Friday, June 28, 2019

At least the pot was only a small one

Only one hand to report from a recent session but it's one that I'll remember for quite a while.

There's one very loose player to my right and he's going mad. He's opening over half the time and continuing if he's hit any part of the flop. I've seen him get a buy in on the table having flopped bottom pair and he's throwing money around. Unfortunately none to me as I'm completely card dead and I'm nearly 2 hours into the session - I've got $300ish in front of me but I'm down around $150 as I've topped off. $20 or so has gone to the waitress who is doing a sterling job at keeping me hydrated so I'm in no mood to leave if there's a sniff of getting a double up if only I can pick up a decent hand. The plan is to get it all in preflop against the loon if possible and hope for the best.

And then I look down at 2 queens and the loon has already raised from UTG+1. So I raise to $45. It folds round to the button who thinks for a bit then raises to $105. Fuck. Any other player does this and I'm shoving but this is an OMC (or old man coffee if you've never heard the expression before).

Before I can even start to think about things our crazy loon on my right announces all in. I'm not worried about the loon - he's previously got it all in preflop holding 8-2 so his range is infinitely wide. But what about OMC? He'd probably 3 bet AK against the loon but I really can't see him 4 betting that against my 3 bet. It's got to be aces or kings. But most probably aces. It's always aces when OMCs do this. Or is it? Is he using his image as an OMC to make me think he has them? So he could be doing this with a lower pocket pair, suited ace or AK to A-10?

So the action is on me and I'm taking my time. "How much is it?" I ask the dealer. He tells me it's $200 and change. Fuck. If only our loon had less than a min raise then I could flat without fearing that OMC is going to shove on me.

So I fold. It pains me to fold but I know I'm behind. OMC snap calls but no one shows. There's a queen on the flop. Fuck fuck fuckity fuck.

"I have a pair of jacks" our loon says when the river is dealt. There's a jack on the flop. He turns over Jack 4 off. What the actual fuck happened there? Bet then 5 bet shove with Jack 4 off? Has someone had something very heavy dropped on their head recently? Evidently so.

OMC turns over his aces. What a surprise. He then asks me what I had. I tell him and say that I would have flopped a set of queens, but that I knew he had aces and it was correct to fold at the time. I then continue with "I've been card dead so long I was excited to pick up a hand and finally win some money, but at least the pot was only a small one".

I go back to being card dead and loon goes back to being a loon - I think he's burned his way through $1,500 or so over the course of a few hours. But at least the waitress is coming round regularly and she did much better out of me tips wise than the dealer did that night.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Cry me a river

I only really have one "poker friend" - a couple of friends play the game occasionally but there's only one who plays anywhere near as much as I do. We have a very odd way of greeting each other as well - no matter where we meet we always greet each other with "Do you want to hear a bad beat story?"

We probably sound a bit odd in any normal context but on the rare occasion that we meet at a poker table it's pretty funny as we can literally hear the other players' eyes roll as they think we're going to bore them with tales of woe that literally every poker player will have encountered.

I played a session with this friend recently and we greeted each other at the table with our usual opening - we then proceeded to chat without actually ever discussing bad beats. But there were some during the session that we promised we'd never bore each other with again - but I didn't promise not to bore readers of my blog with.

What wasn't unusual was that there were bad beats - every player will have encountered these but what was unusual was that they all involved the same 2 people. And yours truly was on the receiving end of every single one of them.

I'm holding A-10 on a board of 10-10-x. There's an early position raise, I call as there's no flush draw. Turn is a blank and the other player (a lady for what it's worth and I'll refer to her later as this) shoves her last $30 or so and I call. River is a 9 and she turns over 10-9 for a rivered 3 outer.

I've got top set on a 8-2-3 rainbow board and lead out. Lady raises me and I shove (more than got her covered and she has maybe $100 left). She calls. Not sure what the turn was but the river is a 5. She turns over A-4 off.

I flop top 2 on a Kx-Jc-6c board. Random other player bets, lady calls, I raise (enough to put lady all in but the random has me covered). Random folds and lady calls. Turn and river are both clubs and lady turns over Ac-6s. (I thought her odds were much worse than 24.3% until I ran the numbers through an equity calculator but who in god's name calls their entire stack with bottom pair and a backdoor draw?)

Then I've got a straight on a 10-J-2-9 board with 2 clubs. We again get it all in on the turn and the river is another club. She shows 8-4 of clubs.

In each of these hands she probably only started the hand with a maximum of $150 - as you've seen she was a bit of a calling station and she lost quite a few against other players by drawing and not hitting - just wasn't my lucky day avoiding her outs.

