KKing David

Ruminations on poker

When Dreams Come True

You know that poker hand you dream about?  When you’ve been running so bad you resort to writing terrible poetry, but laying in bed or driving around in the car alone you imagine that special hand and what it would be like if that actually happened?

Perhaps you imagine being in a casino poker room and double your starting stack.  But the most obnoxious player at the table has tripled his.  He’s drinking too much, talking too much but slurring his words.  He makes blind raises then backs into a winning hand, picking up chips through a series of improbable wins and gloating about it.  His mere presence is a constant irritation.  Even though you don’t actually know each other, you start feeling like there is a personal score that needs to be settled.

Mr. Obnoxious and you are the two biggest stacks at the table and you’re thinking, in your imagination, just get me the right spot to take him down.  Yeah, you want his whole stack.

Maybe you will raise with a medium pocket pair, like nines, and he will 3-bet in a manner that telegraphs a very big pair.  It’s got to be either pocket aces or kings.  So you call, of course, because this could be it.  And the dream continues when you hit top set on the flop, with two suited cards so he’ll have to consider that you might be raising as a semi-bluff.  When he makes a strong bet on the flop, Ka-Pow!  No matter how big of an overbet it is, you’re just going all-in right away, because it’s too much and that will confuse him.  Besides, he’s half-drunk, so his decision making is impaired.  Even the half-drunks can fold pocket aces when the board gets scary enough on the turn or river, but your flop overbet shove reeks of wanting him to fold.  He can’t stand the thought of being bluffed, and his winning has made him start to think he’s invincible, so he calls.

He flips over his pocket rockets and you show your set.  For the first time since he sat down, he’s speechless, realizing he just blew nearly 300 Big Blinds running through a stop sign and police barricade along the way.

Doesn’t everybody who plays poker have a daydream like this?  Don’t you practice, in your mind, what you will say or how you will stare at the villain?

In my dream, I want to act like I’ve been there before.  No hooting and hollering like I’m surprised or feel like I just got lucky.  I want to stay in control, be cool, show everybody at the  table this this is normal for me.  So don’t F- with me as this session continues.  Power commands respect.

Dear readers, I hope your dreams will come true too.  Mine did.  It feels awesome.

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Running Bad Makes Me Mad

The best of times I’ve ever had

Are always followed by running bad;

’tis the curse of the random flop

To see equity so good suddenly drop.

 

Out of position they love to call

With hopes and prayers and mostly gall;

Yet the donkeys get the last laugh

Cutting my chip stack in half.

 

Continuation bets?  They all fail

Silently I suffer and wail;

And wait for the pendulum to swing

To recover from this awful sting.

 

Running bad, it makes me sad

No that’s not it, more like mad;

But must persevere and have more grit

Can I take much more of this shit?

 

There goes another buy-in

And it feels like I’m dying’;

Not long ago running so good

Beating up the whole neighborhood.

 

When will I get another chance

To celebrate and dance?

Feeling like a shell of my former self

Looking for wisdom on the bookshelf.

 

Uh-oh, here we go again

I flop a big draw, villain flops gin;

The river card fills my flush

And gives him quads!  Now hush.

 

Wrenching emotional pain

In every crevice makes its gain;

Stop I say, don’t turn me into a poet!

I’m not very good and now you know it.

 

 

Why Avoid the Bad Players?

Yesterday I was hanging out with two poker friends, talking poker talk and gossip.  One of them, who for purposes of this blog post I’ll call “Melanie,” mentioned that she just started playing online poker again, at the micro stakes.

The problem, says Melanie, is that the players are so bad at blinds of $0.02 / 0.04 that it’s hard to win.  But once she moved up to $0.05 / 0.10, the play becomes a little bit more rational and she’s winning at that level.  One of her complaints is that at the micro-est of the micro stakes, there’s not enough money at risk for people to be willing to fold.

When I play online (cash games only), lately it is at blinds of $0.50 / 1.00.  I’m not sure if this is “low stakes” or “mid stakes” but it’s still pretty low in the overall scheme of things.  I told Melanie there are still plenty of bad players at this level, and all of the levels in between.  Rather than try to avoid the bad players, why not exploit them?

