Thursday, January 11, 2018

How to Lose $80 Without Really Trying

This is from a session I had in the early part of my Vegas trip last month. It took place at Planet Hollywood.  We were starting a new table and while the dealer was selling chips, I was looking at my phone and a guy came over to me and said, "Are you checking PokerAtlas?"  I looked up and he sort of looked vaguely familiar.  Then he gave me his name and mentioned where I knew him from.  It turned out he had been my contact (for PokerAtlas) for a now defunct poker room, and before that, I knew him as a dealer in another room where he had dealt to me a lot.  He had left the poker room before it closed down and I hadn't heard from him since.  We caught up and it seems he moved to another state, still works in a casino.  He ended up joining our game—he took seat 9, and I was in seat 1.  This is likely the only time I'll ever talk about him so let's make it simple and refer to him as "M."

This table was not filled with the usual aggros and maniacs you often see at PH.  In fact, the closest thing to an aggro was M.  But he wasn't really aggro by PH standards. However, I definitely took note of the first time he three-bet.  He three-bet the original raiser, the original raiser called and it was heads up to the flop (I was not involved).  On a rather routine flop, M made a c-bet and the other guy folded.  But M flipped over his cards.  Pretty sure this was the first and only time all evening he showed his hand when he didn't have to.  What did he show?  Deuce-four of diamonds.  And of course, he had caught nothing on the flop.

I wanted to say, "Hey, do you know that's the Grump?" but I didn't.  I said nothing.  My assumption at the time was that he just wanted to advertise that he was three-betting light so that he could get paid off on his value bets down the road.  Did I say "three-betting light"?  Of course we all know that deuce-four is the most powerful hand in poker, but could I expect M to know that?  Most people don't.  But afterwards, I wondered if he showed his deuce-four for my benefit.  Was it possible that M knew all about the deuce-four from my blog and wanted to show off for me?  Sure, it was possible.  I'm often surprised to find that many of the people I am in contact with professionally know about and read my blog (my PokerAtlas name, which is also "robvegaspoker", is on my auto-signature of all my business emails).  Just because he never mentioned it doesn't mean he's never seen my blog.

Furthermore, I realized that at the room where I first encountered M, one of his colleagues had a very popular poker blog himself (now-defunct) which had made multiple references to Poker Grump.  So it was very possible he was familiar with the legend that is deuce-four.

Anyway, I opened to $8 with Ace-Queen and had four callers.  The flop was Queen-Queen-5.  I bet $20 and M was the only caller.  The turn was a 10 and this time M donked out $30.  Hmm....I didn't know what to make of that so I just called.  The river was a Jack and he donked out $35.  Again, I just called.  He had King-Queen and I took the pot.

The very next hand I opened to $8 with King-Jack of clubs.  A guy raised it to $20 and it folded back to me.  I called and we were heads up.  The flop was King-high and had a single club on it.  I called $15.  He checked the turn, which was a Jack.  I bet $20 and he called.  The river was a blank, he checked.  I bet $35 and he folded two Queens face up.

Since those hands happened back-to-back I hadn't stacked up my chips up properly for the second hand.  I just had two really high stacks of chips.  It was later (after I had made notes and perhaps played a few other hands) that I finally got to stack my chips correctly (I thought) into stacks of 20. 

M opened to $6 on the button and I called from the small blind with Queen-Jack of hearts, it was heads up.  The flop was 9-8-x, two diamonds.  We both checked.  The turn was a 10, giving me the straight.  I bet $10 and he called.  The river was the King of diamonds, a card I didn't want to see inasmuch as it completed the flush.  After I checked, he bet $20 and I played it safe by just calling.  He had Ace-Jack (not diamonds) and I took the pot.

With pocket Queens in the big blind, I made it $16 after a bunch of limpers.  It was four-way.  The flop came King-10-x, two hearts.  My Queens were both black.  I checked but no one bet.  The turn was the five of clubs, this time I bet $25 and didn't get a call.  I was surprised no one had a King.

Now I had only been playing for two hours, but I had worked all day and from the moment I'd started playing I realized I was really tired.  I had been having trouble concentrating on the game.  I looked down at my chips, which by now I had sorted properly.  There were four full stacks, plus five additional redbirds on top of the four stacks.  I also had a bunch of dollar chips.  I thought a $230 or so profit—a double-up and then some— for the session sounded pretty good. 

So I grabbed a rack and started putting my chips into it.  When I put the first $100 stack in, I got a huge shock—it didn't fill up the slot.  It was way short.  So were the other three stacks.  When I filled up the slots, it turned out I had totally miscounted my stacks and that each one was only $80, not $100.  Four stacks that were each short $20—or at least twenty bucks shorter than I had thought.  So without losing a hand, I had somehow managed to "lose" $80!  Damn.

I briefly considered sticking around since I no longer had the double up I had been counting on!  How could I have made such a mistake?  One thing is for sure, if I was playing online, at a site such as 888poker, that could never have happened, the computer would have accurately reported my stack.

With less than the double up I thought I had, I briefly considered unracking my chips and playing a little longer.  But then I recalled how tired I was.  I decided a $155 profit for two hours play was good enough.  The "double-up" was only an arbitrary marker anyway, right?  I was so tired I figured I had an excellent chance of losing my profit by continuing. In fact, I guess I can blame my tiredness on the counting error, so that was more proof that it was time to call it a night.

I cashed out $355 and felt like I lost $80 on the last hand, even though I didn't play it—and I didn't lose that $80 to anyone!


  1. Seeing the angst over two chips short on a stack, why not stack 22? Then, you'll have a reason for joy. :)

    1. Good suggestion but...The problem is I would KNOW that I did that. The trick would be to somehow trick my subconscious into doing that without letting me actually know. Then it would work.

  2. Last session, I won a nice pot with exact 24dd. It limped to me, Iopened 5BB BUT with 24dd, call, call, and older asian gentleman raise 25BB on HJ. I assumed he was trying to steal the pot, and this post was struck in my head. So I jammed 100BB, pretty sure take the pot pre flop. Unfortunately, HJ snap it after everyone folded and I flopped 4 on AK4KT board. Ive showed my hands hopelessly, and he mucks!!! Never seen what he is snapped, the board should hit whatever his possible calling range. Well, Ill take it anyway. Thanks for your post.

    1. Wow that's a great story, Mr. D. Thanks for letting us know. What the heck could he have had? Pocket 3's????

      Glad I could help you win a nice pot! You're welcome!!