Friday, March 15, 2019

Poker is a subjective game

I’ve posted previously ( getting involved in an argument when I was accused of soft playing – essentially I had but not deliberately and it didn’t affect the outcome of the hand or how much was in the pot but I was warned not to do it again.

But I like it that players are encouraged to correct obvious mistakes  we’ve all misread our hand or the board at some time and it’s an easy mistake to make. Sometimes even the poker greats do it In Phil’s case he didn’t table his hand but if he had and declared a pair of 8s another player (or even the dealer) should correct him by saying he had a flush.

But poker is a very subjective game – what you or I might think of as a ratshit hand might be good enough for a crazy loon to call an all in with (6-10 suited for instance – which won, not that I’m still bitter obviously!) – but this subjectivity becomes irrelevant when determining the winning hand when all hands are face up and anyone can objectively determine the best hand. And the nuts (or the best hand possible) can always be determined objectively without any hole cards being face up. But wait – the nuts is subjective as well. My version of the nuts might differ from yours.

I’m a couple of hours into a fairly boring session, there’s not been a real action player at the table since I sat down and it’s rare to see a decent sized pot. But the waitress service is surprisingly good and I’m quite a few beers deep, but not deep enough to be drunk. I look down at K-10 suited on the button and raise after a few limps (K-10 suited in position is my favourite hand – it’s the hand I held when I won my first tournament although I actually liked it before then. I usually wouldn’t call a decent player’s raise with it and it’s very easy to get away from post flop if it doesn’t improve. It’s a hand that you shouldn’t lose a lot of money with, unlike AA or KK for instance – how many times have you lost a buy in with those rags?) So anyway – back to the hand.

The BB 3 bets – this is pretty unusual at this table but what surprises me more is that 3 of the limpers call (I think 4 or 5 had limped) so I call (as an aside I really find it strange when people do this – your hand is suddenly worth $30 calling a 3 bet but wasn’t worth slightly more than $2 when you limped?). I know I’m behind but I can get away on the flop unless I hit something big. So we’re 5 to a flop with $150ish in the pot which is pretty big already for tonight’s standards. The flop comes K-10-2. BB bets $45 and it’s folded round to me. Before I act I need to work out what the BB has – I don’t recall a 3 bet before from him so I can’t put him on a set of 2s, 10s and Kings are unlikely given what I hold albeit I can’t rule them out completely but I think he’s more likely to hold JJ, QQ, AA or AK. If he’s got JJ or QQ and I raise then he folds but he’s probably calling with the other hands I put him on so I just call to see what he does on the turn which is another K. This rules out him holding KK so if he bets I’m thinking AA, AK or 10-10 albeit the latter is the least likely option. He bets $75. Given there is already $240 in the pot this is a bit fishy – it smells of weakness (so he’s more likely now to hold AA and be worried that I’ve got a King) and I’m thinking that a raise here goes uncalled – we both started the hand with around $350 so he’s got $200 behind. He can probably get away here if I raise so I just call. River is a low blank and there’s no flush possible. BB now checks and I’m glad I didn’t raise the turn but I want to get a call to any bet so I size it fairly small – almost small enough that looks like a weak bluff if he wants to come over the top to rebluff me though. So I bet $50 into $390. He thinks about it for a minute or so before announcing call and sliding some chips out. I announce “I’ve got the nuts” as I turn over my cards and he mucks without commenting. Dealer announces “Kings full of 10s wins” and pushes me the pot.

Now the guy to my immediate left (who was the SB last hand but had folded to my bet preflop) chimes in with “You don’t have the nuts, you declared the nuts but you don’t have it”. “Yes I do” I reply. “No you don’t” he comes back with. This is starting to sound like a fucking pantomime now “Oh no it isn’t!!”

“Ok – what’s the nuts then?” I ask the SB. “4 kings” he replies smugly. “4 kings would be the nuts and would have beaten you” he continues. 

“How could anyone possibly have 4 kings though if I’ve got one of them? There’s no hand that’s possibly beating me so I’ve got the nuts.” As an aside it’s fairly common occurrence for a flush to be possible on a paired board – obviously quads is the nuts, then a house but would someone announcing “nut flush” get this hassle if this guy was at the table? Maybe I should have announced “second nuts but you can’t possibly have the nuts unless we’ve got a deck with 5 kings in it”? 

Now the guy seems to get it and he tells me he sees what I mean – I told him my view of reality is different to his and we had a chuckle but what I actually meant is that poker is a very subjective game – apart from 6-10 suited, that’s still ratshit and I’m still not over it!!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Can you put your chips over the line?

Quite a few casinos have a betting line on their poker tables – I like it so much that I really dislike those that don’t. It adds clarity to the game and it’s good at preventing string bets and ambiguity when a player has chips in his hands - one of my bugbears is someone having a handful of chips (presumably to intimidate through bet sizing) and “pump faking” before dropping only a couple in front of him. 

There’s effectively no good reason not to have one.

I’m in a 1/2 game in a casino that has such a line and I’m running pretty well. I’ve probably played more than 1/3rd of the hands in the last hour or so as I’m been getting cards and catching flops when I needed to. I’m probably sat at $550 from a $300 buy in. 

I’m in MP and look down at AA. Pretty good considering. I raise to $15 (would normally raise less but given how good I’m running and my table image looking loose I want to look loose) and get given no respect by getting calls from the cut-off, button and BB. Wish I’d raised more now. Flop comes down AKK. Dear god I hope someone’s got a part of this. BB leads out for $25 (he has about $250 behind). I call hoping that someone else has hit but the C/O and button fold. River is a blank and BB bets $50 – only hand I’m behind is KK but I’m pretty sure this guy would not have flat called with KK to my pre flop action so I call. Turn is not a K so I’m home and hosed – BB leads out for $100. I Hollywood for a minute before asking how much he has – he says about $100 and the dealer counts $113 so I announce all in. 

BB then tanks and says I’ve not put chips over the line – the dealer had already thrown the all in button in front of me so there’s no confusion over action. He says he wants to see chips over the line. I really can’t be arsed to argue so I slide out 2 stacks of red, 2 extra and 3 singles over the line. As soon as my fingers are off the chips he announces call and flips over K-J for a rivered full house. I insta turn and scoop the pot.

I found his insistence of me moving chips over the line a bit weird – there is no confusion as I’ve announced all in rather than a number, the dealer has put the button in front of me and I’ve quite obviously got him covered (as an aside I hate the phrase “I put you all in”, it’s impossible to put another player all in but some players use this phrase all the time). I’ve never seen it before or since. If it makes any difference he was probably mid 50s or so.

Anyone ever seen this before?