Sweet Sweet Side Action

Best turnout we've had for a long time. 12 Showed up so we started with 2 six-handed tables. It's a loud, rowdy group that doesn't believe in table etiquette... "who has the bigger spade?", "Oh a full house out there now...". But, it's not my game so I just abide.
About the second hand of the night and I've got ATo on the button. UTG player (Let's call him "Don") is a reliable maniac and opens for 4x. Folds to me. I call. 
Flop : Ad Jd Tc
Don is pretty easy to read usually and he leads out for a decent sized bet. This usally means he has nothing because he almost always tries to check raise if the flop hits him hard. I call to let him bluff the turn.
Turn : 4c
He checks... I bet. He snap calls.
River :  2c
He puts out a big bet. I figure he has AK AQ JT or nothing here a lot so I think about it briefly and call. He shows me AJ and I've lost half my stack. This is where his maniac image definitely pays off because he’s just as likely to have 67 there.
Two hands later and I've got 22 in the BB. Don min-raises from the cutoff. Button calls. SB calls. I call.
Flop : Kh 8d 2h
Yahtzee. SB checks. I don't want to risk a check around so I lead for about 1/3 pot. Don min-raises. Button folds. SB folds. I 3-bet. He insta-shoves. I call and show my 22. He shows KK... and the guy in the SB reaches into the muck and shows me the last 2. Re-buy Table 2.
With the new stack I took down a couple pots with selective aggression and had chipped up a decent amount. A little later and "Marco" is basically all-in from the BB. I'm on the button with KdTc and $20 bounty on the line. Don opens UTG for a min-raise and I call. Marco is all-in for less.
Flop : Kc Jd 8d
Don checks. I bet into the (basically) dry side pot. Don calls.
Turn : Qd
Don makes a fairly big bet and I call.
River : 6d
Don moves all-in and has me covered. He can definitely have the Ad here and fumbled his way into the nut flush. But, I don't see how I can fold given the size of the pot and his potential for big bluffs so I call. If he’s got it I just take my medicine and head home. No 3 re-buys for this kid.
He shows KsJs and I drag a huge pot (and Marco's bounty). The irony is that I probably let it go check-check on the river because that's more likely how he'd play the Ad. So he could have saved his stack. But he still had about 20% of a starting stack and played it back up before we ran into each other again.
I've got Jc7c in the BB. "Carla" (UTG) makes it 2x and (of course) Don calls. SB calls. I call and we take a flop.
7d 8c 2d
SB checks, I check. Carla min bets (she has a habit of min-betting all 3 streets with anything less than the nuts). Don calls. SB folds. I call.
Turn : 9h
I check. Carla min bets. Don min-raises. I call. Carla calls.
River : 10c .... wheeeeee
I lead for half the pot. Carla insta-mucks. Don insta-shoves. I snap-call and he shows me 8s9s. No good and re-buy is over. New guy to the game (Alan) says, “Did you not see the straight out there” and gets a glare from Don. Seat open Table 2.
I had a good stack when we combined tables and didn't play a lot of interesting hands. I did knock out a short stack for another bounty but I was pretty card dead for a long stretch. We were paying 4 spots and I'd managed a good stack (probably 2nd or 3rd) into 5-handed. But as they do, blinds were getting big in the home tourney and it was forcing the action.
With blinds at $1000/$2000 I've got QQ. UTG folds. I make it $4000 (leaving about $19000 behind). Button folds. SB folds. BB (Mack) shoves his $15000. I don't hesitate to call. He's got Ad7s and here we go.
Flop : 6 8 T
Well, that could have been worse.
Turn : 4
OK. OK. Enough.
River : 9
I'm crippled and manage to get it in with K5 against KQ and, miraculously, not get there. Good night, nurse. Second bubble in a row.
One interesting thing did happen. "Gary" (regular $2/$5 player) opens UTG for 3x. Folds to "Brad" (the host) on the button… Brad agonizes and folds but keeps his cards close because he wants to show the hero fold. SB folds. I fold and Gary starts dragging the blinds. Brad is patting himself on the back for his tough laydown saying he’s got respect for Gary and knows he had it. Brad shows the 88 he mucked from the button; which I almost certainly would have 3-bet and then folded if I’d been 4-bet. Gary turns over one card, the Ten of Clubs.
Brad : “Pocket Tens. Good fold. Good fold.”
Gary : “Maybe”
Brad : “I know it was tens. I would have been dead. Good fold.”
Me : “meh. probably Ace-Ten”
Brad : “No way”
Me : “Ok”
Brad “Wanna bet $20 on the side?”
I said that’s up to Gary if he wants to show the other card. He says if we bet it he’ll turn it up. I clarify… 
“so you’ve got 3 tens and I’ve got the rest of the deck?”
Brad : “Yeah”
Me : { puts $20 on the table }
Gary turns over the Ace of Clubs.
Sweet sweet side action.

