Sorry for the bad beat story to follow here, but you KNOW that’s how I get these out of my system. At least I hope to get it out of my system, ’cause dammit it still hurts. If you don’t like bad beat stories, consider yourself forewarned to stop now.
Last month I was at the Harrah’s Cherokee casino in western North Carolina during the WSOP Circuit stop there. I had a really bad cooler in a cash game, as described here
. One of the guys traveling with me (I’ll call him “Chad”) said it was the kind of hand that leaves you restless and angry all night, such that when you wake up the next morning, the first thing out of your mouth is “Fuck!”
Yesterday Chad hosted a 18-player tournament. This was a bonus event for some regular cash game players, essentially a free roll, with a prize pool of $2,770. Other than $20 to add-on some extra chips at the first break, there was no cost to me or the other players. The prize pool was to be divided among the top 4 finishers, 45%, 30%, 20%, 5%.
When we got down to one table of 9 players, we all agreed to take $100 each, then divide the remaining $1,870 among the final 3 finishers, 50%, 30%, 20%. I thought this was a nice way to mitigate some of the risk.
At the first hand after the next break we were still 9-handed, with antes of $100 and blinds at 400/800. I have about 25 BBs remaining, which is about 2/3 of the average stack size. At this point, the play has tightened up and therefore I want to ramp up my aggression slightly.
In UTG+3, all fold to me and I look down at Ad 9d, and raise to 2,100. The player to my immediate left (I’ll call him “Andrew”) 3-bets to 4,200 and everyone else folds. Andrew’s stack is almost identical to mine.
I have not played in tournaments with Andrew, but have played with him frequently in cash games. His 3-bet range is wider than many of the players, including 99+, AJ+, KQ type of hands, and he will C-bet a large percentage of the time especially in position. Calling him here is debatable, but his 3-bet raise was rather small so he might just be hoping I was raising light and will go away. I call out of position – in hindsight I should not be doing that for 20% of my tournament stack, but that’s what I did.
The flop was Qd Jd 3d. I have an ace-high flush, THE STONE COLD FREAKING NUTS!
My, oh my, what a wonderful day?
Plenty of sunshine heading my way.
Oh, Mr. Blue-bird – on – my – shoul-der.
It’s the truth, its actual.
And everything is satisfactual.
I check, and Andrew bets 6,500. I’ve got him! He’s now invested more than half of his stack in this pot. Maybe he has AA or KK or AQ. I count my chips and have the 6,500 to call, plus 8,700 more. “All-in” I announce, after some theatrics with the counting and shuffling.
Andrew looks pained, and tanks for awhile, saying repeatedly “I have to call” and “if this how it’s going to be, then so be it” and finally calls. He has me covered by exactly 100 chips. The pot is just over 50 BBs and more than 1.3x the average stack size. Winning this pot will put me in a position to threaten the biggest stacks at the table. Fan-damn-tastic!!! Zip-a-dee-doo-dah some more.
Then Andrew turns over QQ and my heart surges up into my throat. He has top set, with two cards to come that can make him a full house or quads. This is much stronger than I was expecting given how long he was thinking before he called. I turn over mine and stand up. It’s like I’ve seen this movie before and know how it ends. I’ve just been crowned King of the Prom and handed revolver with two bullets in it for a mandatory game of Russian Roulette in the same gesture.
Click goes the revolver. The turn card is Ks. Missed. Maybe this time the movie will end differently. 77% of the time I will win here, with one card to come. He has 10 outs.
The dealer burns and turns. 3h on the river. BANG goes the revolver, as Andrew completes his full house. I feel like my brains just exploded all over the table. I already know what the first word out of mouth will be tomorrow morning.
Next I have to exit stage right. I try to do it gracefully, which is difficult when your FUCKING BRAINS ARE SPLATTERED ALL OVER A POKER TABLE. Andrew has to wipe sweat off his hand before he can shake mine, which we do awkwardly, in the manner of combatants who both know an injustice has occured. Of course, that is what we signed up for.
I walk straight out to Chad’s deck. After a couple minutes, I text him – he’s only a few feet away, but inside the house – to request a bottle of water. I cannot even walk back into the room to get my own.
Here is the thing: I played well. Early in the tournament I lost a hand with straight < full house that took me down to less than 4,000 out of my starting 10,000 chips. Patiently, I fought back, and doubled up to about 12,000 on the last hand before the $20 add-on gave me 5,000 more.
I look back at the remaining players, knowing I can play with any of them, knowing I could go deep in this tournament, knowing now good it would feel to bring home the extra cash. Knowing the pain of being on the outside, looking in.
A few minutes later, Andrew is the next player to bust out of the tournament.