Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Losing in Straight Sets

This session took place the night after the session I described here, and I was still beating myself up for making that river bet with my set that cost me $160 when I ran into a rivered straight.  That hand turned what would have been a real nice session into a marginal win, and I was still upset about it.

As I was finishing up my pre-game dinner, I heard from Chris (formerly Stump).  He was already in the room and got into a game a little bit before me.  I was sent to another table and we started trading texts to figure out which of our games was better.  Eventually he decided that his game was pretty good, so I asked for a change to his table.

I took about $175 with me to Chris’s table.  Soon I was dealt pocket Jacks, raised to $10 and had two callers.  The flop was Jack-10-9, two hearts.  I bet $20 and the guy to my immediate left made it $55.  He was someone I recognized as a regular but couldn’t recall having played with him much.  He had me covered by quite a bit.  Chris had already told me that the deck was hitting him this evening.  The other guy folded.

I ask you, what am I supposed to do in that situation?  Assume he flopped a straight and fold my set of Jacks?  Shove in case he’s on a draw?  I welcome your feedback.

I called.  The turn was a blank and I checked.  He bet $100.  I only had about $105-$110 left so I put it all in.  Maybe that’s when I should have folded?  What say you?

The river was another blank and he turned over 8-7 of hearts.  He not only flopped the straight but had a gut-shot straight flush draw.  He didn’t improve but since I didn’t either he took down the pot, and I had to rebuy.

Apparently I’ve mastered the art of running a set of Jacks into a straight; remember the hand against Lightning (see here)?  At least this guy wasn’t bad enough to play Queen-10.  I may need a new label: “The dreaded set of Jacks.”

I worked the $200 rebuy up to close to $300 after a few more hours.  My plan was to stay until the midnight drawing—I had two tickets—and then call it a night.  I didn’t get picked for the drawing, but then I saw that my pal Brent was pushing into our table.  And I thought maybe I should stay through his down.  There’s definitely been a few times when I’ve gotten healthy during his downs.  Not usually monster pots, but Brent pushing me two, three, four pots during his down is not unusual—and he seems to do it most often when I’m running bad. If he could just do something like that again, maybe I could leave the game at least even.  So I stayed.

At one point Chris had been texting me that the 2/5 game looked juicy and if he made some more money he was going to move there.  But instead, a Crazian sat down in seat 7 and started taking some of Chris’s money.  He kind of put Chris on tilt.  So Chris texted me, “I’m about to have a Matusow blow up.  Hope u benefit.”  Hmm….Chris was in seat 9 and I was in seat 1.

As part of his tilt, Chris started straddling (only UTG is allowed here).  So on this hand, he was UTG and straddled, and I was thus first to act.  I had pocket 7’s so I called his straddle, as did three others.  With twenty bucks in the pot, I was sure that Chris was going to put out some monster raise when it got to him, but no, he just checked.

The flop was 7-4-3, rainbow. Chris led out with a $15 bet.  I made it $40 and it folded to Chris, who just called.  The turn was a 5 which I didn’t like.  We both checked.  The river was a deuce.  Chris bet $60.

Well, I didn’t like the 5 and I sure didn’t like the deuce.  That’s an easy fold right?  Well…..


I didn’t really put Chris on a bluff there.  But I couldn’t totally dismiss it.  After all, he reads the blog and figures I would be susceptible to it (or have I admitted to enough bad calls by now that I’m regarding as a calling station?).

When I’m in a situation like this against a buddy, the stupidest things go through my mind.  Like what outcome will make the best blog post?  If I call and catch his bluff (or maybe he had a smaller set), wouldn’t that make a great post?  If I call and he has the straight, that’s still an ok blog post—I just make myself look like an idiot.  But hey, that’s partially what this blog is for.  But if I fold and he shows the bluff?  Ugh, that’s a shitty blog post to write.

Then there was the table talk. Ordinarily in a situation like this, I don’t say anything, I do all my thinking to myself.  But since it was Chris, I started talking.  That’s kind of the fun thing about playing with your friends, the banter.  Of course, Chris started it.  When he put out the bet he said something that I didn’t hear.  I asked him to repeat it and he said, “Oh, nothing.” And tdhen sat there stoically.  So I asked Brent what he had said.  Brent, being the professional he is, zipped his lip, said nothing, and sat there straight up, stone-faced, even tho he’s my pal!

I looked at the board and started counting, aloud. “Let’s see. Two, three, four, five……seven.  I don’t suppose you have a 6?”  Brent was holding back a laugh as I agonized.  By this time he knew that Chris and I were buddies.  And at one point I think I heard Chris say, “Don’t call unless you like money.”