One way to exploit bad players is by folding.  If they won’t fold, you won’t win by bluffing.  So playing lots of junky hands with the intention of “out-playing” them when you smell weakness isn’t going to work.  Another way to exploit bad players is by betting strong hands for value, in ways that maximize the pot size when they call.

Here are two examples:

1 – Eight-Four is Money!

In this hand, I was the big blind with 84 off-suit.  There is a min-raise to $2 from middle position and everyone else folds.  Really, I should just fold as well.  In the back of my head I hear the voice of our friend Myles saying “eight-four is money!”

Since this summer’s World Series of Poker TV broadcasts, I’ve noticed a lot more min-raises in these online cash games.  Apparently, people see the pros on TV making very small pre-flop raises, frequently just 2x the big blind.  It’s one thing to do that in tournaments, where the blinds are increasing, causing lower and lower stack-to-pot ratios as the tournament progresses, and chip preservation is paramount.  It’s a fine strategy for tournaments.  But for deeper stacked cash games, I  think it is ill-advised.  If we are going to exploit other players by value betting when they call too much, we should bet as much as we think they will call, which is more than a min-raise.

Anyway, I call the extra dollar, and the flop is A84 rainbow.  Yahtzee!  I have bottom two pair.

I check, with the intent to check-raise.  If he makes more than a token C-bet, indicating a good chance he has an ace, I’m going to make a very large raise.  He does and I do.  He bets $4.50, which is a pot-sized C-bet.  A pot-sized re-raise would be $18, and I decide to make it $21 as a slight overbet.  If he calls, I’m going to shove any non-ace turn card.

Perhaps this seems too aggressive.  Won’t he fold a hand like AK to such a large raise?  Yeah, maybe.  Or maybe he’ll spazz out.  And he does, coming back over the top with an all-in shove.  I started the hand with $99 and he had me covered.  Of course, I snap call, and to my amazement he only has TT.  The turn and river cards don’t help him, and I double up my stack.

I guess he just convinced himself that I was full of shit, my raise was so large it must mean that I want him to fold, and being the pre-flop raiser he could represent a stronger hand than I could.  I wish I could have seen the look on his face when my hand was revealed…

2 – Putting the Tilted Guy on Tilt

In this hand, the villain in Seat 8 had lost 1/3 of his stack just two hands earlier, in a pre-flop all-in battle of the blinds.  He had AK in the BB, while the SB had AA.  Whoops!

Here is a link to ShareMyPair to see a replay.  When the river gave me quads, I decided to go for the whole enchilada, expecting a nominally tilted guy to run through the stop sign and crash.

Thank you kind sir!  I’ll take better care of your poker chips than you did.

Bad players make bad mistakes.  We can exploit them – trust me Melanie, this is fun – as long as we keep in mind that the #1 mistake bad players make is calling when they should fold.

READERS:  Your comments are always welcome below.

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Bank Error in Your Favor, Collect $200

It’s Friday night poker, and a Monopoly game breaks out.  I roll the dice and land on Community Chest.  The card says “Bank Error in Your Favor, Collect $200.”  The banker hands me the money.  Let me explain.

We are a couple hours into this private, home game of no limit Texas Holdem, with blinds of $1 and $2.  The player to the left of the big blind, who for purposes of this blog I’ll call “John,” raises to $11.  John is a fairly loose player, so even though he is under-the-gun (UTG) here, his raising range is not nearly as tight as many other players.  Still, I know he’s positionally aware so I’ll give him credit for having something decent.

In the cutoff seat, I have KK.  I start to re-raise to $31, then grab two more $1 chips to make it $33, triple the amount of John’s bet.  He has a history of calling 3-bets from out-of-position lighter than he should, so I want to take advantage.

Then the small blind shoves all-in with a short stack.  He has $51 in total.  For purposes of this blog, I’ll call him “KP” after the comedy duo of Key & Peele.

The action is back on John.  What are his options?  My raise was $22 more than John’s bet.  KP’s raise was $18 more than mine.  Can John raise again, or is he limited to calling or folding only?

