Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Stack Porn

I will write more later about the 20/40 game I played in last night for almost 7 hours. But for now I will simply give preview.

Monday, December 28, 2009

On Drawing Dead

In poker sometimes you're in a situation where you are drawing dead (or very close to it). Obviously it is very important to avoid these situations, as any money you put into the pot is going directly to someone else's stack. Sometimes you can't avoid it, however, as the pot odds dictate that even if you're drawing dead a large percentage of the time you still have odds to call. Even more important, however, is not to ever "get there" when you're drawing dead. I am a champion at getting there drawing dead; it is like my own special super power.

Full and insane 8/16 game, with the kill on to 12/24. Mr. Wong posts the kill UTG+1, and UTG limps. It folds around to me and I raise QT because that's just how I roll. The blinds clear out and Mr. Wong starts fumbling for his chips as it's his turn to act (the killer acts after the big blind). However, before he can, UTG 3-bets. In the confusion somehow Mr. Wong gets 3 bets total into the pot, but it's unclear if he was going to 3-bet himself or was planning just to call the raise and then said "eh fuck it" and called all 3 bets. I don't know, but either way, I don't like it and just call hoping to flop some sort of draw. The flop brings

J8 8

This is not exactly the draw I was hoping for, but it'll do for now. The back-raiser bets and Mr. Wong calls. I call closing the action at 12:1.

J8 8 - 9

As turn cards go I would rate this one as "above average." The back raiser now checks (which is very strange now that I think about the time I didn't think about it very much because I had turned the virtual nuts). Mr. Wong now bets and I of course raise. The back-raiser now 3-bets and Mr. Wong caps. I am appalled. After a little bit of hollywooding (to which I felt I was entitled) I convince myself that there is simply no chance I am currently winning. At least one of them has a full house, and I therefore have 2 outs in a 15 bet pot. I muck my hand, and the back-raiser calls. The river bricks off, and we get to see both hands at showdown:

Back-Raiser - 99
Mr. Wong - JJ

This hand is probably the worst asshole card I have ever seen. Unless I picked up a spade draw or hit a pair, I was going to fold the turn without much thought. The back-raiser might have called Mr. Wong down, but honestly I doubt it. Instead, Mr. Wong gets one of 2 turn cards that force myself and the back-raiser to put in an absurd number of bets (7 when it's all said and down, and that's only because I had the where-with-all to fold an open ended straight flush draw with a made straight). So remember, it's OK to draw dead once in a while, but just try not to get there when you do.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Back In Action

And I find out this is what I've been missing in the 20/40.

5 handed and LAG monkey opens UTG. I muck, decent regular button 3 bets and props A and B cold call their blinds. UTG calls 4 ways for 12 bets.

Th 7h 5d

Check check UTG donks button raises. Los propos call 2 cold a piece, UTG 3 bets now all call. 4 ways 12 big bets.


UTG bets, button and SB prop call. BB prop folds closing the action at 15:1.


Checks around. SB prop tables 74s and is met with vigorous head shaking. I am in awe. He racks up and walks his $2400 to the cage before taking his next blind.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

So Much To Say

Wow where to begin. It's been almost a week since I posted anything, and to be honest it's not like a lot has been going on. Danielle drove down to Orange County on Saturday morning (some people do have to be from there, her included) to spend time with her family. I flew down Wednesday morning (that'd be about 22 hours ago) and am currently awake because apparently sleeping from 10am -4pm, then trying to go to bed at 11:30pm is a non-starter. So instead I will blog on stolen "low" wireless internet.

Last week's propping was kind of a disaster. To make a long story very short, in the entire week I played 75 minutes of 20/40 (and I had to fight Davey to start a second game with an 8 person list and 3 available props to even get that). The whole decision of taking this job was an exercise in compromise. Was it worth destroying my schedule, not seeing friends like Pete everyday (although as it turns out gaining one night a week with Batman), and giving up game selection in order to get pay check? The schedule and friends are one major part of the equation, but focusing purely on the financial aspect it's hard to say things are going correctly if my goal is to play lots of 20/40. I was under the impression that I'd spend maybe 40 percent of my time in 20/40 games, and most of the rest in 40/80, with a small smattering of green chip limit and spread no limit games mixed in for variety. That hasn't even been close to true. The common theme seems to be that I spend the first 4-5 hours of my shift bouncing from 8/16 to 6/12 to 3-100 spread and all over the freaking casino with game after game breaking on me, with the 20/40 game full the entire time and in no need of a prop. Then around 3 or 4am I get called into the 40/80, which at first is 8 or 9 handed and plays down to 4 or 5 handed within an hour or so, after which it either breaks or I go home.

This is why I developed my propping theory, that it only makes sense to prop the level above which you're confident you can crush. Because of the pay structure, from a purely financial point of view I'm basically indifferent between free-lancing a 20/40 and getting paid to do nothing. This is because they are paying me so damn much. Now of course far better would be to play 20/40 AND get paid, which is what I was hoping would happen in the first place, but this past week it just hasn't been in the cards.

Financial results, however, have been stellar, mainly because I have run well in the 40/80 games. Objectively speaking, these 5 and 6 handed affairs at 4am, when everyone else has been playing/drinking for 4-10 hours and is typically stuck several thousand dollars (why on Earth would they still be there otherwise?) are goldmines, so I suppose I can't complain too much. In 3 weeks I'm up $3200 in play (this includes a tiny bit of play at The Oaks and AJs), and on top of that have gotten paid a pretty large sum of money for the trouble (I've been asked to keep this blog clean of salary information and will respect my employer's wishes graciously). So I guess what I'm saying is that things haven't worked out quite the way I planned, but they are working out pretty well none-the-less.

Now for some humorous hands. First, an 8/16 game from Tuesday evening. The kill is on (I spend a lot of time in kill games....the Garden City 8/16 and 40/80 games have a half kill to 12/24/ and 60/120 respectively. If you win two pots in a row, where the second pot must have a flop, you get "the kill", which means you have to post a special 6 chip blind and get to act after the big blind preflop, regardless of your actual position) via the maniac on the button. He's been going batshit insane for exactly 3 hands, which happens to be how long he's been at the table. UTG limps, I limp with A7cc (this game is off the chain....I already won a $600 pot in it once tonight) and two more players limp. The maniac tries to raise but is informed it's not his turn yet. The small blind calls and Papa Soy, a super nitty old green chip prop, raises....his own big blind....when it's obvious somebody is already going to raise.....The maniac is next and he of course 3-bets. Now UTG calls and I realize I'm basically being asked to call 3 bets cold (Papa Soy is going to cap it) to take A7 of clubs to war against AA or KK. This seems folly, so I fold. Everyone else calls and Papa Soy caps it and we see the flop. It should be noted that this was the longest I think I have ever seen the preflop action take in a limit hold 'em game, which is saying something.

The flop is one of those misfires by the dealer. He puts the three cards face down and tries to spread them, but one sticks and you only get two instantly. 4c 2c. Aiyah. In this brief moment I pray that the remaining 3 cards will contain no clubs and that I will have saved a rack of chips but....9c. I have flopped the untie-able, lock down, everyone else is drawing almost dead, nuts. I walk away from the table to take my 20/40 seat early (I had been playing off til my blinds but decided this was something I just didn't need to see) only to find a customer un-racking chips in my previously vacant seat. This is not a mistake I will make again. So I walk back to the table and much action has gone in and the maniac is somehow dragging the pot with a naked ace of hearts face up and Papa Soy is quitting the game with black kings face up. The table disintegrates instantly and I'm sitting there with 3 racks of green chips and my dick in my hand, wondering how I let this freaking happen.

