Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Night of the Grump

The title of this post has a double meaning.  On the one hand, it refers to the most powerful hand in poker, the mighty deuce-four, as immortalized by semi-retired blogger Poker Grump. In his honor, deuce-four is referred to as “The Grump,” just as Ace-King is called “Big Slick.” The Grump is featured in a couple of noteworthy hands from this evening.  But the title also refers to a general grumpiness exhibited by several players during the evening, most notably my pal Abe.  It is Abe who suggested the title of this post, for which I’m grateful.  But I’m even more grateful to him for another reason, as you’ll see when I get to “the hand of the night.” 

Another possible title for this post could have been, “Protect your hand—Read the Damn Board edition.”  Previous posts in the “protect your hand” series can be found here, here and here.

Before Abe had shown up, I was already stuck $100 and reloaded the $100. While waiting to get called to a game, Abe explained that he was feeling especially “salty” this night.  Normally the nicest guy in the poker room, on this night he was extremely out of character. He was having a bad day and I can't reveal why. But I know the reason and I can assure you he was justified in being “extra salty” this time.

I had lost the $100 without any memorable hands, just the usual drip drip. Actually, at one point I was close to being stuck $200, and then I made back a few bucks at one point calling a guy’s bluff with a lonely pair of 3’s. 

Before Abe got a seat, I was under the gun plus 1, and looked at deuce-4 offsuit.  At the risk of getting thrown out of the Grump club, I confess I don’t usually raise in that position.  But I was having a bad night and felt like this was a good spot to try to mix things up.  So I raised to $10 after UTG limped in.  Five players called.

The flop was Ace-9-5, rainbow.  I really couldn’t see myself c-betting in that situation, with so many in the hand, even with the gut-shot.  But the guy to my immediate right, first to act, bet $12.

Now, this kid was an absolutely terrible player.  He limped into most every pot, called down with almost any piece of the board, middle pair, bottom pair, almost regardless of the board texture.  I was frustrated that I hadn’t gotten any of his money yet.  The donk bet of $12 into a $60 pot was more evidence of what a bad player he was.

OK, I decided to call.  That was cheap enough to see another card, and I figured there was at least a decent chance there wouldn’t be a raise behind me.  There wasn’t.  Only one other player called.

The turn was a beautiful 3, completing my gutter.  The kid bet out again, this time $15 into a $90+ pot.  I supposed I could have just called there, but I don’t really like slow playing straights.  I made it $60 (arguably too small a bet for the size of the pot).  The other guy folded and the kid who led out thought for a bit, said, “Oh, I guess you have it,” and folded. 

I texted Abe the news that I had raised with the Grump and turned my gutshot. Soon, he took a seat at the game I was at and proceeded to prove his saltiness by texting me nasty messages about various dealers and various players in the game.  Then, he refused to chop the blinds with his neighbor, saying, “I’m feeling salty so I’m not chopping tonight.”  He has always chopped before.

Then the kid next to me—the really bad player—pissed him off. The kid had won a few drawing tickets and kept saying he was trying to hang on to enough of his chips to still be playing when the 10:00 PM drawing would take place.  At one point he bet half his stack and said, “Please don’t put me all in, I need to be playing at 10.”  Yikes.  Luckily for him, no one called that bet.

Anyway, Abe had raised preflop and the kid of course called.  I don’t recall the action but by the river the board was Jack high and had a pair of 8’s.  I don’t remember if Abe checked first or not, but the kid went all in for his last $12.  The pot was like $70-$80 I guess.  In other words, there was no way Abe could fold there.

Except he apparently didn’t have much, if anything.  He even said, “I can’t fold this, but it’s too embarrassing to call.”  He tanked for a bit and even though he was sure he was beat, he just couldn’t justify a fold for only twelve bucks.  Finally, he threw the $12 into the pot and said, “OK, show me your Jack.”

The kid hesitated for a few seconds.  Then he said, finally, “Only one?”  And then paused a bit more and finally showed his cards—two Jacks.  He not only won the pot with his full house, but got a drawing ticket too.  As it happened, this was actually the last hand eligible for the drawing, so he had to hurriedly fill out his final ticket while the floor person waited for him.