Run Good Tsunami

A slightly edited version of the email I sent my buddy Greg after a crazy day at poker room last week.

A crazy night indeed. I went to play the $70 donkament only to discover that they weren’t running it (and hadn’t updated their calendar) but were instead running a $1000/hr high-hand bonus because it was MLK day. I’m pretty sure that was his dream.

I got into a $1/$2 No-Limit Hold'Em game with the max buy-in ($200). I posted in from middle position. It was playing pretty limpy as you might expect with everyone fishing for a high-hand. Within a few hands I looked at

from under the gun. I made it $8 to go and got 3 callers including the big blind.


Wowza! I’m thinking I probably continuation bet in that spot with one A about 60% of the time and with KK-99 about 80% of the time. So while I'm doing all this thinking and figure I’m going to c-bet so as not to look too suspicious... the big blind leads out for $12. I flat call and everyone else folds. He checks the turn

and I check behind to give him a chance to bluff the river. But, he checks instead

Here I didn’t know the policy for this card room on high hand as to whether or not it had to be played to showdown to win (it doesn’t I later learned) so I checked behind (he wasn’t calling anything anyway). I posted the high hand (AAAA8) with about 35min left in the hour. Somehow I faded a straight flush for that whole time and collected a cool $1000. By that time my the dealers had pushed so I went and found the guy who dealt it and gave him a tip.

There were a couple other interesting hands. There was a guy who joined and sat in the 1 seat who clearly had done something cosmically wrong… we’ll just call him “Hipster”. Hipster opens $15 from UTG+1. Two players call before the action gets to me in middle position. I’ve got  and decided to come along. One more call in late position so we’re 5 to the flop and already have a nice pot. 


Gin! Hipster leads for $23. One guy folds and another just “okie-dokie” calls. I make it $55. Late position guy folds. Hipster seems genuinely pained and finds a call. Okie-Dokie calls leaving himself only about $20 behind. 


The action checks to me. I make it $93 (what the hipster has left in his stack). He looks like I kicked his dog but finally makes a crying call. Okie-Dokie guy can’t get his last $20 in fast enough. For the side pot ($146) I show my flopped boat and the original raiser showed  and buys another $100. The dealer pushes me the side pot and I’m ready to collect the main when Mr. Okie Dokie rolls over  for flopped quads! At least the side pot keeps me afloat so I basically broke even… and broke the spirit of Seat 1.

By this point the high hand bonus was over and we’re back to $50/hr so it doesn’t really alter play at all. I end up calling pre-flop from middle position with  in a 5-way hand and flopping

Holy cow! Checks to me. I figure I stand to make more playing the hand than shipping it here to show high-hand and protect my weak kicker (that is actually allowed in this room) so I check. Button leads for $10. Folds to me. I call. 


I check him some rope but he doesn’t take the bait. 


and even my high-hand is safe! I bet $25 and he insta-mucks. But, I show the high hand of 77776 and fade a better hand for a full 45min to collect another $50 bonus.

While I’m waiting out my Quad-7s high hand, Seat 1 (the same hipster whose KK I busted) opens for $12. Again a couple calls including me with . Sometimes I might raise with 99 to see if I can take it down, but I didn’t figure it would work against him here so I didn't want to make the pot any bigger and have to make a tough decision on the flop.


Hipster leads for $25. I call figuring I’ve got the overpair and he might shut it down after getting called. Button calls. 

Turn !!

It’s a run good tsunami! Hipster bets $40. I make it $100 (again just enough to cover him). Button calls (for less). Hipster calls. No more action. Button shows ? Seriously?


I show the 99 and Seat 1 rolls over  and excuses himself from the table… probably looking for a bridge.

I should have bought a lottery ticket. Cashed out up ~$1350 for the night.

Poker and Oblivion

It's been quite a while since I posted anything poker related so I thought I would take a minute to recount the story of my visit this past weekend to Harrah's (or Harrah's Harrahs as my group calls it, but that's another story).

First off, this won't be a bad beat story even though I've been known to tell a few.  But, it's not about a great session either.  In fact, it was a busto session.  The story, though, is about the 2 seat.

