Saturday, February 9, 2019

I’m off to the Aria as there’s more action there

It’s the oldest joke in gambling. How do you make a bunch of old ladies say “fuck”? Get another old lady to shout bingo! It’s similar in poker – when the designated ATM stops paying out then the rest of the table gets a little annoyed (I would say pissed but we Brits use that to designate drunk, if we say pissed off it’s annoyed but just pissed equals drunk).

Now this guy wasn’t your standard ATM – normally these guys bet 4 streets whether they are ahead or behind but this guy was different. In about 2 hours I don’t recall him making an aggressive move preflop so all he was doing was representing a decent hand post flop if he’d caught any of the flop. Every, single, time. Which was funny for all concerned. Except maybe for him, or his bank manager. Now I have no idea why he thought it was a good strategy as in a multi-way limped or single raised preflop pot it’s so unlikely for this to work that even a donk like me would work him out. 

He’d been doing this for about an hour and had rebought 2 or 3 times when I look down at J-10 off in the BB. There’s been a raise in EP and I think I was last to act so I called – maybe a 5 or 6 way pot (including the aforementioned ATM). Flop comes down as J-J-10. Fucking lovely. I check, original raiser checks and ATM bets $20. Couple of folds rounds to me and I call and the original raiser calls. River is the case J which I’m quite annoyed about as if ATM has actually got any sense then he’s going to slow down. He doesn’t. I check as does the original raiser and the ATM bets $45. Thinking I can’t check call then expect a call to a bet on the river I raise the minimum and the ATM calls after the original raiser has folded. Not even concerned what the river is but what do I do here – a bet possibly goes uncalled but even a complete cretin would check behind given I’ve called the flop then check raised the turn. So I really have to bet. So I lead with about $45 and the ATM wastes no time in shoving which I obviously call – he tables A-10. Bless him! He looks bemused when I turn my hand over – almost as if he understands what’s going on. But I really don’t think he does. 


He continues to do this for at least another hour (he’s probably rebought about 7 or 8 times in total since sitting down but now he’s sat on a stack of around $700 and I’ve got slightly more) until 1 more hand that I get involved with. I raise UTG with QQ and it’s 3 (or maybe 4) way to a flop of Q-10-10 (2 diamonds). 

I check and ATM bets $20, folds round to me and I raise to $60 which is called. The only reason I bet here is to build a pot as he’s either got nothing and folding, or calling with something worse – even this twit is not getting a few hundred bucks in for a pot of $50 if he’s got air. The river is 6d and I bet $80, ATM thinks for a bit then shoves. I instacall and ATM turns over 10d-7d for a flush with trips on the side. Bless his little cotton socks. I turn my hand over and the river is no help.

He’s huffing and puffing and checking his phone and now announces that “I’m off to the Aria as there’s more action there”. Anyone who has been at this table for more than 30 minutes starts laughing – how can this clown expect to actually make money at the Aria when he’s failed spectacularly at the MGM? Now I like the MGM (particularly because I usually stay in the Signature which is a 10 minute drunken stumble from the poker room) but it’s certainly one of the softer games on the strip and this twit will get eaten alive if he steps foot in the Aria. He’s either very deluded or has got very unlucky and I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t the latter

Friday, February 1, 2019

Seeing your opponent’s cards – what would you do?

Prior to this particular hand I’d been having a fairly forgettable session – nothing overly good or bad had happened in about an hour or so since I’d sat down and I was hovering around my initial buy in level. I was sat next to a nice guy on my right and we’d been having a few beers and a chat about both our travels – he was due to visit London soon and I’d been giving him some pointers for a first time tourist.

I don’t remember the specific details pre flop but I was in the BB with A-10 off. I think I called a bet from UTG+1 which had also been called by 2 other players – including the SB on my right. The flop comes out 10-10-2. SB bets and I call, the original raiser calls and the other player folds. Turn is a 5 which brings 2 diamonds on the board. SB bets, I raise, original raiser folds and the SB looks at his cards before calling. When he looked at his cards he accidentally exposed one of them to me – not on purpose and it was only the briefest of flashes that no one else could have seen it or even realised that I’d seen it. It was a black K. This guy was a decent enough player that he’s not called from the SB with KK, he’s not calling my raise on the turn with A-K so the only other hand he can have is K-10 – which figures given his post flop action. The turn is an 8 – not a diamond so there’s no flush or straight possible to represent. SB leads out about 30% of the pot – what do you do here knowing that you’re good?

