Tuesday, August 8, 2017

"That Bet Makes No Sense"

I'm sure that sometime before my summer Vegas trip—or perhaps during it—I mentioned that I was not finished discussing my April trip.  So for this post, I'm going to discuss a night from that April trip.  There are a couple of reasons for posting this story now.  One, I will be discussing the high hand promotion that was running at the Venetian at the time, and they have a similar one running right now. The other reason is that the theme of this post ties in with the theme of my last post (here) . So this is a double-timely post.

Back in April, Venetian was running a high hand promo.  Now that they are taking a jackpot drop, they have a bad beat jackpot running at all times.  In addition, several times a year they will be offering some kind of additional promo.  So while I was there, during certain hours during the swing shift, on Mondays through Thursdays, they were giving away $250 every twenty minutes for the highest hand of that period. 

Naturally, since I was there during this promo, I wanted to play in the room and try to get some of that promo money.  But I was also curious to see how the Venetian was actually managing the promo.  Having seen high hand of the hour promos before, I actually thought they were crazy to use such a narrow time-frame—20 minutes—for the high hands.  I've seen rooms have trouble keeping track of this when it was for a full hour.  Not that I ever saw a room make a mistake, but there might be delays in the games waiting for a floor person to verify the hand and then there's all that paperwork to fill out.  And then you had to make sure that the floor person was available to count down the clock and cut off the promo at the proper time.

I didn't see any way the Venetian could run a high hand of the past 20 minutes promo smoothly.  Boy, was I wrong.

On a Monday night, I showed up to the very busy Venetian and was just blown away by how efficient they were.  Several TV's around the room were dedicated to a "high hand clock."  It looked to me that they used some kind of tournament clock that they must have used before they went to Bravo.  On it, the clocked showed exactly how much time was left in the period.  Also, it showed the exact high hand that you had to beat to win the money.

They had extra floor people circulating around the room so that the second any dealer called out "high hand",  a floor person was there within a few seconds to verify it.  If it was the new high hand, the floor would electronically communicate the high hand, along with the table and seat number, to a dedicated podium person who would update the clock and announce the new high hand to the entire room.

When it came time to award the money, little time was wasted.  The floor would go to the winner, have him or her sign the paperwork, and the dealer would pay the winner off right out of the rack.

I was actually a little bit in awe of how seamless the whole thing was.

One funny story about the high hand promo.  The entire time I was there, no one at the table I was at came close to winning a high hand. But one time, with about 5 minutes left in the period, a guy at our table turned quad Aces.  However, they had already announced that the current high hand was quad Aces with a Queen kicker.  Well, on the board with the two Aces to match the two Aces in his hand was a 3 and a 5.  The only card that would put him in the lead for the $250 was a King.  When the river card was another 5, he slammed down his hole cards in disgust, pretty pissed off that he had actually gotten  quad Aces and it wasn't good enough for the promo money.  Honestly, have you ever seen anyone upset at having four Aces?

Here's the payoff.  With about 30 seconds to go in that period, they announced that a new high hand had been made—a 5-high straight flush.  I imagine the guy who had made quad Aces with a Queen was none-too-pleased!

Now, as I publish this in early August, the V has a different version of the high hand promo running.  It's Monday thru Friday 1pm to 6pm and again 8pm to 1am.  And the payout is $500 every half hour.  It's actually a pretty sweet promo and if I was in Vegas right now, a lot of my cash game play would be there.

Anyway, back to April.  The very first hand I limped in with pocket 4's.  No raise and it was seven to see a flop.  I caught my set, it checked to me, I bet $10 and didn't get a single call.  Perhaps I should have checked and tried to get quads for the high hand promo?

Soon thereafter I got pocket 5's in the small blind.  I completed and five of us saw a flop of King-Queen-5, rainbow.  I led out for $7 and two players called. The turn was a blank, other than it being the second spade, and I bet $25 and only one player called.  The river was the 10 of spades, so three spades plus the straight draw. I bet $40.  The other guy put out a big stack...a raise.  Initially I thought it was like a min raise but then I noticed one of the chips was black—a $100 chip.  I asked for a count and it was actually $200.  I was still new to the table but had never seen this guy—an older gentleman—make a bet anywhere near this big before.  The $200 was more than I had, but with all those draws completed and the fact that he just didn't strike me as a guy who would make that kind of bet on that board without at least a straight—I  let it go.

From there, I went totally, ridiculously card dead.

I sat there for a couple of hours barely playing a hand. My stack dropped to about $76 and so I added on $100.  Now, the one thing I had noticed was that they were not doing fills very often, and also they weren't calling chip runners for re-buys like they usually do.  Most of the re-buys were coming out of the dealer's rack.  Now the dealers had a lot of chips in there but they weren't getting red chips when they were getting fills—it was mostly $1 chips, with some green and even some black ($100).  So when I added on the dealer had to give me four green chips. 

I could have gotten change from another player I suppose, but I didn't bother, figuring that one of these days I'd get some by winning a pot.

That didn't work out so well, I just couldn't win a pot to save my life.  And I wasn't getting any cards to bet with.  So somehow I managed to lose all the chips I had except for the four green chips.

I used my last two $1 chips to post the big blind and so when I was the small blind, I had to put one of my green chips to post it.  Well, at least I'd get some change I could use, I thought.

