Monday, February 11, 2008

Is A Small Loss Really A Win?

Delia Surridge: Oppenheimer was able to change more than the course of a war. He changed the entire course of human history. Is it wrong to hold on to that kind of hope?
V: I have not come for what you hoped to do. I've come for what you did.
”V For Vendetta”

Another week, another loosing session but at least there was some good news from the poker tables this week.

While waiting for a table at the casino, we decided to try the new digital poker tables at Star City. I was a little sceptical because essentially it’s just online poker where the other players are in the same room. Sure, it’s faster and there is no dealer error but I can get that online at home, so why play here? Anyway, it was a better option than sitting around doing nothing for the expected 3 hour wait to get a table (turned out to be 2 hours) and is better than playing craps for us anyway.

I sit down and get very familiar with the fold button. After a few rounds, I get dealt Queens and raise it up, getting it all in on the turn and getting called by a flush draw that hits. Hmm, there goes one buy in. I delay the inevitable and buy-in again. This time, again with an over pair I get it all in and a player with a large stack calls with a gut shot straight draw and bottom pair. The straight draw hits on the river and I am down two buy ins already without having been dealt an actual card.

Am I overplaying my pairs – or other hands in this current streak? Well, in the first case I was a 3-1 favourite and in the second it was 70% on the flop and 80% on the turn, so I was in good position just getting a little unlucky. When I put all the chips in though, I figured I was around the 70% mark both times, so not far off it. Anyway, that’s poker and it happens but it was just another loss that I could have done without.

Eventually we get seated at a table that was very unlike what I had come to expect from Star City. It was very passive pre-flop, which allowed limpers and then when there was a raise it was sensible – in the 4-6BB range not the usual 20-30BB range. It was a good table and I think I even managed to take the first pot of the night.

There was a drunk player to my immediate right who would push all-in with any pocket pair pre-flop. He was harmless and trying to have fun, but was talking non stop about crap right in my ear. When he was UTG he did it again, all-in for about $130. I looked down from the big blind and saw QQ and thought that finally I would get a chance to put a stop to it. Then, on the button a player who seemed to know what he was doing, pushed all-in as well. This had me worried, as I really felt like he had aces. I took a moment to think about it and the more I thought, the more I believed I was behind. I asked for a count, and he had $45. I had about $101 in front of me and figured even if I loose to him, hopefully I can claim the side pot which I think I am a really good favourite for and get my money back. I called and saw JJ from the drunk guy and AK from the button. That was about the best result I could have hoped for.

Unfortunately I was beaten by an ace on the flop, but held up for the side pot and a small profit. Would have liked a scoop there but at least I got something from this and it put an end to the constant beats I was getting.

The cards went cold for a few hours next, and I was down to a rebuy after blinds and hitting nothing but air for that period. I eventually got things back together making some good plays and having hands hold up. My buddy sitting to my left hit quads with 63s. The amount of times I’ve played that hand and hit trips or two pair on the flop and be in awful shape – and he hits two pair, turns a full house and rivers quads, all with an ace on the board so he gets paid off along the way to the tune of $320+. I constantly call him a luck box and now won’t let him forget it.

A hand that nearly put me on tilt came up. I got to see the flop from the big blind without anything extra, and it was a nice 457 rainbow, I had 69o. There is a small bet from one of the players, and a few callers in front of me so I called also. The turn is my card, the 8 of spades, but now there are 2 spades on the board. I am hoping someone else was drawing to the straight and hit it, and hopefully a small bet here will get raised for protection. I bet out $10 and get called twice. Damn, looks like one or more flush draws out there. The river is a horrible 3s. I couldn’t have asked for a worse card – except maybe the 9s. Anyway, I check and the next player bets $20. Second player flat calls and I am left to make what I believe it a crying call here. 4/5 times I think I would have folded here, but a little bit on tilt I call expecting to loose. First guy has a six for the straight, second guy has a six for the straight also – no flush draws. Fuck – ok, so I win the pot but why couldn’t one of them raise me on the turn to get rid of the flush draws? And what happens if the last spade doesn’t come – I’m raising the hell out of them and getting paid at least one way, my feeling was tripling up here though. Even though I won, it felt like a bad beat.

My last interesting hand was one that I am not sure if I played good or bad, but it made me think at least. I had pocket tens and called a small raise to see the flop 3 handed. The flop was all diamonds, 9 high. I didn’t have a diamond but figured I might have been ahead here. Original raiser bets, gets called and I call as well. Turn is another low card, not a diamond. Same pattern – original bets, second guy calls and I think about it. For some reason, I just thought that both other guys had a big ace or picture cards and were just drawing to the diamond, but I didn’t think I could bet them off it and didn’t want to go broke so I just called again. The river was a 3 and not a diamond, and it was checked down. The other two players had AcQc and KcQs.

So I was right in the fact that I was ahead, but I couldn’t pull the trigger because I figured that the ace of diamonds was out there and would call regardless of the amount bet. The river card was obviously good for me, but what if it was any picture card? Would I still call a bet on the river? Any picture card is a danger for me, and any diamond. That’s a lot of potential scare cards. Maybe a smaller bet might have got one of them to fold and increased my chances but who knows the way the hand played out?

In the end, I had made a profit at the table but just short of what I had lost at the digital poker table earlier. But it was an enjoyable night of poker and it was good to actually get to play some hands for a change.

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