I decided to use a couple of factors before making my decision:
He was a relatively nice guy – sure I’d only just met him but I always think that someone’s persona at the poker table is actually a pretty good mirror of their true character. Sure people can act aggressive with chips but those who win with grace and lose with humility are those I like to be around. Someone who berates his opponent whether he’s won or lost at the poker table is probably a jerk away from the poker table too. If this guy had been a jerk I’d have raised.

He could afford to lose the money – basically anyone at the table should be prepared to lose their chips but this guy had told me what he did and losing another $100 or so would have been inconsequential. Not that I’d not raise if he told me that he needed the winnings to buy a hot dinner for freezing orphans.

What if I’d not seen his card – I’d already raised on the turn before I saw his card. Another raise here doesn’t look suspicious and I’m probably getting a call.

In the end I just called – I tried to play the hand out as if I’d not seen his card and I wouldn’t usually raise in that position just with trips albeit a strong kicker, there’s too many SB limped hands that “could” have made a full house albeit I knew he didn’t have one. He turns over K-10 and asks about my kicker. He says “nice hand” with genuine sincerity and we get back to chatting as if nothing has happened

Friday, January 25, 2019

They can’t both have it because I folded one


We’ve all played at tables where some jackass will pipe up at the end of a hand with “I would’ve won that with 8-4 off” having folded preflop despite having being faced with a 3 bet to $20 or so and showdown being AA v KK or something similar. It’s annoying to hear but I don’t really let it get to me as it hasn’t affected the outcome or the action during a hand. 

I’m well known for saying stupid things during a hand but it’s only ever been to my own detriment and I’m very careful to not say anything about the contents of a folded hand, either during the hand or even after it. I don’t want to be “that jackass” who pipes up saying he would have won.

I’m a few hours into a 1/2 session and I‘m sat on about $450 and I’m quite a few beers deep. There’s only 1 other person at the table drinking and there’s not a lot of table chat – I don’t think anyone knows each other when a new player joins us (I’ll call him jackass so you can identify him). Now jackass is drinking but he’s not drunk enough to bother anyone, what does bother everyone is he won’t STFU. He’s tried engaging everyone in conversation and he’s that jackass who discloses the contents of every hand he’s folded that would have won. Until this particular hand.

I’on the button (or maybe the cut-off but for the rest of the story that’s irrelevant) and look down at JJ. There’s been about 3 limps to me and I make it $15 to go. I’d played TAG for the whole session so I’m not expecting this to look like a position raise as most of the other players have been there for at least an hour. It folds round to MP who calls (jackass was in the SB or BB in this hand and had folded). Flop comes AAJ. MP checks and I bet $25 which is called. This screams Ace something – I’m obviously dead to AA but he’s not limped then flat called preflop with that, AJ is possible but improbable given I’ve got 2 Jacks so I’m guessing A-10 or better although AK is improbable since he limped in initially. I’m going to continue to barrel if the turn & river are below 10s and hope my read is good. River is a 4. MP (who started the hand with about $500 so he’d got me covered) bets $50 into a pot of about $90. I’m more than prepared to get stacks in at this point so I raise to $150 – I obviously want him to call or reraise but MP tanks for a while (he’s not hollywooded before this hand so I’m pretty sure he’s not hit a full house) and eventually calls. River is a 2 and MP checks. I announce all in (about $260 into a pot of $400) and MP tanks again – that means he’s definitely not got a house and is replaying the hand whilst muttering to himself trying to work back the action

It’s at this point that jackass pipes up and says to his neighbour “They can’t both have it because I folded one – I had Ace two”. The dealer immediately tells him not to discuss his hand but it was loud enough for the entire table to hear. MP keeps muttering to himself and starts aiming some of his talk towards me “I thought maybe I was out kicked but he just said he folded an ace so you can’t have one” shortly followed by “you raised pre without an ace so you’re either bluffing with Kings or queens or you’ve got jacks”. This goes on for a couple of minutes until he sighs and open folds AQ and says “You can only have jacks, I would’ve called if I thought you had an ace”. 

I announce “good fold” and have to show my cards to get a drawing ticket and then proceed to go nuts at the jackass. “You just cost me $260 you half wit” I shout. “He would have called if you’d kept your mouth shut”. Jackass doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong and keeps telling me that I should be glad that he’d folded. 