One more kind of frustrating one. It's 5:52am and I'm due to go home in literally 3 more hands. I am happy that my day has ended, am ready to go to bed, and also up a few hundred bucks for my trouble. Then I pick up black queens on the button and venture once more boldly into the breach. Both blinds call and we see a flop of:

Ks 9c 4s

They both check, I bet, the small blind calls, and the big blind looks like he wants to raise but doesn't and just calls. He is what I would call an "aggro spew monkey". The turn confirms this read.

Ks 9c 4s - 6s

He check/raises. I look into his soul and am pretty sure I see the naked, cold, and hungry ace of spades, but I cannot be certain. I call only, figuring he'll barrel off anyway so I win the same if ahead and lose less if behind.

Ks 9c 4s - 6s - Js

He bets. Note that I have the second nuts. I call only. He tables As 7h. A single tear escapes my left eye.

In closing I will leave you with a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, all that jazz, and a commentary on Mexican food. Tonight Danielle and I went out for dinner, and I ordered steak fajitas and she a seafood chimichanga. Upon our food arriving Danielle commented that she simply could not believe it took her until "adulthood" to discover the Mexican delicacy she was about to consume. I nodded and said simply

"Ah yes, the chimichanga. The burrito's answer to 'Why is this not fried?'"

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Even For Me

This is pretty epic. My heads up display had this guy at 45/0/1.2 over 28 hands. That is to say that in 28 hands he had not raised preflop. Not even once. I suppose he hadn't yet picked up such a premium holding as the Queen Seven Sooted.

Full Tilt Poker $2/$4 Limit Hold'em - 5 players - View hand 433670
The Official Hand History Converter

Pre Flop: (1.5 SB) Hero is SB with 4 of spades 2 of spades
2 folds, BTN calls, Hero calls, BB raises, BTN calls, Hero calls

Flop: (6 SB) 2 of hearts 4 of hearts 2 of clubs (3 players)
Hero checks, BB bets, BTN calls, Hero raises, BB calls, BTN calls

Turn: (6 BB) 7 of clubs (3 players)
Hero bets, BB calls, BTN folds

River: (8 BB) 7 of diamonds (2 players)
Hero bets, BB raises, Hero 3-bets, BB caps!, Hero calls

Final Pot: 16 BB
Hero mucks 4 of spades 2 of spades
BB shows 7 of hearts Q of hearts (a full house, Sevens full of Twos)
BB wins 15.25 BB
(Rake: $3.00)

A Very Bad Thing About Propping

I always used to say that it was very dangerous to go to a casino to play poker and not be able to leave until a certain time. It would happen to me only rarely, but when it did I was always pretty stressed out. Like if I had to pick someone up at the airport, or if Danielle was dropping me off and going to see her horse. Propping basically affords you with this clusterfuck on a daily basis.

Tonight should have been good. I played 3/6 for an hour and a half and took some absurd beats (oh my god those people are just so bad....two players at my table really didn't even know the order of operations for checking and betting) but somehow managed to win $30 and not gouge any one's eyes out with a spoon. Then I played 8/16 for 15 minutes and got bludgeoned, and then I sat in a fullish 40/80 for an hour and won a rack. Eventually a list developed and I gave up my seat, happy to be up nearly $1000 for the night and knowing full well I'd be back in the game in less than 60 minutes. I played a little more 8/16, got bludgeoned again for 30 minutes (total time in the 8/16 game tonight was about 45 minutes, and I didn't drag a pot and lost over a rack). At 3:15 I went back into the 40/80, and all signs pointed towards it breaking early. There weren't many players with true all night staying power, and we even got down to 4 handed around 4:30am. But KL reappeared (after claiming he was going home) and we soldiered on 5 handed for the rest of my shift, with another player even showing up at 5:45 so that the game was still 5 handed when I left.

My last 20 minutes, however, were a complete disaster. When you play as high as 40/80 and your desired average win for the day is just a couple hundred dollars, things can obviously go extremely well or extremely poorly, relative to that desired average win, very quickly. This is obviously something I try not to think about at the table, but when you spend the first 6.5 hours of your 7 hour shift winning it's unnerving to pick up immediately after losing $1000, which is exactly what I did tonight. The hands weren't even that interesting.

I open AJhh and a guy I'd rather not name and Lara defend their blinds. He check/raises the J88ss-Tc turn and even though he basically NEVER bluffs I find myself unable to fold the hand because it's really hard to believe somebody ALWAYS has top top beat here in a 5 handed 40/80 game and even if he does the straight I have 4 outs to boat up. So I call down and see Q9ss. Whatever.

In my final big blind the complete maniac on my immediate right open raises the small blind (for the nth out of n possible times he could have open raised) and I 3-bet red KQo. He caps it and I just call, basically planning to call down no matter what. This is the same guy who bet/3-bet a flush draw on the turn (with the board already paired, mind you) then c/r'ed the river when he got there (the other guy had the nut flush it was so freaking awesome). Once it is heads up and he has any possible hope of winning the hand (meaning it is the flop and he has a gutshot or better, or it is preflop and he has two cards) he simply will not stop betting. As an aside earlier in the night he opened the button with 98s and I 3-bet with TT and the flop was obviously T76 and I obviously didn't boat up. I mean really, why would I boat up. So anyway we flop:


He bets and I raise. Had he not capped preflop I might wait til the turn to pop him, but since this isn't a donk and just a c-bet which he'd make with 100 percent of his range I figure he doesn't have that many flush draws that are more appropriately devastated by a turn raise (I did this early to him, waiting til the turn in a blind vs blind situation to raise Q5o on heart on a QJ4hhh-T board). He 3-bets and I decide to just call. Heck he COULD actually have something, he did CAP IT preflop which I hadn't seen him do so far from the small blind.


I was thinking about raising some safe turns, but that definitely isn't one of them. I just call. The river blanks off and I call him again. He shows me T3hh for the frag and a little part of me dies inside.

Friday, December 18, 2009

To The Batmobile!

Wednesdays are basically my Saturdays now, and accordingly I have spent the last two out with a friend. Nevermind you mind that all we did was go out and play poker....I still did at least hang out with a friend, which is a solid start for me. Last night was no different, as Batman and I hit up The Oaks and then Artichoke Joe's, and I can assure hilarity did ensue. First, The Oaks....

I got home from the Stanford men's basketball game around 11pm (The CEO had an extra three tickets to the game and invited me and Danielle to tag along....the game was fun, but the last time the Cardinal was ahead was I believe 6-4 with about 3 minutes gone in the game) and called Batman to inform him we were ready for action. I drove to San Francisco to pick him up, then headed across the bridge for some late night 30/60. One thing about playing late at night is that the amount of time you spend waiting is insanely variable. You could walk right into an empty seat, or you could be 5th on the list with a single game from which nobody stands up for an hour. I've seen bdaddy and MitchL spend what seems like hours tooling around on their phones waiting for seats in the Oaks 30. For guys who are used to playing 200+ hands/hour online, that had to be torture. If you show up at Bay 101 at 11:15 AM, this never happens. They either have a short list or are about to start a 3rd 20/40 game soon. It's just easier.

