Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Boxed Card

The second to last nite of my most recent Vegas trip, I found a whole new way to lose a big pot, one I had never even considered before.  No, it didn’t have anything to do with the dreaded pocket Kings.  Actually, the dreaded hand was pretty good to me this visit.  Pocket Queens, on the other hand, not so much.

I was playing at the BSC.  My very first hand I was dealt two Kings.  Yeah, no sense waiting for them, right?  There were a couple of limpers in front of me, so I raised to $12.  Three people called me.  The flop was Ace high (no King, of course).  It checked to me and I put out $35 as a continuation bet, fully expecting that at least one or two players had an Ace and would call.  But no, amazingly, all three of the preflop callers folded.  My Kings held up against an Ace high flop!  As I said, they had been rather kind to me this trip.

Less than 20 minutes later, with the same dealer, I was dealt two more Kings.  I raised again and this time only one person called.  The caller had been away from the table the entire time I’d been there and just returned a hand or two before, so I had no idea what I was dealing with.  This time,      there was no Ace on the flop, and my flop bet went uncalled.
I had won a few hands between those two so I was starting to think maybe this was going to be a good session.  I mean, winning two hands with KK during one dealer’s down was certainly a record for me, and even though they weren’t big pots, I was quite happy with that.
Just a few hands later, only minutes before this same dealer was about to be pushed out, he sent me a couple of ladies instead of two more cowboys.  I kind of shuddered.  This trip, it hadn’t been Kings that had been my downfall, it had been pocket Queens, which had bitten me quite a few times already.  I’m sure I’ll have more posts about QQ in the near future.
I was under-the-gun so I made it $8 as I usually do.  Two called, including the Big Blind directly to my right, a Euro-type.  In fact, I think he may have been a traveling buddy of the German tourist I mentioned here who told me about the flying panties.
The flop was low but it was all spades.  Ugh.  I had the Queen of Spades though.  I led out with a $18 bet and one player folded but the Euro called.
There was a low red card on the turn, and I checked behind the Euro’s check.  I wasn’t really interested in bloating the pot with my overpair to such a scary board.
Then the river card came and it was a red Queen.  So now I had a set of Queens on a board with three spades.  There was a straight possible too, but I was much more concerned about the flush.
Especially when the Euro led out with a big bet—$80.  He hadn’t really been playing particular aggro since I’d gotten there.  On the other hand, I’ve seen plenty of players make a bet like that to represent a flush that they didn’t have.  I mean, if he flopped the flush, he had slow-played it.  I wondered how many Europeans would do that?  I suppose he might have been surprised when I checked behind him on the turn and had planned to check-raise there.
I probably could have gotten away from the hand there if the river hadn’t been a damn Queen.  I could have laid down the overpair with that board.  But now with a set, I just couldn’t.  I felt there was too good a chance he was bluffing,or maybe even had some kind of weird two pair that I was now ahead of.
So I made the crying call.  And he showed King-7 of spades for the flopped flush.  Grrr.  All I could think of was, “he called my preflop raise with K-7?”  But I did mention he was European, right?
I wasn’t felted but I did have to buy some more chips.
Not long after this happened, I got my revenge on the Euro—by proxy, at least.  I don’t recall all the action but on the river there were three hearts on a Queen high board.  The guy to my left put out a $100 bet, which was more than the pot.  The Euro was the other player in the hand and was in agony over his decision.  The way the hand played out it sure looked like the other guy had a flush.