Except that I looked down at two Aces.  And someone in early position had raised to $6, and gotten three callers before it got to me!  I'm not used to seeing that many callers to an opening raise when I have a hand I want to three-bet with. Now, my "formula" for a three-bet is 3X the raise, plus add the amount of any limps or calls.  The $6 had opened the pot so it would have been $36.  I was actually thinking of making it $40.  Of course, I only had green chips in front of me.  No reason why I couldn't add a second green chip and verbalize "40."  But I was thinking, with my stack I'm committed anyway, might as well bet exactly half my stack and just put the other half in on the flop if I get called.  In fact, with so many players in already, I did consider just shoving right then and there, I don't think that would have been a bad play. I'd most likely pick up $26 and my first pot in like two hours.

But I went with the $50 bet.  If someone was gonna call $40 (or even $35) they're probably gonna call $50 right? 

It folded to the first guy who had called the original $6 raise. He was brand new to the table and had only been dealt a hand or two before this one and hadn't played one yet.  And he started grumbling, "$50?  That bet makes no sense. It makes no sense."  He wasn't completely wrong, it was a bit of an overbet.  But would he have kvetched about a $40 bet too?  He grumbled some more and continued to talk about how my bet made no sense and then finally he said, "OK, let's see what he's got, let's see if he'll call.  All-in."  And he added, "I got a pair."  He had me covered, but it didn't matter, obviously I'm calling.  Everyone else folded and of course I called.

We didn't show and the board was mostly low cards, 3-4-6-7 and a paint card. There were three clubs and I did have the Ace of clubs, but never got the fourth club. And then when the board was out, he said, "I have a straight."  And sure enough, he turned over pocket 5's.

I didn't show, I just mucked.  And got up to leave.  Meanwhile, the guy with the straight was celebrating.  "I knew his bet didn't make sense!"  It was obvious to me by the way he was acting that he was thinking he'd made a brilliant play against my terrible bet and was rewarded for it.

I swear that was the impression he gave off.  Maybe I'm projecting.  Perhaps he thought I had Ace-King and he was ahead the whole way.  Whatever.  And it was pretty obvious to me that I had actually somehow induced him to shove against my "bet that made no sense" by betting so much.

Well it that's true, then my play was pretty damn good.  Because in reality, I got exactly what I wanted.  I got it all in as an 80/20 favorite.  I'll take that every time. 

Right?  I mean everything was fine.  It was perfect, in fact....until he sucked out on me. 

And of course, to add insult to injury, I got to hear the guy criticizing my bad play.  But in this case, that bad play—if it was that—got me everything I wanted until the river card.

Poker, right?


18 comments:

  1. Hi Rob I am at final table one from money. I get dealt off-suit 7 3 from big blind. Small blind calls and I check for the flop. Flop J 7 3 rainbow. Small blind bets 3K and I go all in for 12 K. He snap calls J 4 off-suit. River 4. I am 81% favorite than I have to hear him tell me how bad I play. I can take the bad beats no problem. Its the instructions after I get sucked out on that are killing me. I love tournament poker - not.

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    1. Ugh, that's a bad beat. And I don't see how anyone could have complained about your play there--you flopped 2 pair, what are you supposed to do there. Guy was an idiot, you played it fine. And yes, idiot comments like that are annoying.

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  2. The straight in the photo is very nice by the way. As for poker the gods don't always smile down on us. They reward bad play, but that will encourage the villan to make the same mistake again and you should profit from it then.

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    1. Thanks, Dale. Yeah, if my bet that made no sense induced him to shove against me as a 20/80 dog, I need to make that play against a donkey like him every time.

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  3. Ok... after careful contemplation... Here is a template for a retort in the above situations:

    If you think hitting a (x) outter on the river makes you a great poker player then you are an even bigger donkey than I thought.

    (The value of "x" typically being a number less than 6 but in some cases as high as 8)

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    1. Thanks, Lester. That would be a good retort but I would never think to make it and if I did think to make it, I wouldn't. Don't tap the glass, as they say.

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    2. Oh yeah that remark is tapping the glass per se. In a location that you seldom frequent with players that you will likely never, ever see again then by all means tap that glass with a hammer!

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    3. Also....I actually got up and left after that hand so I never played another hand with that joker again, so it would have been ok. But I'm just conditioned not to do that, hard to untrain myself. Besides, I think a jerk like that would find it amusing while he was stacking his chips, so why bother?

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  4. Foxwoods runs a Monday madness where the high hand every 15 minutes gets paid. $1000 on the top and bottom of the hour. $500 on quarter past and quarter to. That's $36000 between 10am and 10pm. It's running this Monday 8/14 . I'll be there. In June the guy on my left flopped K high SF for $1000.

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    1. Wow, that's some promo. Good luck, Bob! Just hit a Royal so you won't have to worry about it holding up!

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  5. Dang - you have to toughen your hide a might. Players who think and do like that guy did are too clueless to understand a clever retort anyway. The luck factor in this game is what hurts our souls ...

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    1. Yeah, if it wasn't for luck, I'd win every hand. Oh wait, that's not me, it's Phil Hellmuth.

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  6. You don't call 2s "twos"; they are "deuces". So don't say "5-high straight flush"; it's a steel wheel.

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    1. I was just quoting what they announced over the loudspeaker. I think they did it that way for clarity.

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  7. Would that black chip in the middle of a stack be considered an angle shoot? I mean, you thought it was a min raise, and I'm thinking plenty of others might and call quickly. And then be out an additional $100. I'm thinking too that not all people might think to ask for a count.

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    1. I did consider that, Chuck. I also thought he might have had the $100 chip in there by mistake! There is some red in the black chips and it wouldn't be an impossible mistake to make.

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  8. Thanks for posting this. I will definitely be hitting Foxwoods my brother is staking me. Hit a 6 high straight flush last time I was there.

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