So anyway last night I ran good in the "get a seat" department, as there was one seat open in the 30/60 and Batman offered to let me take it (he actually ended up posting in about 5 minutes after I did). The Oaks had no 15/30 (since Batman hadn't been there to hold it together) and so this game was all we had. This is like saying that your only option for dinner is the Bellagio Buffet. Sure, if it were to suddenly explode in a fiery ball of king crab legs and kobe beef you might be in trouble, but odds are pretty good you're going to end the night fat and happy. The game was excellent, with only a couple players who could tie their shoes sprinkled amongst some loose passives, loose aggros, and just plain monkeys. I played a hilarious hand against The Russian, after which Steven, that little fucking prick God it pains me that you are allowed to steal my air, somehow told him that I said he played like a girl, which caused The Russian to ask my name. I told him, and he immediately said, at high volume "Fuck You Jesse!" I didn't even know what to say and could really only laugh, and eventually it was explained to The Russian that I hadn't said anything about him calling down with QQ after one flop raise on a QJ7ss-5s-Th board. It was in fact Steven who said he played it like a girl. As I've already alluded to, Steven, you can DIAGF. The Russian (who is a GC 40/80 regular mind you) and I parted ways on very friendly terms. Everything is fine. The funny part of the aforementioned hand is that had he raised me on the turn, I was probably going to 3-bet him with my QJcc for top two pair. So he didn't miss one bet, he missed two. And he did play it like a little girl, but I certainly didn't say that. I'm a prop, I can't go around saying shit like that. I mean really.

The fish started picking up one by one, and eventually it was down to Steven (who despite my hatred actually plays pretty well by local standards) Alan Bostick, Batman, myself, and the Russian sitting around waiting for the last remaining flounder to spew off his 5 racks. I mean, this guy was truly, truly terrible, but Batman and I didn't really want to sit around and fight the other players for his money. I mean I in particular have to do that 5 nights a week now, and didn't really want to spend a 6th working on the task. So I suggested Artichoke Joe's and Batman made the call. "Full game with 3 names on the list" we were told. Aiyah, time to go! So we pick up (with me extracting two pots from the mega-fish on the last orbit and subsequently booking a gigantic $16 win) and make haste for San Bruno.

Once again upon arriving there was a single open seat in our game of choice (the 15/30) which Batman let me take. This time he spent 30 minutes or so playing 6/12, during which I became very sleepy and contemplated going home. Then I slowly came to realize what was going on around me; this game was epic. The guy on my immediate left (seat 2) was playing every single hand and check raising post flop almost at random. To his left in seat 3 was Dimitri, the resident AJs 15/30 Alpha Lag, who usually plays pretty well post flop but is capable of tilting very badly and even when he doesn't shows up with T5s that he limped UTG from time to time. Seats 7 and 8 held reasonable players (one nit and one pretty solid winner), but 9 was also clearly awful. Two reasonable players left and were replaced by Batman (who took the 6 hole) and a former favorite player of mine from back in my 6/12 days who apparently hasn't gotten any better (and sat in my vacated 1 seat, as I moved to the 4 hole). So again, the line up is:

1. Loose passive 6/12 player.
2. VERY loose and somewhat aggressive mega-fish.
3. Tilting LAG
4. Jesse
5. Guy who calls two cold with T6s and peels the flop of 772.
6. Batman
7. Nit
8. Winner, at least in this lineup
9. Loose passive player B

Batman is appalled by what is going on around him. People are dragging 3-bet preflop pots with 42 suited. Peeling flops with two unders no draw. Lighting multiple bets on fire with KK when it's so obvious their opponent has aces it makes my ears bleed (this one was bad...after seat 1 capped preflop and on the flop, seat 3 STILL RAISED the T73-6r turn. Seat 1 finally gave up and just called, but then scratched his head and donked the river 3, somehow thinking that the guy who raise/4-bet preflop held T7 and had just been counterfeited. Seat 3 raised again and I actually mumbled "Dimitri hand reads too well not to have tens here" while seat 1 was calling. Dimitry promptly turned over KK and seat 1 tabled AA and I put on my head phones and pretended I hadn't said anything). During the madness I actually folded KQo to a preflop raise (the loose passive UTG raised and got two insta-coldcalls from mega-fish and Dimitri...I mucked because KQo plays horribly in massive pots...and the board ran out QXY-Q-Q. Not only would I have dragged a monster, but I'd have gotten the $100 four of a kind bonus on top of it).

So things are just out of control, with the mega-fish in seat 2 driving all the action, his stack fluctuating between 3 and 5 racks nearly every orbit. Then it happened*.

Dimtri limped UTG and I raised red kings next in. Seats 5,6, and 7 all folded (which wasn't at all uncommon...I had one of the best seats I've ever had) and the solid player in seat 8 3-bet me. The button folded, and my old loose passive 6/12 buddy called all 3 bets cold in the small blind. Mega-fish called two more in the big blind, and Dimitri called. I 4-bet, seat 8 just called, the blinds just called, and Dimitri gave me a "WTF why not?" look and put in the 5-bet cap. That's what Alpha Lags do. They cap it. So off we go, 5 bets 5 ways to the flop of.


I'd have preferred to flop a set, but you know, I can work with this. Unless seat 8 has TT I have him crushed (it'd be hard to believe he could have aces since he didn't cap preflop....not capping 5 ways with AA is pretty rare) so basically I'm hoping nobody can build a straight or two pair around the Ten Seven combo that's out there, and that no more spades roll off the deck. The blinds check and Dimitri don....well it's not a donk because he capped it preflop. So Dimitri "leads" and I raise. Seat 8 3-bets (concerning) and the SB calls 3 cold. The BB now 4-bets and Dimitri caps it. I call 3-bets cold, acutely aware that I'm somehow probably behind, but that I'm getting 47:3. Everyone calls and there are 50 small bets in the pot.


Shit. SB checks, BB fires and Dimitri turbo-raises. I have to muck it and so do the other two players. The SB just calls, and a red 8 falls on the river.



SB: "Oh no!"

BB: "I flopped two pair" and some other gibberish as if to say "I cannot believe I was bad-beated again"

Dimitri: "It's good"

The big blind tables 72o and Dimitri mucks A9ss face up. The small blind is beside himself, claiming he folded 87 and would have won the whole thing. Aiyah. The big blind immediately calls for racks and leaves with 6+ racks of chips. The game instantly dissolves around him, with Batman and I leading the charge to cage.

* Disclaimer - I realize now that I got the action wrong on this hand. The button was in seat 1, not seat 9, which means Dimitri was actually in the big blind and the mega-fish who won the hand was in the small blind. I know this because there is no way Dimitri limped in with A9 suited. It's just not possible. The action is basically exactly the same, just with one less check to start each street, as the guy in seat 9 was actually the button, not the small blind. This does mean that he called 7 bets cold with 87.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I Can Dodge Bullets

First of all, I want to post this hand that I played online just a few minutes ago. It was important to me because I was actually happy after it ended, which means I was focusing on having made the correct decision, not getting my aces cracked.

Full Tilt Poker $2/$4 Limit Hold'em - 6 players

Pre Flop: (1.5 SB) Hero is BTN with A of diamonds A of hearts
1 fold, MP raises, CO 3-bets, Hero caps!, 2 folds, MP calls, CO calls

Flop: (13.5 SB) 3 of spades J of hearts T of spades (3 players)
MP checks, CO bets, Hero raises, MP calls, CO 3-bets, Hero calls, MP calls

Turn: (11.25 BB) J of clubs (3 players)
MP checks, CO bets, Hero calls, MP raises, CO 3-bets, Hero folds, MP caps!, CO calls

River: (20.25 BB) J of diamonds (2 players)
MP bets, CO calls

Final Pot: 22.25 BB
MP shows J of spades 8 of spades (four of a kind, Jacks)
CO mucks Q of spades A of spades
MP wins 21.5 BB
(Rake: $3.00)

My original plan was to raise a safe turn and call down from there, but things obviously changed when the top board card paired. Maybe I just got lucky, maybe I'm a ninja, or maybe I was just feeling over confident from a hand I played last we go.