The floor has been attracted by the commotion (mainly me shouting at jackass) and I’m asked to calm down. At no point have I sworn (I’m usually careful to avoid swearing when berating someone as it comes across far better than just dropping profanities into verbal abuse – usually I swear like my pants are on fire but rarely do when angry) and I calmly explain the situation which is corroborated by the dealer and the table. The floor person warns jackass to not disclose the contents of his hand until all action is over.

Inside I’m absolutely fuming – this fucknut has really pissed me off so the only thing I can do is get stuck into some beers and plot my revenge. Unfortunately he left about ½ an hour after that hand and I didn’t get a chance to get into a hand against him. After he’d left a couple of the other players commented how restrained I’d been as I’d only really had a go at him for about a minute then dropped it. One of the other players said that if it had been them they’d have wanted to take a swing for him.

Having thought this through I think I was more annoyed at jackass’s lack of apology. If he’d apologised I would have let it go but he should be aware that he’s done something wrong since he’s been warned about it so if he’d turned round to me and apologised I would have accepted it. We all make mistakes and being grown up enough to acknowledge and apologise are the traits of a decent individual. Unfortunately he showed none of those traits which is probably why I was silently seething the whole time he was at the table.

One last thought on this – what if I’d been a maniac at the table and was playing loose? If I’d been bluffing and been called due to his outburst could I have blamed him for a call at the end? Obviously not but he would have made a difficult decision a lot easier for my opponent if my playing style had been a lot looser.

What would you have done in this situation? There’s not a lot of recourse to the individual player but is there anything you would have done differently?

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Why are my feet so cold?

When I actually get round to categorising my posts I will definitely be including a "How the fuck are people so fucking stupid" category – this will probably go there. Unless I make a category of "stupidest thing ever said by anyone. Ever. In the entire history of the world. Ever" in which case this will be the sole entry.

It's mid-January and I'm sat in an airport waiting for a flight. Unfortunately it's at one of those airports that has security at the gate – I normally prefer this arrangement rather than centralised security as it means I can turn up for boarding as late as possible and know I'll still be allowed to board as long as I make it in time before security closes up, at most airports with centralised security I have to factor in extra time just in case there's a long queue. But today it's a pain because the flight is delayed and they're not allowing people to leave the secure area post the security checkpoint. The only thing post security is a pretty dull area with just about enough seats for passengers to wait on. 

Now anyone who spends a bit of time in airports will probably have noticed that they aren't the most cosy of places to spend an hour or 2 if you're delayed – they are either trying to sell you stuff or get you out of there in as little discomfort as possible. They are also designed practically to keep the place running with the least amount of effort (read time and money) possible. So most airports won't have carpets or any other furnishings that are easily worn out or soiled by the thousands of people who traipse through every day. Check it out next time if you've never noticed it before – most high usage areas will have stone or marble floors rather than carpet. Stone flooring also makes it a bit colder and this actually saves the airport money – most of them have a good deal of glass so airports are notoriously hot and stone flooring helps to cool the place down a bit, saving on air-con costs.

So back to the flight – it's delayed because of bad weather. It's mid-January so it's not uncommon for this time of year – whilst most of mid Europe doesn't get anything like the snowfall and bad weather of the north eastern part of the US it's still pretty common for temperatures to be around freezing and there is still snow on the ground from the last heavy snowfall the previous weekend (it's now Friday). I'm sat down in the holding area and a lady starts talking (at this point I don't know who to as she's behind me). She talks for a couple of minutes, barely pausing for breath, and I've not heard anyone reply to her. I'm starting to think she might be one of those nutters that talks to themselves – it's just my luck that she'll be sat next to me on the plane and I'll be forced to drink more than my usual 2 G&Ts to numb out the pain (it's only an hour long flight so more than 2 seems excessive). But then she stops talking and starts whining. Turbo-whining. About everything. Why is the flight delayed? Who can I blame for this? I'm going to miss my train at the other end, why is the weather so bad – it's been like this for a week. It honestly goes on like this for 10 minutes when she comes out with "why are my feet so cold?

Now I need to find out if she is a nutter – she's been going on for 10 minutes solid and I've not heard a peep out of anyone else. I turn round to look at her (to give her the British "tut and stare" which is the worst insult we have) – she's sat next to a guy and looking at him (so I presume they are together) and their seats are facing the same way as mine so I can see both their faces when I turn around.  She's not unattractive and she's maybe early 30s – she's got a thick coat on with a scarf wrapped around her neck. Then I look down. She's got jeans on her lower half and she obviously knows it's cold given that she's got fairly sensible clothes on so I look further down to her feet. She's wearing open toed fucking flip-flops. In January where there's been snow on the ground for at least a week, in an airport which are never the warmest places anyway. And she's turbo whining about her feet being cold. 