So now to the maths - on the first hand she's got 3 outs with 1 card to come (3/46 or 6.5% to win), on the second 4 outs to the straight with 2 to come (12.8%), on the 3rd 24.3% and on the 4th 18.2% (I had a club so she has fewer outs). So her chances of winning all of these hands in a row are an astonishing 0.037%. Not 3.7%, she's winning all those hands 3.7 times if we run these hands 10,000 times.

So I've lost over a buy in to such ridiculous odds and I'm fed up. Luckily there's beer to cheer me up and I'm having a laugh describing my previous session with my friend and I promise I'm not going to bore him with bad beat stories but I tell him that I'm definitely changing our usual greeting. He asks what to and I reply "After today I think that's pretty obvious mate. Cry me a fucking river". 

Saturday, May 25, 2019

A buy in for a few hours of peace?

It was was whilst reading this story that I had a flashback to a poker session from maybe autumn last year. The story entails a very sweary woman detailing a very special 10th anniversary activity that she and her husband were going to partake in. In a normal society she probably shouldn't have discussed this with complete strangers at a poker table. I joked with Rob that I might have had a poker session with the lady in question's sister (Rob has now had a hand in the last 2 posts so again thanks, if you make it 3 in a row there's a set of steak knives on the way!). 

So to the poker table we go. I'm sat enjoying a beer or two when a very attractive lady sits next to me. She says hello to the table and laps up the stares she gets as she makes herself comfortable. This takes at least 5 minutes and she's up and down, readjusting the seat then standing up, adjusting herself and the seat and repeating. 

"For fuck's sake woman sit the fuck down before I go demented" I think this in my head by the way (us Brits are far too polite in real life to actually say anything). But I'm sure it's just an act to ensure every eye is on her if it wasn't already. But she knows they already were as she's the only female at a table of mostly 30-50 something men. She orders a drink when the waitress comes round (do I even need to say that I order one too?) and she begins to chat. 

When I say chat I mean more she starts to talk, barely pausing for breath to actually let anyone else get a word in edgeways. I call this turbo-wittering, somehow some people have the ability to talk for what seems like the known age of the universe without actually managing to say anything meaningful or exchange anything other than completely banal details. She also like to swear whilst she's turbo-wittering. Not in a bad way though - I like to swear like my arms are on fire so someone randomly swearing doesn't offend me at all. She's also pounding a few drinks back so I'm starting to think maybe this is some sort of twilight zone where a mirror me is sat next to me. But then I realise that I've already described her as very attractive so she's definitely not a mirror image. 

I don't think that she's noticed that no one has replied in anything other than monosyllabic grunts to her over the last hour or so and but then she suddenly pauses for breath and says (only half joking) "well isn't one of you guys going to tell me my hair looks nice?"

Now I'm working on the assumption that everyone at the table are complete strangers so asking randoms to tell you your hair looks nice is a bit weird so I reply to her "Surely that's your husband's job - no one has told me that my hair looks nice" (I have a buzz cut and this is most definitely only the second time I've ever discussed hair cuts at a poker table 

She continues by telling us that her husband is forever paying her compliments but only when he's had some encouragement. Ok - she's what I like to call a compliment junkie. (An ex Mrs AC suffers from it, she was once in the bathroom complaining that her hair was greying, she was getting fat and her skin was a mess and demanded a compliment. Apparently me replying "Your eyesight is spot on" wasn't what she was looking for). 

Then she tells us the best compliment she's had recently was when one of her son's friends called her a MILF. I've now laughed beer out of my nose at this. 

So now back to our lady's appearance. It's fairly obvious that she's had quite a lot of "work" done and she's quite a bit older than you'd think she was. She's probably early 50s although from a distance you'd probably say she was 15-20 years younger. I'm assuming her son is maybe late teens or early 20s as getting that sort of comment from anyone under 16 would be a bit weird. 

She then continues to ask the table whether they thought she was a MILF. Cue some very uncomfortable glances and a couple of quizzical faces as she proceeds to explain what a MILF is for those who don't know. 

I ask her what her husband thought of this comment to which she says she didn't tell him - my guess is even if she did then he probably won't be listening. I ask if she's in Vegas alone and she says her husband is getting some rest whilst she plays poker - in my head it's the best $300 he'll ever spend as he's getting some peace and quiet whilst we have to listen to her drone on. 

It's quite a relief on my ears when she loses her buy in after about 2 hours and after she's gone a couple of the table comment that her husband must be grateful of a few hours off. I comment "It doesn't really matter how attractive she is but at some stage you can guess he's had enough of listening to her wittering at him that he's going to be pissed that he hadn't given her 2 buy ins to buy himself another couple of hours' peace" which elicits a chuckle from a couple of guys. 

