Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Was it a Fold or Not?

This was an odd hand one night back in January at BSC.  There was a mildly annoying guy there with what I took to be an Eastern European accent.  When I first got to the table, he was loudly reacting to any preflop raise, like, “What are you doing, why are you raising?” that sort of thing.  He gave people nicknames too, based on their perceived country of origin.  So he kept calling an Asian guy “Taiwan” and a guy he must have thought was from Indonesia, “Jakarta”.  He never got around to giving me a nickname.

Then, after about 45 minutes or so, he just totally shut up, and didn’t say a word for a couple of hours. 
At one point, a female dealer came to the table that I didn’t recognize.  This frankly shocked me because I thought I knew all the dealers at BSC who work swing shift, even the extra-board dealers who rarely get called in.  I saw her name and once I matched it to her face, I slowly recognized her.
But not from BSC.  I recognized her from another room that I used to play in quite a bit, but hadn’t been in a while, and further, I had stopped seeing her there when I was still playing that room.  So I asked her if I was right about the room I knew her from, and she said yes.  Then she told me she still worked there full time, but she had changed her shift, that’s why I no longer saw her.  I even remembered that she had a couple of kids.
I was surprised that she’d been on the call-list for BSC for over a year and had never seen her there before, but I guess it was just one of those timing things.  Anyway, we caught up on old times, she gave me some updates on what was going on in that room, and stuff like that.
During this, I guess there was some poker going on too.  Suddenly, Eastern European guy (EEG, for short), was talking again.  It was as if he had awakened from a coma.  And his talking was starting to interfere with my catching up on old times with this nice lady dealer.  The nerve.
But things weren’t too out of hand until a hand right after he’d won a nice size pot.  Included in that pot were a couple of green ($25) chips.  He was still pulling back the pot as the next hand was dealt, and thus put out two chips under the gun.  The dealer announced “raise” because one of the two chips was a green one, so the bet was now $26 (quite a big preflop raise for this table).  The guy to his right folded and the next guy was in the process of calling when EEG said, no, he didn’t mean to raise, he thought he was putting out two $1 chips to just limp, but had grabbed a green one instead.
The dealer said it was a raise, there had been action behind him, that was it.  He bitched and moaned so they called the floor over.  The floor ruled that the $26 bet stood.  After all, who’s to say the guy next to him might have limped in (or made a smaller raise), if he didn’t see the $26 bet before he acted?
So, we played the hand for $26.  That pissed me off, I had pocket deuces and hoped to limp in, or at least come in for a reasonable raise.  I wasn’t about to call $26 with my lousy ducks.  One other guy called, the guy next to me, and three of them saw the flop.
I don’t really recall the hand.  There was some betting and both EEG and the guy next to me went to the river.  On the river, EEG announced “all in” and put some of his still unstacked chips over the betting line.  There was a couple of seconds gone by and suddenly, long before the other guy had a chance to act, EEG just threw his cards face down, towards to the dealer.
They didn’t hit the muck and I believe the dealer made sure they didn’t.  The guy finally says, “oops, sorry, I didn’t mean to do that,” and grabbed his cards back.  The dealer was fine with that, but the other player wasn’t.
“What was that?”
EEG says, “It was a mistake, I made a mistake, sorry.”
The guy repeated, “What was that?”
EEG repeated that he made a mistake, he couldn’t really explain what he did or why he did it, or what he was thinking, but of course he wouldn’t move all-in and then fold his cards before the other person had a chance to act.
The other guy said “I think that’s a fold.”  The dealer said no, they didn’t hit the muck, it wasn’t a fold.
The guy complained again, saying it was a fold, and so, for the second time this hand, the floor had to be called over, and no, it wasn’t a fold.  EEG’s hand was still live.
Other guy accepted this, albeit quite reluctantly.  And then he just stared at the guy for what seemed like 10 minutes.  I think he may have said, “What was that”? a couple of more times even after the floor ruled. There was no doubt out in my mind he was purposely drawing out his decision because he was pissed, both at the guy who shoved and at the ruling.
He finally mucked. 
EEG took in another nice pot, but he just left his chips in a big messy pile in front of him.  The dealer told him he had to stack his chips so the other players would know how much he was playing with.  He made a half hearted effort, then stopped, saying he liked his chips that way.  The dealer insisted, and every time she did, he’d stack a few chips and then stop.  Her down was almost over, so she never got him to cooperate.  But he did manage to piss everyone off by now, not just the guy who thought he folded (“Taiwan” and “Jakarta” were long gone).
And then, instead of stacking his chips, he racked them up and took off. 
Later, when I was cashing out, I ran into the dealer again.  I told her it was good seeing her again, and then I apologized to her, not for me, but on behalf of the jerk.  And I told her he had been mostly silent until she showed up at the table.  Bad luck for her.  Oh well, I’m sure he wasn’t the biggest jerk she’s encountered at her job. 
As for me, it was fun running into her again.  But she’s gonna remember that down more for EEG than she ever will for me.


