Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Moral Certainty

Bravos and I were playing poker last week on a day in which I actually managed to hit 'n run the 40/80 game for close to rack in the first 45 minutes of my day. I assured him, however, as I was hovering just a few hundred bucks above even with a couple of hours left to play, that it was a moral certainty that I would not be allowed to go home up on that day. I've gotten to the point that I can just feel my wins slipping away. Some would argue that I need to keep myself in a positive frame of mind, and that by not doing so I am actually doing something to cause my misfortune. This is bullshit. Perhaps my bad attitude is causing me to play bad, but it is no way affects how the cards fall. I was hoping to make it at least a week or so before I had to post another therapeutic "I run so fucking bad it is beyond comprehension to most intelligent human beings" post, but then today happened. I showed up at Bay 101 around 12:15 and got into a 20/40 game at 12:30 (I was able to play late today since my softball team had a game at 9pm, in which not only did I play horribly, but also watched my team blow a 5 run lead in the bottom of the last). And within minutes, the beatings commenced.

I am seated at a table that can only be described as amazing. In fact, amazing does not do the table justice. When Willie, a top five all time 20/40 donator, was replaced by a winning regular, I still thought the table was fantastic. On to our first hand of the day, literally the first time I voluntarily put money into the pot.

Willie limps as do two other players, and I raise 99 in the small blind. Everyone calls, and the flop brings:

987 with a flush draw

I bet, get raised, and am 3-bet by Willie. I cap it and we're 3 ways. The turn is an offsuit ace and they both just call. The river 6, which also completes a flush, actually saves me $40, as I check and they both do as well. Both of them hold 65s for the flopped straight.

Next up I turn my hand into a bluff. Willie limps in and a true blue Asian maniac raises on the button. I call with A2o in the big blind because this guy has been caught raising pretty freaking light in spots like this already (like, K3o, for example....of course in that hand the flop was KQ7 and I had Q4s in the big blind, turned a flush draw, and called him all the way down). The three of us see:


And I check/raise him. He calls, then calls twice more as the turn and river bring a Ten and then a Queen. On the river I know full well I'm bluffing, but it's a bluff that should work very well. The board reads 29TJQ for crying out loud. He's gotta fold his one pair hands here, doesn't he? Not only does he not fold a one pair hand...he does not fold pocket 4s. He literally calls me with pocket 4s. To this point I'd thought the man was crazy. Now I put him into a special "unbluffable" category reserved for very special players like Neal and Norm from The Oaks. OK, time to regroup.

A few players limp, Kenny (who actually still owes me $100 from election night last year when he took McCain straight up and welched on the bet after finding out the Vegas odds were over 5:1) raises on the button and I 3-bet with aces in the small blind. There are many players and the pot could feed me more a few months already just with the preflop action:


I lead, there is a call, and the aforementioned maniac raises. Kenny 3-bets and makes a speech, and I cap it (Kenny has JJ-KK here and I have him cooked. The maniac has a draw, either 87 or diamonds). The turn brings the single worst card in the deck, the 9 of diamonds and I am forced to check. They both check right back at me! Aiyah, I could win! The river in an innocuous Q of clubs and I bet. The maniac calls and so does Kenny. The maniac tables 87o, just like I thought, and drags the pot. How did he not bet the turn? If I knew, I'd tell you, but I don't know. These are the players who take my chips and add them to their towering stacks, not even bothering to erect a small plaque in my honor for paying for the west wing addition.

Next up we have an asshole card hand from none other than Tom B. I raise Ace Jack under the gun, which I'd actually done one orbit ago. Tom B says "Ace Jack again" and I respond "nope, I have a set." We're still preflop. The maniac calls two cold from the small blind, thus ensuring that the pot gets big enough that I can get myself into trouble. The flop comes down:


The maniac checks and I bet. Tom raises, which on this board means he has a pair. The maniac calls two cold and I call, closing the action at 12:1. Ladies and Gentleman, the Asshole Card!


The maniac checks and I check. Tom B bets, the maniac calls and I spring an oh so clever check/raise. Tom B looks at me kind of funny and just calls. The maniac folds, and the river bricks off. Tom B calls and shakes his head when I table my hand. He of course has JT, and there were 43 good cards in the deck for me out of the 45 he and I weren't holding. Not spiking an ace for the win is understandable. But do I have to hit the card that costs me an extra $120? And to those of you who say "will he really pay off all 3 big bets here with a pair of tens" I respond with "shit bitch this is Tom fucking B he hasn't fold a pair since 2004 fool" with a completely straight face.

What's better than losing a bunch of bets in a small pot? Losing a bunch of bets in a gigantic one then check/folding the river when you make your flush, of course! The maniac and Kenny limp in early position, and Tom B then limps out of turn on my left. I shrug and chuck in 4 chips with 86 of hearts. This is kind of marginal, but at a table like this I can take some preflop liberties. Vu raises on the button, Double O (that's right, he's here also. My table has 3 players I've written about before AND a maniac) calls the BB and we all call for 6 happy soldiers going to the flop:


The action checks to Kenny on my immediate right, and he bets. I call only, not wanting to face the field with multiple bets cold since I basically can't win without improving against Kenny's entire donking range. Every single player calls, and we now have a 9 big bet pot.

