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.