KKing David

Ruminations on poker

Archive for the tag “Mrs.”

I Played That Right, Didn’t I? (Part Two)

Part One of “I Played That Right, Didn’t I?” described a two online poker hands where I was all-in and way ahead, only to see the villains hit a 2-outer and 4-outer, respectively, to win big pots.

After reading the blog, Mrs. asked me how I could be sure the online poker room (in my case, Ignition Poker) wasn’t cheating me somehow.  Perhaps there is an algorithm that identifies you as a winning player, then intentionally [bleep]‘s you over to keep you from cashing out?  How can you know?

This led to a long discussion about variance and Sklansky bucks, among other things, to explain that these things happen in live games with real cards that I can see being shuffled with my own eyes, all of which Mrs. found quite boring.

At a live, private game Saturday night, there was a 3-way all-in on the flop.  I was just an observer in this one.  One player had pocket aces, another flopped middle set, and the 3rd guy had top pair and a good kicker.  I was sitting next to the guy with a set and told him “nice hand!”  Then another ace fell on the river.  Ouch.

Last night, at a different private game, it was me again.  This game uses the Mississippi straddle rule, allowing any player to post a live straddle of any amount, in any position.  I’ve been experimenting with straddling more frequently on the button, especially when my stack is reasonably deep.  On this hand, I started with a little over 180 BBs and posted a standard straddle.

The SB called blind, meaning he didn’t look at his cards before calling.  For purposes of this blog, I’ll call him “Rob.”  I won’t try to explain Rob’s reasons for doing this… he later referred to himself as a “fish/donkey.”  Another player in middle position raised to 7 BBs (not quite 3x the straddle amount), there was one caller, and I called with T7 off-suit.  Rob also called.

Normally I wouldn’t call 7 BBs with T7o, but part of the reason for straddling on the button is to maximize the leverage of being last to act post-flop.  If you’re going to pump up the volume by straddling, you need to stick around for the action in more marginal spots.

Flop (29 BBs):  T77.

As I was saying, when you are last and flop a monster, the effect of the straddle is there is already a larger pot, making post-flop bets also larger coupled with the positional advantage that allows you to manage the final pot size.  With this flop, that’s a good thing.

After Rob check, the pre-flop raiser now bets 9 BBs, and the next player folds.  I don’t need to raise yet.  With a full house already, I don’t have to worry about a straight or flush draw hitting, and I want to see if anyone else wants to keep playing.  I call and Rob also calls.

Turn (56 BBs):  K

Both players check.  I bet 18 BBs.  Rob takes his time, then raises all-in, a total of 52 BBs.  The pre-flop raiser folds.  I call and turn my hand over immediately, showing my full house.

Rob winces in pain, then lets out a sound like a badly wounded fish/donkey.  He turns over one card – a seven – and starts walking away from the table.  Obviously his kicker is lower than my ten, so he’s drawing dead and knows it.

River (160 BBs):  Another K.

Wait a minute!  The dealer studies the board.  I study the board.  This can’t be happening.  (“Oh it’s happening, sweetheart!”)  Rob comes back to his seat.  He never surrendered his other card to the muck pile, and turns it over to show an eight.  The king on the river gives us both the same hand, sevens full of kings.

I didn’t lose any money here, but it feels like a loss.  Having a zero percent chance of winning the pot when he went all-in, Rob quietly stacks his 80 BB portion of the pot.

How do I tell Mrs. that I want her to listen to a “bad chop story?”


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Hanging with D-Wade and Queen Bey

NOTE:  This entry was originally posted on a different site on September 3, 2016 and has been slightly edited prior to re-posting here.

It’s poker night.

I show up at a private house game where I’m one of the regulars.  We play in our host’s garage.

Shortly after the game starts, a new player arrives, a young black man who resembles NBA star Dwyane Wade.  I know this because later, on the TV, I can see ABC News’ George Stephanopolous interviewing Dwyane Wade in the aftermath of the tragic shooting death of his cousin in Chicago.  The TV is right above this new player and I notice a strong resemblance, so for purposes of this blog, I’ll call him “Dwyane.”