T42-K with still two hearts

It checks to Kenny who again bets. I call and Tom B calls. Vu now raises (Vu actually got into a fistfight with a dude named Joel a few weeks back....this is what I deal with), and Double O calls two cold. The maniac misclicks and folds his hand, and I ask you now what would be awesome? A 3-bet from Kenny you say? DING DING DING, we have a winner! After the 3-bet I pause and attempt to count the bets in the pot before quickly determining it to be countably infinite and giving up the ghost. There are...A FREAKING LOT....of bets in there. 9 before this street, and something like 9 more out there already with a few more probably to follow. The problem, as always it seems, is Double Oh. Does he have a flush draw? You'd seem to think so. He just called two bets cold without much thought. But does he really? I need 10 bets in the pot only if I'm drawing clean and live at this sucker (maybe a few more because it's pretty obvious that two of the hearts that pair the board are no good...so 14 bets). I decide to call. Tom B folds, and Vu and Double Oh both chuck in one more bet, for a grand total of 22 bets in the pot (I got 10:1 on my draw). The river brings:


Just wow. For Kenny to 3-bet the turn he pretty much had to have flopped a set or held top two pair. He's basically a nit. He bets, I tank for a second, and for once in my life make a good lay down. Everyone else folds and Kenny can't believe what just happened while showing KTo for the nut boat. Just....wow. As an aside, Double Oh folding his hand closing the action pretty much guarantees my flush draw was the only one out there. So I was drawing live, but got there with one of the 2 cards that wouldn't let me win instead of the 7 that would. Now, my friends, it is time to move up to where they respect my raises.

The 40/80 game was almost as good as my 20/40 table. We had a triplet of casino employees without a clue in the world as to how to play the game, a new-found regular who plays for 19.5 hours at a time and makes all the same mistakes as a 6/12 fish, and an Oaks regular who confided in me that he was moving to Austin, Texas tomorrow and that this 40/80 game was his last hurrah. Then there was another maniac....I mean, it was just epic. The first hand I play I am dealt pocket tens and 3-bet casino employee A. Employee B calls the three bets all in (actually she only has 2 bets) and the we see the flop 3 ways after employee C actually manages to limp/fold. The board runs out like 8 high until the turn, at which point employee A folds. The river brings an ace and I say to employee B "Ace, right?" and she dutifully rolls Ace Four off for now two pair. I break even on the hand, but without that river ace win about $340. She did have 5 whole outs though, so it's pretty standard.

My next two beats aren't really beats, but serve to illustrate why I am two steps shy of being admitted to an insane asylum. First, the pot is open limped, then raised, then re-raised, then cold-called. I am in the small blind with T8s and am looking at 5-6 way action, but also at putting 2.5 bets into the pot. This is actually a pretty close decision, as I'd probably chuck in the chips from the big blind. With a small pair, a hand that can play well woops (way out of position) I'd be more inclined to call. But drawing hands are tougher, so I opt to fold. 5 players see the flop of:

765 with a flush draw

And much action does go in. The turn pairs the board and for my brief customary moment I am happy as 3 players remain for one bet a piece. The river 9, however, seals the deal. Two players get to show down and the ~16 bet pot is won by someone with two pair. My over-ended straight draw would have taken all the chips. Again, not really a beat, as I played well and am confident my fold was correct, but it's impossible not to notice these things.

Just a few moments later I limp along with 33 in what promises to be a big one (there are already 3 limps in front of me....this is 40/80 I'm not even kidding). MCI, my lone competent opponent, raises on the button. Everyone calls back to one of the table's fish, who decides to limp/3-bet. Now I know to a moral certainty (there it is again) that MCI is gonna cap it. Anything that he raised after 4 limpers he's certainly going to cap after one of them decides to back raise. So I'm now faced with basically calling 3 cold to get into a 7 way capped pot in a pure set-mining operation. 2 bets would be a super easy call. 3 bets is closer, but still I think in the call range with this many opponents. I know Kit Cloud Kicker would approve, anyway. So I call and we take the flop for 28 small bets.


The problem with set mining in truly gigantic pots (or perhaps the best part....not sure) is that you can pay 1 bet to see the turn. Which I do, along with about 3 other players. There is also some chance MCI will check back the turn if he doesn't actually have a pair yet.


When the action gets to me it's only 18:1 closing the action, and two players are all in. I cannot call unless there is some chance my 3s are the best hand, and there simply is not. I muck.


Once more I am smoted. MCI's KK drags the monstrosity of a pot unimproved, and I wonder what I did to deserve this.

The next beat is also interesting. I limp along with KTo in the cutoff (I have to once again stress that this game was unbelievable, better than most 20/40s I've played in in the last month) after a couple of limpers. The board runs out:


Note that on the flop I am once again "over-ended", meaning that while I do have an open ended straight draw, I also have a free roll against anyone holding just a loan ten. If a queen falls, My straight is King high, where as theirs would only be queen high. After the turn 7 falls I raise two players and get called down. They have KTo and T6o, and we chop up the pot 3 ways. My total profit on the hand was less than $80. There is a single extra $10 chip, which goes to the BB as he is closest to the button. After that is sorted out, the extra $5 chip goes to the next player. So even there I lose.