I arrived at Harrah's at about 4pm on Sunday and they were just opening a new $1/$2 No Limit table so I sat right down.  Within the first 6 hands I watched the guy in the 2 seat call every single bet he faced and get felted for $200.  Within another 3 orbits I saw the exact same thing again.  He never folded once.  He won about 2 hands.  He was busted when he shipped it with one-pair-no-kicker against 2 pair.  Unfortunately for me and the rest of the table, he chose not to reload again.

Taking his place was a young kid with a haircut that I guess is in style these days and a Hollister t-shirt.  He couldn't be worse than the last guy, right?  He wasn't.  As a table we played for a couple of hours with nothing really out of the ordinary happening.  The guy in the 3 seat was being pretty aggressive, but with $1 and $2 blinds and no starting hands, I didn't really feel the need to take a stand.  Instead, I thought I'd wait for a hand and chip up.

The 3 seat opened under the gun for $10.  This was his fourth opening raise within the last ten hands, so it was no surprise that a couple of middle position players called.  As the 10-seat, I looked down at on the button.  I decided to call and play it cautiously.  The BB (Hollister) called as well and we took a flop 5 ways.

OK, I'm starting to like my hand even though it's possible I'm out-kicked.  Hollister checks to the pre-flop raiser.  The 3-seat puts out a rather weak $15 continuation bet into a pot that's already at $50.  Both of the middle position players flat call.  I might make a raise here with a mediocre hand, but I think there's a good chance my A8 is good and this is a totally non-threatening board with multiple players putting money into the pot.  I don't want to lose any customers so I flat call from the button.  The BB closes the action with a call and we get the turn.

Jackpot.  The nuts.  Surprisingly, Hollister leads out for $10.  WTF?  $10?  There's $125 in the pot and he bets $10?  Oh hells, yes.  That's either a strong Ace he's trying to get some more value out of or a really weak Ace and he's hoping to control the bet size.

The 3 seat raises to $30.  Both middle position players insta-muck to the raise.  I'm definitely just calling here.  I'm hoping I can get the kid to put in another $20 before I get some more money from the 3-seat on the river.  Instead, Hollister snap-shoves for $152 total.  The 3-seat tanks and folds.  I can't call fast enough.

Hollister shows for a flopped full house that is now dead to a chop.  He doesn't seem to pay any attention when I table A8 and get ready to drag the roughly $450 pot.  The river...

Hollister audibly groans!  He thinks he's just been counterfeited by the river.  He doesn't even realize he just hit a 2-outer to keep his stack.  The guy in the 5 seat explains it to him.  He doesn't seem to understand.

I guess it could technically be a bad beat, but what struck me more than my atrocious luck on the river was the reaction of the 2-seat.  He was genuinely oblivious.  I should have been stacking his money, but instead he would continue to play.  And he would keep playing longer than me.

Some time later I flopped an open-ended straight flush draw against what I was pretty certain was an overpair.  I called a flop and turn bet and then made top pair (Jacks) on the river forcing me to payoff the value bet from KK.  My stack was now in pretty bad shape.  I had about $70 on the table and another $200 in my pocket, but I didn't feel like reloading.

By this time, Hollister had moved to the 5 seat.  Just in time for my last hand.  It went something like this...

The 4-seat (Some LAG) limped UTG.  Hollister called.  The 7-seat (a solid player) limped.  I came along from the cutoff with KdQd.  Both blinds called/checked and away we went.

The flop:

The LAG in the 4 seat bets $10.  Hollister and the 7-seat call.  I've got just one option.  Ship it for $65.  LAG doesn't think long before calling.  Hollister calls.  And then the 7-seat drops the hammer.  $165 to go!  The LAG calls off his last $80 or so and Hollister pushes in a stack of reds with an okie-dokie easiness.  Clearly KQ is no good and I know I'm headed for the exit unless I can improve.  The turn:

Hollister checks.  7-seat bets $150.  The kid wastes no time calling again, leaving himself about $23 behind.  The river

Hollister shrieks with joy and tables !  The dealer asks him if he'd like to bet and reminds him to protect his hand.  He pushes in his last $23.  The 7-seat mucks!  I fold as well and disgustedly, the LAG flips his cards into the muck!  I guess they both had AK.  Again, though, it was the kid's reaction that surprised me the most.  When the 3rd heart hit pairing the board, he was certain that his flush was good.  It never crossed his mind that with all that action someone could have had TT, JJ, QQ.  What's more surprising was that he was right.

I hope he's there the next time I play.