Thursday, June 30, 2016

Hit by the Deck - Biggest Cash

I had $180 on me, so that was my buy-in at Live.  This table happened to be the same table where I cashed out $980 while in seat 6.  Only seat 1 was available, so I sat down.  I waited one hand for the button before playing my first hand. Before the first orbit was completed, seat 6 became available.  I told the dealer that I'll be moving to seat 6!

Sitting at my new favorite table, I observed the action and strength of each player.  It was fast paced and chips were flying.  Plenty of action and loose calls.  It was the type of table where your buy-in could easily be gone or you could triple-up in no time.  I was ready to join the fun since I was in my favorite seat.

I pulled of a bluff early and was up to $240.  Then, I had Q-10 and called a $12 pre-flop bet from seat 9.  Flop was Q-T-A.  He bet $15 and I called.  Turn was 5, he bet $40, and I called.  River was 9, he bet $18, and I called.  He flipped over A-5 for the win.

Down to about $130, I get 9-Q in mid position.  Seat 8 bets $12 and three of us call. Flop is A-T-9
and seat 8 throws out three redbirds while saying, "Forty."  Very quickly, he corrects himself and says he meant to say $14.  Dealer makes him put out $40.  The other two players fold quickly.  I was not ready to go away so fast and put on my thinking cap.  If he had a big ace, he would have bet more than $14.  And when the dealer made him put out $40, he wasn't too happy about it.  He made a mistake with the $40 verbal announcement.

So, it was time for me to make a decision.  Either I fold or I raise.  I decided that I can represent a better ace in this spot.  I announced all-in.  He says, "I call" and then mumbles something about two pair.  The turn and river were blanks.  He flips over 9-J
and I win the pot.  I wonder if he thought he had J,8 or 10,9 of clubs.  My read was correct but, as you can see, this was a gambling table (including me).  I could have easily lost that hand.

My pocket Q-Q were good enough to win $34 from a short stack who was all-in with 8,8.  Then, seat 2, $116 behind, bet $16.  There were two callers before I raised to $100.  Seat 2 goes all-in, the other players fold, and I put in $16 more.  He flips over A,K, and the board runs out Q-6-10-9
-3 I flip over J-J and take it down.

I look down at 9-6 and for $2 see a flop with seat 1, seat 3, and seat 5.  Flop of K-7-3.  Seat 3 bets $12 and we all call.  Turn is 8.  Seat 3 bets $30, seat 5 raises to $100 and I announce all-in.  Seats 1 and 3 fold but seat 5 puts in another $120 and is all-in.  River is 5♦ and I win.

In the big blind, I see the flop with seat 8 and seat 4.  Flop is 2-7-5
.  Seat 4 bets and both of us call.  Turn is 7, seat 4 bets $30, I call, and seat 8 goes all-in.  Seat 4 folds.  I call and the river is 3.  He flips over J-7 and I flip over Q-7.  Stack grows to over $850.

I won two or three more pots including one where my top pair held up against a straight flush draw (see here).  When it was all said and done, around 9:30pm, I cashed out my biggest stack!  My new personal best is turning $180 into $1370!  What is your biggest score?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Poker Etiquette

I play less than 100 hours of live poker each year.  I sporadically come across some of the peculiar situations that others experience more often.  For example, in a previous post, I encountered a situation where the dealer folded a winner but I was the only one to notice.

Another interesting situation came up recently during a hand.  Seat 5 was new to the table.  He bought in for $300 and had been up and down betting/raising and mostly winning/folding without showing. He appeared to be a seasoned player.  Most of the time, he waited to look at his cards right before it was his turn to act.  He protected his whole cards and didn't carelessly pick them up off the table. Then, this hand happened:

I was dealt J-10 and had $900+ behind in seat 6.  I'm in the SB, looking as the action moves around and towards me.  The action was on seat 3 or seat 4 when I glanced to my right.  At that moment, seat 5 started looking at his cards.  Just for a second, my eyes followed the movement of his hands and I thought I saw 8.  I shifted my eyes away from him before he looked at his second card.

He then bet $15.  I called and so did seat 10 and seat 1.  The flop was J-5-7.  In early position, I opted to check since there were no spades and there were three players left to act.  I wasn't ready to build a pot, yet.  It was checked around to seat 5; he bet $30 and only two of us called.  Turn was 2, two of us checked, and seat 5 bet $75.

This is where I decided to shift gears.  Seat 5 was on the button and I believed he was holding 8-x.  I didn't see seat 10 calling off his $200+ stack in this spot.  Seat 5 had about $175 left after the turn bet.

I thought seat 5 could have been holding 8-8 or 8-9 (maybe even 8-6or 8-A).  I was ahead either way I looked at it.  Since I was up during this session and I thought I could get both of them to fold, I went all-in.  Seat 10 folded but seat 5 moved the rest of his chips in.

The river was K.  I thought I was good unless he was holding 8-K.  Since I had moved all-in, I flipped over my J,10.  I think most of the table couldn't believe it.  There were several comments about how weak my hand was.  Some were saying that seat 5 had me beat.  But, seat 5 didn't turn over his cards.  He looked at the board one more time, folded and said, "You're good." 

He asked the dealer to call a chip runner.  He was very surprised at how I played the hand.  He asked me what hand did I think he had.  I said, since he folded, it had to be 8-9.  But he said he folded 4,3(not sure I believe it).

I was going to call the $15 even if I hadn't seen his card; but the rest of the hand would have played out differently.  I've never had a situation, until this hand, where I saw my opponent's card and used it to stack him.  How would you have played the hand?  What is the correct poker etiquette in this situation?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Mr. Big Stack

This is the third and last post about my previous weekend session.