For my next trick, another asshole card. I raise two limpers with KQo and Roger, who has replaced Elvis in the game, defends his blind (probably big blind, but possibly small) and we see a flop 4 handed.


I bet and Roger check/raises. The other players fold and I 3-bet (I'm not sure if I'm planning to barrel the turn or take a freebie, but my equity here is massive even headsup so it's not really important). He calls only and then the asshole card rears it's ugly head:


Well any question as to whether or not I'll bet has just been solved. Afterward I thought about it a bit and that card really does crush his range but I have top pair good kicker and an open ended straight draw. I have to bet. He raises and I call. Now for the fun part.


Wow. He checks! Had he bet I'd simply have called, as a very likely holding for him is two pair (QJ, JT, something like that) and he'd have turned over his 98o for the turned straight. But no, he checks, and I tank for a second and decide top two has a value bet here. So I own myself and he just shakes his head and calls and drags the pot. Good game life.

Looking at my notes I just realized I have like 10 more of these to go through...it really was a fucking fantastic day. Speeding up now, again all this is still at 40/80.

I raise a horrible limper with K9s. He literally has almost any two cards. The big blind calls, we flop KJ2-2 and he calls me on the flop, then donks the turn. I call down and he has AKo for an "expertly played" monster. Once again I don't think he'll hang a plaque on the wing of his chip stack I just built.

Roger limps and the maniac completes the small blind. I raise JJ in the big blind, Roger calls, and the maniac 3-bets. I call and call all the way down on the Q74-T-9 board. What does the maniac have?

"Two pair."
"Two pair?!?!"
"Two pair" (tables 74s)

Next I limp with QJcc and play a pot heads up with Young Jae. I turn a flush and win the hand. Young Jae had KK and started the hand with less than 3 big bets, so no action goes in after the flop. Not a beat, but if he had more chips....they'd be mine.

Next up I make another snug fold of QJhh on the button after one raise and one cold-call. The board runs ot 987-T-5 rainbow and I once again wonder who is punishing me (and yes, it was only one bet on the flop so I'd have seen the turn). I have to stress that I'm not one of those players who laments when he folds a shitty hand that would have won. It really only bothers me when I make what I believe to be a very close but correct fold and then then miss my government stimulus bailout money that all my other opponents collect every 3rd hand.

Next up I draw dead and get there. I have 9h8c in the big blind in a seven (7) way limped pot. The flop is 764ccc and the bet comes from Buffy on my immediate left. I want to fold but 4 players calls, so I'm getting 12:1 closing the action. I call and pray. The 4h hits on the turn and I again want to fold, but again she bets and now 3 players call and I call getting 11:1 closing the action. She is the only player who can have a flush, everyone else is drawing. The river 5d gives me a 9-high straight and I call on bet to see her flopped Jack high flush. I may have played bad here, but I don't think so. It's very hard to fold at the prices I was getting, not to mention closing the action each time.

Next up I flop a nut flush in a 6 way limped pot with Ace Deuce of hearts. The bad beat here? The hand before this my opponent in seat 7 lit most of his chips on fire and only has $130 left to play out this hand. He flops a queen high flush and is all in before the flop action is complete. MCI makes a good fold and I win a tiny ass pot. Seat 7 would have given me 6-7 big bets with his hand, had they only been in his stack.

At this point I glance down at my stack and realize I am somehow stuck less than $300 for the entire day. It is 7:15pm and I have to leave by 8:30 to go to softball. I soldier on, losing small pot after small pot, then receive a pair of death blows in my final orbit. Literally in my last 9 hands I take these two:

It is raised, 3-bet, and called in front of me. I cap QQ in the small blind and MCI calls in the big blind. We go off 5 ways and remember I have Queens. QUEENS! The flop is 984 and MCI raises my lead. Only one other player calls and I just call him down on the 3-8 turn and river to see his aces. That he picked up on the big blind. When it was capped before it got to him.

Two hands later I raise Sudos limp with KQcc in the cutoff and get 3-bet by the SB. I flop 763cc and put in one raise, hoping against hope that the SB will get tricky and give me a free card (this guy has an over pair here like always). He doesn't and leads the turn and checks when the Ace hits on the river. I don't bet, knowing he won't fold, and I get shown KK and obviously can't beat it with my king high flush draw.

So once again, thanks for listening. On the day I lost $1300, but it felt like a lot more. As usual I almost escaped with a much better number, but dribbled away a rack in my last hour of play. Today is another day, I suppose, but it's really getting tough.


Captain R said...

"I could've had that drink - I could've talked a while
I would've done it right - I would've moved us on
But I didn't - now it's all too late
It's over... over"

"Cut Here", by The Cure

jesse8888 said...

Actually from the time I should have been drinking with you until the time I left, I think I actually broke even. I was stuck pretty badly at 5:30.