Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Five Dollar Bad Beat

My recent session in Ventura started with a bad beat.  But not the usual kind.  I was out $5 before I even got into the game.  Or should I say, the right game.

I arrived in the room around the usual time and went over to the podium to get my name on the list for the 2/3 game.  By this time the gentleman who mans the podium knows me on sight.  Although it was right after he made the effort to memorize my name that I confused him by switching over to the 2/3 game from the 1/2 game.

There were a few names ahead of me so I took a seat at an empty table to wait.  After awhile, he called me to a game, sold me some chips and pointed me to the empty seat.  It was a table I'd played at before.  Generally speaking, they use one side of the room for the 2/3 games and the other side of the room for the 1/2 games.  The 3/5 game (or bigger, if spread) are on the same side as the 2/3 games and the non-hold'em games (sometimes PLO, sometimes Big O) usually are on the side with the 1/2 games, but it varies.

I was three spots from the big blind so I took a hand right away, I took a couple of more and then I was the big blind.  I had only three stacks of yellow, so I put out a single yellow chip for my $3 big blind.  Oh yes, for some reason in the L.A. area the $5 chips are yellow not red.  I haven't heard anybody refer to them as yellowbirds but I suppose you could.  Now in the few hands I'd been dealt, I folded every time.  I had noticed some fairly large raises, $20, $25. I was beginning to think that this was going to be an expensive game to see a flop. Although one time, I folded junk and everyone else folded and they chopped the blinds.  This time, in the blind, I got another junk hand and after someone made it $25 and there were a couple of calls, I again folded.  The dealer collected the bets, including my $5 chip,  I waited for my $2 change but the dealer went ahead and put out the flop.  So I said to him, "I didn't get my change."

The dealer said, "It's five dollars."  I dunno why, but the way he said it, or the way I heard it, it sounded like he was saying that the first blind a player posts was $5, which would have been a new rule I've never heard of.  He could see by the look on my face I was confused.  So he said, "The blinds are 3/5, sir."  I still wasn't getting it.  For a nano-second I was thinking the blinds in the 2/3 game were now 3/5, which also made no sense.  But then the dealer said, "Did you want to the 2/3 game? We can get you a table change."  So I said, "I asked for the 2/3 game."  The dealer immediately called the podium guy over and told him I was looking for 2/3.

He apologized. "I'm sorry, Rob I forgot that this game was 3/5.  That's usually a 2/3 table."  By this time I was already re-racking my chips and standing up.  As luck would have it, at that moment a seat opened up at the table right next to that one, which was an actual 2/3 game.  I grabbed that seat—but what about my $5 blind that I thought was a $3 blind?

I'd been sent to the wrong game, a game that I no intention of playing or staying at.  It wasn't my fault.  I swear there was no obvious evidence of the game being a 3/5 game until I didn't get change back for my blind. But my $5 was now in the pot of the game I was leaving.  Couldn't they just take it out of the pot and return it to me?  The pot was well over $75, they wouldn’t miss it.

Of course, they couldn't do that and I would never ask.  If they returned my $5, it would mean there was no hand for the big blind, and thus a misdeal, and with all that betting action it was too late for a misdeal.  Besides, what if I had been dealt pocket Aces that hand?  I would have raised (or three-bet) before I even knew it was a 3/5 game and by then, it wouldn't have much mattered.  You can't get your money back only if you don't like your hand.

I did consider what would have happened if that particular hand resulted in the bad beat jackpot being hit. Well, for sure I would be eligible for a table share, since my blind was in the pot and I did get a hand.  Of course, that didn't happen.

I didn't say anything to the guy who sent me to the wrong seat and I don't think he even knew I had found out I was at the wrong table by losing a blind.  He probably would have apologized even more profusely.  Maybe he would have offered me a $5 refund?  Either at the house's expense (doubtful) or out of his own pocket?  I wouldn't object to having the house reimburse me, but I sure wouldn't want the podium guy to pay me out of his pocket.  That wouldn't be right.  So of course I said nothing and just ate the $5.  It's not a big deal and the story is worth at least five bucks, isn't it?

