KKing David

Ruminations on poker

Archive for the tag “flopped nuts”

Thanks for all the Respect

NOTE:  This entry was originally posted on a different site on September 7, 2016 and has been slightly edited prior to re-posting here.

“Thanks for all the respect!”

That was me being sarcastic, at a cash game after raising to 7 big blinds and getting four callers.  It was getting late, and I had told our host about eight minutes earlier that I’d be leaving in 10 minutes.  We were playing 6-handed, as one of our original eight players left early, and another left after going bust, driving to the nearest ATM for more cash, and busting again.

Nobody raised in front of me, and with Ad Kd in the small blind, I’m going to make it expensive for anyone who wants to see this flop.  I’ve been pretty quiet most of the night, but still nearly doubled my starting stack of 100 BBs thanks to one big hand where my KK doubled up through QQ.  It might look like I’m protecting my chips and running out the clock… until I raised to 7 BBs.

I wanted to thin the field, and going to the flop 5-handed from the worst possible position at the table is sub-optimal.  (First-world problems, I know that, but I digress…)

Flashback:  Early last year I was playing a cash game at the Aria.  It seemed like I had folded every hand for at least an hour.  Then I look down at TT and put out a nice raise.  Five other players call, like they are clueless that the nittiest player in all of Las Vegas has just raised.  TT is a fine starting hand, but with this many callers many more things can go wrong than right.  In my best, driest, most sarcastic voice, I commented “thanks for all the respect.”

Anyway, the flop was T42 rainbow, giving me top set.  Lack of respect instantly converts to generosity.  I’m feeling true love for each and every villain.  Everybody checks and a J on the turn improves another player’s AJ hand. There is a bet, call, raise, call, re-raise and shove.  Three of us are all-in, with my set of tens holding up over a set of fours (he thought he was trapping me!) and pair of jacks / ace kicker.  It was one of those wonderful moments when you can hear heavenly choir.

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And memorable for the phantasmagoric emotional shift from finally seeing a decent hand, to the sarcasm, to hating five callers to loving a monster flop to raking in all those chips.

[FLASHBACK ENDS]

Lightning strikes again.  The dealer turns over T32, all diamonds.  I have flopped the nut flush, the pot is already a decent size, and there are four other players.  Hopefully, somebody else also connected with this flop.

I make a smallish opening bet, about 1/3 of the pot.  The next three players fold, but the button (for purposes of this blog entry, I’ll refer to him as “Jason”) calls.  Jason is a pretty tight player who doesn’t make many crazy moves, but he can get stubborn at times when he just doesn’t believe the aggressor has it.  There is no reason for him to believe that I flopped a flush after my pre-flop raise.  The turn is Kh, I bet and he calls again.  The river is 5c.  Perfect… no more diamonds, no pair on the board, absolute nuts for me.  Jason hasn’t made any aggressive actions during this hand, so I don’t think an all-in bet will get called.  I bet a again, but still less than 1/2 of the pot.

Jason starts counting out chips as if he is going to raise.  Or perhaps just seeing how much he would have left over if he called my bet and lost.  Or perhaps just fiddling to kill time and see if I give off any tells.  “I’m all-in!” he announces, and slides his entire stack towards the center.  I feel ever-so-very-very-teeny-tiny-slightly bad for him.

I call and quickly turn over my cards.  He turns over Qd 8d, for a weaker flopped flush.  Poor guy, he was drawing dead on the flop and had no idea, although he handles this cooler very graciously.

[SCROLL UP AND LISTEN TO HEAVENLY MUSIC AGAIN]

Although it feels a bit like a hit-and-run, I had already told our host that I was leaving in 10 minutes, and now it is 14 minutes later.  Cash me out please…

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Bliscipline

One of the best poker books ever written is Elements of Poker, by Tommy Angelo.  One of the author’s charming qualities is his invention of words, that heretofore didn’t exist, to describe things that need their own special word.  Word inventions like gobsmacked, tiltlessness, Kuzzycan, and fast rolling.  And bliscipline.

Of bliscipline, he says:  Bliscipline is when you are at the table and you are so totally in control of yourself and so totally at peace in the situation that no matter what happens next, you’ll still have plenty of resolve in reserve.

I needed some bliscipline at the Bellagio in Las Vegas a few days ago, when this hand occurred.  I was playing at a $1/3 game, had bought in for the maximum of $300 and started this hand with a somewhat short stack of approximately $170.  Having lost some pots, I was searching for my bliscipline before topping off my stack.

Villain #1 for this hand (V1) is the BB.  Villain #2 (V2) is UTG+1, and opens the action with a raise to $10.  A young Russian girl calls.  I call with 8h 7h in the Hijack seat, i.e., two seats to the right of the button.  There is another call and V1 calls from the BB.