Meanwhile, Abe was pissed about the slow roll.  And he said so in no uncertain terms.  “I can’t wait to take your money, boy.”  Or something like that.  A few players kind of went “whoa” when they heard that.  I was one of them.  I was really surprised that he said something so nasty, even knowing that he was feeling “salty.”  I said something like, “Wow, I’ve never heard you talk like that.”  He explained, “Well, I only do that when I’m being slow rolled.”              

The guy was oblivious to Abe’s comment, concentrating on filling out his ticket.  Just a few minutes later they had the drawing.  The first person picked wasn’t there.  But the second ticket pulled had the name of the kid who had just slow rolled Abe.  Yuck.

At this time, there were envelopes worth $100, $400 and $1,000.  We heard whooping and hollering….but he didn’t grab a $1K envelope.  He was satisfied with $400.  As he said when he came back, “I was actually hoping for $400, that was good enough.  I didn’t want to get greedy.”  Huh?

He didn’t play anymore, he really was just hanging around for the drawing.  So he sat at the table, taking up a seat for at least 15 minutes while waiting to get paid.  Later, when I passed by the shift manager, I said to him, “You know that guy who won the cash drawing?  Worst poker player I ever saw.  The only way he could win money here was by hitting that promo.”

After he left, the guy who had been sitting in seat 9 took over the kid’s seat, seat 5, to my immediate right.  This guy is crucial to the climax of our story, i.e., the hand of the night.

It was getting late and I was pretty much ready to call it a night.  Maybe an orbit or two more.  I had about $210 or so in front of me, meaning I was down almost $100 for the evening.  By this time, my buddy Jack was dealing.  He had been waiting to push in when Abe got slow rolled.  In the post here, I linked to a previous post and said a much better post involving Jack from this trip would be forthcoming.  This is that post.

And so, Jack dealt me a couple of red Aces in the small blind.  Three people had limped in, including the button, the guy who had recently moved to my immediate right.  I made it $14,

The big blind called.  And all the limpers called.  So it was a $70 pot (before the rake) on the flop.

Obviously I wasn’t thrilled about running my Aces against four other hands.  The flop was 5-3-2.  The deuce was red, the other two cards were both clubs.

First to act, I put out $60.  What else was I supposed to do?  I suppose I could have bet a little less? It went fold, fold, fold……shove.  Yeah, the guy on my immediate right, after thinking for a bit, went all in.  He had me covered.

I was immediately inclined to call just based on feeling pot-committed by my original bet.  I thought it through some more and was thinking his shove was more likely due to his being on a draw than having a made hand, like a set.  Though I suppose he could shove with a set to get a flush draw to fold.  Or to get someone who felt pot committed with a losing hand to call.

Well, I called, knowing that if I lost, I was done for the night.  Too late in the evening to think about a rebuy.

We didn’t show.  I figured last thing I wanted to see was any club.  The turn was a harmless looking red card.  The river was also a red card—a 4.  My first reaction was just relief that there was no third club.  I flipped over my hand and Jack called out, “pair of Aces.”

The other guy didn’t say anything, he just turned his cards over.  It was the Grump—deuce-four. Oh yeah, it was also suited.  The suit?  Clubs, of course. Now, because the betting action had ended after the flop, I kind of stopped thinking about anything except clubs.  Obviously I knew he could turn over pocket 5’s, 3’s or 2’s for a set, but I was thinking “no clubs.”  So there he was, showing his busted flush draw.  And all I was thinking was, “He shoved with a baby flush draw?”

Then I looked again and realized that he had a flush draw and a pair of deuces on the flop.  And before I could think any more, I heard Jack say, “He’s got two pair, deuces and 4’s.”

Shit.  I had just lost a big pot.  I had been rivered.  What a suckout.

Jack was just about to turn over my Aces when Abe spoke up.  I was still looking at the hands and reconstructing everything.  It was about this time I noticed that, with his suited Grump, the guy had flopped a monster draw.  An open-ended straight flush draw, along with the pair.  He had a zillion outs, no wonder why he hit one of them.

But wait, what was Abe saying? Just this: “Wait.  There’s a straight.”

