Saturday, November 25, 2017

Poker Exam

I was hoping that I would end the year without hitting a downswing but it wasn't meant to be.  Partially, I am to blame but the board has been as friendly as Gregg Popovich during an NBA game interview.  Here are some hands that I was involved in.  In some hands, you'll be asked to make decisions that my opponents were facing.  I tried using a video for each hand but the quality was very poor.

Hand 1: I wish I could give you some details on the players but this hand happened shortly after I sat down.  Seat 5 bets $10 UTG.  You have K-K and raise to $25, and get five callers!  The flop is 7-5-2.  You lead out for $75 and it folds to seat 2 who moves all-in for $173 total.  What do you do?

I call it off.  Turn is a 2 and the river a 10.  He calmly flips over 2-2 for quads!  Ouch.

Hand 2: Seat 8 seemed like a sound player.  Seat 2 was all over the place.  Some hands he played OK and some not so much.  In the BB, $200 behind, with J-9 you see the flop with seat 8 and seat 2.  The flop is Q-J-3 and seat 2 bets $6.  Both of you call.  Turn is a blank and seat 2 bets $6 again.  Both of you call again.  The river is a 9.  You lead out for $40, seat 8 calls, and seat 3 moves all-in for $110 total.  What do you do?

I should get a tattoo that says, When a player moves all-in after a bet on the river, FOLD!  We both call with J-9 and seat 3 wins with K-10.

Hand 3: Effective stacks $185.  Seat 10, which was me, opens to $12.  Let's play the hand as seat 1.  You call with 9-8 and so do two more players.  The flop is A-9-8 and seat 10 bets $20.  You raise to $50.  Seat 10 moves all-in for about $170.  What do you do?

He called and I showed A-9 for the win.

Hand 4: In this hand, I was in seat 9 but we'll play the hand from seat 10's point of view.  Seat 9 opens to $15 UTG.  You make it $30 with J-J and seat 9 calls.  The flop is K-7-5.  Seat 9 leads out for $30 and you call.  The blank turn is checked.  The river is a K and seat 9 leads out for $60.  What do you do?

I thought I did enough to represent a king but the old man wasn't buying it.  I showed A-Q of clubs.  The check on the turn was my mistake.

Hand 5: You have K-K UTG, $240 behind, open to $10 and get four callers.  The flop is 2-2-7.  You lead out for $40 and seat 1 goes all-in and covers everyone.  Seat 5 is all-in for $170.  Seat 8 is all-in for $215.  Seat 9 is all-in for $125.  In this hand, we are most likely behind.  The pot is almost $1000, can you justify a call?

We knew we were behind but called it off. Seat 1 had A-2, seat 5 had 7-7, seat 8 A-J of spades, not sure about seat 9.  There were several side pots.  It was a clusterf***.

Hand 6: Seat 7 was a white guy in his 40s.  Seat 8 was an annoying woman.  She was tight and he was playing plenty of hands.  Seat 7 bets $12 and you call with K-9 and so does seat 8.  The flop is K-7-3.  Seat 7 bets $18 and both of you call.  The turn is A and seat 8 bets $25.  I felt like the ace on the turn didn't change anything.  Both of you call.  The river is the 2.  Seat 7 bets $100 and the lady folds.  What do you do?

I had put him on a flush draw, stuck to my guns and called.  He showed Q-2 of diamonds for a missed flush.

Friday, November 17, 2017

A Motley Crew

Sometimes I think that the word poker is defined as a game of skill until the opposing player calls with a terrible hand and the dealer performs a five card magic trick.

It's a $1/$3 game and I'm in seat 5.

Seat 5:  I am your average weekend warrior, be it in poker or golf.  At the table, most of the time, I prefer to tune out all the table chitchat and loud slot machine noises near the poker room by using earphones.  On this occasion, that was not the case.  Plenty of interesting stories and topics were being covered.  Since I didn't get many playable hands, I was happy to be part of the conversation.  Played reasonably well but in the last hour made some major mistakes.

Seat 1: Young black kid.  Probably just turned 21.  He was using that poker lingo and looking very confident.  And then I saw him play.

Hand: I open J-J to $12.  Only he calls with $90 behind.  The flop is J-2-4 rainbow.  I bet $15 and he calls.  The turn is a 5 and I bet $20.  He moves all-in for $63.  I call and he tables A-3.  A wheel for the win!

