Sunday, August 3, 2014

The $1,800 Pot

By far the most interesting hand from this session you’re about to read about was not the quads I flopped, but perhaps the biggest pot I ever witnessed up close and personal at a 1/2 game.  I wasn’t in the hand, although if I was, and had been the guy with pocket Kings, I’d probably never complain about them again.  (Yeah, right.)

I’m going back to the end of March for this one; it was actually my last night in town for that particular trip.  Early in the session I had a very nice time having a drink with one of my loyal blog readers, a fellow from the Boston area I’ll call Bob, because that’s his actual name.  Well, technically, it’s probably Robert but he goes by Bob.  Bob had emailed me that he would be out for a visit and wondered if I would be around.  So he came over to BSC and I took a break from the game and we chatted for quite some time.  Bob didn’t feel like playing, he’s actually more of a tournament player than a cash game player, at least when it comes to actual poker rooms.

Bob told me about a couple of home games he plays in regularly back home (at least one of which consists of tournaments, not cash games) and mentioned that he actually had Josie and Gary over once to play in them.  But the commute was too much for them to make it a regular thing.  I guess he discovered Josie’s blog first and that got him to mine and whatever other poker blogs he follows.  Bob mentioned a couple of my posts that he particularly enjoyed, which was nice to hear, but I won’t discuss that here because it would make me sound too egotistical.

Like most of the readers I meet, he was a heckuva nice guy in addition to having impeccable taste. But we just had the drink and never played poker together. He’ll be back in the fall and I’m hoping it’s when I’m there too and maybe this time we can play some poker together.

Earlier in the session—before I took the break to chat with Bob—I was dealt pocket 3’s in late position. I was one of five callers, but no one raised.  I guess you could say the flop hit me.  It was 3-Ace-3.  It checked to me, last to act.  Damn, didn’t anyone have an Ace?  I checked too.  There was a 9 on the turn and again we all checked.  I suppose I should have thought about betting there.  The 4 on the river didn’t look like it was gonna help anyone and again it checked to me.  I bet a lousy $5 hoping maybe to get a few callers, if not a raise.  It folded to a guy I had played with many times back when I was playing 2/4 limit.  He too had switched over to NL and I’d run into a few times playing 1/2.  Anyway he called.

Since we were old pals, I said, as I showed my hand, “Thanks, you paid me off for my quads.”  He said he was happy to do it.  Maybe because it was only five bucks.

Back at this time, they didn’t have the cash drawings 24/7 but they did have high hand bonuses.  Quads or better got to pick a prize ball which could be anywhere from $50 to $1,000.  Of course most of the balls had $50 in them.  I think there were two (out of 100) that had the $1,000.  Let me put it this way….if I had drawn the $1,000 prize, you would have heard about this night a lot earlier.  I picked a $50 ball.  Still, better than nothing, right?

That was the high point of the session for a long time.  I didn’t win much after that.  My stack was down to $111.  Now, there was an Irishman at the table and he was fairly aggressive.  He liked to straddle and raised a lot of pots preflop.  I figured if I could get a hand against him, I could get some chips.

Earlier I had three-bet him with pocket Jacks.  He tanked for a long time before he folded Ace-Queen face up.  I was actually kind of surprised he didn’t call me with that.  He kept quizzing me as to what I had.  “I know you didn’t have Aces.  Did you have Kings?  Queens?  Ten’s?”  Interesting that he didn’t guess the hand I actually had.

Finally I said, “deuce-7.”  He didn’t believe me, surprisingly enough.  Then I said, “Yeah, if I had deuce-7, I would have shown it.”

This time he raised in front of me again and I had Ace-King of hearts.  Ok, this was definitely a guy I would three-bet Ace-King against.  He had made it $7 so I made it $21. 

He tanked again and said to me, “You did this to me before.”  I think that was probably the reason he called this time.  It was just the two of us.  The flop was 9-6-5.  The 9 was a spade, the other cards were both hearts. 

He checked and I shoved for my last $90.  Hey, it was my last night in town and I figured I had to make one ridiculous bluff.  Of course it was just a semi-bluff—even if he had a big hand I had outs to the nut flush.  I just figured he would likely fold to my aggressive bet and if he didn’t, I could still catch my flush. It was a bit of an uncharacteristic move for me.  But it was late enough so that I would just call it a night if I lost and I wasn’t risking that much.  Still, I was fairly sure he’d fold.