I factored in the size of the pot and everything else, then thought, “Well, if I lose, it’s not as bad giving the money to Chris as it would be to some stranger—or worse—some asshole.”  I mean, at least this way I’m keeping the money in the blogger/twitter community, right?

So I called, and Chris turned over 6-5.  He had friggin’ flopped the straight.  Seriously. That was now the second time this night that I had flopped a set against a flopped straight!  And by the way, the next day, in a tournament, I rivered a set and that same river card gave a guy a straight—I mentioned this bad set vs. straight run back here). Chris of course put me on a set and said he just didn’t want the board to pair.  Funny, that was exactly what I wanted.

Brent started laughing as I pissed and moaned.  He wasn’t laughing at my bad fortune, of course.  I think the show we had put on had amused him.  I also think he enjoyed seeing me act so out of character, knowing I don’t usually babble on or make jokes in that situation.

Just then the floorman came around to give Brent a fill.  And I said to him, “Can you please kick this guy out of the casino?”  He just laughed and said no, he couldn’t.  He knew me and had seen enough of the hand to realize I was kidding.  I insisted.  “Come on, kick this guy out.”  Both Chris and Brent were laughing.  So the floorman so, “OK, sir, you’re going to have to leave.”  That got Chris and Brent laughing even more.  But Chris remained.

Only a few minutes later, the waitress came by to drop off drinks.  I had ordered a drink her last time through, but not the time before that because I thought I was leaving at midnight.  So now, all my glass was bone dry and I was mighty thirsty.  And as she walked by now she stopped, looked at her tray and said to me, “I’m sorry, I forgot your diet coke.  I’ll be right back with it.”

Seriously?  Now I suppose somewhere in the universe there is a poker room where, when the waitress tells you she’s forgotten your drink and that she’ll right back with one, she actually means she’ll be right back with it, in a minute or two.  This wasn’t one of those poker rooms.  In this poker room, when a waitress tells you that, it means that she’ll back with your drink on her next round.

As she left, I even said, “But I’m not gonna be here when you get back,” which she apparently didn’t hear me.  But Brent heard it.  He started laughing again and said, “Oh boy, poor Rob is having a bad day, bad cards, didn’t get his drink….”

Now back down over $200 for the night, I made a fateful decision.  I would indeed hang around long enough to get that damn diet coke.  I wondered how much that was gonna cost me.

After awhile, I joked to Chris, “Buy yourself something pretty with that sixty bucks I just gave you.”  But he said, “No, I already lost it to seat 7.”  Damn.  So much for keeping the money in the blogger/twitter community.

I had finally gotten my drink and was playing my last orbit.  Really.  I had Jack-10 of clubs.  Before I could raise, the Crazian in seat 7 raised to $10 and I called.  It was heads up.

The flop was Jack-7-3, one club.  He bet $10.  I called.  The turn was a blank and he bet $10 again, I called The river was another blank, and he counted out $45.  I tanked.  There were no good draws that could have come in, but he could have had a Jack with a better kicker, or an overpair.  The Jack was top pair. But I had a strong feeling he didn’t have much. In fact, I felt pretty strongly about it, based on his play.  So I went ahead and called.  He showed Ace-King and I won my last pot of the night.

Sweet.  That money I had given to Chris?  He gave to this guy and I won it back.  That was really my money all along, just filtered through Chris.

Also….the fact that I didn’t get my diet coke when I should have played a role there too.  If the waitress hadn’t forgotten my drink, I wouldn’t have been around to get my money back.

It was still a losing session, but a small one, and I had some fun.  One thing tho, I gotta stop giving my money to my friends.  I won’t always be able to get it back.


  1. Thanks for posting that link from the imfamous Q-10 hand. I greatly enjoyed reading it again and reliving that wonderful moment. Of course, part of the reason for playing hands like Q-10sooted is the opportunity to CRUSH when the situation is right, u see. I believe you know what your mistake in the hand was, right?

    I will be happy to offer you some poker lessons when I get to Las Vegas at the end of May. First lesson is free, thanks to your generousity with your comps.

    1. My mistake in the hand? Yeah, overestimating your game.

  2. Better luck next time. Maybe you can call the hand "The Jinxed Jacks"

  3. hmmmmmmmmmmmm y tennis players??????? B+++++++ thou

    1. You got something against female tennis players showing cleavage?

  4. Why does it always seem that you whiff set-mining like 15 hands in a row. Then, when you finally hit, it's a wet board, so you play it fast and (a) get no value for the set; or (b) you're already beat on the flop? Fun game.

  5. Don't make losing calls for the benefit of your blog readers - we aren't worth it...

    1. No, no, no, Coach. I LOVE my readers. I would do anything for them.