When he first arrived, Dwyane looked familiar and I thought I might have played poker with him one or two times previously, but now I’m not so sure.  He’s wearing shorts that hang down below his knees and look like they are two sizes too large in the waist.  I just don’t get that look, but seriously, I try not to judge.  Once I even tried wearing my pants positioned where the belt loops are just below the fattest part of my butt cheeks (only at home, alone).  It was not comfortable.  The slightest breeze, movement or bump into something could collapse my pants down around my ankles before I would have time to react.  If there is something about that style of dress that I was missing, I’m still missing it.

The other thing noteworthy about Dwyane’s appearance is his cap, which at first glance appears to be a military reference, but actually says “STRIPCLUB VETERAN” across the front.

I try not to judge.

The thing is, Dwyane has brought a female friend with him, and we can only assume this to be his girlfriend.  She was strikingly attractive, with longer, curly, well-coiffed hair that reminded me of Beyonce, only with darker skin and wearing yoga pants.  I’m not one to know these things, but if someone told me Dwyane’s girlfriend had undertaken some artificial booty enhancement, I would believe it to be true.  Whoever started the trend of women wearing yoga pants as everyday apparel deserves to be rich and famous, with a special place in heaven.

Lacking any other name to use, for purposes of this blog, I’ll call her “Bey.”

Bey sits very quietly behind Dwyane and watches him play poker.  Occasionally she moves from the back of his left shoulder to the right side.  For about 59 out of every 60 seconds, she is pulling or rearranging a couple of strands of hair in the front, rubbing off the hair product holding her beautiful curls in place.  She is left with a few strands of frizz among a sea of curls.  I wish I had a time-lapse video.

No introductions are made, so perhaps this isn’t Bey’s first appearance here and I’m the one who is slightly out of the loop.  That would be normal.

Nevertheless, here we are.  Bey is the only female present, not playing poker but just watching, not talking other than some infrequent and inaudible words with Dwyane, smoking hot, and Dwyane is still wearing his STRIPCLUB VETERAN cap and has to grab his shorts every time he stands up.

He gets a run of good hands and after an hour or so, Dwyane is up approximately $250.  I feel this very strong urge to say something.  Like:  “Hey ‘Dwyane,’ why don’t you take your winnings and buy ‘Bey’ a very nice dinner, then see if y’all can find something else to do?  Oh yeah, and lose the hat!”  With a wink and extra emphasis on the word something.

But I try not to judge, and keep quiet.

Our host always provides something for the players to eat, and tonight it is chicken stir fry from a Japanese takeout place.  Dwyane brings a full plate over to the table, and a few minutes later I hear him encouraging Bey to have some too.  I had dinner before arriving, so I passed on the food.  It might have been delicious.  Although our host insisted that it was a medium-priced Japanese chicken stir-fry, from a distance is looked like the stuff you get when you have to search for coins in the sofa cushions so you can afford the cheapest Chinese takeout in town.

I need to learn not to judge.

Mrs. is probably right when she observes that I’m not so great at dating anymore (nor was I ever).  But tonight, I’m feeling pretty darn confident in my “what not to do on a date” reads at this poker game.

Around 1:00 a.m. I am leaving.  Dwyane and Bey are still there.  His winnings have turned into a loss.  Rather than top off his stack, he continues to play with a single, short stack of chips in front.  Bey looks bored with everything other than those strands of hair she keeps stroking, determined to get the last bit of hair product out of there.

I consider offering Bey a ride home, but it occurs to me that at least one of them may have some major insecurities about their relationship.  Besides, how would I start a conversation:  “Do you know about Beyonce?  My step-mother calls her “BEE-yonce” but my father calls her “Be-YON-see.”

Nah, that would never work.  I make a mental note to say something nice to Mrs. tomorrow morning.


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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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