Sunday night propping has been a big fat fail two weeks in a row. Last night I played seven (7) hands of 20/40 the entire night, with another prop getting put into the game, getting herself mega-stuck and therefore getting re-inserted before me later in the evening. I could have gotten myself into the 40/80 game at about 1am, but opted to wait since I figured I'd be in the game within an hour anyway. Turns out I didn't get called in until 4:30 and the game broke at 5:15, so that goes to show what I know. I also witnessed a green chip prop intentionally break an 8/16 game by sitting out to eat his chicken wings when one of only 3 customers left at the game was already complaining vehemently about having to play "short", where short was 6 handed (this guy was hilarious....He was the villain from my previous post and literally played every hand for an hour. Then he mucked the first two hands we played 5 handed). I am starting to understand why customers don't like the props; a lot of them do things that are pretty disrespectful, like taking advantage of being treated as broken game players (the female prop was asked to leave the 6/12, played all the way to her blind, then picked up, and 45 minutes later insisted on having broken game privileges in the 20/40 game), or lobbying for three entire orbits of a full game to eat dinner when up $1500 at 4:30 in the morning, or just in general treating the customers poorly. But anyway, I digress.....on to the hand.

So as I'm sitting in the 6/12 game wishing I was in the 20/40 game, I pick up 77 on the button. Like 4-5 players or more limp to me and I just call along. The pot was probably multiway enough to raise, and kit cloud kicker would bitch slap me for not doing it, but whatever. The small blind, a nitty looking old man, raises, the big blind calls, and somebody up front back-raises it to 3-bets. Almost everyone else calls (another prop folds what he later claims was 66...I don't know if I believe him or not, and he made a big deal standing up to talk about it on the river where everyone could here...another reason people don't like props) and I call. The small blind caps it {AA, KK} and everybody calls. We're 7 ways to the flop, I think, of:

As 7s 6c

Aye. Yah. SB leads and a bunch of people call. The back-raiser, humorously, mucks for a single bet. I raise it one time in hopes of the SB getting a disgusted look on his face and just calling down with KK, but he 3-bets instead. Two other players call and I call, my brain trying to come up with some justification of how I have more than a single out (as an aside, if I do have only one out, I'm getting the right price to draw, since if I hit it I stand to win like 10 more big bets and the pot is currently laying me like 40 : 1).

As 7s 6c-9h

The small blinds leads out, the big blind (who is actually the table fish) now raises and makes a speech. A poor sap calls two cold and I'm put to it. There are something like 25 big bets in the pot, and a crowd has gathered behind my end of the table (with another prop who's actually a nice guy watching, and some guy waiting for his 3-100 seat). I call time and literally tank for like a minute at a live 6/12 game. I look at the SB and he seems extremely unconcerned. Like "I'm gonna 3-bet" level unconcerned. I pick up my cards for the on lookers to see (at this point 2 players and the 2 spectators...I was in seat 3, so doing this was actually very easy) and muck the hand. For the first time in my limit holdem life I muck a set on the turn. The small blind 3-bets, the big blind caps it, the hapless player on a flush draw calls 2 more, and we see a river of.

As 7s 6c-9h-6s

The small blind leads out, the big blind tanks for what feels like 2 minutes before calling (this is where the other prop starts claiming he folded 66), and the 3rd player raises! The small blind 3-bets, the big blind finally mucks his straight face up, and the other player just calls and fastrolls T3ss for a useless flush. The small blind proudly displays his AA, for aces full, and I get fist bumps from 3 of my 4 onlookers. I can dodge bullets, baby.

But It Was Sooted

I'm sitting in an 8/16 game waiting for 20 or 40 and there is this guy playing every hand. Not almost every hand....every single one for over an hour.

So he limps and I'm on the button. The small blind is telegraphing a fold and the big blind is a weak tight nit. What are my cards you ask? K2. Sooted. I raise. Small blind finishes mucking, big blind calls and my whooper calls along.


They check to me and I bet. This flop is actually fantastic for me. If I was ahead before, I still am now. And the nit might even fold some pairs, and if he doesn't I have 6 outs to beat him. The nit folds but my customer calls. Sadly this means he has a ten, ace, or a gutshot, and he will never fold.


I was planning to barrel any turn, but this changes things. I have outs now. I can't fold if he raises, and on top of that he pauses before checking and almost bets. I insta-check behind. The river bricks off and I check behind again. He rolls T2s for the win.

I posted this hand because I think it's the most outs I've even picked up in a HU pot. On the flop I had 3 outs, just the kings. On the turn I had those 3 kings, 4 queens, 3 more jacks, and any heart 2-9. Pretty big turn....yet somehow I still can't raise a dominated hand with king freaking deuce and get a win.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Why Everyone Thinks Props Are Terrible

I was thinking about doing a surprise ending here, but really there can be no surprise. The answer is simple; most of them are.

Last night I spent my whole shift playing in one of the best 20/40 games I have been privileged to grace in months. It was old school Garden City 7 guys to the flop for 3 bets a couple times per orbit holy cow that guy was down to the felt now he has 4 racks level good for basically the entire night. A new 20/40 prop who has been a regular donator to the 20 and 40 games for at least a few years (I guess she's running out of money and figures that getting paid for playing is a good way to play more) was seating on my right for most of the night, and this hand basically sums up how I run and how bad she is.

9 handed and somehow it folds to her in the low jack. She open limps, because that's what you do from the low jack when you're terrible. I raise 55 in the next seat, not really sure what I want to have happen. I mean obviously what I want is to flop a set in a 6 handed pot, but all manner of good things could happen here. I could get a massively multiway pot with a hand capable of winning it, or I could end up HU or 3-way against the prop and a blind. Instead the cutoff and button fold, both blinds call (the small blind is another terrible prop, stuck 4 or 5 racks and playing every hand to try to get it one point he called an under the gun raise with 42o, and he hasn't folded his small blind since 2006) and we see the flop 4 way, the generally accepted worst number of players for a small pocket pair.


Nice. I get an easy flop. They all check though, and I follow suit, basically giving up on the hand. Why would I bet here? There is just no way I can take this thing down. Drum roll please.....

AKT-5 with a flush draw

The small blind bets and the big blind fold. Ms Terri-prop calls the bet after some thought and I, holding the verifiable second nuts, raise. Nobody can have AA, KK, or TT. It's not possible. So only QJ beats me. When they both call only, I am literally 100% sure I have the best hand. They simply cannot have QJ.

AKT-5-4 no flush possible

I now move from the 2nd nut to the 3rd nut, but I mean really, who has 23? The small blind checks and terri-prop...donks. I am stunned but muster the courage to raise/fold. This could be a mistake, as it costs more than just calling and I might get that extra bet anyway in the form of a curious overcall from the small blind, but this was a case where I simply refused to believe my hand could be beaten. The small blind folds and our prop friend now 3-bets. I rage fold and she courtesy shows QJcc (terrible players like to show their monsters on the river to prove just how awesomely tricky they were with the hand and how they are the bestest poker players in the world). I just can't believe it.