The Euro said he had a really good hand and asked the bettor point blank if he had the flush.  Of course the other guy said nothing.  He asked the guy if he would show his hand if he folded.  At first the guy said nothing but then said, finally, he would show his hand if he folded.  So the Euro folded face up.  He had pocket Queens and therefore a set. 
And sure enough, the guy showed his hand before dragging the pot.  He had not a single heart in his hand.  “I’ve got a pair of 10’s,” he said as he showed.  Yeah, that was it, a 10 in his hand to match one on the board.  It wasn’t even top pair, obviously.  The guy had done to the Euro what I thought the Euro might be doing to me!  And he got the Euro to lay down the best hand.
The Euro was visibly distraught about his bad laydown, and within three hands picked up his chips and cashed out.  I’ll bet he lost sleep thinking about that hand.
The guy with the pair of 10’s there was still sitting on my left when I got King-Queen in late position.  I raised to $12 and he was the only caller.  The flop missed me completely and I made a $20 continuation bet.
He thought about it awhile and then said, “Seems like you play here a lot.  I’m going to give you that “old man respect.”  And he folded.
“Old man respect?”  WTF is that?  I laughed a bit while the guy next to him kind of went “Whoa!”  The guy said “That doesn’t mean you’re an old man, I’m just giving you that ‘old man respect’!”  Riiiiiight.  But I took the pot with nothing, so who cares, right?
Sometime later, I was dealt pocket Queens for the second time this session.  I have to admit that by this point in the trip, my reaction to seeing two ladies in front of me was starting to resemble the reaction I usually get when I said KK.
I was in the big blind and before it got to me, the small blind raised to $8.  He hadn’t been particularly active at the table, in fact, I mostly remembered him for asking for a table change earlier, actually going to another table, and then immediately returning back to this one and sending the new player to the other game.  I dunno what it was, but he clearly didn’t like something or someone at that other table.
I don’t automatically three-bet with QQ, especially out of position and especially against a player who I hadn’t judged to be particularly aggressive.  But he had only a few red chips behind him left, so I thought maybe I should just put him all in there.
Except that, one of the limpers before him was a young, very aggressive player.  He had been the most active (and talkative) player at the table since arriving about a half hour before.  He had me covered.  Based on the play I’d seen so far, I was sure he’d call the small blind’s raise, but I didn’t know if he’d call my three-bet. He had been there long enough to peg me as a tight player and he might very well fold if I re-raised.  And since I couldn’t win any money from the original raiser, and I had been looking for a situation for that aggro to pay me off, I thought more and more about it and decided to just call.  If he called, then, depending on the flop, I’d have somewhat disguised the strength of my hand.
The young Aggro called, as did the other limper, so four of us saw the flop.  What a flop!  It was Queen-Jack-10, rainbow.  So I flopped top set on a really, really wet board.

The small blind bet out $15, which was all he had.
I of course wanted to raise, even though the flop was scary.  You can’t just assume someone has flopped a straight, right?
I thought about shoving with my remaining stack, about $140.  But that seemed like too much of an overbet.  Instead I bet $45, fully committing the rest of my stack.
The young Aggro asked me how much I was playing and I moved the rest of my chips out for him to get a better look.  He announced “all in.”  The other guy folded and since the original bettor was all in too, it was up to me to announce “all in” and of course I did.
The Aggro said something about someone—not himself—having 8-9 for the bottom end of the straight.  He said it as a question, not as if he had it.  And I couldn’t put him on Ace-King since he would have definitely raised preflop with that.  King-9?  Or just the draw?  The original raiser’s hand was irrelevant since his stack was so small.  It was really between me and the kid for most of the money.