John does call $51, then says he doesn’t think I can re-raise again.  Since KP only had $18 on top of my bet, which is less than the amount by which I had raised John’s original bet, that’s not a full raise and therefore closes the action.  Right?  John asked for clarification only after he has called the bet.

If so, my only options would be to call $18 more, or fold.  Note that if I had only raised to $31, as was my initial inclination, that would be $20 more than John’s raise.  Then KP’s shove of $51 would be $20 more than my bet and constitute a full raise.  In that situation, the action would clearly remain open for me to raise again.

John and the dealer have a short discussion and review of the betting action, while KP and I sit quietly.  The dealer notes that KP’s raise is over one-half of the minimum, therefore it does not close the action and I can raise again if I want.  If KP had only enough chips to raise $10 more than my bet, or less than that, I would be prohibited from making another raise.

John appears satisfied with that answer.  After calling $51, he has about $150 left in his stack, maybe slightly more, and I have him well covered.

I ask the dealer to confirm that I can raise again if I want, and after he does confirm, I announce all-in.  John shrugs and with very little hesitation says, “OK, I call, but I probably need help.”

I turn over my pocket kings.  KP shows KcJc.  John shows Ac8c.  I’m a 61.4% favorite to win this 3-way pot.

The board runs out KQJ-4-Q and my full house sweeps the pot, albeit with a bit of a sweat.

After the hand, there is some more discussion about the ruling that additional raises are permitted after KP’s shove was less than a full raise.  I ask the dealer if this is a house rule or they are following a guide like the Tournament Directors Association or Robert’s Rules of Poker.  He says he has a copy of Robert’s Rules and believes his is being consistent with that guide, pointing out that the TDA guide sometimes has some quirky tournament-specific rules that don’t work well for cash games.

Now in the comfort of my own home again, I’m curious.  What does Robert’s Rules of Poker actually say here?  Let’s take a look… (emphasis added)

SECTION 3 – GENERAL POKER RULES

BETTING AND RAISING

5. In limit play, an all-in wager of less than half a bet does not reopen the betting for any player who has already acted and is in the pot for all previous bets. A player facing less than half a bet may fold, call, or complete the wager. An all-in wager of a half a bet or more is treated as a full bet, and a player may fold, call, or make a full raise. (An example of a full raise is on a $20 betting round, raising a $15 all-in bet to $35).

But wait, there’s more!

SECTION 14 – NO LIMIT AND POT-LIMIT

A no-limit or pot-limit betting structure for a game gives it a different character from limit poker, requiring a separate set of rules in many situations. All the rules for limit games apply to no-limit and pot-limit games, except as noted in this section. 

NO-LIMIT RULES

3. All raises must be equal to or greater than the size of the previous bet or raise on that betting round, except for an all-in wager. A player who has already checked or called may not subsequently raise an all-in bet that is less than the full size of the last bet or raise. (The half-the-size rule for reopening the betting is for limit poker only.)

Example: Player A bets $100 and Player B raises $100 more, making the total bet $200. If Player C goes all in for less than $300 total (not a full $100 raise), and Player A calls, then Player B has no option to raise again, because he wasn’t fully raised. (Player A could have raised, because Player B raised.)

Whoops!

Since John had not acted in response to my 3-bet, he should have been able to re-raise again if he wanted.  But not me.  And who knows if I would have been able to win John’s full $200 stack if I hadn’t been allowed to raise again in the pre-flop betting round?

Hopefully on the next roll of the dice, I’ll pass Go! and collect another $200.  Until then I’ll just a savor the fortuitous ruling.

READERS:  Your comments are always welcome below.

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A Small Unexpected Gift

Who doesn’t like receiving gifts?  Raise your hands right now.  (No one…)

My favorite gifts tend to be small but unexpected.  On my birthday or Father’s Day, I expect to get something.  Other times, a gift is delivered when there is no expectation – perhaps a friend returned from an overseas trip and brought a snow globe from one of their stops, or Mrs. makes a peach cobbler just ’cause she knew I’d like it.  There is great delight in the unexpected.

In one poker hand last night, another delightfully unexpected gift arrived.