Seat 3: A retired white guy.  He plays several orbits and then gets up.  Loves to talk.  He is on first-name bases with every dealer, cocktail waitress, floorman, and the majority of grinders.  If one of them walks by the table, there was a 100% chance he would say something.

I'd love to share a hand that he was involved in but I don't remember him playing any during the five hours I was there.

Seat 4: A big rugged man.  Big in the sense that he is 50 lbs overweight.  Also donning a big fuzzy beard.  My guess is that no-shave November started in September.

Hand: It's opened pre-flop to $12, he calls, and I make it $30 with K-K.  Only he calls.  The flop is J-7-9 with two hearts.  He leads out for $20 and I call (that was a mistake).  The turn is the 3 and he moves all-in for $52.  I call and he shows A-8.  I table my K-K.  The river is a black 10.  Jack-high straight wins, brilliant!

Seat 6: A very friendly and talkative lady in her mid forties.  She was in shape, married, and her kids were in college.  Surprisingly, the husband wasn't into casinos or poker.  She even said, "I like visiting MGM.  Go Gamble!"  A reference to a Vegas YouTube poker entrepreneur?  I think so.  She also likes football and goes to UMD and Redskins games.

Hand: Four players call $3 and I open to $18 in the cut-off with A-J.  She calls and so do three more players.  The flop is Q-3-9 and it's checked to me.  I bet $40 and the lady moves all-in for $105.  I know I'm behind but make the call (another mistake).  The lady tables Q-7!  The turn and the river are no help.

Seat 9: He reminded me of Roberto Benigni but with glasses.  He showed up towards the end of my session.  The guy in seat 3 had left and was replaced by a 30 something woman.

Hand: I open J-J pre-flop to $12.  Seat 9 calls, the young black guy in seat 1 makes it $30, and the woman in seat 3 goes all-in for $130.  I fold.  Seat 9 and seat 1 both call.  The lady flips over A-A.  Seat 1 shows 5-5.  The flop is 10-7-3.  The turn is the 5.  The young guy jumps up out of his seat.  He puts his hands above his head.  The river is the 8.  Seat 9 shows A-Q and the dealer pushes him the pot.  Seat 1 starts to say to the dealer that he has a set of fives but then realizes that the flush came in on the river.  He can't believe it.  The lady in seat 3 is even more shocked and starts shaking her head.

Seat 10: Sixty years old and a poker veteran.  Best player at the table.  I've played with him before and he has the skills and the guts to put pressure on his opponents.

Hand:  I'm sitting on $300 in the big blind with 8-4.  The poker veteran opens to $10 pre-flop with a $500 stack.  Seat 4 calls with a $150 stack.  I call and so does the short stack in seat 7.  The flop is 7-5-10.  Seat 4 bets $20, I call, seat 7 calls, and the poker veteran makes it $90.  Seat 4 calls.  Seat 7 has about $40 left and will probably call.  What do you do?


I thought about it.  I just couldn't believe that none of the other players in the hand didn't have spades.  I folded.  At the end, poker veteran had 7-7, seat 7 had A♠-6, and seat 4 had J-J.  The board bricked out and the poker veteran won the big pot.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Valley of the Kings

If you are a history buff then the title of this post might be intriguing.  But the kings that I'm talking about are also knows as cowboys.  In a three hour session, I was dealt pocket kings three times!

There was some straddling going on and I saw a few flops but couldn't connect.  The first hand of significance I played:

I put out a blocker bet on the river and he raised.  This should have been an easy fold.  An orbit later I got dealt black kings:

Usually I prefer to rebuy instead of adding-on but in this hand, I wish I had added-on.  Two hands later, I got dealt two red kings.  Seat 9 was a calling station and he could show up with any two.

I got up to about $340 and then had several hands that were second best.  It was to be my last orbit before calling it quits when I looked down at pocket kings again:

I butchered the hand on the flop.  I was first to act on the flop and grabbed a stack of red chips with my right hand.  There is no betting line at the MGM.  I was going to cut-out $50 but by the time I had dropped two red chips, the villain moved his whole stack in.  I looked at the dealer who shrugged.

The villain said, "I am going all-in, no matter what you do."  He was telling me he had an ace!  So, I left the two red chips that were on the felt as my bet and moved back my hand with the rest of the chips.  The dealer said that the action was back on me.  I should have folded.

And the very next hand, I got the final nail in the coffin:

Just like the pharaohs in Egypt, I got buried with the kings.  I did my own digging though.