Sunday, November 23, 2014

Damn, Another Dreaded Pocket Kings Post

It was my second night in town last month.  For weeks, Nick (formerly Cokeboy99, aka “The King of Pocket Kings) had been threatening promising to join me at the poker table after he arrived in town late this nite.  Then I saw a tweet from Chris, who I guess had his Stump removed since he no longer seems to go by that name, saying he was going to join us.

The three of us all ended up at the same table (but it was late in the session when that happened).  And indeed we had a fun time.  There was much bullshit, a lot of gossip (about mutual friends and bloggers, ahem) and many laughs exchanged.  However, as fun as the gossip was, none of it is fit for a family publication.  And when I listened to my voice notes, it appeared that there was no actual poker played amongst the three of us.  Or at least that involved me.  And from my notes, it appears that all the interesting poker took place before they arrived (tho I’m not sure if they might have witnessed some of it). So while I had a blast with the two of them, this is almost the last time I’ll mention them this post.  Sorry guys.

But it was wild ride of poker for me.  I was doing well for the very early portion, won a few smallish pots without losing anything significant.  I had about $250 in front of me (from a $200 buy-in).  Eventually a familiar face had joined the table, a BSC dealer I’ve played with before.  In fact, I’ve mentioned him before.  You can check out this post here.  He’s the guy I busted out to in that tournament.  I mentioned in the post that I was too pissed at him to bother giving him a phony name.  So I just called him “BSC dealer.”  That event took place at the Stratosphere.  This current story took place at BSC.  However, since he was the only BSC dealer that I played with that night, it shouldn’t get too confusing. And besides, I am now way too pissed at him to bother giving him a blog name.

BSC dealer is a tough, tricky player, fairly aggressive.  But on this particular hand, I had the second best starting hand in hold’em, so what could go wrong?

Yes, yes, I did indeed have my favorite, the dreaded pocket Kings. This was the first time this trip I had seen them.  In fact, it was the first time in a long time—I had had 4-5 sessions at the Bike before returning to Vegas and never had them (or pretty much any big pocket pair). I kind of missed them.  You know, in the same way you miss a toothache when it’s gone.

I was in the small blind.  Before it got to me, BSC dealer raised to $12 three spots in front of me.  It folded to me. I started counting out chips for my three-bet.  But as I was doing that, I heard the player to my left, the big blind, say, “Raise.”  The dealer immediately stopped him and pointed out that the action was on me.

That player to my left was European, but not at all the typical aggro Euro.  He had been playing pretty tight since I’d been there.  I can’t honestly say that this thought affected my action, but I was thinking, as I bet, “If he comes over the top of my raise, he must have Aces.”  But I still would have raised back if he had raised—I’m pretty much always getting it all in preflop with the dreaded hand.

But here’s the thing, I was already in “raising” mode.  I didn’t react to the guy saying he was gonna raise.  I should have taken that cue.  I should have been quick-witted enough to not go ahead with my raise, and let my neighbor raise for me.  If I had done that, the result of this hand might have been a whole lot better.

Of course……since the dealer had pointed out to him that the action was on me, he probably noticed that I was counting chips for a lot more than $12.  So that may have prevented him from raising, if I had merely called there myself.  He might have been worried about me raising back and just called.  Who knows?

But as I said, I was in mid-raise so I went ahead and put out $36.  The big blind did not repop it, he merely called. Back to BSC dealer, who called as well.  The three of us saw the flop.

The flop was Jack-Jack-4, rainbow.  I had first action.  The pot was over $100.  The big blind had less than $100 left and BSC had about the same as me, give or take (over $200).  What am I supposed to do there?

I bet.  Does anyone think I should have checked?  I would love some feedback.  I took a stack of reds, took away $25 and put out the rest.  It turned out, that my stack was off, it was an $80 bet instead of the $75 I meant to bet.  Big blind went all in for $82.  BSC dealer called. I put in the extra $2, very unhappy that both players called. Did I now have the third best hand?

The turn was a blank.  I checked (right decision/wrong decision?).  BSC dealer shoved. 

Ugh.  That made the pot around $475, and I had around $130 left.  I was obviously committed. There was no way I could fold considering the size of the pot and the size of my stack. I didn’t like it but I made the hero call.

There was another brick on the river.  The big blind showed pocket Queens.  But BSC dealer turned over King-Jack offsuit.

Pocket Kings, oh how I’ve missed you.

Damn it.  Not the first time BSC dealer has gotten me.  I couldn’t help thinking that if he hadn’t been in there with his stupid King-Jack off, I’d have taken all the chips off the guy with the Queens.

Then I thought some more and remembered the guy with the Queens had announced raise while I was in the process of betting.  Shit.  If I had caught myself in time,  just called the $12, let him make his raise…..BSC dealer may have called.  Or he may have seen that I wanted to raise and thought better of it.  But even if he had called, would he have called my four-bet?  Because of course I would have put out a hefty re-raise then.  Big Blind would have gotten it all in, but I doubt BSC dealer would have called my big raise (may have been a shove) with his lousy King-Jack.

I was really mad at myself.  I had been given a chance to play that hand perfectly, and couldn’t change gears fast enough to take advantage.

Both the big blind and I rebought (I had about $6 left).  That was the last hand of that particular dealer’s down. The new dealer, my pal Brent, was trying to get us some chips.  I had two $100 bills and big blind had a single $100 bill.  So BSC dealer said he would sell us chips.  He gave Brent a stack of red for the big blind and one for me.  Brent was moving the $100 bills back and forth and suddenly, for some reason, I had a stack of red in front of me and still had both the $100 bills!  That didn’t quite seem right to me.  I’m sure BSC dealer would have said something, but I beat him to it.  “Thanks, Brent, I appreciate it, but I think I’ve got too many bills.”  He laughed and took one of my bills and gave it to BSC dealer.  Of course, at the time, cheating BSC dealer out of $100 didn’t seem like such a bad idea to me.

