Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Slow Fold

I guess you could consider this post a prequel to the one that appeared a few weeks back, here.  This session took place the day before that post.

Unlike the night after, this was the night I did not request a table change and I stuck around longer than I wanted to chasing promos.

I arrived in the room around 7PM, an hour before the 8PM drawing.  Thus, an hour to win some tickets for the drawing (flush or better) so I could have a shot at the prize.  I asked, and there was one $1K envelope left, meaning the first person picked would get $400 and there would be 6 $100 winners after that.  But there were two envelopes left that were worth only $200 each ($100 to two tickets).  I had a half-written blog post back in the room that I wanted to finish that night, so I was really hoping to make it an early evening, after getting a quick double-up or two and then winning the $400 cash drawing.  That was the plan, anyway.

It actually didn’t take me long to get a couple of tickets.  In the big blind, I had Queen-7 off and there was no raise.  The flop was 10-10-7 and no one bet.  The turn was a 7 and now, with bottom boat, I had to bet to get the pot big enough to earn a ticket ($10 min in the pot).  I bet $5 and got a call, ticket secured.  I’m not sure if I bothered to bet the river, probably didn’t, fearing the other guy had a 10.  But I showed my hand, he mucked and I won a small pot and got my first ticket for the 8PM drawing.

Very next hand, now the small blind, I had Ace-King off.  After a couple of limpers, I just completed.  I’m not sure why I didn’t raise…when I heard myself recording my audio notes the next morning, I was questioning it myself.  I guess it was because I was so new to the table that I didn’t want to play it out of position for a big pot.  Whatever, a raise there might have taken it down preflop and it’s a good thing that didn’t happen.  The flop was Ace-King-King.  I checked and it checked around.  I had to bet the turn, which happened to be an Ace, so I put out $5 and got one caller, enough to get another ticket at least.  I think I bet $10 on the river but didn’t get a call.  I had to show my hand to get a ticket.

This table was actually pretty damn nitty, I soon learned.  I thought about moving, but I figured that perhaps the table’s nittiness would make it easier to get more drawing tickets, so the plan was to move after the 8PM drawing, which wasn’t that far off. 

There was a guy at the table who figures into to the climax of this post who had this weird habit of opening the pot to $4.  You see that occasionally in Vegas but it’s pretty rare.  It’s also pretty dumb.  I mean, I really don’t know what you’re accomplishing by raising that small.  This guy had mentioned that he would be leaving soon after the drawing to have dinner with his buddy at MGM’s steakhouse.

Anyway, on this hand, he was the small blind and I was under-the-gun with pocket Queens.  I opened to $8, there was a call, and he (the raise to $4 guy) raised to $21. The big blind called, I called and the person who called my $8 called, so four of us saw the flop with a pot that was now around $80. 

The flop was 9-7-6, rainbow.  And so the small blind bet $50.  The big blind tanked forever but finally folded.  I looked over at the other player—a woman—and could tell by the way she was holding her cards she was going to fold as soon as she could.  So it was going to be heads up with the small blind. By this time my stack was somewhat under $200 but he was shorter than me.  In fact, the $50 was more than half his stack, if barely more.  He had about $40-$45 behind.

Well, with an overpair to the board and an effective stack-to-pot ratio or close to one, the play there is to get my stack in the middle.  At least that was my thought at the time.  The competing argument however is, how many hands is he three-betting from the small blind with?  Ace-King maybe, but is he going to c-bet into 3 players with nothing there?  Maybe that’s the argument I should have listened to.

But no, I shoved.  The lady folded as expected and he snap called.  I asked, “you have Aces or Kings?”  He didn’t say anything, just flipped over two Aces.  Ugh.  The board bricked and I had to top off my stack with another $100.

Not long after this they had the 8PM drawing.  It turned out to be only for $200 and neither of my tickets was picked.  This meant there was a 50-50 chance they’d pick the $1K envelope at midnight.

I should have kept with my plan of changing tables, but I didn’t.  For one thing, I had gotten comfortable at that table (physically, not comfortable with the players). For a further explanation, see the post I linked to at the outset.  The other factor was that some of the players left my table after the drawing and I hoped that their replacements would play looser—and fishier. And then too, I figured if I was still looking to make it an early evening and was probably not going to be playing that much longer—assuming I didn’t get any drawing tickets early.

Instead, I played and kept bleeding chips.  I added on another $100 at one point so I was in for $400.

In the big blind, I had 10-5 of hearts, there were a bunch of limpers.  No one bet the flop, which had two hearts.  Third heart on the turn, so I bet $5.  Someone raised to $20, I called.  I called $25 on the river though I suspected my flush was no good.  I was right.  He had the Ace-high flush.

Ugh.  I was now down to less than $50 in front of me and it was still early….around 9:15PM. I didn’t want to leave quite that early.  And of course, even though I lost that hand, since I had a flush I was entitled to a drawing ticket.  The dealer said, as he pushed a ticket towards me, “Well, maybe you’ll win the $400 with this ticket.”  Yeah right.