1. She open limped QJcc in the low jack. This is atrocious.

2. She checked the flop. This is merely bad. She doesn't really know how wide my raising range is here, but a good bit of it is checking back the flop (at least 55-99, maybe even JJ and QQ). But what's more important is that if she donks, I'm folding exactly the hands I would check with, calling with some hands that I'd bet with (like KJs for example), and raising a ton of other stuff (all the sets, pretty much any ace, KTs, QJ). In short if she bets, sometimes the same number of bets go in, and a lot of the time more do. Almost never do less go in, except when I actually have a monster and 3-bet her check/raise.

3. She just called the SBs bet on the turn. This is so bad it hurts my brain. The guy behind you checked the flop of AKT. The turn is a 5. Do you really think he is going to put in an over-call? Really?

4. She just called with the lock down stone cold nuts closing the action 3 ways on the turn. I just don't get it.

5. She donked the river and that's not too bad except I basically owned her. If she checks I bet, she might get a call from the SB, then she can raise. I'll have to call, and she'll win at least 2 bets, maybe a 3rd from the small blind. By donking into an opponent capable of raise/folding, she wins the same or less. And I'm betting every single hand I raised on the turn. Every single one; especially since the only hand I can have is 55.

So just wow. I saw some other terrible stuff from the two props in the game, stuff like calling two bets cold with 42o (already mentioned) and T6s in the SB. It really drives home to me the fact that propping doesn't really make sense financially unless you play above the game you're confident you can beat.

What Not To Do

Garden City 20/40 just a few minutes ago (there is no 40/80 game and little hope of one starting). Before I even post our hapless villain plays the following hand, roughly.

7 ways capped preflop, with him as the original raiser. Board is:


Much action goes in, with him bet/3-betting. 5 players remain.


Some players check to our hapless villain, who bets. Two players call and Elvis (not Oaks Elvis....another one) raises THE FIELD. This move is met with a chorous of "ooooooo, ahhhhhhhh" and "aye chiuwawa!" type shenanigans. Without looking at the board I can say with great confidence that "he has it." What exactly "it" is really has no bearing. He fucking has it. In this case Elvis is rockin' a 4 at the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM.

Our hapless villain 3-bets. The other two players fold reluctantly (one of them being the preflop 3 bettor and flop raiser) and Elvis 4-bets. Like I said, he's got it...our hapless villain calls down and rage mucks AA after seeing Elvis roll the 74 sooted.

So that was bad. Some might even say "completely devestating," and I would not argue for more than a cursory few seconds. But this is way worse.

Aggro villain opens the CO and villain flat calls the SB. "the cannon" of previous jessetakesashot fame calls the BB because her cards have not been accidentally mucked and we are off.


Villain donks. Just right out there. Time to check the hole cam....

Pocket Kings

So to be clear he just called preflop, when the BB is incapable of folding. Then donked the flop. Now it gets better....

Shannon raises, the CO calls, and he just calls. Nice....


Checks around. Dude checks and airballs the c/r. He is now somewhere between 40 and 100 dollars behind schedule for how much each player should have put into this pot. The Cannon is notorious for this move, the "raise to slow em down" special.


He donks and only the cannon calls. He rolls his second nuts and drags it. I am in awe.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

5 for 5

Tonight's propping session was full of awesomeness. I immediately sat in a short handed 40/80 game, played well for an hour, won $500, and got up when the game broke. With no 40/80 in site and the 60/120 going strong, I figured I was going to get to spend the rest of the night playing my game of choice. Or so I thought. I played 20/40 for about an hour (and won a rack) before Frank walked into the casino. He somehow managed to convince Davie to start a 40/80 game three handed, with himself, me, and a single customer. I was dumbfounded but decided not to test the bounds of my freedom and sat into the game. Frank immediately (I mean really, freaking immediately, on the first two hands dealt) cracked my flopped top pair with little gamble (42s) that he turned into a flush and A2o which he turned into two pair when the ace spiked on the river. That was the end of all things bad.

In all we played for 2 hours, mostly 4 and 5 handed (two more customers did sit down) and eventually 3 handed. Frank even tried to get the 60/120 game to go 10 handed and offered to give up his spot on the list for the two customers (he won like 2 racks or some such and apparently that is all he needs to quell his gambling fever), to no avail. Eventually at 3:20am, after playing for 20 minutes with me INSTEAD of taking the 2o open 60/120 seats, the customers quit and I was relieved. I won about $600 (which isn't bad given that I was buried more than that much after the first two hands off the deck), but I think I played pretty badly. I made some weak calls (that should have been raises) and probably wasn't opening my button or 3-betting the small blind enough. I think I was a small winner in the lineup, but not nearly as much as I should have been.

Next up I sat into an 8/16 game and won a rack in 30 minutes. Always nice. I finished out the evening with 90 minutes of 20/40, during which I won a whopping $84. Then a final good thing happened, as I was reminded on my way out that it was pay day. I stopped at the window an received my first pay check since August 2008. Things are looking up, if only slightly. You guys have even started clicking on some ads in the past few weeks. If this keeps up, I might get my first check from Google before 2011.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Jabba the Hut

My friend Dan is currently in Macau, and since that makes him awake during my shift we've been sending some emails back and forth. Here is the content of a gem from last night after he told me he used to do some tutoring a few years ago:


tutoring is the WORST man. i used to go thru an agency where i only got 25/hr and they took the other $25 for finding clients before i decided on going private. basically have to tutor the snobbiest little brats whose parents expect you to work miracles with kids about as motivated as jabba the hut...its only rewarding when you get kids that want to learn, but i usually got spoiled rich kids who had no desire to learn and whose parents would allow them to watch NFL whilei was trying to tutor them, then i get this befuddled look when they dont get A's, and im like, well, you allow your child to be treated like a king, what do u expect?


Say what you will but Jaba the hut had pretty much already achieved all his life goals.

4 Days of Propping

Here is a report on my first 4 days (nights actually I guess) from the front. So far it's been a mixed bag, with every night being very different from the one before.

My first (and as it turns out best) shift so far was Friday. I showed up a bit early (so early in fact that I got a demerit for swiping in too early...turns out you can only swipe in 15 minutes before your shift) and was seated in a 20/40 game by 10:40 PM. The 20/40 games collapsed from 3 tables to 2 a few hours later, and I took a 40 minute break, then was put back in one of the games where I stayed for the remainder of my shift. I won a fair bit that night (the trajectory was +1100, -100, +1400, +700) and left quite happy. I played 6.5 hours of 20/40 in a 7 hour shift, basically doing exactly what I would have done were I not a prop with the exception of the 40 minute break (which honestly was probably good for me). The reason I played no 40/80? The 60/120 game went all night and was full anyway. Even if a seat opened up I wouldn't have had to play, since I'm only a 40/80 prop.

Saturday was a little different. I started off in a 20/40 game and played for an hour or so, then Davey called me into the 40/80 game (the 60/120 had converted down to 40/80 at about 6pm according to Frank) because there was an open seat. I played for 30 minutes, won $400, and gave up my seat the instant a customer showed up. I then finished my "lunch" (garlic chicken) and eventually put myself into an 8/16 game that was in danger of breaking. I won 2 racks in an hour (that was pretty fun) with the following rough sketch of a hand proving that I am only allowed to win in small games:

Low jack open limps 8 handed and I raise A3cc in the cutoff. This "iso raise" works beautifully, as the button calls two cold, the big blind comes along, and the low jack proceeds to back raise. I call obviously. 4 ways for 3 bets, and the flop is:

J93 with one club

BB checks and low jack bets. I can't fold unless he shows me a set of jacks or nines, so I raise. This is probably a little silly, but I had no read on the low jack and he could easily have AK here so I went for it. The button folded but the big blind called and the low jack 3-bet. OK OK I get it. I called along with the big blind.