He tanked for a long time and then called (he had me covered by a lot).  OK, fine, I need a heart or I’m on my way back to L.A.  We didn’t show.  The last two cards were lowish, no pair, and more importantly, no friggin’ hearts.

And so, he just looked at me.  I flipped over my hand and said, “Well, I missed.”  I think I actually started to stand up but he said, “No. You’re good.”  And he tabled his hand….King-Queen of clubs.  WTF?  He had called my shove on the flop with just overcards?  Yes, that’s what he did.  He had no draw, no nothing, just two overcards.

He said he thought I had a low pair.  Really?  I three-bet with a low pair? Apparently he hadn’t gotten over the time I three-bet him with the Jacks. Even if he was right, why risk so much just trying to hit a pair draw?  Weird.  
I couldn’t believe it. This was remarkable.  Definitely the biggest pot I’d ever won with Ace-high.  Wow.  I actually texted my pal Abe that this may have been the most awesome hand of my poker career. 

I didn’t win or lose more than a few bucks after that, but I’m glad I was still around to watch one of the most exciting hands I’d ever been at the table for.

This involves three players and I’ll just refer to them by their seat numbers.  Seat 5 had been at the table for awhile and hadn’t played that many hands.  He had moved over from another table with over $600.  Why would he leave a table where he had done so well?  He said it was a great table for awhile but that all the action players had left—after losing money to him, apparently—and had been replaced by a bunch of nits.  But he wasn’t getting hands to play since he’d been at this game.

Seat 2 had been there a long time and was a bit of an aggro, and his stack had fluctuated quite a bit, but now he had over $600.  Seat 1 was fairly new and had just won a couple of big pots to get to over $600 as well.

Seat 1 opened the pot for $20, a rather uncharacteristically large bet, both for the table and for him.  Seat 2 and Seat 5 both called, as did another player.  So it was an $80 preflop.

The flop was King-9-5, two diamonds.  Seat 1 led out for $40 or $50.  Seat 2 made it $120.  Seat 5 asked for a count of the bet.  After getting the amount verified, he paused and said, “Let’s play for $300.”  Wow.  Now this was getting interesting.  The last guy folded instantly.

Back to Seat 1, who wasted little time before announcing, “all-in.” Seat 2 tanked for awhile, but eventually he said, “all-in.”

Seat 5 was not happy.  He acted like someone who knew he was beat.  But he really couldn’t fold. He had put in half his stack, maybe a little more, and was committed.  I don’t know if he said this before he called or after the hand was over, but he asked himself why he had bet so much (the $300).  As I said, he called.

No one showed.  But the guy in Seat 1 called his buddy over from another table to see, “You gotta see this pot I’m in….it’s huge.” 

The last two cards were meaningless.  Seat 5 had pocket 5’s.  Seat 1 had the dreaded pocket Kings, which were dreaded only to other two guys in the hand.  We all assumed that seat 2 had the flush draw, right?  Or maybe a set of 9’s (but set over set over set is so rare).  Nope.  He flipped over pocket Aces!  He did have the Ace of diamonds, but still, really?  Really?

Seat 5 was stunned but took it pretty well.  He was thinking of leaving but when he saw that Seat 2 was rebuying, he decided to stay.  He said he knew he was beat when it came back to him, but he assumed he was up against a set of Kings and a flush draw.  The Aces totally shocked him.  And he said to the guy stacking all those chips—over $1,800, and I confirmed that with the dealer—“I knew you had the set of Kings when you called your buddy over.”

There were a couple of surprising things about the hand.  First off, Seat 2 didn’t re-raise with his Aces.  This was really amazing because he was probably the most aggro player at the table the whole time I was there, except for maybe the Irishman.  He raised preflop quite frequently, yet this time he chose to flat a $20 opening bet with Aces.  Huh?

And then… could he possibly think his Aces were good on the flop, after Seat 5 made it $300 and Seat 1 shoved (for slightly more than he had)?  Really, how could he possibly call?  He wasn’t committed.  He could have folded and it only would have cost him $140.  A bargain.  He had to know at least one of the other two players had a set. 

The thing is, Seat 5, poor guy, got screwed by Seat 2’s play.  It was really Seat 2’s fault that Seat 5 was felted.  Seat 2 should have three bet, and then Seat 5 probably folds his pocket 5’s, right?  Then it would have been interesting to see if Seat 1 wanted to get it all in preflop with his Kings.  Ordinarily you’d think so.  But maybe he’d be cautious and just call Seat 2’s three-bet because they were playing so deep?  Can’t say.