I had a decision to make in an instant.  Pull out another $100 and try to turn things around, or just return the ticket back without filling it out and taking off.  I think if it had been a half hour later, I would have left.  But I decided to invest one last $100 bill and keep going.  I’m embarrassed to say that the thought of the cash drawing definitely influenced me a bit—especially since I had a drawing ticket and plenty of time to get more.  And so now you know why the next night, in that post I linked to at the outset, I decided not to chase the promo and left when I did.

Next dealer, I had Ace-8 off in the big blind.  No raise.  The flop had an Ace on it but was otherwise low.  I checked/called $5.  It was now heads up. Another Ace on the turn and I checked/called $10.  The river was an 8.  I checked, he bet $20, I checked raised to $50 and he folded.  But I showed the boat to get another drawing ticket.

A bit later I had pocket Aces.  A short stack made it $8 after a couple of limpers.  I made it $36.  It folded back to the initial raiser who shoved, but it was only another $10 or so.  He had Jack-10 of diamonds and of course caught his flush.  I had the Ace of diamonds, but the fourth diamond never showed up.

I managed to hang in there without really building my stack much but not losing enough to where it the stack was too short to play.  In the small blind, I had Ace-Queen offsuit and just completed.  Five of us saw a flop of Ace-Queen-x.  I bet $5, had one caller.  I bet $10 on the turn, a blank, and got a call.  The river was another Queen, and I bet $25, this time no call, but I show the boat for another ticket.

They announced that the midnight drawing would be for….$200.  The $1K would be given away at 4AM.  Ugh.  I had three tickets and they were only going to be two $100 prizes.  Great idea that was, hanging around for the promo.  Ugh.  Well, I had to wait a few more hands until they pulled the tickets out—I’d invested this much time and money and $100 is better than nothing.  And so, as they started to draw tickets, the big blind came around to me and I had to post it or be ineligible for the drawing.  My mind was completely off poker and all about what a jerk I was for staying so long chasing the stupid promo when the poker gods were telling me it clearly wasn’t my night.  At that point, I think I would have folded to any raise unless I had Aces or Kings.  I had about $120 left and was looking at a $380 hit to my bankroll.

So of course, as they pulled the first ticket out (it wasn’t mine), I looked down at the dreaded hand. Yep, two black kings. Seriously?  I was really, really tempted to muck them unless I could see the flop for free.  But of course, I didn’t do that.

By this time, the guy who liked to raise to $4 had returned from his steak dinner and had been sent back to this table.  He was now sitting on my immediately left.  So of course, under-the-gun, he made his weird $4 raise.  Before it got to me, “Lightning-guy” was the only caller.  I called him that in my notes because he looked an awful lot like Lightning.  He wore a baseball cap and had the same type of moustache as Lightning.  But he was a much worse player than Lighting—a real calling station. For only two bucks more, do I just call, since I had already mentally checked out of the game? No.  I played it right.  I made it $20.  The four-buck guy called, but Lightning-guy folded, so we were heads up on the flop.

It was 10-high, with two diamonds.  I bet $30.  He called.  The turn was a blank.  I couldn’t see how I could bet anything less than my stack so I put it all out there.  He tanked, and asked for a count.  It was $69.  And as he thought it over, I started thinking about the $500 I was about to lose this night.  A lot of it could chalked up to chasing the damn promo.  Stupid.

But at least he didn’t snap call, so I assumed I was ahead at the time.  He either had Queens or Jacks or a flush draw, I reasoned.  I would have been perfectly happy to see him fold so I would be left with some money for this miserable night.  In the meantime, while waiting for him to decide, they pulled the second ticket and it still wasn’t me.  My only chance to leave with chips was to win this pot.

Finally he called.  The river was a Jack.  It was red, but a heart, not a diamond.  Still, I didn’t like the Jack, thinking he may have rivered a set.  I flipped over my Kings and he did the slow roll.

No, no….it wasn’t the slow roll….it was the slow fold.  You’ve seen this, right?  He looked at my hand, looked at the board, looked at his cards.  Then he looked at the board and studied it some more.  Apparently he thought if he looked at it long enough, he could figure out a way to beat my Kings. 

But finally he said, “You’re good,” and folded face down.  I call it “the slow fold.” Then he added.  “The Jack helped, but I needed a diamond.”  So…Ace-Jack of diamonds?  Or Jack-something of diamonds?

Anyway, my night had been salvaged somewhat.  I picked up and cashed out for about $240.  So only a $260 loss.  Thanks to pocket Kings, of all things.

Hopefully I’ve learned my lesson about chasing promos.


  1. "But he was a much worse player than Lighting."

    Geez - he must have been REALLY bad since I am a bad player, right, Rob?