Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What's to Dread About Pocket Kings?

Saturday I had another session over at Player’s Casino. There was only one name ahead of me for the 2/3 game and it didn’t take me too long to get called.  One recent change at PC: When I first started playing there, you would always buy your initial stack of chips from the guy at the podium handling the waiting list.  Recently they hired some chip runners and now they will send you to the table have someone come by to get your chips.  

So I took my seat and gave the chip runner $300 and almost immediately just basically threw away fifteen bucks.  While waiting for my chips, I was dealt in and looked down at King-10 of spades.  There were a couple of limpers so I limped too.  That’s not the kind of hand I’m going to raise with (although I’m supposed to) before I have any clue about how anyone at the table plays.  It was five-way and the flop was King-high, rainbow.  Since I still hadn’t gotten my chips, I had to tell the dealer that I called and then, when it was checked to me on the flop, I told the dealer I was betting $12.  Just at that moment, the chip runner came back with my chips. And put three stacks of chips right in front of me, right next to my cards.  As I grabbed the chips to move them closer to me, my cards somehow got caught in the chips and I flipped them over!  I covered them and turned them back over as fast as could, but it was certainly possible that someone had seen them, especially if they were sitting close by.

Well, the player on my immediate left (seat 2) wasn’t in the hand, but seat 3 had already announced a raise to $30.  I think he announced that before I did my card flip, but I wasn’t sure.  He may very well have seen my cards before announcing his raise, and if not, he may very well have seen them after.  Damn.  It folded back to me.  After a few seconds, I decided the only thing I could do was fold.  Just seemed way too risky since I might have very well have been playing the rest of the hand face-up—literally.  The guy showed one card….a King.  Did he have me outkicked?  I assumed so at the time, but after playing with him for a few hours I realized that I may very well have made a bad fold there.  Oh well.

The first time I was the big blind—a few hands later—I had 8-4 offsuit.  No one raised and three of us saw a flop of Queen-8-x.  It checked around.  Another 8 hit the turn, a guy led out for $20.  I just called.  I was still getting a feel for the table and was being cautious.  Seat 2 behind me called as well.  There was an Ace on the river and this time it checked to me.  Again being nitty overly cautious I checked.  Seat 2 bet $20, the other guy folded and I called.  Seat 2 had caught an Ace and my trips were good.

A little bit later I raised to $12 with 8-7 of diamonds and had two callers.  The flop was Queen-high, 1 diamond.  I tried a $25 c-bet but no one folded.  The turn was a black Ace and I folded to a bet of $80.

A while after that, having been inactive with crappy cards for a while, I raised to $12 with Ace-7 hearts and had three callers.  The flop totally missed me, and before it got to me, a guy donked out $40 so it was any easy fold.

I’d gone the whole session without getting a pocket pair thus far, so it seemed only right that the first one I looked at was the dreaded pocket Kings.  I opened to $12 and had three callers.  The flop came 9-7-7.  It checked to me, I bet $30 and no one called.  Seat 2 said to me, as I stacked my chips, “You probably had a monster that time.”  I laughed and said, “I dunno—do you consider quad 7’s a monster?”  He laughed but another player said, “You had quad 7’s?”  I just laughed and Seat 2 said, “No, he didn’t have quad 7’s, he was joking.”  Was I?

I played on….and on.  Donking off chips, occasionally winning small pots.  I got lucky again in the big blind with Queen-3 and no one raised, or bet the flop, which was Jack-high but had a 3.  The turn was a Queen and I bet, and no one called. 

I was sitting with $299 in front of me and it had been awhile since I’d played a hand.  I’d seen pocket 8’s once and missed with them.  No other pocket pairs.  No Ace-King or even Ace-Queen.  I already told you about the one hand of suited connectors I was dealt for the day.

And then, I got another pocket pair—Kings again.  They were both black and I recalled that the first time I got them, they were both red.  I happened to be in the big blind.  So seat 2, under-the-gun, raised to $15.  I should tell you a bit about Seat 2.  When I first sat down I noticed his stack, two stacks of apparently $100 each and a smaller stack.  Then I did a double-take.  One of those $100 stacks was actually made up of black chips, not green ones (recall that at PC, the $5 chips are actually green and the $1 chips are blue).  Yes, he actually had, when I sat down, over $2K in front of him, most of it in black $100 chips.  Unlike most Vegas poker rooms, black chips play at the smaller stakes games.  At most Vegas rooms, the biggest chip that plays is $25.  Now that I think about it, I’ve never seen a $25 chip at this room.  I’m not saying they don’t have them, just that I’ve never seen them.  But they do use $!00 chips at this table and this guy had boat load of them.  Later, I heard him tell the guy next to him that he had been playing since 9PM the night before, and this was the middle of the afternoon the next day.

Anyway, no less than three people called his $15 raise before it got to me.  I thought about what to bet and came up with a number--$100 even.  I put a stack of $100 out and pulled back my $3 big blind.  Seat 2 thought for a bit and then put out one of his $100 chips out.  Everyone else folded.

The flop was 3-2-2.  I immediately announced all-in, the only bet I thought I could make.  Seat 2 took only a few seconds to announce call.  We didn’t show.  The turn card looked harmless but I didn’t like the Ace that hit the river.  I showed my dreaded Kings and he hesitated, and finally showed two lovely ladies.  My Kings held, and I had a really nice (more-than) double up.  I said to the guy, “I was afraid you had an Ace there and I had gotten rivered.”  He said no, that he knew had a good hand but he couldn’t fold his Queens.  “I was hoping to get lucky, I guess.”  Hmm.  OK by me.

I went back to being incredible card dead, and started to think about calling it a day.  I still had over $600 in front of me and began to think that booking a nice win like that would make this a real good Saturday afternoon.  So with that mindset, in the cut-off, I finally got another decent hand—Ace-Jack suited (spades).  I just limped in.  My buddy in seat 2 made it $15 and three players called before it got back to me.  Of course I called as well.

Pretty good flop—King high, two spades, and a Jack for good measure.  It checked to seat 2 and he bet $35.  Only one player in front of me called, and I called as well.  The turn was a 5 of clubs, worthless.  It again checked to seat 2.  He put out another $35.  Hmm….The other guy called and I did as well.  Seat 2’s $2K stack of blacks had by this time dwindled down to $1K.

The river was not the spade I was hoping for—nor was it another Jack.  No, it was another damn King.  First guy checked, I checked, and Seat 2 bet again—but again, only $35.  The other guy folded but with the size of the pot, I couldn’t see folding.  I was getting an incredible price to call and it was at least within the realm of possibility that my pair of Jacks could be good.  So I said, “OK, I’ll give you some of your money back,” and put out $35.  I was hoping for him to respond, “No, you’re good,” but no such luck.  He showed me King-Queen.  Like I said, it was just too small a bet to fold to.  I wouldn’t have called a much bigger bet, but I thought it made sense to call $35.

And that was it for me.  I played another couple of orbits and didn’t get anything remotely playable.  Time to get back on the freeway and head home.

I had to settle for a $200 profit.  But at least I went 2 for 2 with the dreaded hand, and had a big double up with them.  Maybe I need to dread flush draws instead?


  1. Pocket Kings wins, the stock market takes a big dive. The next thing you know TBC will have a sockroll over $20,000. Oh no -- that too?

    1. And....it rained today in L.A. That's a pretty rare thing for L.A. in August. It was unseasonably wet. Anything can happen these days.

  2. And the Cubs are winning. Isn't that one of the seven signs of the apocalypse?