Another guy pipes up with "I've learnt something today - but I'm not sure I'm going to be bragging that I now know what a MILF is though". 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Elvis summed up my session perfectly

Sometimes I just can't play properly. Not that I don't try to but just that the other players don't allow me to. I usually hate these sessions - when the table is full of loose passive players it’s effectively not worth bluffing a lot if the entire table will limp then call a decent sized bet with any 2 cards. This was one of those sessions. With the exception of a very rare 3 bet preflop it was usually at least 6 to the flop which means I really had to wait for a decent hand then hope that someone else had hit the flop and was going to call a bet. But the table was very friendly and I was having an enjoyable evening making small talk with my table mates whilst attempting to drink my own body weight in beer.

But there was something missing - action. This game was effectively being played like a friendly home game and we really needed someone with more money than sense to join the table. I tried to be that action player for the first couple of orbits but when the entire table limps then calls preflop it's really not worth continuing unless you've hit the flop as someone with 8-2 off will have hit 2 pair to crack my aces then check called all the way to the river - it happened and I'm down $100 or so straight off the bat.

Only a handful of hands to report from the rest of the session:

I 3 bet out of the big blind holding A-Q to the small blind's min raise after the whole table had limped - there's already $18 on the table so does he really think raising to $5 is getting anyone to fold? I raised to $35 and he just calls, leaving himself only $50 or so behind. Q-x-x board and he now bets $10 into $85ish. WTF? I raise enough to put him all in and he thinks about it for a minute or so before calling and flipping over A-K which goes unimproved. I know I get lucky here but his preflop and flop action is appallingly bad so it's a shame he leaves the game after this hand.

I 3 bet holding K-K and only get called by the original raiser. Of course there's an ace on the flop but given she's only got $75 behind I've really only got one move here - she calls my bet and flips over pocket 6s and I scoop.

I limp from the button with Ad-4d and the flop is 2d-3d-x. I raise when it's checked to me and get called by 2 players. Turn is the fantastic 5d. Again it's checked to me and I bet $15 into $100. 2 callers before the river and I only bet $25 which goes uncalled.

But now to the hand of the night. Literally everyone has limped in and I look down at pocket 8s from the BB. In a normal game I want to thin the field but unless I bet pretty big most people are probably calling with any 2 cards, so I decide to check and hope to hit a set. I don't. I flop quads. Fuck. This is ridiculous as there's no way anyone has actually hit anything. So I check and it checks round. I bet a ridiculously small $5 on the turn which is called by 2 players. Again a tiny bet of $15 on the river which isn't called - so I win $15 which barely covers my waitress tips for the night. This is offset by a high hand bonus of $599 - tbh I remember getting a jackpot but don’t recall the amount (it had been a long, beer-filled day) so thanks to for giving me details of the high hand promotions.

But the table was friendly and the conversation flowed all evening - it was just after the NFC championship game so there was a lot of discussion about that plus the upcoming Superbowl but luckily all the sports rivalries are in good humour. I shake a couple of hands as I say goodbye to the table after about 4 hours up about $100 (plus the high hand jackpot), grab my beer and do the drunken stumble through the casino over to the Signature. It's on my walk back that the Elvis (Junkie XL's 2002 remix to be precise) song is playing and the words are a brilliant analogy of my evening session - a little less conversation, a little more action please.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

How are you going to win the hand?

I really don't know why some people play poker. If you just want to gamble take your chance at blackjack or play red or black on the roulette wheel – it's the nearest thing you'll get to a 50:50 bet and your money will probably last longer if you're smart. Which you're not. Because you're playing poker badly, raising then triple barrelling with any 2 cards hoping you can bluff someone off a decent sized pot. Which works for a bit until you get worked out or run your 8-4 off into a decent hand and lose a buy in. Then you rebuy and repeat until you're broke. I told you that you weren't smart earlier on didn't I?

But I like these halfwits at the table – they add action and as long as you're prepared to wait for a decent hand and have the stomach to get outdrawn a few times they're good for the bankroll. I'm pretty patient at the table and if I'm card dead I get involved in the best activity known to man – beer! Lots and lots of beer!

