Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Good Beat

Had one of those dreary poker sessions on Saturday in Ventura (it was 2/3 NL).  Rarely got playable cards, and when I did I couldn't catch a flop to save my life.  A few low pocket pairs and missed a set every time.  Virtually no Broadway cards (well, not two of them together anyway).  I think there was only one pot I won outright.  And I'm gonna tell you about it.

In the big blind I had Queen-10 offsuit.  No one raised so I checked.  Hmm…I guess that's two Broadway cards, isn't it?  Pardon me if I don't get too excited about Q-10 off.   Four of us saw a flop of Queen-6-5.  The small blind checked so I put out a bet of $5.  That's basically a pot-sized bet because after the rake and the promo drop, there was $6 in the pot.  Everyone called.  Well, maybe my top pair lousy kicker wasn't in good shape.  The turn was another 6.  This time I checked behind the small blind and the others checked too.

The river was yet another 6.  And then the small blind, a gentleman who had enough years on him to be able to call me "Sonny," put out a bet of $25.  Hmm…..did he really have the case 6?  I couldn't believe I wouldn't have heard from him before then if he had a 6.  Surely he would have led out on the turn with trip 6's, no?  And pocket Kings or pocket Aces seemed even less likely.  I thought I was good, but I decided not to raise in case he was playing a monster in some odd way.  I called and the others folded.

He turned over…..pocket 5's. "Full house," he said proudly. Yes, indeed he did have a boat.  In fact he had that on the turn.  Fives full of sixes.  And on the river that turned into 6's full of 5's.  His problem was that my two pair on the turn had turned into a bigger boat, 6's full of Queens.  The river saved me and screwed him.  Hey that's poker.  As the dealer pushed the pot to me, he was confused and started to protest, reminding the dealer that he had a full house.  So of course the dealer explained to him that I had 6's full of Queens to his 6's full of 5's.  Honestly, I think he still thought his hand was 5's full of 6's.  Maybe not.  He still look bewildered.  I said to him, "Sorry man, the river really did you in." 

My first reaction was boy, did he blow that by slow-playing it. But a lot of people slow-play sets. So maybe that's a standard play?  Except that it was a limped pot, there was only six bucks in it to start, don't you have to start getting money in there?  With that flop, and with no one raising pre, you can't be sure of anyone betting, so best to bet yourself, no?  Yes, you might just take it down there for all of $6, but you gotta try, right?  I believe the flop was rainbow so he's not really worried about draws.  When three people put $5 in there, maybe that's a good place for a check-raise?  Or do you want to keep everyone in there?

And then when he turned the boat, he checked again.  Again, under the right circumstances, it might make sense to check the boat.  But still a small pot, so maybe put some money in then?  Now here's where I'm wondering if maybe he was planning to check-raise and I messed things up by checking?  I think that's a viable option but honestly, based on the way he played all day, I'm not sure this guy was ever gonna check-raise. So I really can't say if this guy was just the nittiest player ever or if his well thought out plan was foiled by no one betting there on the turn.

But it was nice to get a "good beat" rather than a "bad beat" for a change.  Even if it was a modest sized pot.  Reminded me of two things.  1. Don't slow play and 2. Sometimes the river is actually your friend, not a nightmare.

The rest of the session wasn't a nightmare—no bad beats.  Just nothing good.


  1. He was NOT going to check-raise you. Nice hand!

  2. Some hands turn into "I had a monster, bet, and won $6" or "I had a monster, checked, and the opponent sucked out."

  3. I'm thinking you missed some value on the river there. He was so confident he had the best hand that I think he at least calls if you raise to like $50-$75 on the river. Sounds like you read the situation correctly...I don't think AA, KK, or QQ (especially since you had a queen) make sense the way it was played so you're only losing to the case 6. Although I can understand the fear that the nitty ancient guy might only raise the river there with the absolute nuts.

    1. Yeah, I did consider raising but just didn't feel it was worth it. As you know, I lean towards the cautious side. I could have definitely gotten some value from him tho.

      HOWEVER....seeing as how confident he was with his misread boat, if I had raised, he might have confidently shoved and I might have ended up folding the winning hand.

    2. Honestly I'm giving advice I need to take. I too lean to the more cautious side and likely would have done exactly what you did there, but I'm realizing a major leak in my profitability as a poker player is just these sorts of situations. It's always easier to tell in retrospect, but if I really examine it I find lots more of these situations where my gut and analysis is telling me I have the best hand and I fail to act on it only to discover at showdown that I was right.