Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Brian, Big Tim & The Scary Board

I’m back from my latest Vegas trip.  This is a hand that didn’t involve me that I saw this past weekend.  

I had been at the same table with Brian for at least three hours. I assume that Brian is his real name, as that’s what the dealers were calling him based on his player’s card.  This story isn’t embarrassing and I doubt I’ll see Brian again (or that he will ever see this blog post), so I’m going to use the real names of the two players.  Brian had huge stack of chips in front of him when I got to the table, about $800-$900 or so.  In the time I’d played with him, I hadn’t seen him either win or lose a lot of chips, his stack remained about the same, he’d only won small pots and only lost small amounts.  It was hard for me to figure out how he had gotten that big of a stack with the way he was playing.  He limped a lot, probably played more than half the pots, and would call small preflop raises, but he hardly ever raised preflop and didn’t bet or raise all that much after the flop.  He must have gotten lucky on a couple of big hands before I had gotten there but he sure wasn’t using that big stack to bully anyone.

He still had the same big stack when “Big Tim” came to the table.  And again, Tim was apparently his real name and Brian just added the “Big” because Tim was tall.  Actually, so was Brian.  They both could have been basketball players.

Big Tim came to the table with around $200 and had only been at our table for two or three hands when this happened.  Brian raised to $7 or $8, one of the few times I can recall him raising pre.  Big Tim re-raised to $20.  It folded back to Brian who just called.

The two of them saw one of the scariest boards possible, Ten, Jack, Queen, all diamonds.  Conceivably someone could have flopped a Royal.  Brian checked and Big Tim bet.  I don’t recall the amount but it was a reasonable bet for the pot.  Brian smooth-called.

The turn was the 9 of clubs, putting four to a straight on the board.  Of course, someone could have already had Broadway.  Or a flush.  Or the Royal flush.  Brian checked again, and he might have been surprised when Big Tim checked behind him.

The river was a low diamond, the 4 I think, so now there was four to a flush on the board in addition to everything else.  This time, Brian didn’t check.

“OK, Big Tim, let’s see.”  And he bet $80.  Big Tim wasted no time in announcing “all-in.”  This made Brian think.  He asked for a count.  It was $65 more for him to call, so he did.  But I think he knew he was beat.

Sure enough, Big Tim showed two Aces.  Of course, one of them was the diamond, giving him the nut flush.

And just as sure, Brian showed the dreaded pocket Kings, one of which was also a diamond, giving him the second nut flush.    Of course, he had the best hand on the turn, a straight.  I wondered if he checked the turn hoping to check-raise.  Not that Big Tim was likely to fold his over pair and draw to the nut flush (also a gut-shot Royal draw, though he had no chance at that).

Brian was right next to me so I gave him some sympathy as he paid off Big Tim.  “Tough, tough hand.”  He was a good sport about it.  I didn’t ask him about a possible check-raise, but I did express surprise, since it was one of those classic Aces vs. Kings situation that I’ve written about several times already, that it wasn’t all-in before the flop.

“You didn’t re-raise his three-bet, huh?  With your Kings?  Usually that situation is all-in before the flop.”

“No, I slow-played it.” 

Interesting.  It wouldn’t have made any difference in this case.  If he had raised Big Tim’s $20 bet, Big Tim would have gone all-in and Brian would have presumably called.  Unless he was good enough to fold pocket Kings.  But probably not, especially since Big Tim had only been at the table for a few minutes and Brian didn’t have any read on him.  It would really be hard to lay down Kings against a player under those circumstances, especially for $200 when you have the big stack in front of you.

Tough hand.  Probably the only way he gets away from the hand is if there’s an Ace on the board.  Or if monotone board is a suit he doesn’t have.

Earlier, Brian had an amusing way of inquiring about the notes I had been taking while we played.  After watching me write down notes for a few hours, he finally said to me, “Robert, are we close enough yet that I can ask you what you’re writing in notebook?  Or do we have to play together longer for me to ask you that question.”

I burst out laughing.  The dealer was my pal Brent, who seemed to enjoy the question as much as I did.  Abe was sitting on the other side of Brent, and he asked what Brent found so amusing, so he told him.

So I said to Brian, “You know, usually when I get that asked that question, I tell people that I’m just doing my grocery list.  But since you asked in such a funny way, I’ll tell you the truth.  I’m writing down hands so I can review them later.  It helps me with my game.”  I did leave out the part about having a blog. Although he might have picked up on the fact that I have a blog based on some of the discussion I was having with Abe and Brent.  He asked if I wrote down every hand.  I said no, just the ones that seemed significant that I’m involved with.  Then I said I sometimes write about hands I’m not part of if I think I’ve seen someone do something “stupid.”  Which means, blog-worthy, but I didn’t say that.

I think there is some poker from this night that involved me that might make it into a future blog post, but I need to do a relatively shorter post for now to give myself a chance to try to get caught up.  So this will do for now.


  1. What?! No part two?! I want a refund...

    1. Now you're complaining that the posts are too short? Man, I just can't win.

  2. the famous "long winded" Rob has writers block?

    1. Not at all, Anony, not all. I never mentioned writer's block. I just time to catch up.If I had the time, I could have done a much longer post, I assure you.

  3. Rob, you're showing your old age with smaller blogs like this....lol

    1. There's no pleasing some people. Take your pocket Kings and....well.....