Well, if my day in Ventura got off to a bad start, it ended well.  Very well. 

The first pot I won was a small one.  I had Ace-10 in the small blind, no raise so I added a buck and saw a flop of 10-9-7.  It was four-ways, and I checked and then called a $10 bet.  It was now heads up.  The turn was an 8 and we both checked.  The river was a deuce and again we both checked.  He had a weaker 10.

I limped in with pocket 4's and only 8 of us saw the flop.  It was Jack-5-4.  I bet $15 and just four players called.  The turn was a Jack, filling me up.  This time I bet $70 and didn't get any takers.

In the small blind with Jack-8, there were four limpers in front of me so I added a buck to complete.  The big blind checked behind and six of us saw a flop of Jack-9-3.  I checked and called $11, only one player dropped out.  The turn was an 8 and I checked again hoping to check-raise, but it checked around.  The river was a 10 making me think my two pair was no good. Especially since a back-door flush was possible in addition to the straight. I checked and the flop bettor checked, but an older Asian fellow bet $35.  I shrugged and made the hero call, hoping no one would raise behind me. I was just suspiciousness enough of the bettor to think I might be good. Everyone else folded and then the Asian man just mucked!  I didn't have to show my hand to claim the pot, so I didn't.

Well one of the guys who had folded asked the dealer—not me—what I had.  I think he may have missed that the other guy mucked and I didn't have to show.  So the dealer said he didn't know, but that he could ask me.  For some reason, the player was reluctant to ask me.  So instead, the dealer asked me, "Did you have a straight?"   Well that was a surprise.  Not sure it is the dealer's place to do that.  Is it?  I just shrugged. He tried again. "What did you have?"  I just said, "I didn't have to show, so I didn't." 

Somebody guessed that I had two pair.  And the player who was so curious said something about a 7.  But I couldn't tell if he was guessing that's what I had or if he was saying he had a 7 and folded (thinking I either had the top end of the straight or perhaps the flush).

I opened to $15 with Ace-King suited, only one caller.  The flop was Ace-Queen-x.  As soon as I grabbed some chips to bet, he sent his cards into the muck.

I was getting ready to call it a day.  I was up approximately $100.  Just another orbit or two and I'd be done.  So under-the-gun, I found myself holding the dreaded pocket Kings.  Gulp, I thought. There goes my day's profits.  I opened to $15.  Now having played very tight and opening UTG, you would think it might be difficult getting callers.  It was. I only got six of them!  As it went around and everyone called, the guy on my left (who had called), said something like, "I guess you figured you'd get a lot of callers, huh?"  When it got to the big blind, a guy I've played with many times before, he said, "Well you know I'm calling, how could I not?"

Pocket Kings in a 7-way pot.  What could go wrong?  The flop was Jack-Jack-8.  With so many callers, I sort of assumed someone had a Jack.  I checked, but it checked around. The turn was a low card.  Now I figured I might just have the best hand so I bet $30.  Only three players called that time.  The river was a third club.  I couldn't remember the board but it didn't look too scary except for the three clubs and the two Jacks.  I checked.  The youngest player at the table bet $60, and everyone folded back to me.

Now this guy hadn't been particularly active to this point.  And if he had made any moves, I hadn't picked up on them.  But I did kind of suspect that he was trying to steal it.  I think maybe the fact that he was relatively young played into that, I had nothing else to go on. So after tanking a bit, I made the call.  He said, "I just have 7's," and flipped over pocket 7's, unimproved.  I showed my Kings and took down a nice pot—over $300.  When I finished stacking my chips, I was sitting behind over $630.  (see below).  Well that was a nice finish to the session.  Not only did I win a big pot with the dreaded hand, I won a 7-way pot with unimproved Kings.  What are the odds of that?

I played a few more orbits, got nothing to play, and booked a $335 win.  And had a very nice drive home.