Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Comeback Kid

As I publish this post, I'm currently back in Vegas, having returned on Saturday (3/16).  I'll be here thru the first two weekends of March Madness.  I'll try to find time to do some posts from here during the trip, but I might just end up having too much fun getting new stories to find the time to write them up until I get back home.  Not to worry, I have a few posts that I prepared before hitting the road that are ready to roll out.  These posts are mostly from my January trip, tho I do have a Bike session to report on.

I wasn't sure I was going to post this particular tale next, but after what happened to me last night, it seems incredibly appropriate.  Last night's story was similar to this one here, only more dramatic.  That's called foreshadowing, folks.  The story of last nite will have to wait, but this will give you a taste.....

A $100 winning session if nice for a 1/2 game, of course.  Not great, not earth-shattering, but nice.  But some $100 wins are better than others.  This one was really, really sweet. 

This was another night at BSC in January, and it started out with me being anything but card dead.  I only wished I was card dead.  When you’re card dead, at least you don’t lose much, and you lose slowly.  What’s worse is to always be hitting the second best hand.  That will cost you a lot of money.
I bought in for the usual $200, added $100 to it at one point and soon all of that was gone.  I had a set run into a straight, a straight run into a full house and trip Kings (I had AK) run into a boat (he flopped a set of deuces, so the paired King on the turn filled him up).
So, another $200 buy in, and I was now in for $500.  This was early in my trip, and that was definitely my last buy in of the night.  If I lost that, I was done for the evening.
I played for a bit and slowly chipped down.  I had about $150-$160 left when a new player came to the table and raised preflop his very first hand.  No one called his bet on the flop, and I had a slight feeling he was an aggro.  Of course, with a sample size that small, you really don’t know much, he might have been dealt a good first hand; it happens.
Two or three hands later, I wake up with pocket Aces in early position.  Folded to the aforementioned new player who re-raises me three times my bet.  Folded back to me.  I do a min re-raise, and he calls.
The flop is Queen high without a lot of draws.  I lead out, and he thought about it for awhile, finally raising about 2 -1/2 times my bet  I suppose he could have been Hollywooding, but I took his hesitancy to indicate he didn’t have a set of Queens, the one hand I really feared.  If he was acting, so be it, I fell for it.  But I guess at that point, my luck having been so bad, I decided to just take a shot there and if I busted out, I’d call it an early night.
So I shoved.  He took a really long time to call.  I definitely knew then he didn’t have the set of Queens.  I suppose he could have had a smaller set and was hesitant because he was worried that I might have the set of Queens, but when he called my shove I thought I was probably good.
We didn’t show and there were two seeming blanks on the turn and the river.  I flipped over my Aces and he flipped over….the dreaded pocket kings.
Apparently, this guy doesn’t read my blog.
I also wondered about his play there.  Why not just get it all in preflop if you’re prepared to shove (or call a shove) on the flop?  I suppose his play gives him the opportunity to walk away from his hand if an Ace hits the flop.  I dunno if that’s a good strategy though.  He hadn’t seen me play long enough to have a clue as to whether I was likely to four-bet with AK, but most 1/2  players don’t. 
Whatever, it was a great double up for me and although I was still down for the session, I suddenly had a nice stack of chips in front of me and had the nice feeling of not having the second best hand for once that night.
I still had most of those chips sometime later when I was dealt Ace-Jack of hearts.  I raised with it and had two callers.  The flop was something like 8-7-5, two hearts.   I made the continuation bet ($25).  The first guy raised to $65 and the other guy folded.  I called (probably a bad call).
The turn was the King of hearts, a beautiful card for me.  I put out $100, which was a little more than he had left.  He snap called.  Blank on the river and I flipped over my nut flush.  I thought he might have flopped a straight the way he played it but no, he had Q-x of hearts.  So he had the draw to the flush on the flop and played it very aggressively,  A lot of times there he might have taken the pot with his flop raise—and maybe he should have, there—but not this time.  I guess my luck had turned around from the early part of the session.
Now I was actually ahead for the session, which I was absolutely thrilled with.
A few orbits later I raised preflop with a pair of Queens.  Two callers.  The flop was King high, but otherwise not scary.  But a player in early position, who originally limped in and then called my raise, led out with a bet.  This guy was the tightest player at that table (no, that wasn’t me).  I was sure he had top pair at an absolute minimum, so I folded the ladies.
I should point out that once I had actually gotten ahead for the session, after such a rough start, I knew I had to watch myself for “playing scared syndrome”—for being too concerned about wanting to “book the win” that I’d play too tight to play well (see this post here).
Well, on the last hand I want to talk about, I proved I wasn’t playing scared.  There was an aggressive person at the table at this point—ok, just to be politically incorrect, I’ll mention that he was indeed Asian (see here).  He had been raising preflop a fair amount, maybe more than a fair amount.  And on this hand he did just that.
I looked down at pocket Jacks.  I have to be honest, never in my life had I ever three-bet pocket Jacks in a cash game before.  And that surely was my first instinct there.  I started to call.  You know, go for the set, and then, if I miss it and if there are overcards on the board, it’s cheap to get away from.  But I caught myself.  I realized that pocket Jacks was a better hand than well over half this guy’s raising range.  So, I went ahead and made the bet three times what the aggro guy had bet.
He thought for awhile, then folded.  I have no idea what he had, of course.  But just as I had been playing with him long enough to peg him as an aggro player, he had played with me long enough to peg me as a tight player.  I dunno if he had a better hand than pocket Jacks (I doubt it), but I bet he would have been shocked to find out that’s what he folded to.
So, if I three-bet with JJ for the first time, I guess I wasn’t playing too conservatively, I wasn’t playing scared just trying to book the win.
By now, it was around the time I had planned to leave, so I racked up my chips and was able to book a $100 profit.  On a night where I started out $350 in the hole, I considered that a major, major success.

And I got to feel what it’s like to three-bet pocket Jacks for the first time.


  1. arghh .. BSC .. more passerine birds ! .. lol

    1. Umm, umm, umm....thanks dD. I'm sure your comment makes sense to many people. Sadly, I don't happen to be one of those people.

      Not sure what birds, passerine or otherwise, have to do with BSC.

  2. Nice one Rob.
    Patience and good play pay off.

    Hoping to get out and play some poker with you one of these next few nights for a couple of hours since you are in town visiting me (totally right?) and I'm on a self imposed exile from work until Monday.

    1. Thanks, grrouchie.

      Yes, by all means we should get together for some pokah!

      In fact, since I've been in town, Prudence and I have been hitting the tables together ever single night, and we have been kicking ass and taking names. Except for last night, when the asses kinda kicked us back.

      She even asked about you. I told her you were trying to straighten out your life and moving away from that human trafficking thing.

      Anyway, this weekend is the first weekend of March Madness. The games should be extra juicy. If we can't make $10,000 between Thursday and Sunday nite playing 1/2, we might as well give up playing poker.

      Come! Join us!

    2. The human trafficking was a complete misunderstanding between me, the cops and a few people who didn't appear to understand English.

    3. I'm sure that is the case, grrouchie.