Tuesday, January 10, 2017

She Hates Pocket Kings More Than I Do

Well, that was the title I came up at a specific moment in time.  In the middle of the Aria tournament.  But as the day progressed, I’m not sure the title is true.  The “She” in the title may not dislike pocket Kings as much as I do.  She may not dislike them at all.  But, you’ll see why I came up with that title in just a little while. 

It was the regular Aria $125 tournament, the one that starts at 1PM.  Early in the first level, a middle-aged Asian woman raised.  She was three-bet by a guy who was making an early play to be the table’s aggro.  She re-raised.  The guy shoved. She hesitated and eventually called.  She turned over the dreaded pocket Kings.  The other guy turned over two Aces.  The Aces held.  The guy had the lady covered, and she exited the tournament, with over half the first level to go.  Bad luck to say the least.

Now, the Aria tournaments fill up fast.  They typically reserve eight or nine tables for it (the room isn’t big enough for them to reserve more). By the end of the first level, if not sooner, the seats are all filled and they are talking alternates.  Frequently the alternates don’t all get seated before the end of registration (they can still play after the two-hour late reg period if they registered during it).

So I knew the seat vacated by the unlucky woman wouldn’t remain vacant long.  But I wasn’t expecting this:  A few minutes later, the tournament director was leading the same woman to our table and seating her in the very same seat she had just busted out of with her Kings.

That in itself is unusual.  When people re-enter a tournament they just busted out of, they virtually never return to the same seat.  It usually only happens in a small tournament, one or two tables, where there’s no other seats and no other alternates.  In a tournament of this size, there’s almost always other seats available for the re-entering player to be placed.

But this tournament is so busy and popular, there was only seat for her, the same seat she had just busted from.  Not exactly her lucky seat.  So that in and of itself was unusual.

This is where I come in.  This, sadly, is not one of those tournaments that I feel compelled to document in its entirety for you.  But there is one hand involving me that I have to tell you about.  It was the fourth level, and I had a bit more than the $10K starting stack.  The blinds were 100/200 with a $25 ante.  The lady in question opened to $700. She had three callers before it came to me.  And I looked down and saw two beautiful Aces in my hand.

I made it $4K, and the action was on the lady.  She wasted no time in announcing, “all-in.”  Holy smokes!  I immediately thought two things.  One, I wondered if she had Kings again.  But honestly, what were the odds of that?  No one could be that unlucky with Kings—not even me.  And I felt a little bad for her.  She was a quiet woman but seemed nice.  Sure I wanted her chips—I wanted everyone’s chips—but she really didn’t deserve such punishment (assuming my Aces held, of course).

The other players folded and it was back on me, and I sighed and shrugged and said, in one quick breath, “Call.  Do you have Kings again?”  And I flipped over my Aces as I said it.

Sure enough, she flipped over a couple of Kings.  Most of the table gasped, they’d all pretty much been at the table the entire time and saw her first instance of running her Kings into Aces.  She looked a little ill.  Maybe more than a little.

I mean seriously…within two hours, she ran her Kings into Aces twice—from the same seat in the same tournament.  How bad was her luck?

Then I thought—well, her luck can’t be that bad.  This will be the time Kings crack the Aces—my Aces.  And I nervously watched the board dealt out.  But the flop was all low and then I caught an Ace on the turn, ending the suspense.

She had me covered, however, and still was alive this time—barely.  She shoved a few hands later and got a triple-up.  She won another pot and suddenly had chips to play with, and was no longer living on life support.

A few hands later the lady raised preflop and didn’t get a call.  She showed her hand…two more Kings.  I said, “Oh, so you can win with Kings?”

A level later, she raised, got called, and took the pot with a c-bet.  She again showed her hand.  Two Kings.

Before I left the table, she took another pot with a preflop raise—and again showed us all the dreaded hand.

That’s (at least) five times she had pocket Kings in just a few hours. What the hell?  I hadn’t gotten them once (not that I was complaining).

The table didn’t break, but at one point I was moved to another table as I was about to be the big blind to keep the tables balanced.  I said goodbye to the pocket Kings lady.

My tournament was not going well—not after I got the double up with the Aces.  I got my stack up to $28K a few times, but never more than that.  By the time my table broke, I was down to around $20K with the blinds at 800/1600 and 200 for the ante.  And I was sent back to my original table.   The Kings lady was still there, with a pretty good stack.  I didn’t get my old seat, I was one to the left of that, which meant the Kings lady was directly on my left.  I said hi, said, “Glad you’re still here….how many more times have gotten Kings?”  She didn’t respond, other than to let out a little laugh.

I had to post the big blind my first hand at the new table (for my convenience, I had just been the blinds at the table that broke).  It folded to the small blind, who just completed.  I didn’t know this guy from Adam, never saw him play a hand.  But he had me covered by a lot.

I had Jack-9 offsuit.  How should I have played this?  I suppose a raise would have been the smart thing to do, but again, didn’t have any idea how this guy played. I figured I’d play it safe and see if I could get lucky on the flop.  I checked.

The flop was Queen-6-x.  He checked, and I checked behind.  I didn’t want to risk trying to steal there with basically nothing.

But the turn was a 10, giving me the open-ended straight draw.  This time he bet--$2K, barely the minimum bet.  I figured he had nothing and since I had checked the flop, he was trying to steal.  I had the draw, so I made it $5k.  He shoved!  Shit….but I really didn’t have enough left to fold.  I mean, assuming I was beat (and I almost definitely was), I still had outs to the straight.

I called the shove.  He had Queen-6 for a flopped two pair.  I missed my draw.  I was done with the tournament.  I think I was out like 30th and they were paying 13 (115 players and a prize pool of $11K).

I never found out what happened to the Kings lady.  But I checked online, and I don’t think she cashed (can’t be sure since I don’t know her name).  She was a good player though—maybe she would have cashed if she hadn’t gotten Kings twice against Aces. In the same tournament.  In the same seat.  At the same table.  So maybe she does now hate Kings more than I do.  I mean, they cost her not one but two buy-ins.  At the same tournament, same seat.


  1. Replies
    1. Yes, it really does look lake that lady (who is Asian, like the lady in my my post), is thinking really hard about whether to call with her pocket Kings.

      I'm quite certain that is what you are referring to, right?

  2. Wow what a story - unbelievable how many KK's she had, and how much bad luck she had with the AA's too! And they say your luck is worse in online poker..
    Still sounds like she had good bounce back ability (especially if she looks like the woman in that photo)!

    1. She definitely did a good job of recovering....but no, she didn't look anything like that pic I posted. Too bad, would have made my own lack of success less painful.