Thursday, April 24, 2014

"What's The Most Outs You Can Have?"

This post is about two sessions on the first Sunday of March Madness.

I started in the middle of the afternoon at Mandalay Bay, where I hadn’t played since this post here.

When I arrived, I was immediately sent to the same table I played the last time.  I’ve now played at Mandalay Bay twice and have only played at one table there.

It was 1/2 so I bought in for $200.  When I got there, the table was a bit wild.  For the first dozen or so hands I saw, every single one was raised preflop.  One hand, it was raised to $11 preflop and seven players saw the flop!  That was the kind of table it was. 

I hadn’t won a pot and was down to about $170 when I had King-10 off in the big blind.  To my astonishment, it hadn’t been raised when the action was on me.  I put in a buck and the big blind just checked.  A limped pot.  What a novelty.  Five of us saw the flop, which was King-6-4, 2 diamonds.  I didn’t have a diamond.  I led out for $8 and all four of the players called.  How could a flop like that hit five players?

The turn was a 10 of something other than a diamond. I bet $60.  At this table, I wasn’t worried about no one calling.  I was more worried about everyone calling.  But it folded to the biggest stack at the table.  He shoved.  I was committed when I made my bet so I snap-called. My biggest concern was that he had a pair and the flush draw although the way he had been playing, he might have done that with just the draw.  Or a big King.

We didn’t show and the third diamond on the river gave me some concern but he said to me, “You have King-4?”  And he showed King-6.  I showed my turned two pair and took down a real nice pot.  I’m thinking he probably should have raised my flop bet, right?

I only made notes on a couple of other hands.  I won a small pot when I saw the flop for a buck from the small blind with 9-7.  No one bet a King-9-x flop, or a blank turn.  A second nine hit the river and a guy called my $10 bet but mucked when he saw my hand.  I won some chips raising a bunch of limpers to $14 with Ace-King.  Three of us saw the flop, which was Queen high missed me totally.  I almost didn’t c-bet.  The guy in front of me had some chips in his hand and appeared ready to bet and then checked instead. Hmm…thinking he liked his hand enough to almost bet, should I save some money by checking behind?  No, I decided to c-bet anyway.  My $30 bet was not called. Did the guy fold a week Queen thinking I had Ace-Queen?

I lost a few bucks calling a small flop bet with the nut flush draw.  But the guy didn’t bet the turn when the board paired. I folded to his $25 bet on the river, which was a blank.  He was pissed that I didn’t bet, since the pair on the turn gave him a boat.  “Damn!  Why didn’t you call?” he said.  Well, cuz I had Ace high, that’s why.  I lost the minimum there and was grateful for not hitting my flush.

I left with exactly $200 profit for a couple of hours of play.  Much better result than my first try at Mandalay.

After some dinner I ended up at BSC for the evening.  The poker wasn’t too memorable but it turned out to be fun thanks to the antics of “Ray.”  Ray is a regular, pretty aggressive player, friendly guy.  I’m not sure if he knows my name but he surely recognizes me (and yes, I know his name, first and last, and “Ray” is neither).  When I got to the table he said, “Welcome back.” Of course, I had been in the room plenty over the past few days but this was the first time I’d seen him on this trip.  I said, “Feels like I never left.”

Ray has this thing where he tries to throw an empty, crumpled up plastic water bottle into a trash can from a long distance.  In the poker room.  But he doesn’t just do it.  No, he wants action on it.  So he’ll ask other players at the table if they will bet him $100 to $1 that he can make the basket.  “Easy buck for you,” he’ll say.  This time the wastebasket was behind him and there was a tournament table in use in front of it.  And he said he would throw it over his head, without looking.  He always tries to get me to bet and I always refuse.  But there was a guy at the table, a European aggro, who took the bet.  Actually, I’m not sure if he did or not, but it was taking Ray forever to pull the trigger and actually throw the thing.  Every time he looked, there was a floorperson or a dealer in the way.  So finally the Euro said he would give Ray the buck if he would just throw the damn bottle.

Ray at one point asked me what I thought the true odds of him being successful were.  I said it was at least 1,000 to 1.  He scoffed.  No, he said, if he tried it 1,000 times, he’d make it at least a couple of times.  He said that I would make it a few times if I tried it 1,000 times.  Really?  How did word of my basketball prowess reach the poker room?

