Sunday, June 9, 2019

Did She Muck The Winning Hand?

I had a good session in Ventura recently, short and sweet.  The most interesting hand I witnessed didn't involve me. It left me wondering what the loser had.

Here's the situation.  It was 2/3 and I had bought in for $300, the max. I hadn't been there very long when a woman took over seat 1, which I had just vacated.  There was a raise from an older gentleman, then maybe a call, then the aforementioned lady raised to something like $120-$125.  Back to the older gentleman, who shoved.  He had over $300.  This was the lady's first hand so she still had her full $300 stack.  She snap called the shove.

Neither player showed their hands.  The flop was 9-9-8, then there was a King, and finally a Jack.  Pretty sure there was no flush possible.  The guy turned over his hand.  It was King-Jack offsuit.  Of course you shove with that, right?  Anyway, everyone kind of reacted to how the guy had played that hand and how it he lucked into runner-runner.

Meanwhile, the lady kind of froze, and sort of chuckled.  It wasn't a real laugh, it was more like, "really?"  Wasn't sure she was reacting to the way she got beat—runner-runner—or the fact that he shoved preflop with King-Jack.  But after hesitating for a few moments, she just mucked.  She didn't show her hand.

Everyone was curious as to what she had.  I sure was.  The guy on my left was too.  He said to her, "Did you have Aces?"  No, she couldn't have had Aces, I thought.  With the 9's on the board, if she had pocket Aces, she'd have the winning hand, Aces and 9's.  I'm pretty sure that's a better two pair than Kings and Jacks.

She didn't answer, she still had this sort of amused look on her face. But then she said to the dealer, with half a smile, "The King was one thing…you had to put out his second pair on the board too?"

What the hell?  To me that implies that she did have a pair that could beat Kings, and the only pair I know of that does that is Aces.  Again, if she had Aces she had the winning hand.

But what hand could she have had that made any sense—that she would go all-in with for $300?  If not Aces, then what?  Queens?—except for her comment.  She was behind on the turn when the King came, the Jack didn't matter. If she had Jacks she rivered a boat and had the best hand. She could have had Ace-King, sure. Then her comment made some sense.  The turn helped them both and then the river killed her.  But I'm thinking if she had Ace-King there, she would have showed it, just to show the bad beat. Also her comment made it seem like the King was not helpful, but survivable. Certainly not a card she was wanting to see. But maybe I'm wrong.  It's just that the way she reacted sure didn't smell like Ace-King to me.  She could have gone all-in with Ace-Queen but then the Jack on the river would have been irrelevant. 

And what was with the guy asking her if she had Aces?  Maybe he had missed the pair of 9's on the board.  Since he wasn't in the hand, I suppose that's possible.  That guy was sitting behind about $700 so he wasn't clueless.  Must have missed the pair on the board.  But I was actually thinking that the lady may have missed it too.  I seriously wondered if she folded the winning the hand.  That is a mistake that people make.  I know I've done it in the distant past myself—back when I was playing 2/4 limit.  This lady immediately rebought for $300, and then as soon as she could, she went to the 3/5 game.  But hell, even Phil Ivey mucked a flush (that was the winning hand) that time at the WSOP.  Maybe she mucked the winning hand?

I guess she had Ace-King.  It's just that the way she commented about giving him a King, it sure didn't sound like it helped her too.  And again, I think under those circumstances, she would have shown it.

As for my game, well I had to make two seat changes to get a decent hand.  My first seat was seat 1, which was in the very cramped corner of the room.  This table is so close to the wall that whenever there's a dealer change, either the player in seat 1 or seat 9 has to get up to let the dealer in. And also, the player in seat 2 or seat 8 has get up to let seat 1 or 9 up.  So it is uncomfortable.  Plus, while I wouldn't say I'm claustrophobic, it does bother me when I know I can't just get up from my seat and leave the table without asking the player next to me to get up too.

So as soon as I could, I grabbed seat 3.  The trouble with that seat is that for some reason, it was really dark in that area.  Seriously, I think there was a bank of lights out and it was a bit of a strain to see my cards.  So when the guy who was in seat 5 left, I grabbled that seat.  Much better lighting and the board was right in front of me.  Finally I was happy with my seat.

