Wednesday, August 28, 2019

10-High Straight Flash

This was my second night in Vegas last month.  I played at the Venetian.  I actually played cash there quite a bit while I was in town. The reason has a lot to do with when I was there.  I hit town just a few days after the WSOP was over.  That's the deadest time for poker in Vegas.  As such, there were fewer games around town than almost any other time of year.

As soon as the series ended, Venetian started one of their high hand promos.  Between noon and midnite, they were giving away $600 every half hour for the highest hand of that half hour. As such, during that time, Venetian had the most games of any room in town, at least at the 1/2 – 1/3 level.  Some usually busy rooms were struggling to get more than a game or two going.  So it made sense to play there.

At the beginning of the year, the V made the switch from 1/2 to 1/3, so I bought in for $300.  Spoiler warning:  In the whole time I played there during this week, I never came close to catching a high hand.

In the big blind I had Jack-2 off.  There were three or four of us seeing the flop, which was Ace-Jack-2, two clubs.  There was no bet.  A third club hit the turn.  My Jack was a club. I called $10 and it was three-way. The Queen of clubs hit the river.  A guy bet $10, then the next guy made it $20.  I figured one of them had the King of clubs, the only card that beat me, but I called.  The other guy folded.  The guy who bet $20 proudly showed me the 10 of clubs.  He never showed the other card because by that time I'd flipped over my Jack of clubs and took the pot.

In late position I had 7-6 of spades.  There was a bet to $12 and a call.  With only three cards needed for the straight flush (remember that high hand promo), I called.  Jack high, two spades on the flop and nobody bet.  A 7 hit the turn.  The preflop raiser bet $20, I called, then the last guy shoved his last $27.  Obviously both of us called.  The river was a spade, giving me a weak flush.  After the preflop raiser checked, I just showed my hand.  I felt my flush was too weak to bet there.  Both the other players had Jacks, and my flush was good.

For the high hand promo, they use an out-of-date tournament clock and modify it for high hand information.  So there's a clock counting down how much time is left in the period.  Above that, they put they current high hand you need to beat to be the leading high hand.  So it might say "77733" or "AAAA7".  If it's a straight flush, it will say, "7-High Straight Flush."  This is all typed in by somebody as soon as they get the new high hand info.  One time, I happened to look at the clock and it said, "10-High Straight Flash."  That's not a typo (at least on my part).  They had actually spelled "flush" as "flash." 

Of course I found this amusing.  So I said, to the whole table but especially the dealer, "Look at the board, it says '10-high straight flash.'"  He glanced at it and said, "Yeah, 10-high straight flush."  So I said, "No look at it, it says '10-high straight flash.'"  He looked again, as did the entire table, and they all got a good laugh at that.  So one guy said, "Well I don't think I want to see that."  I said, "Really?  It kind of depends on who's doing the flashing."  I think most of the folks agreed that it might be something we'd be interested in.
The next dealer was a guy in his 30's or early 40's I'd guess, and he heard the announcement that "Moe" was being called to a game.  So he said, "Moe?  Where's Larry and Curly?"  I started laughing said, "You must be older than you look." He said "Of course I know the 3 Stooges.  Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk."  I laughed some more and he said, "And don't forget Shemp.  A lot of people forget Shemp."

It was getting near time for me to call it a night and I had a small profit in front of me.  I called a raise to $12 with pocket 7's.  It turned out to be heads up.  I whiffed a Jack-high flop.  He bet $15 and I was about to fold.  But then I remembered a little earlier in a similar situation I folded pocket 10's to his c-bet on a Queen-high board.  And immediately afterward I was wondering if that was a bad fold.  Why didn't I at least call one bet?  He could have had Ace-King (if not worse).  So this time I called the $15.  Then on a blank turn he bet $15 again.  It started smelling like he was just barreling.  I suppose I should have raised, but I just called.  On a blank river, he bet $25.  By this time I had done a decent job of convincing myself he had nothing.  When I realized the size of the pot, I figured I had to look him up. So I called. He just mucked, saying he had nothing.   

Well that got my profit over $100 and I was about ready to leave anyway.  But on the very next hand I was dealt two black Aces.  I opened to $10 and got a couple of calls.  The flop was Ace-high.  Well that was the good news.  The bad news was it was all diamonds.  I bet $20 and got a call.  Then the last guy made it $40.  Jeez.  Was I already losing to a flush?  I called and the other guy called.

The turn was the King of diamonds, which was really not the card I was looking for at all.  I checked. The next guy checked and the guy who had raised the flop bet $35.  I didn't like it, but I decided to call.  I was worried about the guy behind me of course, but if I could get away with seeing the river card for $35, I figured it was a good price to try to catch a boat.  Or quads.  Note:  This was near the end of the 30-minute period.  Throughout most of this period, the high hand was a relative low value full house.  But as this hand was being dealt, they put up a straight flush on the board.  So it would have been an actual pisser if I caught quad Aces and it wouldn't have gotten me the high hand bonus.

Fortunately, the last guy just called, and I was really, really wishing for the board to pair.  But the 8 of clubs didn't do me any good at all.  I checked, the next guy, who had been check/calling, now shoved for his last $53 and the other guy called.  Yuck.

It's not easy to fold a set of Aces but I didn't think there was a chance in hell my hand was good.  I assumed I was behind at least one flush, if not two.  So I had to fold.  Sure enough the guy who shoved showed a Queen of diamonds (and something like a black 10 or 9) for the nuts. The other guy didn't show.  I assume he had a lesser flush, perhaps he flopped it. 

The thing I was somewhat grateful for was the guy who won just called the turn.  He could have checked-shoved there.  With outs to the boat I would have been tempted to call.  I think that would have been a better play than what he actually did.
I think I played another two hands and called it a night, booking a $55 win.  Damn Aces.  Maybe I should start calling them dreaded?


  1. Maybe you should just fold every pair above 6-6 preflop.