  1. Quick thought, and I wasn't there so I can't really comment on the feel:
    You were holding 22 vs. the field of 3 players (raiser and 2 callers) from what I can understand from your description above. I'm not sure whether it was a mistake raise or not - but I'm giving the benefit of the doubt that it was a mistake raise. Again, you have 2 flats and your holding a pocket pair that basically gets 50/50 equity to any 2 cards. I can understand your not wanting to call there, but did you consider squeezing? You have a semblance of a hand and a presumably very tight image, with $78 in the pot. Why not bump it to $80 or $100? From the looks of it, you take down a decent pot PF, or are perhaps 50/50 with anyone who takes a flop (and sees it to the river).

    The whole hand sounds weird, TBH, but why not consider this type of action in the future?

    1. Thanks PM, I never really thought of that. I don't recall my chip situation at the time, but it didn't occur to me. I guess if it had, well, I would be thinking two guys called $26, they were both pretty aggro guys, and they would probably call my bet (at least one of them), even with my tight image. Maybe not. I'll try to keep that in mind for next time something weird like that happens.

      Guess I have to get off this mindset....do I wanna risk that much on a lousy pair of deuces???

  2. Rob - Here's the mindset you should have:
    I hold 72o (to take an extreme example). If I squeeze here to $80-100, how often will I be able to take down the $80 pot? Moreover, if I'm called, how often will I be able to bluff shove and induce folds / flop the winning hand vs. bluff / shove and be on the losing end?
    I would say that you'll win the hand outright most often (if the read is valid & he genuinely misplaced his green chip) and the risk is worth the reward.
    This seems like a good spot to pick up some easy dead money. Why not take the risk & go for it?

    1. Thanks, PM, great advice. I've been working on playing more 'creatively' if that's the word. I'll have some posts coming up demonstrating that I've doing that. This would have been a real stretch for me, but now that it's in my head....let's see.

  3. Without knowing the stack sizes of the two callers, I would caution against raising it to $80 or $100. Do you really want to play a hand where you are just 50/50 to win $250?

    1. I understand your concern. Really, what you're trying to do is take down the pot right then & there by squeezing on the "mistake bet," but if you have to get it in, you're either 50/50 or 80/20. You're going to be successful in your squeeze a very high percentage of the time (especially given Rob's image). That's why I gave Rob the extreme 72o example. Basically, it doesn't matter what your cards are - only what the other players are going to do. The bonus is that Rob actually has a hand with showdown value.

    2. Thanks guys, love the back and forth. Xdex, I don't recall with certainty the stack sizes,but my gut reaction is that everyone in the hand, including me, had at least $200.

      You know, one of the fun things about doing a blog is getting surprised by my readers telling me what my post is really about. I thought I was doing a post about a floor ruling (hence the title). Didn't realize I was doing a strategy post!

      One thing I didn't emphasize in the post, because I didn't think it was that relevant, was that the first caller to the $26 didn't have a clue the guy had raised in error. He was calling thinking the guy meant to bet $26. So he must have really liked his hand.

      The other guy called knowing the raiser said he meant to only limp.

      I think there was an excellent chance at least one of the three had a pocket pair. Not likely Aces or Kings, since they didn't re-pop, but some kind of pair and of course, there are exactly 12 pocket pairs possible that beat mine, and none that don't.

      Depending how big the pair is, there's a good chance he calls me and I'm on the wrong size of 80/20.

      But PM has a point. My image was tight, maybe they lay down their Jacks or Queens thinking I only do that with Aces or Kings.

      Interesting to think about.