Huh.  Oh yeah, indeed there was.  The four of course, gave me the wheel.  Last time I checked my cheat sheet, a straight beats two pair, even if it’s two pair with the mighty deuce-four.  I vaguely recalled thinking on the flop that I had a gut-shot, but that was so unlikely to hit I promptly forgot about it in all the excitement of the guy shoving and me calling.

Suddenly, Jack was now turning over the other guy’s hand and I was still trying to process everything.  I repeated aloud what I was thinking to myself.  “So he had on open ended straight flush draw, with the pair.  And the 4 that gave him two pair completed my gut-shot.”  Duh.

In response to my comment, Abe, still being incredibly salty this night, got real sarcastic and a bit nasty and said, “Yeah, very good.  Way for a poker writer to read the board. Very good.”

Then he turned his attention to Jack, who is also his pal.  “And a professional dealer.  He couldn’t read the board either.”

Jack had already apologized to both the other player, for teasing him with a big pot he didn’t actually win, and to me for almost giving my pot to the wrong guy.  He kind of giggled at Abe’s nasty comments and apologized again.

Now of course, I should have been grateful to Abe for saving my ass there, and pointing out Jack’s huge error that I hadn’t caught.  And I was.  But his tone was so uncharacteristically sharp, I had to give him a hard time about it.  I said, “OK, just for your nasty tone, your nasty comments, I’m not going to tip Jack.  You can tip him.  You give Jack a buck.”  I seem to recall also saying I wouldn’t tip Jack because he had made such a huge error, though I’m not sure about that.

Abe would have been justified in telling me to go f myself, but no, he said, nastily, “Alright” and threw Jack a buck.  Meanwhile, in the commotion, I had totally forgotten to put my stack out in front of me so that Jack could count it and collect the right amount from the deuce-four guy who was muttering about how he could miss when he had so many outs.

Abe noticed this too and so, still in his nasty mood, said, “Are you gonna push your chips out there and double up, or are you gonna just stare at the board a while longer?”

Oops.  No, a double up was just fine.  I put my chips out and Jack counted it and by the time I had stacked all my chips after the win, I had just a bit less than $500 in front of me.

Of course, I did indeed tip Jack generously for the pot.  Oh, and yes, the next night, I gave Abe his buck back, the one I made him give Jack.  And yes, although I didn’t do it this night—just because he was so salty—I thanked him the next day, both by text and in person, for catching Jack’s error that I should have noticed myself, of course.  An important lesson in protecting your hand, as I said at the outset.

Now, I think I probably would have realized I had the straight a few seconds later if Abe hadn’t caught it first. My mind was headed there. But the question then becomes, even if I had, would I have caught it time to save the pot?  Most likely not.  And then instead of this post, I’d be doing a post about how I had a brain fart at the table and cost myself $500.

I stayed a few more orbits, and very late in my session, some old guy had the dreaded pocket Kings. And believe it or not, he lost his stack with them to somebody’s two pair.  He was not amused as he rebought, and was muttering to himself.  He was acting like you’re supposed to win with that awful hand.

He was a bad sport, showing hostility to the other player and even the dealer as he sold him some more chips.  Now really, sir.  Littered throughout this blog are lessons in the proper way to lose with pocket Kings.  With grace and dignity.  You laugh it off, you smile.  You say, “Oh well, that’s poker.”* But this guy actually had the poor dealer asking if he had done something wrong.  Well yes, he had. He had given the guy pocket Kings.

So he was the final “grump” in the Night of the Grump.  For all the grumpiness, for all the saltiness, for all the near-disasters, it turned out to be a good night after all.

*-the other option is to silently seethe and then write a 25,000-word blog post kvetching about it.


  1. question. y play poker when u r in a shitty mood(not u ,in particular but yr friend). the types of table i dont want to play at r rocks,whiners,and so-called pro(s) that have to comment on every fucking hand.and really wont play if all the above and NO money on the table.

    1. Why did Abe play poker that night? I myself wondered at the time. But without asking him, I'd guess he felt like that he need a distraction from what was troubling him, if he wasn't playing poker he'd have NOTHING to do but focus on what was bugging him.

