Thursday, July 2, 2015

I Guess There's a Reason I Lose with Pocket Kings

I haven’t done a post about a really bad result with my “favorite” hand in a while, so I guess it’s about time for one.

My original intention, when I started writing this post, was for it to be a “woe is me” post…”see what happens when I play pocket Kings?”

But writing up the hand made me realized that what I thought was bad luck for me was really bad play by me.  It wasn’t until I put the words down on paper (or in a word processor) that it really hit me how badly I butchered this. 

I should probably be too embarrassed to post this, but since I found it so helpful to me to write it up, I figured that by actually posting this, it will penetrate my brain even better so I don’t duplicate this type of play.  Plus, getting additional feedback from my readers could also be helpful.  And maybe others can learn from it.

The other night at 1/2, I was in for $300 and down to about $180 (I had bought in for $200 and had to add another $100, if you must know).  So it wasn’t a good night.  Nothing out of the ordinary, just could not get anywhere.

So in the big blind, I looked down at the dreaded pocket Kings.  The under-the-gun player opened for $6, a rather small raise.  Two others called the $6 and then it was on me.  I probably should have raised more, but I put out $27.  I think $30 would have been better, in hindsight (3X the bet, plus the extra two calls) I wish I could tell you how I came up with $27 but I can’t.

The preflop raiser called, the others folded so we were heads up, and the flop was 10-9-5, rainbow.  Pretty good flop for Kings, and with a stack-to-pot ratio of less than 2.5, my thought was I should be willing to get my entire stack in if I could.

I bet $40 and got a call.  The turn was the 4 of diamonds, the second diamond on the board.  I thought about putting it all in there.  I guess I should have.  But I decided it would be better to get half in then and put the rest in on the river.  The too-small flop re-raise was a minor error.  But I think my bet on the turn was a major, major error. 

The pot was over $140 on the turn, and my remaining stack was only around $110 or so.  So there was really no good reason not to get it all in on the turn.  Damn that was stupid to put only half in and save half for the river.  I really should have known better.

He called and we saw a 5 of diamonds on the river.  Despite the three diamonds and the paired board, I went ahead with my plan of getting the rest of my stack into the pot.  Well you know, I didn’t have to do that either.  I might have saved myself $55 if I had just checked.  But you know, I was planning to put all the money in when I saw the flop, so why stop now?

He called and asked if I had a boat.  Then he said, “I have a flush.”  He turned over Jack-8 of diamonds.  So it was runner-runner flush.  But of course, he had flopped an open-ender.  That, coupled with the fact that I didn’t bet enough, made all of his post flop play perfectly understandable.

Less understandable was his preflop play.  I personally don’t get making such a small preflop raise, under-the-gun, with such a crappy hand.  Jack-8 sooooted?  That’s not a limping hand in early position, let alone a raising one.  And the raise size is too small to get as many folds as you’d probably want.  You’re building a big pot for a crappy hand you have to play out of position.

But what I really don’t get is his calling my re-raise.  Ok, I should have bet a little more, but even so, calling $21 with such a weak hand?  True, he’s going to have position on me, but his call makes it more likely someone behind him will call with position on both of us.

But who am I to criticize his play?  I butchered the hand pretty good, and didn’t even realize it until I started writing about it.  My initial reaction was more like, “Oh, just another typical pocket Kings hand for me.”  But I’m glad I documented the hand so I was able to realize my own errors vividly.

Note:  If the guy was willing to call $22 preflop with that hand, I’m not sure if anything I could have differently after the flop could have changed the outcome.  But that doesn’t matter.  I should have played it better, whether it would have made a difference this time or not.

That’s it…..getting my Kings bested by Jack-8 suited convinced me to stop playing for the evening.  I quit so I wouldn’t be playing on tilt.

Now, the cartoon below….I’m borrowing it because no less an expert than Poker Grump thought of me when he saw it.  I must admit that it does appear that the creator might just be familiar with this blog.  Also want to give shout outs to Robbie of for tweeting the cartoon and, the original source of the cartoon.

And to finish off, it’s been called to my attention that the last couple of posts of been lacking in pictures of lovely ladies that some of my readers have come to expect.  And after losing my stack (so-to-speak) and realizing I played the hand badly, I need something to cheer myself up.  So these pics might just do it.


  1. I just had my pocket K's beaten by Jack 8 suited, I was UTG and opened to 18 in a 1/3 game. Flopped flush draw and called my all in on the flop, i only had about 130 to start the hand, but still, J8??? I feel for you

    1. Ugh, that's bad Anony....but he made a terrible call on the flop. Remember you want them to call there, he made a mistake, unfortunately, he was rewarded for it. There's no justice in poker.

  2. Once he sees the turn, he's not folding. He may not even fold the open ended draw on the flop with the back door flush draw outs also. If he's willing to call your 3-bet preflop, he's committed to chasing the whole way it seems. Not much you could do there. Don't beat yourself up over that hand.

    1. I agree, Nick, he's not folding....I didn't want him to fold, if I make the right bet so that it's a mistake for him to call. Unfortunately, I didn't make the right bet.

      The actual result here isn't important (except to my sockroll), what is important is that I make the right play in the long run. He did nothing wrong from the flop on., I'd merely be cursing the poker gods if he had made a bad call and gotten lucky....I don't want them to be able to make a good call and hit next time.

      But that said, I don't understand his call of my preflop 3-bet, that seems poor to me, as does raising to $6 with such a marginal hand.

      But it worked, so what do I know?

    2. Don't try to understand the inner workings of the mind of a's a scary place....ask Lightning36!! lol

      My point was that if he's calling your raise preflop and hits that flop, it's not likely you can bet any amount that he won't call. He's open ended, which is about the best he can hope for aside from flopping the nuts. Therefore, while you may think you didn't bet enough, there's really no wrong amount there as he's most likely calling any bet. Against this particular opponent, you were doomed.

      You are analyzing your play throughout the hand, but don't forget to factor in your opponent....sometimes no matter how well you play a hand, your opponent just doesn't know when to fold and chases his hand all the way and gets there. It's not necessarily a reflection of your play, as much as it is a reflection of his bad play that unfortunately got rewarded.

    3. Thanks, Nick, but the point I'm trying to make is that I should play the hand the right way no matter what...if a guy makes an awful play and hits a one-outer to beat me, so be it. I don't want to give him the right odds to beat me, I want him to make a mistake to beat me. Then I can live with that. I have a story in the pipeline about a guy who made a terrible call and lucked out against me.....then criticized MY play for not betting him off the hand. I bet enough for him to make a mistake by calling, he did and got lucky. But at least I can't find fault with my play.

      Of course, you have to adjust your play for how he plays. I didn't have any idea that guy would call $22 with Jack-8 soooted, he had never given any indication that he was capable of that. Oh well, then. I should still have made the play where I could say, "I did the right thing, and he just got incredibly lucky."

  3. It's Emma! A double-plus boobage my friend. Awesome.

    I was in London last week, and got the chance to play a session at the PokersStars LIVE room inside the Hiippodrome Casino at Leicester Square. I got my ass kicked, as I got impatient being card-dead ... played too many unplayable hands. But I did win my biggest pot with pocket Kings!

    Going back to London on the w/e for two weeks - will try to find time to get my money back...

    1. Thought you'd like the pics, DWP....and now that anger has retired (or is just boycotting me, not sure) you are the boobie pic grader I've got.

      Good luck at the tables....maybe you'll have enough good hands for another guest blog post?

  4. Magnificent, that's all I will say. I see 3 pairs and they all beat pocket kings!