V1 seems like somewhat of a novice player.  When he first sat down, he made a comment about “being new at this” when he didn’t understand the protocol for something (straddling? string bets? I don’t exactly recall) Then in an earlier hand, I raised to $12 with AQ from a late position, and he called from one of the blinds A6o.  On a flop of AJ6 rainbow, he led into me with a $20 bet, which I mistakenly interpreted as his having an Ace with a weak kicker.  With no history on this Villain, I called his flop, turn and river bets and now my stack is short.  He looks and acts like a tourist or conventioneer, wearing a golf shirt and being social in a way that says I’m here for entertainment, let’s play poker and drink some and yuk it up.

V2 is very aggressive post flop; on multiple hands he has tried to push people off the pot when he smells weakness.  He is not overly aggressive pre-flop, but has made several raises to $10, almost as if sweetening the pot to try to take it down later in the hand.

Flop ($50):  6h 5s 4d.  This is fantastic!  A rainbow flop that gives me the top end of the nut straight.  Rather than bliss, I feel s surge of energy and I plan how to maximize my value for this hand.

V1 checks, V2 C-bets $15, and the Russian girl calls.  I decide to call, in part because I’m hoping V1 has some reason to call here as well.  There is one fold and V1 does call.

Turn ($110):  9d.  A safe card, albeit putting 2 diamonds on the board.  Time to build this pot and set up a river shove.

V1 checks, V2 bets $20.  Methinks he might have an over pair, although his bet sizing is weak.  On the other hand, his bets when trying to push people off hands earlier has been much larger, so maybe this is his style for value bets, ie., bigger bets are bluffs and smaller bets are for value.

The Russian girl calls $20, and I raise to $55.  After my raise, I have about $90 behind.  I’m trying to find the raise size that an over pair will call, and that makes it very difficult for anyone with any value who calls this raise on the turn to be able to fold when I shove on the river.  I am definitely not trying to push anyone off this pot.  While there is a flush draw now, there aren’t many hand with two diamonds in them that would have put in $15 on that rainbow flop, just to chase a backdoor flush draw.

V1 and V2 both call, but the Russian girl folds.   Hmmm… flush draws still seem unlikely, but a possibility.  Sets (I think a set would have announced itself loudly by now)?   Over pairs?   Two pair?  Pair + Ace kicker?  V1 could have virtually anything with any value, or could not even know what he has, as he still just doesn’t seem like a very good / thinking player.  V2 still seems more likely to have an over pair than anything else.

River ($295):  6d.  This is a nightmare card for me, as it brings in not only a 3rd diamond, but also pairs the board.

V1 checks again, and while my heart surges up into my throat, V2 suddenly perks up like a race horse coming around the final turn with his ears pinned forward.  He straightens up in his chair and starts cutting out chips for betting, 3 small stacks of 5 red (i.e., $5 each) chips, then stacking them up, and eventually sliding $75 into the pot, in a manner that tells me that I just got fucked.  Or as Tommy Angelo would say, when negative fluctuation occurs, you get fluct.

Hello?  Bliscipline?  Where are you, my friend?  I’d like to find you, ’cause I could really use your help.  Right now!

My emotions go crazy.  I started this hand with $170.  Flopped the nuts.  I’m entitled to get my last $90 in on this river, and win this pot, which will give me an ending stack of $470 or so after rake and tip.

I coined my own term and acronym awhile back, for Sudden Onset Entitlement Tilt.  Or SOET.  Pronounced “SWEEEEET!”  SOET is easily confused with Bliscipline.  At its (sudden) onset, SOET seems like a prelude to bliscipline.  I just flopped the nuts (or I have pocket AAs), and I’m going to win a huge pot, and after I do that I will feel blissful.  I have many times gotten fluct while experiencing SOET, when a nightmare card arrives (i.e., I get gobsmacked!) and despite the preponderance of the evidence that my hand is no longer good, I continue to pour all my chips into the pot.  Suddenly, this looks like one of those times.

I find just enough discipline (but definitely not my friend Bliscipline) to slow down and think about it.  While in the think tank, I glare at one of my travel companions who is at the same table (for purposes of this blog post, I’ll call him “Zach”), in a way that I’m sure he will interpret as I just got fluct.  Zach confirmed to me later that my glare indeed meant I had flopped the nuts.

It is $75 to call and the pot is now $370. I’m getting 5-to-1 odds so my straight only has to be good 1 out of 6 times for this to be a correct call in a mathematical sense.  Poker players tend to do this type of math when they know they are beat, but want to justify calling anyway so they can confirm beyond any doubt the villain’s hand.  I’m about to call, as this was a back door flush so it’s not like he was chasing it from the get go.  And the highest card on the board is a 9.  Did V2 raise pre-flop with pocket 99’s or some other combination that just made a full house?  Wait a minute KKing, think this through.

What does he have and how would he play it?  I rewind the hand.  V2 open raised to $10 pre-flop. Then he C-bet $15, which was weak given the pot size.  Then he bet small again ($20) on the turn, and called my smallish raise to $55.  Was that a C-bet with total air, followed by a blocker bet when a flush draw became possible?  This actually makes some sense if he has Ad Kd or Ad Qd or Kd Qd. Maybe Ad Jd.  I suppose I can buy that story line.

