Sunday, October 13, 2019

A Lesson in Patience

This is one of my most recent sessions out in Ventura.  For the longest time it seemed like the most interesting hand of the day was the very first one, a hand that didn't involve me.

I had been waiting for a good 15 minutes when they opened a new table of 2/3.  It was a full table as we began. I was UTG for that first hand, and I folded some garbage.  The player on my immediate left raised to $45.

Well now.  The very first hand of the game and he opens to $45?  That is not a normal opening raise for this game, I assure you.  Even the most aggro of aggros never opens for more than $25.  Standard is anything from $10-$15.  But $18-$20 is not unheard of.  I've never seen a raise this big before.  Had I finally found the maniac of all maniacs in Ventura?  Now in Vegas, I've sometimes seem outrageous opening raises, particularly from a new player playing his first hand.  Sometimes an open shove.  But it's Vegas, sometimes people go crazy.  Although the overall action can be a lot looser in CA than Vegas, you just don't see that kind of opening raise in a 2/3 game.

To my surprise, he actually got a call from one of the older players at the table.  It was a heads up, and the flop was 5-4-4, two diamonds.  The preflop raiser announced all-in.  He had started with $300, the maximum, so he was betting $255 into a pot of ~$85.  The other guy tanked for quite a bit, he too had bought in for the $300 max.  Finally he let it go.  The aggro didn't show, and he refused to answer the question of what he had, which was asked by a couple of other players.  So they speculated.  One said Aces, another said Jacks.  My first thought was Jacks.  I think you see more crazy opening bets with Jacks than any other hand.  Of course, he might have had anything and was just trying to establish a certain image.  Who knows?

I will say this guy proved to be an aggro, but he never opened another pot like that, never made a ridiculous opening bet again.  He was always on the large side when he did raise, but within reason. And he was capable of limping. He did straddle under-the-gun every chance he could, to my annoyance.  As such, until he finally moved to a bigger game midway through my session, I never got a free big blind hand to play.

I know I say this a lot, but man was I card dead.  I mean extremely card dead.  When I finally got my first pocket pair, I actually wrote down the time of it, it had been that long.  It was about 90 minutes into my session.  BTW, it was pocket 6's and I folded them on a missed flop.

Through the first 95% of my time at that table, I had won exactly two pots.  They were both small blind hands.  When the small blind is $2 and the big blind is $3, my range of hands to complete is fairly wide.  I couldn't get a big blind hand to play without calling at least an extra $3 due to my neighbor straddling, but I could play the small blind hands for a buck.  My aggro neighbor, for whatever reason, rarely raised from the big blind.

So early on, I completed with Jack-7 of clubs.  It was four-way.  The flop was Ace-King-Queen, one club.  I checked and called $8 and it was heads up.  The turn was an offsuit 10, giving me Broadway.  This time I led out for $15 and he called.  The river was a brick and I bet $30 but didn't get a call.

Later I completed with Ace-Jack off, again it was four-way.  The flop was Ace-10-9, two clubs and I led out for $10.  I got two callers.  The turn was a blank and I bet $20 and it was now heads up.  The river was a third club so I checked.  He checked behind and he had Ace-6 and I took it down.

And that was it.  In fact, as I was so card dead, those two little pots were enough to keep me in the black for almost the entire session.  I think I maybe voluntarily put money into play one time and never raised preflop.  Never saw any other pair, never saw Ace-King, Ace-Queen, King-Queen or any suited Ace.  It was pathetic.

The table was starting to thin out and I figured if the table didn't break before then, I'd play two more orbits and call it a day.  It looked like I might get away with $5-$10 loss, which considering how bad my cards were was going to be a pretty decent result.  If I hadn't demonstrated any great skill at the game, I had at least exhibited great patience, refusing to start playing inferior opening hands out of sheer boredom.

And then, under-the-gun, I looked down at two Queens.  I opened to $15.  Now, considering this was the first time I'd raised all day, and in fact was like the second or at best third time I'd actually put any money in pot when I didn't have to, I assumed I'd probably just take it down there without a fight.  I mean, the aggro on my left was long gone, and the action had kind of slowed down considerably as the last few players who had left had not been replaced.

Well, I was off a bit. I only got four callers.  The flop was Jack-9-8, rainbow.  Kind of a scary board, but with my overpair I had to bet.  I put out $50.  The first to act took a long time to consider it, but folded.  Everyone else folded rather quickly.

The very next hand, in the big blind, I was dealt Queen-2 off.  No one raised and about 3-4 of us saw an Ace high flop, plus two lowish cards.  No one bet.  The turn was a Queen.  I bet $5 and got a call.  The river was a deuce and I bet $10, he called and showed Queen-9.  Nice river.

Two hands later, on the button, I looked down at Ace-Queen.  I called an $8 raise, it was three-way.  The flop was Ace-high and I called $12. The turn was a King and I called $20, still three-way. The river was a Queen, which now made a straight possible.  So when the guy who had been betting checked, I checked behind.  Turns out he had King-something and the other guy didn't show.  It was my third pot in four hands.

I reverted back to card-deadedness after that for the rest of the orbit.  By the time the big blind was about to come to me, we were so short-handed that I didn't hesitate to pick up and call it a day.  I had gone from a few bucks down to plus $180 in a manner of minutes, and in so doing, demonstrated the virtue of patience.


  1. Do a mike apostle trick and any card will be playable .

    1. LOL...I think you mean Mike Postle although "apostle" is awfully funny.

      It's not a bad idea, but I do have a moral problem with it.

    2. That whole MP thing is sooooo effed up. Easy fix would have been for live telecast hands a rule that sez sorry folks no hats or phones at this table. Easy peasy if you want to be on TV ditch the hat and phone or FOFF. Then the moron bails out of the game as soon as the telecasting stops. He could have at least pretended to be a real poker player for 30 to 60 minutes more before calling it a day but noooooooo.... He couldn't get away from the table fast enough when the telecast stopped.

      Oh... and btw.... nice finish there Rob!!!!

    3. Thanks, Lester. It will be real interesting to see if the legal action against Postle and Stones amounts to anything.

  2. I have had quite a few winning sessions while mostly being card dead. The key is to let yourself go numb and being super tight. The amazing thing is that most people don't seem to notice when you do pick up a hand and call you anyway. Sometimes I think if you can handle it being card dead can keep you from losing big.

    1. Definitely. The best way to lose big is to keep getting playable hands that maybe make the second best hand and cost you lots of money. If you can just fold all the time, well it's boring as hell but it's not costly.