    3. I agree PM, especially since the callers were sitting on $200+. I was thinking of a scenario where one of the callers had a short stack, say $100 before the hand. He gets dealt 5,5 calls the $25 and has $75 left behind. Rob makes it $100. I think the guy will make a call for his last $75 and a chance to win $250.

    4. I had assumed full stacks; xdex - if it wasn't full stacks, yes - caution is the better part of the hand. As to your observation: you're right; most donkeys would call $75 to win $150 ($75 in the pot + $75 raise) with virtually any two cards that they're overcalling a $26 raise.

      One last parting thought: a few weeks (or was it months) ago, I remember a discussion about raise sizing being smaller out in LV. Hearing about 1 player snap calling / overcalling an early position $26 raise makes me believe the players out there are just as touristy / donkish as they are here on the east coast. I mean seriously... calling a $26 open from UTG? That leads me to believe that you could absolutely practice the $10 + $2 x limper that I typically use; i.e. raising to $18 will scatter some donks but not all of them...

    5. As I recall, the snap caller was extremely loose, and rather aggro. The second caller was a little tighter. You don't usually see $26 preflop raises UTG at a Vegas 1/2 table. $20 would be very high. I'm sure I didn't see an INTENTIONAL raise that big at that table that night, or anything close to it.

  4. So here's one for you. Rob didn't say what he had in chips or if he did I missed it, but if he is going to squeeze making it $100 to go and a continuation bet if called is gonna make him shove, what about shoving preflop instead of a raise to $100. Would this not be more likely to get just a single caller and at least what we hope would be a coin flip and also would it not be more likely to have them all fold with an all-in shove in that spot, thus taking down the pot quick and neat as I assume is what Poker Meister would hope for in his advice to raise it to $100. Thoughts?

    1. The answer is "whatever will get them to fold easier." However, I also think of it this way:

      If I raise to $100, there's $180 in the pot, and they need to fold 100/180 = 5/9, or roughly slightly more than 50% of the time to show a profit. If I shove the full $200, then there's $280 in the pot and they need to fold 5/7 of the time - more than 70% of the time to be profitable.

      Finally, I look at it this way to answer your question:
      If I get called for the $80 raise (raise to $100), there's a high likelihood that they're going to fold the flop shove. If a J+ high flop hits, they may fold their TT-. If a T- high flop hits, they may fold their overcards. If an Ace high flop hits, they're almost 100% folding their holdings (I can pretty much narrow their hand to AK, AQ if they've gotten this far with the hand - and to call $100 PF - they're sometimes re-shipping PF). Either way, raising to $100 gives me a chance of chasing them from the pot on the flop rather than expending all of my bullets pre flop. Moreover, I still have the chance to hit my 2 on the flop, turn or river regardless the villain's choice.

      I guess the whole hand is moot because we never asked Rob: since the mistake raise player won the pot, what was the betting like on the flop / turn? Did he actually have a hand and was feigning the mistake or did he luck into a hand? What was your read?

    2. PM, can I get back to you? :) Seriously, I'd have to dig thru my notes, which are 300 miles away from where I'm sitting now in Vegas, to see if I even made any more notations than I wrote in the post. I doubt it. I thought the only thing of interest was the "fold or not" part of it, not the possibility of my playing the hand.

      I don't recall the betting action at all, and he never had to show. My gut based on his play all night was that he hit his hand and wasn't bluffing. But I've been wrong about that before (of course). And since I didn't have money riding on it, I may not have analyzed it that much.

  5. FWIW, the above that I wrote is slightly flawed in that it doesn't take into account the fact that I am 50/50 with all overcards + 80/20 to all other pocket pairs. This squeeze is a partial bluff / partial value squeeze since I am not really sure where I am in the hand but have equity roughly 40% equity to any two cards. Obviously, though, when I shove the flop, it's for a bluff (unless I hit my 2 and then I re-evaluate how to get my opponent all in with value bets; i.e. maybe leading for $25-50 and betting the turn all in, etc.).

  6. Rob,

    I like the squeeze play in certain situations. However, I think there is a high likelihood that EEG had a big hand. I've seen a lot of European players angle shoot in this manner. They raise large and play it off like they were meaning to just call.


    1. Thanks for the comments, Cowboy and Flushdraww.

      I really don't think it was an act. He hadn't done anything like that before, and at the time I was 100% convinced he was telling the truth when he said he goofed. But it's possible....