This is a private game, that features a special jackpot that is paid every time a player makes a straight flush, affectionately referred to as a “piggy.”  Last night, the jackpot was equal to 500 big blinds (BBs), which makes you want to play every suited connector and 1- or 2- gapper, no matter how remote the odds, just in case…  I won a similarly sized straight flush jackpot at this game earlier this summer.

In early position, I limp in with 6h4h.  For many reasons this is a money-losing play.  Many pots have not been raised pre-flop, so I convince myself there is a reasonable chance I’ll get to see a cheap flop.  Alas, one player raises to 3 BBs and there are two callers.  I’m getting a decent price to call despite the poor position (another poker logic fallacy), so I call.  This is exactly what the house hopes for; the presence of the piggy promotes more action.

Flop (12 BBs):  K55.  I check, and so does everybody else.  I would not call any bet here.

Turn (12 BBs): 7.  Now my 64 has developed into an open ended straight draw.  (Sorry readers, I didn’t make note of the suits, and don’t recall if there was also a flush draw… probably yes, but I didn’t make a note of it.)  With 8 outs to make a straight, which still wouldn’t be the nuts on this paired board, and all three of the other players showing weakness on the flop, I decided to make a stab at it, and bet 10 BBs.

The original raiser folds, the next guy folds, but the player on the button calls.  For purposes of this blog, I’ll call her “Barbara.”  Barbara is one of the nicest – and most unaggressive – poker players you’ll ever meet.  She comes to play, not watch, thus she calls frequently pre flop to see what develops.  Barbara never complains when she loses and never showboats when she wins.  She treats the game like a social occasion, and the other players like a group of friends.

The fact that she checked the flop and called but didn’t raise on the turn doesn’t always indicate a weak hand.  Earlier she just called bets on the turn and river after she turned a set of 888’s on a board with no obvious straights or flushes, saying after the showdown, “I thought about raising, but just didn’t.”

River (32 BBs): Another 5.  Now the board is K55-7-5.  I’m playing the board.  Should I bluff again?  How much would I need to bet to get Barbara to fold?  What hands could she have that called the turn bet and now would go away against enough pressure?  As I’m pondering these questions for a few seconds, I see Barbara peek at her hole cards.  This makes me think she might have a 5 and just made quads, and has to look again to be sure it really happened.

Betting is too risky, so I decide to concede.  After I check, Barbara peeks at her hole cards again, then hesitates.  She looks like she is deciding how much to bet with her quads, but instead she tosses her hand into the muck and shakes her head.  “I missed, badly” she says.  “Go ahead and take it.”

The dealer slides the entire pot over to me.  It is a gift from Barbara, somewhat small and totally unexpected.  Thank you Barbara.  You are a much nicer person than I am.  Somehow – most likely in a non-poker way – I hope to be able to surprise you back!

Interestingly enough, about an hour later a different player made a straight flush and won the piggy.  He had 53s, didn’t fold before the flop, and banked a nice payoff when the perfect river card arrived.

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Middle Aged White Guy

I’m a middle aged white guy.  I don’t say that to editorialize… it’s just a fact.  White, male, age range 55-60 (this is a poker blog, so we shouldn’t try to put me on an exact age, just a range).  And very aware of my white male privilege.

Over the weekend, at a private poker game, I shoved all-in on a flop of Q84 rainbow.  What is my range?

To help answer that question, let’s back up a bit.  I started the hand with a stack of 67 BBs, having just lost a healthy chunk with a failed hero call.  The villain in that hand was totally polarized – he either had total air, or the nuts.  Once again, Hashtag: They Always Have It.  Maybe I appeared tilted now.

A couple of hands later, I raise to 5 BBs in middle position, and get four callers.

The flop is Q84 rainbow, and I bet 10 BBs.  This flop is totally dry.  If I’m value betting, I don’t need to worry about  punishing any drawing hands.

The player on my immediate left, who I’ve never played with before, raises to 25 BBs.  For purposes of this blog, I’ll call him “Ricky.”  Ricky hasn’t been at the table very long, appears to be in his mid-20’s, and works at the Apple store.  Earlier he mentioned that he’s read exactly one poker book in his life, by Daniel Negreanu.  Ricky adores Negreanu.