I dunno if betting only $45 instead of shoving was the right move or not, but I can tell you that it would have made no difference.  He would have called if I had shoved first, that’s for sure.
None of us showed.  I was worried about the straight and was definitely wanting to see the board pair.  Or ,you know, the case Queen.  The turn card was a red 3, didn’t seem important.
And then, just as the dealer was about to burn a card, he noticed something about the card he was about to burn.  It was face up!  It was what is known as a “boxed card.”  The card was a black 8, definitely a card I didn’t want to see hit the board, since it would give anyone with a 9 a straight.  But it was supposed to be the burn card, not the river card.
For some reason, I had only recently heard a discussion from a dealer about what happens when there is a boxed card.  I remembered it well.  The boxed card is nothing, it is meaningless, it is just a scrap of paper.  It basically doesn’t exist.  It is taken out of play, put in the muck and the next card is used in its place for whatever that boxed card was supposed to be (a burn card or a board card).
The dealer stopped everything and called the floor over.  He explained the rule to us but he had to get the floor to officially rule on it.  Sure enough, the floor made the same ruling.  The black 8 was put in the muck and the next card was burned.  And the card after that burn card was the river card.
The river card—the replacement river card, that is— was the King of spades, not exactly a card I wanted to see.  The Aggro said he had a King high straight and showed Queen-9.  So he had flopped top pair and the open ender.  As I said, he was never going to fold his hand.
The short stack had Ace-9 for the Ace high straight.  He won the main pot, which wasn’t a lot of money.  But the Aggro won the side pot which was a lot more money—my money.
My stack was gone and I was not prepared to buy in again.  Losing twice in one session with sets of Queens was enough for me.
I must admit, it took me awhile to realize exactly what had happened.  Oh, I knew I had flopped a set of Queens and lost to a rivered straight, I got that. I was ahead the whole time. It sucks, but that’s poker.
But eventually it dawned on me that the King of spades that cost me should never have been on the board.  Because of that damned boxed card, the card that should have been the river card was burned instead, and that friggin’ King of spades, which never should have been dealt, was the new river card!

Talk about bad luck.  Of course, I’ll never know what the card that should have been the river card was.  Maybe it was another King.  Maybe it was 8.  And I still would have lost.
But maybe—and more likely—it was any other card in the damn deck but a King or an 8 and I would have dragged the pot.
And you will notice that the boxed card—which should have been the burn card and thus was never going to be in play—was another card that would have made a straight.  Just one more little thing to annoy me about losing the hand the way I did.
The dreaded boxed card.


  1. that is fucking sick.if it would of happen to TBC .it would b proof of a conspiracy. LMAO.

    1. Well it happened to ME, anger, and what makes you think it WASN'T a consipiracy??? :)

    2. i will get jesse ventura right on it.

  2. What do you mean the card that "should have been" the river? Given the boxed card, the precisely correct river card was dealt and you lost fair and square. Or if you meant that the card after the boxed card "should have been" the river card in an alternate universe where the boxed card was unboxed, how do you know that the "real" river card wouldn't have also given your opponent the winning straight?

    Obsessing over issues like this overlooks the fact that all of the cards in the stub are random, unknown cards to you when your money went in the middle. You honestly shouldn't care which two of the stub cards end up completing the final board. Some of them will lose the hand for you, while most will win it. You weren't entitled to any specific river card, just to a random card drawn from the stub in the manner set by rule.

    1. Grange, you and I agree that the ruling was the correct one, I didn't disagree with it. And I also made it clear that the card that I felt "should have been" the river card could very possibly have been a King or an 8 too, which would have lost the hand for me just as the King of spades did.

      That said....I get no sympathy from you for losing when such something so rare like that happened and I lost when the one thing we know for sure was that the card that hit the river and cost me the pot was not in the right place in the deck for it to have been put on the board?

      OK, fine, be that way. :)

      Before this blog was a month old, I told a kind of similar story when a dealer error cost me a card that helped me and replaced it with a card that hurt me. That post is below. I guess you don't sympathize with me for that one, either, huh?

  3. Will we now start reading about the Dreaded Pocket Queens? : o )

    1. Here's a hint. With this post, I started using the label, "the dreaded pocket Queens."

    2. At this point, how about mentioning the hands you DON'T dread? lol ;-)

      I'm gonna be in Las Vegas December 1-5, any chance you'll be aorund? I'm arriving the Sunday after Thanksgiving, leaving that Thursday.

    3. Yeah, 7-2. Cuz I'm still smart enough (barely) to throw it away and thus it doesn't cost me anything.

      Not sure of my end of the year plans yet. I'll be there for Xmas I'm sure, not sure about early December though.

    4. 3 bet the 7-2 only if sooooooooooooooooooooooooootd

    5. 3 bet nothing. If I have 7-2 sooooted I shove!