Saturday, July 02, 2005

Boat with an Ace Kicker and SoxLover was a Tilting Jagweed

Roller coaster night out with the boys at the Near-Chinatown club. The Rooster invited some friends and any available bloggers to a private, low limit (3-6) rotation. FTrain brought along Ugarte and I brought along a guy FTrain and I met in AC last month at the same table FTrain bounced his hammer--at the time much to FTrain's chagrin as he laid down a monster bad beat on him. Continuing with a theme that leads me to name him F-Nemesis, he even passed me two redbirds to be obnoxious to F-Train, not knowing that he was paying a rain drop to fall down.

We started out with Omaha 8, which really wasn't fair since at least half the table was unclear on the rules. At one point the table really stalled in a hand between the Rooster and one of his friends who it turns out is a colleague of mine (well, in a general sense, as he and I work at a very large place). I was not in the action, which played down to the river with a 5, T, 5, 3, 5 board. The two turned over their hands, which were first read as a split pot with each player holding a T, then the Rooster's pot since it was noted he also held an Ace. In the line of the night, someone to remain nameless declared in all seriousness that fives full of tens with an ace kicker won. Finally, the dealer pushed the pot to my colleague when it was realized that he also held pocket sixes for a genuine boat.

I managed to earn a reasonable nut in the rotation, which was a good thing because even though I was up from a pre-game session I played at the main 1-2NL before the boys showed up (more below), I definitely went off the track when our private game switched to 1-2NL with a 300 max. I went on heavy tilt in my own Helmuthian moment when my slick aced up, ran into a smaller ace who refused to recognize he was beat and held on to runner runner flush me after calling my all in raise at the turn. I really should not have gotten quite that mad--on the one hand, each call he made was not a huge mistake (the turn call all in was a 200 to win 330 with what turned out to be 3-1 odds against hitting, and that's only if you assume I was not bluffing) and on the other hand and more importantly, although it was no limit for real money, it was a friendly game. For the web to see, I apologize to the Rooster's friend for acting like a jackass.

Ironically, if it hadn't been a friendly game, I'm sure I would held my emotions at least somewhat more in check. In any case, I found my own punishment in a tilt rage when I paid FTrain's Hiltons an additional 200. Without sending that 200 to Brooklyn, I would have been up pretty good for the night. As it was, I won my car fare home (and that's even after going halvesies with F-Nemesis).

The most interesting play, at least from a poker perspective, came in the pre-session with some club regulars and F-Nemesis. Very big cards and cracking all around as the guy on my right managed in about 10 hands to show pocket A's, Q's, K's as well as having quad 9's and lost about 300 in the process (he did take 20 of mine with his Q's though). I then went on a mini-rush of cards where I got A's twice and K's once in one orbit. I think but will never know for sure that first A's got cracked when my 50 flop bet on a Queen high board with two hearts only scared out 1 of the 3 pre-flop callers of my (too weak it seems) 15 UTG bet and the turn came a heart, leading me to meekly check, see a 50 bet and a 350 all-in reraise. I was really frustrated and even for a moment tried to justify a steam call since I had the heart ace, but I think I made the right lay down as one of them surely had me beat and I was only being offered 560 for a 300 call. The all-in raiser claimed afterward that my aces would have been good. Not sure if I believe him but I'd do the same thing again with the initial bettor acting after me.

My kings won a moderate pot that with another 15 (again too small bet for that table) getting 3 callers and a large flop raise with no ace up.

Aces again, this time in the small blind, led me to raise 30 (I figured the table "knew" by now that a 15 bet from meant AA or KK, so 30 had to be QQ or worse since it couldn't mean anything higher). This time I got one of the early limpers to call me, a strong player whom I had played with a few times before and seems to have made the club his haunt. He called me on my flop bet but folded on the turn and I showed him my aces again. I think he marked me to take down at that point.

A few hands later I got 99 in the cutoff and limped and about 415 behind. The strong player, who had me covered, was in the big blind and raised it up to 15 with 5 in. It folded around to me and, to find out where I was, I raised him up to 50. Before calling, I got poker player interrogation routine 101:

"You have aces again?"

"No, I don't have aces."

"You have kings?"

"Keep asking, maybe I'll tell you what I have."

He then proceeded to smooth call, which caused me to think he (a) had a very good pair, (b) had a big ace and wanted to see a flop rather than risk a coin flip or worse by popping me right there or (c) was setting me up for a move. Given my folding of the first aces in recent memory and our confrontation with my second aces a few hands before, I gave a little, but not too much, extra weighting to (c).

Flop came a reasonably good 567 rainbow, giving me an overpair and a gut shot. He checked and I tested (a) versus (b) with a 50 bet. He called me. Now I think I was in trouble. We were clearly in (a) or (c), (c) could possibly have become (a) with that board, and I didn't have quite the hand to contest the point if challenged. Turn was a 9, which was 99% good news. With trips I now beat any category (a) hand he had, but there was a greater chance (c) had turned into a monster. I bet 50 and he called me again. At that point, I was really not liking the situation but I was no longer able to lay it down come what may.

Well what may was another 7 on the river, giving me the overfull, the 2nd nut and a warm fuzzy feeling. If he had hit quads, more power to him, but otherwise, it was easy money and I just wanted some more.

I bet 100, which began the real drama. I mean it was epic.

Long pause, then he restarted the interrogation:

"You have it?"

"Maybe".

"Are you bluffing?"

"There's one way to find out."

Stare stare. Stare back, look away, note the Orioles-Indians game up on the plasma. Hem haw hem haw. Finally another player called a clock. Stare stare.

"I know you're bluffing."

Fold.

I put it at 70% that he had nothing and was just looking for a read on me for future hands, but sheesh it took awhile. I wonder if I played it wrongly.

Thinking at the time: he probably has a high pair, 100 is the most I can extort out of him.

Rehashing: If he laid down a high pair to 100, it was a great lay down. Perhaps he would have called 50. If he had nothing, he's laying down, or maybe, just maybe, making a move on me. With 100 in, if he pops me all in and I'm holding, say 10s or Js, my decision to call is 165 to win 675, no way I can fold there. With 50, I'm calling 215 to win 625, maybe I can fold, but really probably still not.

What if I had checked him? If he had a high pair, he either checks me back with the same result as what happened, or he takes a value bet stab, and has a really tough decision when I raise him all-in, I think he would not have done that. If he had garbage, he either mucks or moves all in, this time leaving me to call 265 to win 575. He maybe, maybe tries this but I think it's unlikely.

After running it through, although immediately after the fact I thought I had bet too much, I now think I bet the right amount. If he laid down a high pair to 100 that he would have called 50, I lost 50. More likely, he laid down nothing as he would have for 50. I do wonder if I could have induced a bet with a simple check, but I guess I'll just have to keep on wondering...

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