His body language, however, is compelling.  When the 6d hit the board on the river, he sat up, leaned forward, looked happy, and grabbed chips like a man on a mission.  While his bet is larger in absolute terms, it is still very small in relation to this bloated pot.  He wants to be sure he gets paid, and shows no fear of 2 other players still in the hand.

Goddammit!  (TILT)  This pot was supposed to be mine. This is where my session is supposed to get untracked. (TILT TILT TILT)

This is a time that calls for discipline.  When you are beat, you are beat.  I finally fold, suffering in silence.  I’ve gotten much better in the last six months at being able to fight off the tilt and lay down hands like this.

A young Israeli guy 2 seats to my right nods in approval.  He mouths the words “he has full house” towards me.  This is fascinating, as if this other player who I don’t know, never played with before, haven’t had any table conversation with, half my age, is suddenly pulling for me to make the right decision.  It is so much easier to see what is happening with great clarity when you are not involved (financially nor emotionally) in a hand.  The young Israeli sees it.  I see it too, although it takes a couple minutes of staring and glaring before I can let go of my cards.

Then, to my surprise, V1 check-raises to $150.  All along, I had disregarded him as a threat after V2’s bet and body language, as he had checked and called every street.  Now he makes a minimum raise. WTF?

V2 quickly calls. V1 shows Ad 8d and V2 tables Kd Qd.  V1’s Ace-high flush beats V2’s K-high flush to drag in a nearly $600 pot.  V1 called the flop $15 bet with a gutshot straight draw and 2 over cards.  V2 did not have an over pair, but made a flop continuation bet with 2 over cards, then a blocker bet when a 2nd diamond arrived on the turn.

According to my Poker Cruncher app, my equity in the pot after the turn card was 81%, V1 was 19% (including his equity in the possibility of a chop if the river was a non-diamond 7), and V2 was already drawing dead.

I’m glad I found the discipline to fold.  But I’m not feeling any bliss.

I continue with my sub-$100 short stack for about an orbit and a half, trying to get my mind right again.  Then on my next button hand, I add $200, and immediately get dealt 9h 9d and call a pre-flop raise.  The flop comes Kh 9s 3h.  When the opener C-bets, I raise him and he spazzes out and shoves (AA, AK, KQ range), probably assuming I’m semi-bluffing with a flush draw.  I call, the turn and river are both hearts and my 9h makes the winning flush to take his full stack (which was under $200).

Slowly, bliss begins to return. I missed you Bliss, you are my best friend. Let’s play on…

Trust Thy Reads

When discussing poker with my friends, one of the common themes that I bring up is trusting your reads.  This requires two things:  first you have to be decent at hand reading (or “structured hand analysis”); second you have to trust your reads and act on that trust.

Many recreational players will get involved in a clash of two big hands where the Villain goes all-in, and find themselves saying something like, “I know you’ve got me beat, but I have to see it anyway just to be sure.”  And of course, you end up paying off the Villain.

So this happened last night, playing $1/2 NL Hold’em online:

Villain ($201.75) – cutoff

Hero ($210.15) – button, holding Ts Tc.

Preflop:  UTG limps in and Villain raises to $8.  I call.  In retrospect, I’m not sure why I didn’t re-raise here, except for some concern about the UTG player slow playing a huge hand like AA or KK and coming back over the top.  But that’s irrelevant to today’s lesson.

Flop ($21) – Ad Th Kc:  Villain checks, and I bet $10.50.  I’ve flopped bottom set and need to bet for value.  If I’m going to have a chance to get his full stack, I need to start building the pot now.  Hopefully he has AK or AQ and can’t get away from it.

Now he check-raises to $29.  Hmmmm!  Could he have AA or KK?  QJ?  Or just a silly check-raise bluff?  I consider just calling, but decide to raise again to $59.  I still have about $160 behind, so if he ships it all in here I can fold and keep playing.  I cannot imagine another raise with a hand that is weaker than mine.

It should be noted that I know absolutely nothing about this Villain.  He’s only been at the table for 4 or 5 hands and hasn’t done anything weird.

He 4-bets to $119.

Time for some hand reading.  Really the only cards he can have are QJ, for a flopped straight.  His bet isn’t big enough to be an effort to push me off the pot.  He only has $75 behind, so he’s pot committed.  I know all the poker pros say that you have to put your opponents on a range of hands and not try to guess their exact cards, but in this case, I cannot see him betting this way even with AA or KK.  He has the nut straight.

I decide to fold.

Then I un-decide.  I don’t know what came over me.  I was thinking that if he has AA or KK, then I would only have one out in the deck, the last 10 to make quads.  But if he has QJ, which I am now quite sure of, then I have 7 outs on the turn and 10 outs on the river to make a full house or quads, which gives me about 35% equity in the hand.  (Note to self:  35% equity means you are BEHIND, NOT AHEAD, asshole!)

Some external force moves the mouse to the all-in button and clicks.  Villain calls and shows Qs Js and goes on to win a $405 pot.

Gotta trust your reads!

Year-to-date and month-to-date online results:  +$738

 

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