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". 


  1. That's brutal! On the 3 outer, would it be 3 out of 44 cards since you have two, she has two, and four are on the board?

    1. I think we’re both right on that - from her perspective there are 46 cards left, from mine she’s got 44.

      And on the flush hand she should calculate 9 outs rather than the 8 I’ve based my numbers off as she doesn’t know I have one of her outs.