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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

And the Beats Roll On ...

Enjoying some time at the $.5/1.00 limit hold'em tables at Party Poker again last night, I was privileged to see some poor sap who flopped quad 6s slow play them and end up losing to a guy who rivered quad 7s. The real tragedy here wasn't that the quad 6s lost to the quad 7s. It was that this was by far the worst beat I've witnessed at a poker table, but it didn't qualify for any sort of bad beat jackpot. Apparently at Party Poker you have to be sitting at a specially designated table and playing at least $2/4. I was also interested to note from the PP rules that the losing hand has to be at least quad 8s to qualify so even had the other conditions been met, we would've missed out on sharing thousands of dollars amongst ourselves because the guy that lost only had quad 6s, not quad 8s. That seems like an odd rule.

Speaking of my session last night, I made what had to be the worst laydown of my life. I am still kicking myself about it this morning. Here's the story ... I had AA on the button. A guy raised from middle position, one person between me and him called, and I raised. The big blind called my three bet, the initial raiser just called, and the other person called the three bet. So we were four of us taking the flop for 3 bets each and I had AA. Nice enough, though I would certainly have preferred the big blind or the guy in the middle fold to improve my chances. Anyway, the flop is rags, 8 high, and rainbow. Again, nice enough for me. The big blind checked, the initial raiser bet, the guy in the middle folded, and I raised. So far so good. The big blind folded, and the initial raiser just called. So I was feeling good about my chances, and the pot was getting big (relatively, of course - this was $.5/1 limit). The turn card was a 10. The opening raiser bet, I raised, and he reraised me. And then I folded. There was $15.50 in the pot. It would have cost me $2 more to find out whether he actually had a set of 10s or whether he had something like A-10, QQ, KK, or JJ and was just finally feeling that his hand was better than mine. My opponent could easily have thought I was overplaying AK and been just trying run me off the hand.

I folded immediately because I was just sure he had TT and had just hit a set on the turn. (Part of what was happening for me mentally was I was still tilting a little from some suck-out beats people had put on me earlier in the night. Huge mistake to let that experience - the "it just isn't my night" syndrome - affect play in this particular hand.) But on further reflection, I've realized that the math (probabilities, etc.) probably works out where folding was a terrible decision on an expected value basis (as well as strategic). If I was good at that sort of math, I could deduce and compare the probability that the guy had exactly TT with the probability that he had JJ, QQ, or AKs, AQs, or even ATs instead. I am guessing he didn't have KK because if he did I would've expected him to cap the betting before the flop. And I am guessing he didn't have AKs or AQs because I had AA and because I was showing too much strength and the pot was too big for him to be trying to bluff.

But with JJ or QQ he could easily have played it that way. I would not cap the betting pre-flop with 4 people in with JJ and probably not even with QQ. Then when the button who three-bet before the flop raised on the 8-high ragged flop, I might slow down again and not reraise there with QQ thinking to take off one more card and do my reraising on the double bet streets (the turn and the river).

So, all in all, I just can't believe I laid that AA down when it would've cost me $2 to try to win what would then have been a $20 pot based on my assumption that the guy had exactly TT (when in fact he could just as easily have had JJ or QQ and thought I had AK).

Next time I hope I'm a little braver with my $2.



Blogger The Velvet Fog said...

You could make more money racing bicycles....

I have no idea what any of that means. You mean you can do things with a computer besides look at boobies?

11:00 AM, August 10, 2005  
Blogger Chris said...

Tough one, indeed. The "rules" are a little different at the low-limit tables. There's a lot of bad poker going on, and assuming that your opponent is acting rationally is not always the best play. At a low-limit table, I wouldn't put it past someone to be playing something as poor as K10s or 99 in situation.

If I had to guess, this guy probably hit a set, but there is enough of a chance that he was playing QQ/JJ/A10/K10 that you have to pay the $2 to find out. You're getting 10-1 odds on that $2.

At a higher limit-table, it might be different, where you have to assume you're up against at least a decent player.

BTW - what is your screen name?

11:03 AM, August 10, 2005  
Blogger garrett said...

Chris - My screen name is "molartime". I saw you on there the other night and sat down a couple seats to your right but you got up before we played any hands (the blind got back to you).

I agree that there is no way it was the correct decision to fold that AA at that point. Sitting at two tables and watching a friend play a multi-table at the same time I was distracted and not thinking clearly. Costly decision.

Phineas Fogg - it's my understanding that you can play poker on a computer. Now what's this about boobies?

11:23 AM, August 10, 2005  
Blogger garrett said...

Oh, and on my other table almost immediately after that I got totally bluffed out on two hands.

Once I had KJs in the big blind and the flop was AKT, so I didn't feel too bad about that one (the guy that raised me had 52o in the small blind of all things).

Once I had AQs and the flop was A-rag-rag. I had called a pre-flop raise by this same bluffer. On the flop, he bet, I raised, and he re-raised and I folded. He showed 99. That was a little frustrating.

11:26 AM, August 10, 2005  
Blogger Chris said...

You're right, that second one must have stung a bit. I usually bet pretty hard when I pair a strong Ace.

12:34 PM, August 10, 2005  
Blogger garrett said...

I sure felt silly when he showed that !@#$ 99 holding. That guy really had my number last night.

Interestingly, he was directly to my right, so I had position on him there every time. That's what let him be so tricky, I guess. He was reacting to my moves in a way that made me uncomfortable.

During a session when I've lost several hands where I was a significant favorite (e.g., inside straight draws and so forth), I have a very tough time doing the right thing when people raise my strong hands. Obviously a problem I've got to fix. Probably I need to just be consistent and not try to guess which time I've got the raiser beat and which time I'm the victim of a low probability suck out.

The good news is that I'm actually a "winning" player the past few thousand hands (I'm up about 100 big bets after playing for probably 30-40 hours). Which is better than the first time I gave this low-limit poker a shot.

12:38 PM, August 10, 2005  
Blogger Chris said...

I would encourage you to take a look around at

12:41 PM, August 10, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why Ike, whatever do you mean? Maybe poker's just not your game. I know! Let's have a spelling contest!

12:47 PM, August 10, 2005  
Anonymous Father Time said...

That's 30-40 hours you'll never get back.

You back that queen again, and I'll blow you off that wall cat's ass.

1:29 PM, August 10, 2005  

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