They were talking about making side bets if he hit someone at the tournament table.  But there was no real betting action other than the Euro and finally Ray threw the bottle and we couldn’t see it. but apparently it came fairly close.  He tried to give the Euro a buck but no, the Euro insisted that he owed Ray the buck for actually throwing it.  I dunno if any money ended up changing hands. 

Then he was getting a massage from one of the regular massage girls.  My recollection is that he usually gets a massage when he plays.  So Ray was talking about which muscles to work and which to avoid.  As frequently happens, the subject got a little off-color.  I’ve heard many a patron ask if the massage includes a “happy ending” when the therapist comes around hawking her talents.  The girls usually just feign a laugh or say something like, “I’ve never heard that before.”  Sometimes they act offended, but hey, this is Vegas and the person joking has probably one or seven too many adult beverages by then.

Anyway, Ray was quite familiar with this particular masseuse. So he said something to the effect, “Of course, we know there’s one particular muscle you better not work.”  She didn’t object to the innuendo at all, she just laughed.  Ray said something about how that would “make a mess” and the dealer added, “Yeah, and the cards would get sticky.”

But the weirdest bit was when he missed on a hand where he had a lot of outs.  Suddenly he asked the question, “What’s the most outs you can have?”  A few people at the table made some guesses, including Abe, who had recently joined the table.  No one could agree so Abe suggested that little thing called the internet and that he could look it up on his cell phone.

Ray scoffed at that. “Look it up on my cell phone?  That’s ridiculous. Why would I look it up on my cell phone when I can look it up on my IPad?”  And he took out his IPad and started researching it.

He came across a few forums where there was speculation about it, but I’m not sure he ever came up with a definite answer.  He was looking for a situation on the turn, only one card to come and, what’s the most number of outs you could have.  Here’s a link to one such post where it says there are 25, although I’m not sure they all agree.

This became a running gag the rest of the evening.  Whenever anyone folded, they’d say “And I had 25 outs….or was it 23?”  When Ray got tired of researching, he took his IPad, with the page I just linked on it, and handed it to Abe for him to review.  Then Ray took off on a bit of a break.

After Abe was done reading the post, he looked around and saw that he couldn’t return Ray’s IPad to him because he wasn’t there.  Before Ray returned, Abe was called for a table change.  Abe wanted to give me Ray’s IPad but I said, “Just keep it.  Since he isn’t back when you moved, that’s yours now.  You won an IPad.  It’s plus EV.”

He laughed.  “That may be the most plus EV thing that happens tonight.”  But in fact he did give it to me.  When Ray returned and noticed that Abe was gone and wondered where his IPad was, I of course returned it to him.

The poker was rather blah, nothing much going on either way, no big hands won or lost.  But there was one hand that I’ll mention, mostly for my own benefit, because I think I may have missed an opportunity to take advantage of my image.

I’ve noticed a lot of players at the 1/2 table don’t really pay attention to how other people play.  These are obviously the players you want to play with. 

But some players do, and the regulars do.  And good players like Ray have a pretty good read on the other regulars, like me.  I need to take more advantage of this.

On this particular hand, I had Ace-King under-the-gun.  I had about $160 in front of me.  I raised to $8, and a couple of people called.  Ray was the big blind, he had at least twice as many chips as I did.  He made it $40.

Grrrr.  I’m not that big a fan of Ace-King, as I’ve written before.  Playing it against a tough opponent didn’t appeal to me very much.  I did think about it though.  I figured if I just called, with my stack, I’m pretty close to committed.  So should I just raise instead?  Raising would definitely commit me.  I’d really have to shove.  Do I want to get my stack in there with Ace-King?

Now. Ray has played with me enough to know I’m not raising under-the-gun without a pretty good hand.  So that means he must have a really, really, really good hand, right?

Maybe.  But maybe he’s thinking that there’s even fewer hands I would call a three-bet with, and if I don’t have one of those, he takes it down right there?

Hmm.  By the time I thought it all the way through, I was making a compelling case for shoving.  Ray’s three-betting range is fairly wide. The more I thought about it, the more I considered shoving.

But then I thought….well no.  He’d probably call at this point.  And I just didn’t feel like putting my whole stack on the line with only Ace-King.