Which is where this story begins. I've been sat down for an hour or so and I've barely seen a flop. There's a complete tool at the table raising, 3 or 4 betting preflop then jamming the flop with air. His variance is high and he's on his 3rd or 4th buy in and is sat on about $600 whilst I've still got about $275 of my initial buy in. Unfortunately I'm card dead and even worse this tool is directly on my left so I've not limped at all, knowing that this guy is raising 80% of the time. He also likes to button straddle then raise. I've noticed that he often raises without looking at his cards as well, although I don't think anyone else has noticed this. He also likes to berate an opponent when he's won a pot – usually by bluffing and turning over the aforementioned 8-4 and proclaiming himself to be the best poker player because he's winning most of the pots (a different halfwit actually used that line here Essentially he's a tool and most of the table are gunning for him. But I've been getting a few beers in me so I'm prepared to sit and wait for a decent hand.

So aforementioned tool is on the button and straddles. There's a few limps in and I look down at A-K suited. Now this is the 1st decent hand I've picked up for a while but given I've got Mr Raisey behind me I over-limp. Tool raises to $30 and I've noticed 2 things. He's not looked at his card, I know this because I've kept an eye on him and I say card because he's only been dealt 1 and he's not looked at it. If he'd looked even this twit would have worked out he's missing more than just some marbles. It folds round to me and I have a decision to make – if I raise he might check his card (at this point he'll probably ask for another 1) then I can get stacks in knowing I'm probably ahead or, at worst, in a flip. Or I can be sneaky. I've seen this on a couple of occasions and some casinos allow you to showdown 1 card (only in the event of being dealt 1 card though, if you have 2 then 2 must be shown) but most (including this one) say that both cards need to be face up to win a hand and a hand is dead if you can't showdown 2. 

So I'm going to be sneaky (for clarification I wouldn't do this if he hadn't acted like a tool, he'd constantly berated individuals at the table and he wasn't a nice individual. Players can play any way they like and I don't mind but his behaviour at the table towards other players made me decide to do this). So I call $30 and the flop comes out. I'm not interested in it as I know I'm winning so I check, tool bets about $100 and I call. Turn is an ace which I check, tool bets $100, I shove my last $140 and tool thinks for a bit. It's an obvious snap call to anyone not paying attention but I think that tool has realised what's happened. But I don't know if he realises that I know what's happened.

He glares at me and looks mightily pissed off. I smile back at him with a look on my face that can effectively be read as "How are you going to win the hand?". Now I think he knows that I know. If he wants anything resembling respect he should quietly fold then he can go back to playing like an idiot. He doesn't. He whines. Like a little girl. 

"I've only got 1 card" he now pipes up. "The hand should be a misdeal". He explains this to the dealer and the floor is called. Details are relayed accurately and the player is told his hand is dead and any chips in the pot are gone. He keeps whining like a little girl. He asks me to agree to him getting another card and I just say it's the floor's decision. Even if it's up to me I don't want to risk him sucking out to win an extra $40 with a $500 downside – my thoughts on that further down.

I'm pushed the pot and he's still whining whilst half of the table is laughing – he loses all his remaining chips over the next few hands then storms off. 

Looking back I know I've not been overly ethical during the hand but I've effectively done nothing wrong. It's a player's responsibility to protect their own hand and this guy should have requested the missing card before raising preflop and at the very latest, after I'd called. I'm sure he was trying to look smart by raising and then would have been smug showing he can win a pot with only 1 card but his plan has hideously backfired. Then he's tried to dig his way out of a hole by digging, then kept digging until he's in too deep. Should I have raised this with the dealer and would anyone have done this differently?

When he asked if I was agreeable to him receiving another card here were my thoughts (albeit the floor had said his hand was dead) and I don't think I should have agreed to it if it were up to me: I think the board was A-10-9-2 maybe with 2 of 1 suit but not of any help to me
Let's say he's got a pair – obviously this is the best hand he can have with only 1 card and I'm ahead with TPTK. So he's got 2 outs to make a set (or trips if the river is kind) so that's 8.4%. There are 10 cards for him to be dealt that give him 2 pair (21.3%) before even getting to the river so even if he misses 2 pair he's then got another 3 outs (6.5%)
Or he could have J or 8 then be looking for a straight draw which whilst unlikely gives him more outs – around 5%ish I think.
By my reckoning there's not a lot of absolute air hands that can't get there so he's anywhere from 2% (holding Q or 5 and needing runner, runner) to nearly 35% (holding a pair) so agreeing to risk $500ish to win $40 would not have been in my favour. 

Monday, April 22, 2019

That’s a violation of my 1st Amendment rights

Why is it that when people proclaim to “know their rights” they are generally wrong? And fuckwits. They’re generally fuckwits in the wrong. 