There is only one hand I fear Ricky having here:  AQ.  With a flopped set of 888’s or 444’s, he would call in hopes of keeping other players in the hand, as there are no threatening draws.  He just flatted pre-flop, so he doesn’t have a set of QQQ’s, or AA or KK.  None of the 2-pair hands fit either… the best of these would be Q8, which is too weak to call my pre-flop raise.  I don’t know if he would flat or 3-bet AQ pre-flop, but this game hasn’t featured much 3-betting by anyone, so I’m inclined to put AQ in his flatting range.

Other possible raising hands would be QJ, JJ or TT, or something like A8.  Or a total bluff / gutshot type of hand.  My less-than-half-pot continuation bet might be interpreted as weak, so he could be raising with a hand weaker than top pair here, which might mean he doesn’t know himself if he’s value betting or bluffing.

After everyone else folds, I come over the top, for 37 BBs more.  Ricky looks surprised and tries to talk out the situation. He mentions my pre-flop raise sizing seemed standard, my C-bet sizing, the number of other players in the hand, etc.  Now I realize he is a thinking player, or at least trying to be one.

But he neglects to note that I’m a middle-aged white guy.  Seriously, forget all of my analysis about his hand and just consider that fact.  What is my range?

Eventually, Ricky calls.  I ask if he has AQ and he says no.  I flip over KQo and he says “Oh, you’re good, I didn’t think you would have that.”

The turn is an ace, and he flips over A8s.  The Dead Man’s Hand holds up to win.  Ricky is gracious, almost apologetic in victory, as he should be having been on the wrong end of an 80/20 equity split when all the chips went in the middle.

I ask him this:  “Why would you not think I could have KQ there?  That was a textbook middle-aged white guy shove, so KQ is the very BOTTOM of my range!”  I try to smile as I say this.  When he has A8 there, I want him to call every time, even knowing that this time, my hand didn’t hold up.  There is no need to lecture or be nasty.

A couple of the players at the far end of the table are laughing at my middle-aged white guy comment.  So true, they are saying, Ricky you should know better.

Author’s note:  The title of this post should be… Revenge of the Middle Aged White Guy.  Unfortunately, poker variance intervened.  Maybe next time…

What Difference Does It Make?

Here is the setting, to be followed by a question:

I’m at a private poker game on Saturday night in someone’s garage.  The house takes a rake on this game and provides a dealer.  Most of the players are regulars and know each other quite well.  The game is no limit Texas Hold’em, with blinds at $1/2 and the buy-in is capped at $300.

The house uses the Mississippi Straddle rule, whereby a live straddle can be posted for any amount, in any position, which makes straddles from the button very common.  If two players both want to post a straddle, the player with last position has priority.

At this game, one player has been posting a $5 straddle virtually every time he has the button.  For purposes of this blog, I’ll call him “John.”  Several hours into the game, John has the button but the player on his right – who I’ll call “Joe” – announces a straddle and places his $5 chip in front before John has a chance to do anything.  [Sorry about the boring names here – “John” and “Joe” – maybe I just don’t feel very creative right now, or maybe that’s a reflection of the material I have to work with.]

Joe had just returned from a short break, during which he missed his both of the blinds.  To get back in the game immediately, he is required to post the $3 he avoided by sitting out.  Alternatively, for $2 extra, he converts the entire amount into a straddle and reserve the right to act last in the pre-flop betting round.

Before the cards are dealt, someone remarks that John usually straddles when he has the button, and Joe offers to pull the extra $2 back if John wants to straddle again for this hand.  Instead, John says to Joe to leave his straddle out there; it’s no problem.  After the cards are dealt, John has to act first, and he calls the $5 straddle prior to looking at his cards.

Then John says, innocently, “What difference does it make?”

Somebody on the end of the table repeats this question and a couple others chuckle slightly, which makes me decide to posit the question here in the blog.  What difference does it make?

Let’s try making this an interactive blog post, by asking my dear readers to post comments answering John’s question.  What is John likely thinking when he asks “What difference does it make?”  Is there actually a difference, and if so what is it?  How should each player – and the other players at the table – adjust their thinking or actions in response to what Joe and John have said and done here?