But either way, Seat 5 is probably out of the hand and then he would have been pissed to see that 5 on the flop—until the river when Seat 1 showed his set of Kings and he would have realized he had dodged a bullet.

But there was Seat 2 slow playing his Aces.  Now, the thing is, if he had raised there, the result for him likely wouldn’t have been any different.  The right play would have been for him to have gotten it all in preflop if he could and he still would have lost all his chips.

But as it happens, he actually played it the one way he could have to have saved his stack.  By not three-betting, he had the perfect escape route to avoid losing all his chips when common sense should have told him he was about to.  But he didn’t take that route and instead crashed and burned.

It’s definitely not a good idea to just call with Aces if you’re not prepared to fold them when all evidence is screaming at you that you should.

Oh well, it gave me a good story.  As I said at the outset, I’m pretty sure that’s the biggest pot I ever saw at a table I was at.

I left a little while later.  The best hand to write about was going to be my Ace-high hand, until I saw someone demonstrate how to win a $1,800 pot with the dreaded pocket Kings.


  1. I'm still liking the AK after last night... :D

    1. Waiting for that post of yours when you win the monster pot with Q-10.

  2. he’s actually more of a tournament player than a cash game player

    like some of the rest of us.

    1. Yeah, sort of like you, MOJO. Have you ever explained why you prefer tournaments so much to cash? Does it have anything to do with your bridge background?

    2. When I first started playing poker ($3/6 limit), I was afraid of losing money. But, in tournaments, you pay your money and that's all you can lose. Because of this, I became more aggressive in tournaments, and eventually pretty much gave up ca$h games altogether.

    3. Yeah, I get it. The psychology of cash vs tournaments is so different.

      But....even if you're really good, like you, you can go a long time between cashes, you can play hours and come up empty handed, and you can bust out on a bad beat in the first level.....and then your money's gone in a flash. And you're done playing poker that day...unless you re-enter, and then, well, so much for "that's all you can lose."

      So.....there's all these trade offs.

    4. Well, cash and tournaments are two different skill sets, and my style doesn't work as well in cash for whatever reason. Agree about tournaments being hit or miss. If you want to do tournaments, you have to embrace that.

    5. True, MOJO, they are definitely different skill sets, cash & tournaments.

      As anger says, it works for you, so no need to change.

  3. in other news( rumor ,really) Kate Upton may b pregnant. she would b the ultimate MILF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. True...and think about what all that milk she'd be producing would do to those mammaries!

  4. A+ for the poker content.
    C- for the boobage.

    But I live for your blog, Rob ... allows me some vicarious poker from across the pond until the next time I can get to Vegas. Unfortunately, though, looks like my next international trip is back to Indonesia. Poker is not real popular there.

    But at least I can progress our Tit Bitz franchise contract for the US market...

    1. Thanks, DWP,

      Wow, so anger doesn't comment on the boobage but you do? Are you taking over for him.

      Looking forward to a report on the Tit Bitz franchise, I can't imagine that it will go tits up.

      Yeah, actually, I tried to find a more zaftig lady riding a donkey, but sadly, Kendall Jenner was the best I could do.

    2. I AM SLIPPING SIR. there is no excuse

    3. OK, I'm in a good mood, so I'll let you off with a warning this time.

    4. lol thx. i was trying to figure out what the pic had to do with the post?

    5. Well, you know what.....I'm actually gonna have a prize available that I can give away in contest, and I think I'm gonna make the contest, guess what the picture has to do with the blog post. Unless I can come up with something better.

      But I won't do it for this one. It's a picture of a donkey (the girl is just for exploitation purposes) and it follows the story of the guy who played his pocket Aces like a total donkey.

    6. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH i c what u did there

    7. Wow, I don't know which sentence is more true:

      I don't know.

      I don't care.

    8. so not a fan of the show full house???????????

    9. Nope. Never paid any attention to it. The only Full House I like is when I get one in poker.

  5. The last comment was me. Not sure why ht posts anonymously when I choose Google.

    Sorry I couldn't join you on Saturday. You were unfortunately trumped by a 4yo birthday party..

    1. No problem, Dave, Would have been nice, tho.

      Anyway, I don't understand your comment. There isn't an "anonymous" comment in this thread? Did it get lost? What comment are you referring to you that came thru as anonymous?