I did manage to win a couple of smallish pots with Brent, including one where I made a questionable call on the turn with a gutshot that hit.

Then I had pocket Aces in late position.  I raised to $12 and had three callers.  The flop was King-Queen-x. It checked to me, I bet $35.  One player shoved for $113, the others folded.  For that price, I felt I had to call.  Sure he could have had a set or two pair, but he could also be doing that with top pair or a draw.  We didn’t show.  The turn was a Queen which I didn’t much like, but the river card was a pretty nice looking Ace.  He flipped over pocket Kings!  Wow.  So it’s not just me who gets stacked off with that dreaded hand huh?  That was damn lucky, sucking out on him on the river, wasn’t it?  I did wonder why he didn’t re-raise preflop though.  We could have both gotten it all in before the flop.  Of course the outcome would have been the same.

Lost a few small pots, then I looked down at pocket Queens.  I raised to $10, a player behind me made it $25 and I called.  We were heads up.  The flop is Queen-Jack-8.  I checked.  He bet $15.  I made it $30.  He shoved for about $75-$80 more.  Of course I called (not expecting him to have 10-9).  He turned over his pocket Jacks.  I turned over my Queens.  Set over set is very nice if you are on the right side of it.  The river bricked and I won a nice pot.  You could say that was my second set over set win for the night (although with the Aces, by the time I hit my “set” it was a full house).

I wasn’t done hitting sets.  I called a small raise with pocket 7’s and hit one, bet all three streets and was paid off by a top pair hand.

One time, after returning from the Men’s room, I heard that someone at our table had just flopped a Royal Flush.  I missed it—but of course, if I had been dealt in that hand, it wouldn’t have happened.  That reminded me that a player earlier had flopped quad Kings there.  I think that was the only way to win with pocket Kings at that table that night—flop quads.

At one point, I had almost $500 in front of me, so almost a $100 profit for the night.  I stayed longer than normal to chat with Nick and Chris, and eventually left late, just a tiny bit above break-even.

But it was a fun night and there were enough good hands to overcome my usual bad luck with those damn Kings.

((Edited to add:  There is now a follow up to this post, another encounter with BSC Dealer, this one with a much better result.  See here.))


  1. Of course……since the dealer had pointed out to him that the action was on me, he probably noticed that I was counting chips for a lot more than $12. So that may have prevented him from raising, if I had merely called there myself.

    If you call, isn't he obligated to raise? The action hasn't changed and verbal is binding (to prevent angle shooting). If he raises and it comes back to me, I would shove. If he has AA, then so be it, you were losing your stack anyway, right?

    1. That's an excellent point, MOJO. Technically you are correct, But I honestly think it may vary from room to room and dealer to dealer.

      I suppose the dealer could say that the action did call was action because there were more players in the pot. The problem would be if the dealer allowed the player to just call, and I make an issue of it, I'm kind of turning my hand face up.

      It would have been interesting. However, I was just speculating; had I called, the player might have raised anyway.

    2. I honestly think it may vary from room to room

      I'd be surprised, but you may be right. I agree that if you make an issue out of it, you give your hand away.

    3. It should be automatic, but I think it might depend on the dealer, not only who the dealer is but his/hers particular mood at the time.

    4. As I was reading the post, I was thinking exactly along the lines of Mojo - you should change your raise to a flat call, let him raise for you and then back raise / shove when it gets back around to you. The most surprising part is how many players would call the 3bet knowing that you intended to 3bet yourself originally. You'd have $70-80 in the pot before it got back around to you for a backraise 4bet... FWIW, in every poker room I've ever been in, the ruling is the action did not change because you simply called the original raiser's raise. Therefore, dude who called raise out of turn is obligated to raise even if it's a minraise.

    5. Thanks, TPM. I actually mentioned in the post that I SHOULD have called, not raised after I heard the guy say "raise." I was already in "raise-mode" and it didn't occur to me to just flat there until it was too late. I just reacted too fast, darn it. If that thought came to me one second sooner, I would have called.

      As for the rule--I think the rule there is universal--he said raise he'd have to at least make the min raise. HOWEVER, I know I've sat at tables where the dealers would be lax about enforcing that, or just overlook it unless I made an issue of it.

      Of course, remembering who the dealer was, I'd bet that he would have indeed insisted that the guy raise, so that's not really an issue, now that I think it further thru.

      The whole point might be moot, the guy likely would have raised anyway. He had pocket Queens after all.

  2. Dang it, Rob -- why don't you just fold The Dreaded Pocket Kings and let us big boys play them? : o )

    1. I would fold 'em, but honestly, I need the blogging material.

  3. i think its the same rule everywhere, u most definitely shouldve checked, then insisted he be made to raise. who cares if u "turn ur hand face up?' the pots big enough.

    1. Tony, I do think it is the same rule's more a matter of whether the individual dealer is going to enforce the rule or not.

  4. Thanks, Alfred, I've been waiting for your comment for nearly six years! Late to the party? Fashionable late is an hour or two. Haha.

    I already admitted your first point in my post, it was my goof not to catch myself from raising. Second point is something I definitely wondered, I can make an argument either way. Of course, in this case, it made no difference.

    And thanks for making me reading my post six years later and also relive the aggravation of another bad story with pocket Kings. Really appreciate the needle getting twisted into me again!