Bing blang blaow. The big blind now donks and the low jack is pained. He calls only and I raise. The big blind now folds and now the expression on the low jack's face is one of pure joy. He 3 bets! I got limp re-raised twice in the same hand! At this point I have no idea what's going on and have no choice but to just call and hope he doesn't actually have the full house he's representing.


He checks! I tank and bet, he calls and folds QQ face up. To say I am stunned would be quite an understatement. At this point I am nicknamed "Action" by one guy at the table, as in when I get an open seat in a 20/40 game 15 minutes later he says "Hey, where's Action going? He can't leave!"

I played the 20/40 for an hour or so and lost a bit, then got called back into the 40/80, in which I played and broke even for the remaining 2.5 hours of my shift. I made some pretty egregious mistakes (I think) and was tired and a bit scared, but I I got out alive for the night a $500 winner.

Sunday night was pretty bad. I spent my first 2.5 hours in a shortish 20/40 game. It was alright, with an interesting mix of some very competent and very terrible players. It's not a game I would have sought out were I on my own, but I'm sure I was at least a marginal winner and sitting in it was not a waste of time. Eventually the game got down to 5 handed, with me and two other solid players and the pair of fish (one of whom was truly terrible, the other of whom was merely pretty bad). Then the game basically broke at 1:45, except for me and the truly terrible player (who by the way was on his 4th rum n coke since 12:30) and I offered to continue to play him HU. My motivation for this was a virtual platter of reasons. First of all, I had nothing better to do and playing this guy HU would actually be fun. Second of all, if I let this game break I'd really have nothing to do for the next 4 hours and there was some chance that a couple of brave souls would walk in the door and gamble with us. Third of all, this guy was terrible, and even at a $1/hand drop I figured I could crush him. And finally, the guy was way too drunk to drive. Like it was not close, and I hoped that offering to play would keep him long enough that maybe his situation would improve. Anyway, we played HU for about an hour, and he at first just crushed me, winning every hand (if they flop a pair and you do not, you cannot win) then I crushed him, getting back almost to even for the night, then he won the last two hands (we declared them to be the last two hands) with me getting it backwards (some action and I fold 44 on a flop of KT7 because this guy is super that's why I was playing him, he basically didn't bluff and probably only check raised twice in the hour we played heads up....He shows 83o for a total bluff, but I'm sure he'd have made a straight anyway so I saved some chips...and on the last hand I called him down with K8 on a board of AQJ-2-2 and on the river he's like "you're good" and I'm like "king high" and he's like "What? Really? I have a queen...why did you call me? Did you think I was going koo koo?" and it being the last hand I just kinda shrugged and said "well yeah" and a little light bulb went on over his head and he said "Well I guess you were right, I would have done that with anything") and ending the HU portion of the night basically dead even but still stuck the better part of a rack.

The next 3.5 hours were soul crushing. I shuttled through 5 tables of 3/6, 3-100 spread, 6/12, 3/6 and 6/12, taking small losses basically everywhere I went. The games weren't even that good. Like if they'd put me at a 3/6 table where every pot was going off 7 or 8 ways and I could raise and get 6 cold callers that would have been at least fun. Perhaps not very profitable, but fun nonetheless. These games were just weak tight boring and terrible with a $5 drop. By the end of the night there were only 4 tables going in the entire poker area, and I was counting the minutes until I could rack up my chips at 6am. I took the blind at 5:58, and at 6:00 with me under the gun two players at my table called for service. Apparently "first call" is at 6am. See, you really do learn something every single day. Result for the night was to wipe out the previous day's profits.

And Monday night...ah Monday night. This was the first night on which I really felt like I earned any portion of my pay check. I started the night in a short 8/16 game (one thing I will say is that I have showed up 4 days in a row and been seated instantly in a 20/40 three times and an 8/16 once) which I once again crushed for almost 2 racks in 75 minutes. The games collapsed from 2 tables to 1 after a while (this is when props usually have to get up, as they need all the seats for the customers), and I was homeless again for 30 minutes (during these breaks early in the evening I've been fortunate enough to have a friend at the casino with whom I shot the bull, about all manner of stuff like how to play AA or whether or not I could have a demerit free night....I did not, but did have my first single demerit night). I did an orbit of 3-100 spread but gave up my seat instantly when 3 customers showed up and listed themselves, but the purple elephant in the corner of the room couldn't be ignored much longer. There was no 20/40 game (this is a lifetime first for me...I had never walked into Garden City and there not been a 20 game) and the 40/80 game was full with no list. At 1:15am I got the call, and I ended up playing in the game until my shift ended at 6am. At first the game was fantastic, with a bunch of lags spewing chips left and right, but eventually they went broke and were at pivotal moment. There were only 5 of us, and I thought the game might break. Even though I was stuck handily I wanted it to break because I was tired and just didn't need the stress. The 8/16 was still going and I'd have been perfectly happy to play that all night. We continued to play, however, and eventually another crazy Russian appeared and we played out the evening from about 3:30 onwards with the same 6 players. Myself, the Russian, Frank the prop, a solid but passive player, a solid TAG, and a steaming fish. Soldier on I did all night, and here then is how it went. I dragged my first pot at the 75 minute 75 minutes I won at least 6 pots, maybe more, in the 8/16. And no I'm not getting outplayed by these big game geniuses. I just didn't have any hands worth showing down for almost an hour and a half. Or stuff like this happened:

First hand is completely standard for Garden City 40/80. UTG raises and 5 people call. That's five. I think we were still 9 handed at this point, but maybe only 8 I don't know what on Earth does it matter it's freaking 40/80 here people. I call in the big blind with 94dd closing the action getting 13:1 with suited cards. This is beyond standard.


Why wouldn't I get this flop? I don't even end up going batshit, although I probably should have. I check to UTG obviously (betting into him would be silly...I want as many people putting as many bets into this pot as possible) and he checks....The next guy bets and gets two callers before somebody raises. I think for a second and pick up an incoming telegraph that the better is going to 3-bet, which basically means there's no freaking reason for me to do it, so I just call. He 3-bets and sadly both callers fold. The steaming fish calls and I just call...I could cap for value here but the steaming fish is likely to have some of my outs covered so I play it safe. Besides, winning this pot without hitting seems pretty unlikely. There are 25 small bets in the pot already, AKA $1000, and I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 33% equity. The turn brings a king and the bettor continues to fire. Steaming fish now folds (lol, wtf) and I consider a bluff check/raise but think better of it. River J and I check to surrender. He checks back 87 for a counterfeited two pair that still beats me and I am sad.

Second one is just kind of silly. It's 7 handed and UTG opens and UTG+1 3-bets. Now both of these players are aggressive and the like, but UTG+1 has been cold calling a lot. I mean like once or twice an orbit a lot. So it's not like she doesn't know how to cold call and therefore I assume her 3-betting range isn't massive. So UTG+2 I peer down and see AQo and think for about half a second before mucking it. This is close...obviously AKo is a cap, and there are certainly ranges the two players can have that make a cap correct, but I don't think they have them. I emailed some friends about this and 3 out of 4 said they muck the hand. The button calls and the board runs out AA5-9-Q. The preflop 3-bettor eventually tables 55 after checking the flop and watching it check through, then getting exactly 1 bet on each street. The amount of money I would have won on this hand is astonishing. Alas.