Now the guy who she's with looks at me because it's obvious that I'm looking at them – he makes eye contact with me and rolls his eyes as if to say "Sorry mate – I've got to listen to this all the way home". I turn away and chuckle at her stupidity and think to myself "If my missus was that daft she'd better be as dirty as sin to make up for it".

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

This survey said I’m from Belarus

Nearly everyone lies about something – and for most people it’s usually about exactly the same thing. It’s also a question that your answer probably depends upon your age and your answer will most likely change over time. But whatever age you are when asked this question the answer will probably be a lie. How much alcohol do you drink?

Now when we’re first asked this question by friends or family – usually in our late teens we’ll probably understate the answer. Then a few years later we’ll overstate it. Then starting from our 30s onwards we’ll go back to understating it.

Examples of answers to the question would be:

19 year old son to mum – Only a couple (despite having had 6). No one wants to tell their mum how much they drink.

Friend to friend in 20s – It was mad and we were out most of the night (despite having had 3 beers and heading home about 10pm). No one wants to admit not being able to party all night.

Friend to friend in 30s or later – We don’t drink much now, mainly wine at dinner parties (forgetting the pre dinner beers plus scotch or brandy afterwards). It’s not seen as mature to over drink.

And I can virtually guarantee that if you’ve ever been asked this question by a doctor you’ve probably lied – I certainly have. I’ve had numerous medicals (usually work related to ensure I’m not going to die on a job) and I’ve just given an answer that is within the recommended healthy guidelines. I’m pretty sure that the majority of people lie on medicals as well – a friend of mine was once a telecoms engineer in the Army and his job entailed repairing telecoms towers on the edge of a military zone. During the night angry, well armed, locals would then try to shoot at these towers, only for my friend to have to repair any damage again the next day. Unsurprisingly, whilst he was in this post he drank a lot and when asked at his medical how many units he drank he replied with 20-25. The doctor replied that this was a little on the high side (recommended 16-20 per week) but nothing exceptional – my friend failed to mention that his figure was a daily, rather than weekly, intake.

But I decided to be honest about my alcohol intake – it wasn’t for a medical and I haven’t shared the results with anyone. But there was a catch – it included the week before Christmas where I’d been to 3 or 4 parties plus had 1 day at a sports event which entailed all day drinking. So it was never going to be truly representative of my average consumption – just a snapshot into a week of my life. 

It was worrying to say the least – I’d consumed over a litre of pure alcohol that week. Dear god how am I still alive but that might explain the sore head then!! The survey said I was unlike any other country but my nearest match was Belarus – the heaviest drinking nation in the world. Inhabitants of Belarus consume about 17.5 litres of pure alcohol per capita each year – compare that to Russians (15.1 litres), Brits (11.6 litres) and Americans (9.2 litres).  

As I said earlier it was never going to be truly representative of my normal intake but it’s certainly worrying that over a short period of time I can drink more in a week than other nations average in a year. But it’s not put me off the beer – if only for this reason https://mobile.twitter.com/biiimurray/status/362670224270573569?lang=en

If anyone wants to take this themselves here is the link http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-30500372. Please comment with your drinking nationality.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

No it wasn’t a good call. It was f*cking terrible

There’s lots of things that annoy me at the poker table and most of these are down to other people, having totted up my list I think I’m going to look like a sociopath. But if other people didn’t do things to annoy me then I wouldn’t get annoyed so surely I’m not a sociopath – right?

There’s only a few things that a casino can influence though. The lack of inbuilt cup holders are one of my biggest gripes along with slow waitress service. But I get the economics of the waitress service – it costs the poker room money to provide this service so they do the bare minimum possible whilst keeping people coming to the room. Plus a lot of poker players don’t drink at the table anyway so I’m probably in the minority waiting for a waitress who only comes round every half an hour or so. Plus I have a choice – if I really dislike a room’s service I won’t go there.