Please leave your comments below.

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Intermittent Explosive Disorder

What is tilt anyway?

I ponder this while reflecting on an online poker session last night.  Up a small amount, I was going to close out the session and go to bed early.  But look, there’s pocket tens, let’s just play this hand.

Fast forward and the villain has pocket nines, but hits a 3rd nine on the river.  Now I’m down a small amount – can’t quit there.

The next hand I get AKs.  One caller, who also calls my C-bet then shoves on the turn with the board showing 654-7.

An orbit later, with pocket deuces, I call a pre-flop raise and float his C-bet on a flop of 753 with a flush draw.  His C-bet sizing didn’t convince me that he had much.  A deuce came on the turn giving me bottom set.  He shoves and I snap call to find out he has pocket queens.  Just like the ending of a movie I’ve seen too many times before, the river is a queen.  Burned twice by 2-outers on the river in a span of just a few minutes.

In 20 minutes after deciding to book a small win, I proceed to blast through 180 BBs, recover a little bit, and go to bed an hour after I really wanted.

Tilt can be so sudden and unexpected.  Like road rage.  Looking for understanding, I found this article: The Psychology and Biology of Road Rage, which introduced me to the term “Intermittent Explosive Disorder.”

According to Wikipedia, “Intermittent explosive disorder (sometimes abbreviated as IED) is a behavioral disorder characterized by explosive outbursts of anger and violence, often to the point of rage, that are disproportionate to the situation at hand (e.g., impulsive screaming triggered by relatively inconsequential events). Impulsive aggression is unpremeditated, and is defined by a disproportionate reaction to any provocation, real or perceived. Some individuals have reported affective changes prior to an outburst (e.g., tension, mood changes, energy changes, etc.).”

The psychological root of this is something called Hostile Attribution Bias, “the belief that every accidental injury  or threat is purposeful, and personal.  People with IED over-personalize every interaction, and then over-react with immediate aggression.”  This is obviously dangerous when it happens to the driver of a car on a busy highway and financially self-destructive when it happens at the poker table.

I’m not prone to road rage and my propensity to tilt isn’t severe enough to classify as a disorder.  But I do tilt, having experienced many of the types of tilt Tommy Angelo describes in his wonderful book Elements of Poker: steaming tilt, simmering tilt, too loose tilt, too tight tilt, too aggressive tilt, too passive tilt, playing too high tilt, playing too long tilt, playing too tired tilt, entitlement tilt, annoyed tilt, injustice tilt, frustration tilt, sloppy tilt, revenge tilt, underfunded tilt, overfunded tilt, shame tilt, distracted tilt, scared tilt, envy tilt, this-is-the-worst-pizza-I’ve-ever-had tilt, I-just-got-showed-a-bluff tilt, I-gotta-get-even tilt, I-only-have-so-much-time-to-lose-this-money tilt and demolition tilt.  Entitlement tilt is my biggest nemesis.  I can handle bad pizza.

On the other hand, I have some friends with tendencies much closer to Intermittent Explosive Disorder when the poker Gods deliver just a few of the 10 plagues of poker injustice upon them.  Dear friends, you know who you are!

Do you have a tilt story to share… put it in the comments section below.

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Aces, Aces Everywhere

Towards the end of a frustrating poker session last night, I finally got dealt pocket aces.

Until then, double A batteries seem to have been present more than normal at this game, just not for me.

Early on there was a pre-flop all-in confrontation where the rockets flopped a set, only to be cracked when KQs hit a gutshot straight draw on the river.

I’m pretty sure there was another early hand where snake eyes were cracked in a large all-in pot, but I cannot recall the details.

Once I had QQ and made a 3-bet after an initial raiser.  The next player then goes all-in.  For purposes of this blog, I’ll call him “Jason.”  Jason is not normally the type of player who makes a cold 4-bet all-in just for fun, and after the initial raiser folded so did I.  While Jason never showed his cards, its about 50/50 either bullets or cowboys. Later, Jason made a large 3-bet pre-flop and got multiple callers.  He bet-folded on a flop of 986 with two clubs, and after the hand stated “Alan Alda no good there.”