Now we move on to more standardly awful beats. The steaming fish opens for the third hand in a row under the gun. He's short on chips (as usual, I think he bought $400 5 or 6 times just while I was in the game, and he was clearly already bludgeoned at that point) and I 3-bet ATo in the small blind. This is not standard, but his range is obviously kamikaze level wide, my hand is not awful, the BB will fold, and his positional advantage is greatly nullified by the fact that he only has 13 chips left. The flop comes down


And he calls my bet. This is the whole positional advantage thing. I can fire the turn now pretty much no matter what and he's lost his ability to raise.


Praise jesus a pair. I have a pair I bet! He raises all in for one extra chip and I call. The river bricks off and he has A8ss for the stone nut flush. I take AT to war against A8s, hit a TEN, and still cannot win the pot.

10 minutes later he's on kamikaze duty again (his basic strategy was to get it all in bad against me, win, then spew off the winnings to everyone else, rebuy, then get it all in bad against me again and win). I open 77 UTG in a kill pot. He has posted the kill two spots later. I'm not even kidding the man has won two pots in a row and he does not have enough chips to play this 60/120 hand. Everyone else folds and he calls (when you post the kill you're last to act preflop, which is a huge advantage). The flop comes:


I bet 6 chips and he calls


I bet 12 chips and he 13 chips. Once again he has a single chip left with which to raise me. The river bricks off and I table my hand. He shows J3hh for the head shot.

Next up the button opens and I 3-bet A6cc in the small blind. The big blind folds and the button elects to cap. I call and we see the board run out:


Obviously he has the mighty KTo for the boat.

Frank opens in the HJ and I 3-bet him on the button with KQcc. This is a kill pot mind you, with the kill posted by steaming fish in the natural big blind. So I've already put $180 out there and I have King high. Frank just calls, and also just calls the flop of:


He check/raises the 8 turn and I call him down on the river brick. He has J9cc (even the same suit as me) for the turned nuts.

Some other humorous stuff happens, with me raising the Russian's kill with A4o OTB and him calling with J6o and somehow calling the turn with a one card 6-high flush draw and rivering a jack to beat my ace high. Frank does basically the same thing, with me instead holding QTs and checking back a river of K97s-2s-8c to see him table 85ss for one pair. I open the button with 33 and the super passive SB 3-bets me (at least he's super passive in that I've seen him cold call with AQs and AKo in almost this exactly spot before). I expertly fold the 965 rainbow flop and he shows me 66. I am so good....

Despite all this I manage to catch a few hands here and there and grab a little rush between 5:50 and 6:00 to leave the game stuck only a little more than a rack and post only a 3 figure loss for the night. I feel like I have some work to do on my short handed play if I'm going to thrive in situations like this, but I already learned a lot in under a week.

My general thought on this whole situation is so far so good. I think that treating poker like a job again, and being forced into some situations that are a little outside my comfort zone, be it passive 6/12 tables or short handed laggy 40/80 ones, will be good for my development. I think I'd perhaps gotten a little complacent in my studying and learning efforts, and this change of pace should help turn that around.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Too Soon, I Spoke

We have a new contender for "Line that I am most sure I will never see again". In my 20/40 game it folds to the SB. The BB has previously declared he doesn't chop 6 handed, so the SB raises. BB 3 bets, SB 4 bets, BB 5 bets, SB 6 bets and the BB just calls.


SB bets, BB raises, SB 3 bets, BB 4 bets, SB 5 bets, BB 6 bets, SB folds.

Again that line is:



Night two of propping has been fun so far. I started in the 20, played an hour, they collapsed from 3 to 2 tables so I lost my seat, got called to the 40, played a half hour and then volunteered to leave for a customer, then ate "lunch". Next I snagged an 8/16 seat since that's way more fun than sitting around (now I'm back to 20/40 where I expect to stay til 6:00). While at 8/16, this happened.

8 handed, lojack power limps. I raise A3cc in the CO. Why not I ask you? Button calls two cold and BB comes along. HJ now back raises. We all call and the flop falls:


BB checks and LJ bets. The pot is huge and I have a pair, so I raise. Also he could have AK. Maybe. Button folds but BB calls. HJ 3 bets. Time to spike a 3.


Aiyah! BB bets! Aiyah! HJ calls. I raise. BB mucks. WTF? Now wait for it....HJ back raises for the second time this hand. I am stunned and call only; dudes got a boat right?

J93-3-K no flush

He checks! I tank and bet. He calls and his QQ is no good. His street by street line?

Limp reraise
Bet 3bet
Call reraise
Check call

In retrospect there is some validity to his turn play. I DID raise preflop. I shouldn't have a 3. But I mean really.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Jesus Makes the Wheel

The story you are about to hear is true. No names have been changed to protect the innocent (because there are no innocents), no literary license has been taken, and the events related here in are as factually accurate as my personal neck topping bowling ball can remember.

Two days ago....or three, honestly I'm not really sure. The use of the simple word set "today, tomorrow, and yesterday" is getting very cumbersome for me. If you are typing your blog at 5am, was the most recent 2pm yesterday? Or today? Is the next 2pm tomorrow? Today? Might it actually be yesterday? These are new questions to be explored at a later time. Anyway, I'm in the Bay 20 and Jesus is on my immediate right in the 6 hole, with me occupying the 7. This is noteworthy because we're kinda turned towards each other and the whole confrontation is very sort of personal "up in your face" sorta more than usual. Anyway Jesus and me (in the Jesus Seat) are in the blinds and somebody opens in the middle somewhere and the button cold calls. Jesus calls and I peek down at a couple of 5s and launch what is basically a set-mining operation. Except my plans are instantly thwarted on the flop of:


Somehow, someway, I have flopped an over pair. Of 5s. Jesus donks right out, as is his custom with all manner of hands he should be check raising. I contemplate for like maybe a quarter of a second or so before raising him for like 13 good reasons, and the preflop raiser mucks (KQ no good sir?). The button 3-bets and Jesus caps. I don't really know what to make of this situation but call. Thoughts start spinning through my head like "does Jesus have a set?" and "does somebody have 65?" and "drawing dead again, eh Jesse?" but before I can sort any of it out the dealer puts up the second best card I could see:


Jesus leads again and Jesse makes the wheel. I realized after this whole boondoggle that my extremely low opinion of Jesus's playing ability was in fact a gross over estimate. He is truly a level 1 player, in that he doesn't even think about what cards his opponents are likely to hold most of the time. Damn it he has a pair he's betting! But at the time I'm looking at that board and thinking "He might not even bet a set here, let alone two pair". Were it HU I'd be obligated to raise, but with the button in the hand drawing pretty much stone dead (or at least dead enough that I don't much mind if he calls, since even if he has a 6 for a gut shot he doesn't have 4 outs, only 2) I opt to just call. This might be a small mistake, but it makes the hand turn out pretty freaking funny. The button makes a speech and folds his hand, and Jesus and I see the river:


Wow. Jesus bets again and I reach to my stack to cut off 8 chips to just call. Yeah I played this hand like a little girl, but I basically decided he had 2 pair+ on the turn and I don't beat much and raise/folding is out of the question so I'm just gonna call. Now I haven't even broken my stack yet, let alone made a forward motion, and Jesus is making a speech "I had the best hand the whole way" and turns over his hand in a flourish. Then realizes I haven't acted yet. Then tries to cover up his hand and turns it back over. But it's too late, I saw it. Jesus has A4, for just top two pair. I think for a second about how to handle the situation and do contemplate just calling him for a moment before cutting off the raise. Jesus is beside himself. He calls, and goes on for literally 3-4 minutes about how that was really mean of me, really dirty, how I should have just called, how he only showed his hand because I had the 8 chips already out (brazenly not true), how nobody has ever done that to him before, nope nobody, and how he's going to get me, going to chase me now, from now on in fact. I basically say nothing and rack up soon there-after as it's time to go home.

