Sunday, May 31, 2009

Shaking my head

I'm continually amazed by how donkeys poker players play. Last night I was in the Saturday night Goldstrike tournament. The blinds were 200/400 with 25 antes. I picked up J J and raised to 1200 from late position. An old man (who I'd pegged as a weak player) moved all in from the big blind. We each had around 10,000 in chips, so why the massive overbet?

I finally decided he had A-K and didn't want to play big slick from out of position. But, my read was that he was bad enough to bet the same way with 10-10, 9-9 and similar hands. I could just fold, but decided to gamble with him, so I called. I was shocked to see him turn over A J. Sometimes, all you can do is shake your head. A-J? Come freakin' on.

Well, you know what happened, don't you? The flop was A K Q. Isn't that special? There is one jack left in the deck, but basically I have to root for one of the four 10s to get a chop. No such luck.

It was only around 8 p.m. so I scooted over to the $1/2 NLHE game. My table was a dream and I had a profitable evening. This was an interesting deal: I checked my hole cards and saw K K. There was one limper to me and I raised to $15. Two players called.

The flop was good news/bad news: K Q 8. Yes, I hit a set, but the board is fairly coordinated. There was $50 in the pot ($15 + $15+ $15+ the limper's $2 and the $3 from the blinds). I bet $35 and got one caller. The pot was now $120. I had started the deal with ~$200 and the villain's stack was similar.

The turn was 4. I cautiously checked and the villain bet $35. Let's do some math. I have these outs: three 4s, three 8s, three queens and one king = 10. So I'm around 20% to improve to a winner (assuming I'm facing the heart flush). The pot was now $155, and it cost me $35, so it's about odds-on to call from an express-odds point of view. I can assume I'll get a little more out of the villain if I hit, so the implied odds are decent, too. If he's bluffing, my hand might be good. Also, $35 is an odd amount. I called.

The river was the A. I checked again and the villain checked. He turned over A J!

Apparently, he was savvy enough to figure out I was afraid of the third heart on fourth street. Should I have made a probe/defensive bet into him there? Then, when an ace hit on the river, he checked because he hoped his hand would win in showdown. Um, I don't think so.

Why did he call the flop? I can guarantee you this guy has never heard of floating. He wouldn't know floating if it came up and bit him on the knee. His bet on the turn was a good idea, but not large enough (given the size of the pot) to get the job done. Sometimes, all you can do is shake your head.

UPDATE: I just played this hand online. With three players left, I raised on the button with A Q. The big blind re-raised all-in with 10 7! This was pretty sweet until he flopped a boat:

Time to do something besides poker for a while.


  1. Its amazing how some people will push with Ace anything. I can understand if he was short stacked but why risk your tournament with the chips he had. I see this all the time in the tournies I play and of course you knew that awful Ace would make an appearance. It never fails...

  2. Tough break with the JJ hand. He probably thought you were stealing and would lay it down. I've noticed a lot of the older guys (esp. the Horseshoe regs for some reason) make some of the most insane moves. Way over the top aggro if they think they can get away with it. Too bad he was rewarded for it this time. Yuk.

    Best of luck to you at the WSOP, mojo! How exciting! I am super jealous. LOL. Can't wait for the pics and recaps! glglglgl

  3. I love on your AQ hand, AFTER he flops a boat, that the poker gods taunt you by bringing an ace and a queen on the turn and river. As maggie from Caddyshack said - "tanks for nuttin'!".