Another time, on the first hand after buying more chips, I called an all-in from a short stack who had open limped.  Duh… he has American Airlines and they hold up.

Another time the player on the button raises after a couple of limps, and with KQ in the big blind I make a re-raise.  When he comes over the top, I quickly surrender and he flips over the Eyes of Texas.  Less than 10 minutes later, the same guy gets Teepees again.

I’m probably omitting a couple more.  The Banditerna seemed to be everywhere, and finally, near the end of the night, I have them.  Will mine join the list of broken sticks?  Will they win the blinds and nothing else?

I raise and get three callers.  The flop is A23 with two clubs.  This is both great and dangerous, so I bet 15 BBs.  Not giving any free cards.  This time I get two callers, including Jason and the biggest stack at the table, who for purposes of this blog I’ll refer to as the “Other Dave.”  The Other Dave has had a charmed night.  The very first hand featured a 3-way all-in on the turn, with the board showing AJT-Q and two spades.  One player had shoved with a king in his hand, holding the nuts.  Jason had called with a nut flush draw.  The Other Dave then over-called with AJ for two pair.  A jack fell on the river giving him a full house and early triple up.

The turn is another 3.  Bang!  Let’s try to get maximum value.  One of these guys probably has the case ace and a decent kicker.  The other… maybe he flopped a set of threes (uh-oh!) or twos, or possibly even a straight.  Otherwise, he must have a flush draw, or some decent pocket pair and isn’t giving me any credit for hitting that flop.  I make the same 15 BB bet again on the turn.  Jason goes all-in for 42 BBs.  The Other Dave calls.

Wth only 37 BBs left on top of this action, I shove too.  The Other Dave confesses he is about to make a bad call, then does exactly that.  He shows AJ, Jason has 66 (WTF?).

Did I mention what a wonderful evening of poker this was?  A Rocky Mountain high will do that, you know…

 

The Button Game

Where have I been all these years?  Last night I was introduced to the “Button Game,” a form of prop betting during a poker game that may have been around a long time and I just didn’t know about it.

As a quick side note, I have the Urban Dictionary app on my iPhone, which saves me occasional embarrassment from having to ask “What’s that?” about various pop culture expressions and acronyms.  Sometimes it’s hard for this MAWG to keep up.  As of this moment, however, the Button Game isn’t listed at UD.

Introduced by a long-time friend/villain known in this blog as “Myles” (previously mentioned in this blog here and here), the Button Game creates a side pot, or “kitty” that can only be won under certain conditions.  Each time a player wins a pot of $60 more more, that player adds $5 to the side pot, which accumulates in a cup that passes around the table along with the dealer button.  If the player on the button wins that pot, he or she also wins the kitty.  If not, the kitty moves with the button in front of the next player.  Of course, the amounts can be changed to whatever everyone at the table finds agreeable.

The first time the button reached me after we started the Button Game, there was $15 in the cup.  The cutoff raised to 6 BBs after a couple of limps.  I decided to call with Ah 3h, which I consider a very marginal calling hand at best, especially if the flop is going to be heads up.

The flop is A33 with two diamonds, giving me a full house.  She checks, so I check.

The turn is Td, making a flush a possibility.  She bets 5 BBs.  Perhaps she has a flush draw, even a nut flush draw with the Kd?  I make a min-raise to 10 BBs, and she calls.

The river is Jc.  Now she bets 20 BBs.  Hmmm… do we have a fish on the hook?  I raise to 50 BBs and she announces all-in.  Hmmm… might she have JJ or TT and a bigger full house?

This isn’t a time to get scared, and I quickly announce a call.  When she says “nuts!” I’m at first startled, then relieved to see that her nuts is the nut flush, with Kd 2d.  My full house wins a large pot, plus the $15 in the kitty.  I put $5 back in the kitty for the next hand and the button moves again.

Later on, I win the kitty two more times, once with $40 in it.  This prop bet game created a ton of extra action, with attempts by the button to steal offset by attempts from others to block the button from stealing, creating more pots in excess of $60 to build up the kitty, and so on.

Just tell me the rules, and I’ll try to figure out how to exploit it.  Of course, flopping a boat ain’t so bad.

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