Fast forward to the next day (a day I'm confident I can currently call yesterday) and I'm playing 20/40 again at Bay. Jesus sits down and makes some threat about how he's going to get back at me. I'm in the 7 or 8 seat and for our first debacle he's in seat 2. Now I can't really explain how what I'm about to tell you actually happened, but I swear to you it did. I open raise ATs in pretty early position and the next guy cold-calls like it's his job. Jesus 3-bets me. He's been at the table maybe 10 minutes and this is probably the first time I've even entered a pot since he sat down. All signs point to "bull shit 3-bet", but I can't be sure and have myself a group 3 hand. I decide that when somebody hates you and decides to run you over, playing passively is often the best approach. I just call, passenger calls, and we see:


I'm not even kidding. I check, the passenger checks, and Jesus bets. I just call, deciding to play the hand WA/WB and let Jesus barrel off with the junk in his range. In retrospect this is a mistake. He's not even capable of understanding how many barrels it would take for me to fold, or really anything at all. But I play it this way. Our passenger folds and the pot is only 6 big bets.

A53-2 with a heart draw now

Did I mention that I personally hold 2 hearts? Now would be the time to mention that. This is a curious card indeed, and I take pause for a moment before deciding to check/raise the Jesus. But he thwarts me and checks behind! My God, he has pocket jacks and just owned me! I make ready the river barrel and

A53-2-4 no flush

WTF. IMR, WTF. My brain cannot process the information quickly enough but I am able to determine that betting serves no purpose whatsoever. He'll never fold (turns out this is false...he'll fold sometimes because he can't even read the board) and might raise and I'm playing the board. So I check. Jesus turbo bets and I turbo call and the ensuing 6th street banter is really what has convinced me that he is truly special.

"You got it, I have nothing"

I am stunned. I cannot process how this is possible. He doesn't know there's a straight on the board! It's right fucking there. One two three four five. But he doesn't see it!

"I missed" Jesus adds for emphasis.

At this point in the movie we'd have a freeze frame, and Matt Damon's voice would start out in a thick Boston accent "Table your hand, Jesse! Table it and say 'Yeah I got it' and point to your gleaming glittering useless pair of aces. He'll muck his hand. He doesn't see the straight! This is your moment. Don't let it slip away" Instead I sit there mouth agape unable to move, waiting for him to table his hand, practically daring him to table it. So he does....Queen Jack off. and I do. And the dealer starts chopping up the pot and there is a brief flash of understanding in his eyes. Jesus made the wheel!

OK so that was bad. Jesus didn't bet the turn and I gave him a free card that he beat me with. Never mind that he had literally 3 outs to chop. This is the way of the world; this is how I run. SO a little while later I open raise A8s a few spots too early and end up in like a 4 or 5 way pot (that's why it was too early) and the flop comes down:


I'm not making this up. Jesus bet/3-bets, with me just calling and Yung (a true blue maniac) making his kamikaze all in stand. Why did I just call the flop? Mainly because I saw Yung was already moving to put in a raise and only had 9 chips total, so it really didn't matter if I raised or not. In fact, calling gave me more options than raising. So I just called. Jesus 3-betting set of alarm bells in my head and I proceeded directly to call down mode. The turn was a blank (I can't remember it at all....perhaps it had paint on it?) and I called again, noting that Jesus appeared to have less than 2 big bets left. The river:


And Jesus checks! Aiyah, he hates me and was hoping I'd just check behind! Or is it a tarp? I have to bet, I cannot resist....Jesus check/raises all in for 5 more chips. I call. He tables 45o and declares "I got you. I told you I'd chase you down and get you and I did" and is as proud of himself as I can recall seeing a man at the poker table. And why shouldn't he be. Jesus flopped the wheel.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Who Are You?

And what you done with the maniac that was there just a minute ago? Yesterday I played a short session (2 hours) at Bay 101 and sat with a dead ringer for Agent Aaron Pierce. The first hand I played with him went like this.

AAP power limps the high jack and LV the dealer over limps the cutoff. I raise KJo in the SB, everyone who has cards calls and see a flop of:


I bet, BB calls, AAP raises, LV folds, I 3-bet, bb folds, AAP calls and we're heads up now.


I lead and he raises. This is obviously of great concern, as he has taken a slightly modified "fish nut line" and I'm usually in pretty bad shape here. What it comes down to is that the dude is not value raising with ANYTHING I can beat. I start talking to try to get him to talk a little bit, but he doesn't give anything up (I basically ask him if he has J9 and wait for the response....the problem here is that the only hands that make sense for him to have are J9 and 33 and I am basically drawing dead against that range). Eventually I revert to "he is unknown and I have top almost top I call". Other reasons for calling include what I said above, that only 2 hands make any sense whatsoever, and the presence of 2 flush draws.


Otherwise known as a brick. I check, he fires and I call instantly (if I was gonna fold, the turn was the place to do it). He says "You almost called my almost got it" and turns over A6o for complete and utter air. I sheepishly drag in more than a rack of chips and note that we have a special player on our hands. Then, this happens.

Tom B opens UTG. It folds to AAP and he opts to defend his BB. We see


AAP checks, Tom B bets, and AAP raises. Tom B calls.


AAP bets and Tom B calls. It's worth pointing out that despite the fact that Tom B raised UTG he can have all manner of garbage here. He's one of the laggiest regulars in my games, and he never, ever folds until it's clear that he is drawing dead.

Q76-A-2 and no flush is possible

AAP bets and Tom B now raises. Now I'm sitting there barely watching the hand, but I tune back in, look at the size of the pot, and reconstruct the action. I determine that Tom B has exactly A2 sooted. He's not a fancy play kind of guy and I don't think he'd wait til the river with any sort of big hand. So the 2 helped him. There is no straight or flush possible, and he raised UTG, so really he has to have A2s (trust me, it's in his range). MAYBE he has 22, but I don't think so. AAP hems and haws for what seems like a full minute and eventually calls. Tom B does not disappoint, tabling A2s (big flop Tom, big). Agent Aaron Pierce now looks rather sheepish and rolls....Pocket Queens! The second nuts! Only AA could possibly beat this guy, and he has somehow asked the bowling ball sitting on top of his neck to figure out what Tom B, a borderline insane LAG, has played in such a fashion, merely calling a flop c/r, then calling (not raising) a Q76-A turn. The bowling ball has responded that AA is extremely likely, so likely in fact that he cannot 3-bet, and therefore he opted just to call with the second nuts. It is impossible for Tom B to show up with AA here. It can't happen. This hand could be played a million times (I mean really, a million) and he will not put in this little action on the flop and turn with AA ever. Not once.

So the morale of the story is that you should run an elaborate 3 street bluff with A6o, no draw, no nothing, against a tight aggressive player who raised the small blind, and also not 3-bet the second nuts against a bad LAG who can't have you beat in a million years. I know this because 30 minutes later Agent Aaron Pierce racked up his 1600 American Dollars and vanished into the San Jose sunset, complete with resplendent shit-eating grin on his face marveling at how easy it is to crush this game.