But I don’t really have a choice about other people – when I sit down at a table it’s just pot luck whether the table will be full of people who should be classified as oxygen thieves. A lack of basic personal hygiene, being obnoxious and “spreading” are all worthy of being added to my list headed “people to taser when I come to power”. I had an encounter with one particularly horrid individual, who managed to combine all three, a while ago who kept telling people they need to do something – move, act, post blinds etc. It came to a head when he persistently bumped into my chair when manoeuvring his enormous frame around his seat followed by him snarling “you NEED to move to let me in” followed by me declaring “I don’t NEED to do anything, if you’d like me to do something you’d better learn some manners”. But anyway – I digress.

One of the things that doesn’t wind me up at the table are bad beats. We all get them but they are actually good for poker – I know that anyone at the table who is on the positive side of a bad beat is generally a bad player and thus is more likely to lose money. Which is good – so in a way bad beats are good. What does annoy me is what sometimes happens after a bad beat – as the pot is pushed to the luckbox someone will state “Good call” without any hint of sarcasm or irony (note this doesn’t always happen – probably only about 10% of the time). 

Now I reserve “good call” for a completely different scenario – it’s making a truly difficult decision, potentially for a lot of money. Holding pocket 10s on an ace high board and making an informed decision that the LAG repping an ace hasn’t actually got one would be that scenario, not luckboxing a 2 outer on the river having called a pot sized bet on the turn from the tightest player at the table. You know your 10s are behind here but spiking a set to beat AK will sometimes cause someone at the table to pipe up “good call”. Which makes me want to scream “No it wasn’t a good call. It was fucking terrible”. But us Brits don’t like to make a scene, so I’ll probably just tut and stare which is one of the worst insults we have, whilst silently adding another name to my list

Thursday, December 6, 2018

I’ve been done on 2 sick bad beats. I’ll tell you about it later

I’d been sat at a $1/2 table for about 3 hours and over that period there had been quite a number of LAG players. Nothing overly crazy but play was definitely on the looser side of the spectrum for the majority of the session. There had been a player sat 2 seats to my right (I’m in the 5 seat) for about half my session and he was running well. When he first sat down I thought he was a crazy loon but it turned out he was just being hit by the deck – hard. Over the course of his first hour he must have raised nearly half the time and very rarely slowed down on the flop. But whenever he got to showdown he had a decent enough hand and I don’t recall him being caught bluffing. He held pocket Kings 2 or 3 times, Aces and Queens at least once and if he didn’t have a big pocket pair to start he’d usually hit the flop – all in the course of an hour or so. Unfortunately I’d lost about $200 to him on one particular hand – I had pocket 10s to his KQ and he spiked a K on the turn and after about 90 minutes he’s sat on over $1,000 and I’m on about $600 (I’d rebought so I’m effectively even for the session). 

He lost about $200 when he called someone’s all in – he held 10s and the other guy had Kings. That’s when the wheels started to fall off the bus. Whether it was tilt or just plain stupidity I didn’t know but if ever there was a time to have banked a profit it was now. He won a few then lost a few in quick succession but nothing catastrophic until this hand – we’re now about evenly stacked at around $600 apiece.

I look down at AA from UTG +1 and raise. There’s 1 caller before this guy (now in the BB) gets to act and he 3 bets to $35. Now I have a decision to make – if he’d been a crazy loon I would have raised but I think that just telegraphs my hand. I’m only really doing this with 2 or 3 hands and a smart player will get away from anything other than Aces, Kings, Queens or potentially AK. I don’t particularly care about the other guy in the flop as he only had about $150 behind and he’d not been overly aggressive at any point. I give it my best Hollywood “Really – you keep getting it eh?” to him and puff my cheeks as I call. Other guy folds and we see a flop of A-10-9 (2 spades and I’ve got the Ace of spades). BB now bets about $50 and I raise to $150, BB jams and I instacall. Neither of us show and the turn and river are both Jacks. BB flips over AJ and shouts “full house baby” and thinks he’s won. I’ve not slowrolled but I’ve waited for him to show here. I flip over my cards and scoop the pot whilst this guy rebuys. 

He’s now lost most of that that rebuy in the space of 15 minutes when one of his buddies walks past the table and they have a chat which I can overhear. Buddy asks him what happened to his chips as he saw him with a monster pile the last time he walked past. Our man now says “I’ve been done on 2 sick bad beats – I’ll tell you about it later”.  

So losing with a pair v overpair and flopped pair v flopped set are now classified as bad beats are they? Please don’t tell the wider poker community as it’s just going to add to the long list of bad beat stories we all have to endure.