. No way he had that, I thought. I hit my flush and lost my entire stack to him when it turned out he DID have the nut flush draw, and eventually, the nut flush.

      Hey Jack, if you love guest posts so much, you're welcome to try your hand at one anytime. Someone needs to report on the craziness at BSC when I'm not there!

    2. Thanks Rob,
      This may sound weird, but I feel like in your situation with the flush draw sometimes you are supposed to lose your stack; in fact i feel like if I didn't go broke in certain situation I played the hand wrong. If he has the nut flush draw 1/10x for example and I have the King Hi, I need to go broke once, and maximize my profit the other 9 times. If you remain cautious you often miss out on maximizing value. It's a higher variance way to play, but I believe you end up winning more $ long term.

      And I may just take you up on your offer! I'll keep my eye out for something interesting that would be post-worthy.

    3. Excellent points, Jack. As for guest posting, just be on the look out for a really cute Asian gal who uses the v-word a lot. That always works for me.