Within the first twenty minutes of sitting down, I was dealt A,A and won $75 on a 10,10,3,4 board.  Then, I got involved with seat 7 and sucked out (see previous post).  Later on, I was dealt K,K and won a small size pot.  I was dealt A-9 and won a medium size pot against Seat 3 who had 7,8 on a A,9,7,6,8 board that had three hearts.  I also won a pot with 8,8 on a 2,2,3,4,6 board.

Sitting in seat 6, covering all stack on the table, I get dealt 2-2♠.  I call a $12 (or $15) bet from seat 4, he is $150 behind.  Seat 7, $200 behind, comes along.  Flop is 2-A-7.  Seat 4, bets $30 and both of us call.  Turn is 6♠ and seat 4 bets $50.  I didn't want to give them another card so I announced all-in.  The dealer put the all-in sign in front of me.  Seat 7 thought about it for a while and folded.  Seat 4 took forever to make a decision.  I got a chance to take a photo as soon as he folded.  Seat 7 said he had A-J and seat 4 probably had an ace too.  I think it might have been a mistake to push on the turn?

As my towers of red chips kept growing, the guy in seat 10 started calling me Mr. Big Stack.  I exchanged few of my red chips for some greens with new players at the table.  I floated around $900 for few orbits.

My goal was to cash out a grand.  I lost two small pots and played one more orbit before the blinds made it back to me.  On the last hand (see previous post), I pulled off a bluff and ended the session with $980!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Suckout and a Bluff

We continue with details from my short weekend session. 

I'm in seat 6 with $275 and seat 7, in the cutoff, has about $100.  I bet $12 with A-J and get three callers.  Flop is 4-8-7 and I bet $30.  Only seat 7 calls.  Turn is 9 and I bet $60 representing the nut flush.  He calls with $59 and is all-in.  I flip over my A and he flips over 8♠,8.  I realize that I'm way behind and hope to see a heart on the river.  The dealer puts out the river card...and it's a club.  For a second, I feel disappointment.  I take a closer look at the river card and realize that it's the 10♣!  I announce that I have a straight and flip over the J♠.  I apologized to the guy saying I was looking for a heart and didn't see the straight right away.  Seat 7 retrieves two $100 bills from his pocket and exchanges them for chips.

I had built a nice stack and looked down at my last hand before I had to leave.  UTG, I decided to try my luck for $2 with K♠-8♠ (I keep playing these trouble hands).  Seat 7, $180 behind, made it $12.  Three of us called and the flop was Q♣-10-8.  I checked, he bet $30, and only I called.  It looks like a bad call considering I only had the bottom pair.  The confidence he displayed made me certain he had A-A, KK, or AQ.  I thought I could outplay him if the right card came on the turn.

The turn was 9♣ which I considered an excellent card.  I looked at his stack and announced all-in.  You could see the discomfort he felt.  He said, "Here we go again.  Just like the other hand you won against me.  Flush? Straight?  I do have outs."  Then he folded 8-8 face-up!  I was relieved and flipped over my pitiful K,8.  The whole table was surprised.   Looking back at the hand, I forgot to consider that he might have had A♣-Q or A♣-A.  And if he did, can he call for $138 with top pair and nut flush draw if he thinks I already have a straight or a flush? 

I made two wrong decisions at the right time and came out ahead.  I racked up my chips and wished everyone at the table good luck.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Dealer Folds a Winner

A three hour session over the weekend was so successful that I'll use it to write three new posts.  The first post is about a dealer mistake and the outcome of the hand.  Let's get to it.

It was late morning when I arrived at Live.  I grabbed my chips and waited about five minutes before a new $1/$2 table was opened.  I had my eye set on seats 4, 5, and 6.  I ended up in seat 6.  Two hours into my session, a black gentleman resembling an older Michael Irvin with glasses sat down in seat 5.  Moments later, seat 9 had a new player as well.  He resembled the late Joe Frazier.

Michael, Joe, the dealer, and I got involved in a hand.  Joe, in late position, bet $7 pre-flop and Michael called in mid position.  The flop was 7♣-8-10, Michael bet $10, and Joe called.  The turn was a 3, Michael bet $15, and Joe called again.  The river was a 9.  Michael bet $25 and Joe said, "I can't raise you but I can call you."  He called and they turned over their cards.  I saw Michael table 10-J and Joe flipped over J-K.

This is where things got interesting.  The female dealer said that the winner was a straight and turned Michael's cards facedown.  The cards were not moved into the muck pile.  She proceeded to push the chips across the table from her left side towards seat 9.  Not a single person at the table said a word.  I couldn't believe it.  Typically, several people realize when a dealer makes a mistake and speak up.  

For a second, I sat there waiting for someone to say something.  If nothing else, I was expecting Michael to realize that he also had a jack high straight.  But, I guess, he was content with letting the dealer be the judge, jury, and executioner.

I snapped out of it and spoke up; I said that there were two jack high straights while pointing at Michael's cards.  The dealer turned over Michael's cards and announced that indeed both players had the best hand.  All the chips were sitting between the dealer and seat 10.  She divided them equally and pushed them towards Michael and Joe.  Neither of them said anything.

This was the first time ever that I was the only one to notice an error at a table and because of me the dealer corrected the mistake.  A small part of me thought that maybe I shouldn't have said anything.  But, I realized that if my hand got declared a loser incorrectly, I would want other players to speak up and correct the dealer.