I had only moved two seats away from the button but for some reason here they insist you sit out a hand when you move.  I assume that if I had moved more than two seats away from the button, they would have made me post like they do in Vegas, but honestly I don't know.  So I waited a hand and got adjusted to my new seat.  I could tell immediately that the lighting was much, much better there and between hands I even commented aloud, "Oh wow, I'll actually be able to see my cards now."  Someone commented that maybe I'll get better cards in that seat and I responded, "Well, for all I know I've been getting decent cards and just couldn't see them. I may have gotten Aces three times and thrown them away cuz I couldn't tell."

By this time I hadn't dragged a pot, and I was down to about $220 or so from $300 buy-in.  So I looked at the very first hand I got in my new seat, and the first card I saw was a King.  And I spread the cards and saw the second card, also a King.  Pretty funny that I just joked about throwing away Aces a few seconds ago.

I was in middle position.  There was a limp, and a call.  So I made it $18.  Only four players called.  Gulp.  The flop was Queen-5-4, rainbow, a good flop for me.  It checked to me and I bet $60.  Only one player called.  It was the player who had shoved with King-Jack in that earlier hand.  So I figured he might not have a hand as good as King-Jack.  Although this was my first preflop raise, so he might have assumed I had a real premium hand.  He had me covered.

The turn paired the 4, which looked pretty safe.  I bet $100, more than half my stack. Now the guy had thought about it a bit before calling my flop bet and thought about it some more on the turn.  But call he did.

The river was a 9 and there was no flush possible. But here's where my history with the dreaded hand cost me some money.  I knew I was committed when I bet the turn.  I had less than $100 left and I was never going to fold.  So of course I should have bet the rest of my chips.  But damn, it was Kings.  And as much as I hate to admit it, I always get a little spooked with those dreaded cowboys. I wimped out and just checked, knowing I would call if he bet behind me.  Sigh.  But he checked behind and showed his hand:  King-Queen.  I flipped over my Kings and took down a nice pot.  Suddenly I was sitting behind ~$450 and I had actually made some good money with Kings.  But I knew I left money on the table as he would have of course called my shove.  I tried not to beat myself up too much for that (at least until the ride home).

A while later I got those pocket Aces I couldn't see from the other seat. I was the big blind. After a couple of limps, a guy who had me covered made it $25 and another player called.  My first thought was to make it $100 but I decided to make it a little more and put out $110.  I had forgotten that I had a $5 chip out there for the blind, so my bet was actually $115.  Don't think it mattered much.  The limpers folded instantly.  The preflop raiser tanked for a good while, made some comments that I don't remember, and finally folded.  The other guy folded too.

There was a discussion amongst the players about what I could have had.  "He had Queens."  "At least."  "He hasn't played a hand in an hour, it's better than Queens."  Of course I hadn't shown so I said, "You know, I always do that the first time I get deuce-7."  That got a good laugh.  "You would have shown that."  I laughed and agreed. "Yeah, if I had deuce-7 there, I would have turned them up.  Just for the shock value."

Then I got Ace-King of spades and there was a $6 straddle, under-the-gun (only position where it's allowed).  I made it $18 and only the straddler called.  The flop was Ace-7-7. He checked, I bet $25 and took it down.

Those were the only hands I won.  But it left me up $200 for the session. Quite acceptable.


  1. It borders on humorous that amateur poker players at small stakes levels avoid showing their cards at showdown. Like this lady who likely mucked a winning hand. The amount of "information" from her pre-flop actions that she managed to conceal from the table by mucking her cards was litterally of NO VALUE. Only if she had made some maniac move with an ATC/garbage hand MAYBE it was worth hiding that. Or not??? I think she mucked the winning hand.....

    1. Thanks, Lester. You never know what is going thru a person's mind. But if she had really made that move with a weak hand, all the more reason to show it, no? Suppose she had pocket 4's, for example. Show it and then she'd really be able to get value when she really has a hand, no one will believe she has th goods. I dunno, I've always read "show your bluffs proudly."

    2. On the one hand... embarrassment from pulling a Gus Hansen more. While on the other hand as another infamous blogger mentions repeatedly there in many cases can be value to be had later by showing your bluffs proudly. Her snap call to the all-in preflop leads me to believe she had AA. A garbage yet powerful ATC hand such as the HoChunk Nuts (Queen-Ten) would have been the winner....

  2. There is one famous incident where Phil Ivey mucked a winning hand. He missed a 10 high flush.

    1. Thanks, Makarschuk. In fact, I did mention that incident in my post (the one with Ivey folding a flush)