      Plus a lot of his friends are in that poker room and he felt they may have helped cheer him up.

  2. Even if you had recognized the straight too late, there is at least some hope of having the error corrected. Since you tabled your cards, you should have multiple witnesses, plus the security cameras as the ultimate arbiter, should that become necessary. Now, the cameras may not be able to judge your stack size, so even if they verify that you're the winner, you might not get a full double-up, but you can at least claim the pot.

    If you wait too long, of course, you're not going to get any help. But as long as you speak up before the next hand is dealt, you can probably get the outcome reversed even after the pot has been pushed.

    1. Thanks, Grump. You're right, I probably had a bit more time to correct the error, although it would have been more complicated the longer it took for the error to be caught. I've seen mistakes corrected after the cards have been turned over. Luckily I didn't have to test just how long it could have waited to be corrected!

      I didn't mention in the post (for the sake of brevity, of course) if my opponent realized that he was about to get a pot in error. I really wasn't looking at him and he didn't say anything, so I really don't know. He certainly didn't react with glee (or relief) when the dealer said he had two pair and was about to push the pot to him. So maybe he knew and was going to let it go? Or maybe he was just confused by the dealer's error. We'll never know.

  3. Once I had a full house and the dealer grabbed my cards and mucked them (since them I'm more careful about protecting them) and started to push the pot to a hand with a straight. Fortunately, two other players had seen the boat and corroborated my story.

    1. Yes, I've actually caught a few dealer errors like that myself--but I was always the one who called it to the dealer's attention in the past.

      More commonly, I'll question a pot I didn't win because I misread the other player's hand. That's usually because I can't see the other hand well (bad eyes) and the dealer was clear or loud in calling the hand.

  4. Rob, will you be in Vegas 5/25-5/31, maybe playing the Deepstacks? I'm coming for the opening few events of the WSOP, and would like to invite you to an all expense paid trip to the Rhino for an extended period of exposed boob viewing; which may also include a lap dance or two. Of course, all activities and identities will be held in strict confidence.
    No- is not an acceptable answer. See you at the Rio.

    Big L

    1. Thanks for the intriguing offer, Big L! I'll get back to you.

  5. Even though I rarely have any luck with the hand, I've always referred to the deuce-four as "the Spanish Inquisition". Because, you know ... "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!"


    PS - My trip for Vegas still ON: May 23-31

    1. Thanks, VegasDWP. But---I have to tell you that Deuce-Four is NOT The Spanish Inquisition. It's 6-3 that is the Spanish Inquisition!


      I will be in town when you are. Look me up!

  6. THIS IS A PUBLIC ANNOUCEMENT .ok i cant spell but that isnt the annoucement. BAJA BLAST is out in store. but if u go to the mountian dew website and type in yr zipcode .it may tell u not in yr area but that may not b true. bcuz it said that it wasnt in colorado BUT when i went to the shell gas station . I SAW IT.SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET BABY JESUS.that is all. thx u rob 4 letting me use yr blog 4 this important annoucement but in fairness u owe me bcuz MR SALTY PIC. WTF.

    1. Um....ok,anger. WTF is Baja Blast? And is it better than deep fried Oreos? Or Boobies?

      Sorry about Mr. Salty, but it really fit in with the post. You can't have boobies all the time....where would you put them?

  7. NOTHING is better than firm round nice TITS,sir. but BAJA BLAST is a version of mountian dew that was ONLY availible at Taco Bell.but by my prayers to the baby jesus and being good. u can now buy it at some stores and grocery to answer yr question of is it better than boobies and deep fried oreos. here is my top 8ish things. BOOBIES,GOOD KUSH,HI-CAPACITY FIREARMS,POKER,BACON,DON WINSLOW NOVELS,YOGA PANTS,and ROB's(FUCK LA)VEGAS AND POKER BLOG.ALSO TOOL/PERFECT CIRCLE/PUSCIFER

    1. I'm almost speechless!

      But if my blog made that list (even with the FUCK LA in there), I'm happy.


    2. u speechless? shocking LOL. and yw

    3. Well, I did say "almost."