I was sat in an airport lounge waiting for a flight and there’s this utter fuckwit sat about 2 metres behind me having a video call on his mobile – without headphones on and the volume is turned up so the entire room can hear both sides of the conversation. Now these situations are fairly common and it’s normally some jumped up business boy talking about a deal that’s going to see him promoted or get a mega millions bonus and he’s trying to show off to the lounge how important he is because he’s jetting off to sign a deal and he’s definitely really important because he’s flying business class. I’ve overheard quite a few of these and they are usually stupid enough to drop company names into the conversation so given a little google searching I can work out who he works for, what the deal is and whether he should be having this conversation in a public arena (he shouldn’t). I’ve heard of people getting fired when private deal details have been leaked on internet chatrooms due to someone gassing off in public.

But this conversation isn’t about a deal – it’s with his wife, then kids and even time to say hello to the fucking dog. Really – what sort of fuckwit wants the world to know that he video calls his dog? No one in their right mind who has an inkling of common sense that’s who. Which brings us back to the aforementioned fuckwit. Once he’s done with the call he puts some music on, again on speaker without headphones. Or he could be watching cat videos on the internet for all I care. It’s annoying to anyone within a 10 metre radius and he doesn’t seem to understand that for most British people staring and tutting is literally the worst insult we’ve got. Eventually someone asks him to turn it down and he replies that he’s not going to. One of the lounge managers is called over and says that if he doesn’t turn the music down he’s going to ask him to leave – that’s when our fuckwit replies “that’s a violation of my 1st Amendment rights”. WHAT. THE. FUCK?? So Madison et al drafted an Amendment over your right to be a fuckwit in public did they? 

Presumably this fuckwit is insisting on carrying parts of a stuffed bear under his 2nd Amendment rights is he?

Dear god I hope I’m not sat near this tool on the plane – hopefully I’m not even on the same flight otherwise there’s going to be some serious air rage going once I get started on the G&Ts.

I’d had enough at this point as I’d really only popped into the lounge to sort out a ticketing problem and grab a pocketful of candy before my flight (they have some sweets that I used to get in my childhood in this lounge and they provide takeout bags so they are expecting people to take some away). I headed to the British Airways lounge – because this was Heathrow airport. In London. That’s in England. Not America.

So this fuckwit was quoting freedom of speech rights (albeit incorrectly) that apply to Americans. In America. Whilst he’s in a lounge in the UK. That’s after having video called his dog. I half wished he’d continued his rant and that the police were called – they could have given him his Miranda rights about his right to remain silent. And then tasered him. That would have been funny! Certainly funnier than most of the cat videos on You tube anyway!

Dear god when I come to power people like that should be tasered. A lot. Or would fuckwit complain that it was cruel and unusual? I hate it when they hide behind the bill of rights 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Everyone wants to brag about their first time

It was dark, you could feel the excitement in the air. I'd had a lot to drink and I'd been waiting for this moment for my whole life. It's a rite of passage that sometimes happens early but there must be some people who go through life just waiting for it to happen. And it was my time. Unfortunately it was all over in a couple of minutes but they were some of the best minutes of my life and I'll never forget them. I'd popped my cherry.

But get your minds out of the gutter as this has nothing to do with what you're thinking about - It's actually about poker.

I'm quite a few beers deep and am at a very decent game where the chips are flying around the table so fast my head is spinning. Luckily the beer is making my head spin the other way so I'm perfectly compus mentis.

I raise from late position with Q-10 of clubs and get 4 callers - both blinds and the original MP limper. Flop comes Ac-Kd-Jc. Oh my god as I flop the nuts with a redraw and the BB leads out for $35 which is called before getting to me. But what to do now? A call will probably entice the SB to call but if I raise I'm effectively playing my hand face up. So I elect to call. Unfortunately the SB folds but the turn is utterly perfect - King of clubs. Some wee has definitely come out now I'm that excited and I try my best to look impassively at the table.

BB now leads for $75, it folds to me and I min raise to $150. The reasons I do this are another club potentially kills any action, we're both pretty deepstacked at $700 or so apiece and this guy is never folding a min raise unless he's got complete air - in which case he won't put another penny in on the river. He thinks about it for a minute or so before shoving. More wee has come out and I snap call faster than the speed of light. He asks if his King is any good. As if it is when I've effectively broken the laws of physics with the speed of my call. I tell him he's drawing dead as I flip over my cards. The meaningless river is dealt (from what I could tell this guy didn't have a full house) and the dealer pushes me the pot.

I'm stunned.

I've been playing poker over 10 years and I've never had a Royal Flush before - I throw the dealer $10 (far more than I'd usually tip at a $1/$3 game and just sit there for a couple of minutes, happy with myself for finally getting it done. I almost wish I smoked so I could sit back and savour the moment.

How long had you been playing before you hit your first Royal Flush?