Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Final Straw

Well, it turns out my last post was too short.  Don't laugh, but I left out vital information about my one session at MGM from July.  I also may have screwed up the hand history that was the main topic of the post.  So this post is my attempt to remedy all that.

First things first, I have a critical update on the straw situation at MGM.  Readers will recall that over a year ago I learned that MGM had a new policy.  They were no longer provided drinking straws in beverages.  I wrote about it here.

Well, when I went into MGM that Friday night, I had forgotten about that—until I received the diet Coke I ordered and it came without a straw.  Damn. They still have this stupid no straw policy?  Oh well.

But a few minutes later, I noticed a few drinks around the table with straws in them.  And when the waitress came back around, I saw that she had a container of straws on her tray.  So I asked her if I could have a straw, and she said sure and handed me one.  Apparently, they have straws but you have to ask for them, they don't just automatically put one in for you.

Well, that's good enough, I thought.

But then I noticed the straw she handed me was one of those god-awful paper straws, which are almost totally worthless.

So….you have to ask for straws and they're paper???  Yeesh.  As long as they are going to give out those damn paper straws, can't they at least make it automatic so you don't have to remember to ask?  It's the worst of both worlds.

I know getting accurate, current information on the straw situation in Vegas is more important to my readers than any discussion of poker I could come up with, so I had to make sure I related this to you.  It should have been in my previous post, but I messed up.

Anyway, for those of you who do come here more for poker than straws (there must be some of you out there), I need to correct my last post anyway.  You probably should reread before continuing, it's here.

My good buddy "Zourah" left a comment for me on Twitter.  Actually he tried to leave a blog comment but it didn't go through.  So let's see what Zourah wanted to comment:

"But pocket 8s do make a straight there don’t they?

I really don’t have a problem with calling the turn given your position but you’ve underrepresented your hand to the point it’s worth raising the river."

Well that had me perplexed for sure.  But first, to get to Zourah's point on my play, I think he's right and I already admitted that I misplayed the hand.  I should have raised on the river.  I have no argument with Zourah's recommendation.

But had I butchered something in the relating of the hand history?  Did I describe the guy as having a straight?  Well, I reread my post and sure enough, the way I told the story, he would have had a straight.  How did I miss that?

I had to reconstruct my thoughts.  I recalled that when I was reviewing my voice notes and the contemporaneous notes I made at the table, there was a bit of a discrepancy.  My written notes said the turn card was a 9.  But I remembered somewhat disputing that when I listened to myself relate the hand on the recorder.

Sure enough, I just played back the voice note and I was debating what the turn card was.  I can hear myself saying, "I don't remember what the turn card was.  I wrote here 9, but it might have been a 7.  I don't remember.  I know it wasn't a really low card and it wasn't an over card."

This happens all the time when I do voice notes.  I know I tap those notes into my phone really fast and frequently screw up.  But if my finger slipped trying to type a "7" I most likely would have typed a "6" or an "8", not a "9".  But clearly the next morning when I voice-recorded it, I was not sold on that card being a 9. 

Since my voice note wasn't sure though, and I had written 9 at the time, I went ahead and called it a 9 in the the post without realizing the implications of that.

So I suppose I should just say it was a 7 and move on.  That way he didn't have a straight.  In the long run we're all dead it doesn't matter if he had a straight or just two pair because he was always losing to my full house. 

But it reminded me of just unclear it all was to me at the time of showdown.

Here's what I remember.  I called and waited for the lady to show her hand, which she did promptly.  I only could see one card, the Jack.  But the dealer declared her hand to be trip Jacks, not a full house.  At that point, the other player was unhappy, he turned over his hand and I thought it was a pair of 8's.  But before I could be sure, he flipped them back over face down and mucked them.  Meanwhile, I was in the process of showing my hand, which I did fairly promptly, but not before he had already conceded the pot by mucking his hand, after the brief display.

In other words, he thought he was beaten by the lady's trip Jacks.  He definitely conceded the pot to her before he even saw my hand.

Which he wouldn't have done if he had a straight, of course.  He would have known his straight was no worse than the second best hand and could still have conceivably been the best hand.

But as I said in the previous post, it's hard for me to believe he called with just an unimproved pair of 8's.  He wasn't that bad a player.  Maybe he was a bad enough player (or just having a brain freeze) to think his straight was losing to trips?  Or perhaps he somehow thought the lady had a full house?  I couldn't see her other card (she was on the far side of the table from me) but the dealer told me (and everyone else) she just had the three Jacks.

Another thing I failed to put in my previous post:  When he turned over his hand, he muttered something about, "I knew I should have been wary of the paired board."  Well, that's something you're more likely to say when you have a straight than just a pocket pair, isn't it?

So I can't be sure what happened there.  Why was I confused about what the turn card really was?  And did the guy concede the pot even though he had the best exposed hand at that point?

I'm actually thinking he may have had the straight there.  And somehow thought the lady had turned over a boat.

Of course if the lady had turned over a boat, she would have won the pot, as her boat would have been better than mine.  I'm assuming if the dealer had misread her hand she would have said something.

Although maybe she missed it too, maybe she trusted the dealer.  I have to assume that there is a greater than zero pct chance I was awarded the pot in error.

That would be unfortunate for the lady, but ultimately that's on her for not speaking up.  She was a solid player but you know we all make mistakes.

And of course, there still exists the very real possibility that the guy just screwed up by mucking too soon.

It's also possible that the turn card was a 7 and not a 9.  I thought it might have been a 7 the next day. That would explain everything but the guy's bad play.

Anyway, thanks for Zourah for pointing this out (no one else did) and giving me all these possible scenarios to consider.

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