Perhaps I need to rethink the value of Ace-King.  That was certainly some of the feedback I got to this post here.  But after I folded I realized how I should have played the hand.

I should have shoved, but done so instantly.  No hesitation.  I should have been prepared when I bet, knowing that Ray was the BB and that he might come over the top—I should have been prepared to use my image with Ray to just snap-shove.

If I shoved after thinking about it, he knows I don’t have Aces or even Kings.  If I snap-shove, he is going to put me on Aces or Kings.  Now, if he’s the one with Aces or Kings, he’s not going anywhere.  But if he’s got 10’s, or Jacks….or just maybe Queens (maybe!)…..maybe he does fold.  And if he’s got a lesser hand?  Easy fold. 

So I’m thinking a snap-shove there would have given me a lot of fold equity, in addition to whatever equity I had playing the hand out with AK.  Yeah, against me, knowing how I play, he’s only calling my snap-shove with a couple of hands.  But after thinking about it as long as I did, knowing I don’t have Aces or Kings, he calls me with more hands, and I lose that fold equity.

I dunno, it’s just something I couldn’t get out of my mind after the session.  Any thoughts from you folks?

I left down a few bucks.  I was still up for the day thanks to the session at Mandalay Bay.  Good poker session early, fun time late.  Not bad.


  1. Did you check the link? That one said 25.

  2. Hey Rob, back next Wed - Thursday. They wanted me to fight Mayweather on Saturday, but i had to knock them back , as i will be flying solo, and therefore will probably be locked on to a poker table somewhere. FINALLY.

    1. Have a great time and run good, Ben.

      Sadly, I will not be in Vegas then.

  3. rob made funny on grump comments. LOL. as far as the AK hand in this blog. i dont mind the fold. it is all about the feel and structure of the table. BEAT LA GO SHARKS. time to wrap up this series.

    1. I almost didn't approve you comment, anger, "BEAT LA" is something that should never appear on this blog.

      Truth be told, I'm not a huge hockey fan, but with the Lakers on a sabbatical from basketball I was kind of looking forward to the Kings winning the Stanley Cup as my sports fix this spring. Ooops.

      But man, I can't forgive you for hating on my Kings. So, no more boobie pictures on the blog. Sorry, you have only yourself to blame.

    2. idk some of yr last blogs the tittie ratio has been pretty lo . i was starting to think u were about to come out the closet or something. LOL.also, u got the dodgers,sir. furthermore ,u had TWO nfl teams but the LA fan base is very weak ,sir. AND U GOT THE CLIPPERS. or mayb a new name after the owner's comment's THE CRACKERS. KCCO,sir

    3. and the LOS ANGELES ANAHeiM CALIFORNIA ANGELS and if LA is going to claim them then u may as well take the LA ANAHEIM DUCKS too. lol

    4. Don't really care about baseball these days and back in the days when I did, I wasn't a Dodgers fan.

      Also in the past, I didn't give two shits about the Clippers. But now that they hired Doc Rivers as their coach, as far as I'm concerned, the Clippers are Celtics-West, and I hate them.

      My three least favorite NBA teams are the Celtics, the Clippers and the Houston Sprockets.

      The Sprockets are actually #1 on my hate list because of a certain pussy they have playing center whose name I won't mention.

      GO PORTLAND!!!!!

      And don't get me started on the fucking morons who run the city and county of Los Angeles who have done their level best to keep the NFL out of L.A. for lo these many years.

    5. i am with u on the center dwight COWARD.i lived in florida 4 a long time .when the orlando magic's star player was scott skiles and dennis scott.

  4. AK is an easy shove 80BB deep with all that lovely $$$ in the middle.

    1. Thanks Kat. I know you are a big fan of the ol' AK. Perhaps I do undervalue it.

  5. The answer here is obvious. If your opponent has 1 out on the turn (gut shot straight flush draw to your nut flush), then you actually have 45 outs to win the hand...right?

    As far as when you are behind though...consider this situation:

    Board: 8h9h8d6c
    Flush draw - 9
    Non heart straight draw - 6
    Any T or J - 6
    Non heart 6 or any 9 would counterfeit - 5
    Unless I am missing something, this would be 26 outs... and is the most ideal situation I could think of.


    1. Thanks. If your ahead, you don't have outs, you just have to avoid Vs outs.

      I'm a gonna take your word for it on the 26 outs, sounds good.