Another night at the Big Game

The Big Game is proving to be my first time becoming a regular at a local cardroom.  Possibly because this is one of the first times I’ve had a local cardroom!

I hit the Big Game with two coworkers and a friend of a friend.  One friend was definately on the prowl for chicks as he was out on the apartment’s balcony like a shot when two of the three hot dealer girls went there on break.  These girls are getting hit on all the time, and one has a boyfriend, but as they say, "You can’t win if you don’t play".

I had a fascinating night where the table went through two phases.  The first was when the game was short-handed and most of the players were playing very passively.  I stole some pots with good cards that missed, and since we rarely saw a raise before the flop, I won some pots with two pair when I correctly read the raiser for Ace-King or Ace-Queen that only hit an Ace.

I racked up $100 in an hour or two playing almost every unraised pot.  Then two Asian players sat down, one on each side of me.  The player on the left was extremely aggressive.  If he had 12 outs to draw to a good hand, he would have no compunction about pushing all-in on the flop despite the fact that he knew he didn’t have the best hand.

His friend on my right was a similar player, but with weak tendencies.  When a very tight weak player across the table raised to $20 before the flop, one other player and the loose-weak Asian player called.  The flop came 6-3-2 and I suspected everyone had missed.  The unrelated player checked, the original raiser checked.  He wasn’t a check-raiser, so that meant he missed.  The loose-weak Asian always bet $15 no matter what the flop, and so when he did I realized he was my only opponent.  I also realized he was probably bluffing.

I looked down at his stack, realized he only had $100 left to my $350, and I said, "I put you all-in".  The cardroom owner on duty overheard me and came over and laughed.  "I love how you didn’t even care there were two other players left to act."  If my read was wrong on either one, that indeed would have been reckless.  However I was right and the loose-weak Asian grumbled for a while and sheepishly folded.

The most perplexing hand came up about an hour later though.  This hand had me up for hours after I came home later.  Steve Danneman said something at the final table of the 2005 World Series of Poker that’s stuck with me for a long time, "Folding is a small mistake."   It’s good advice unless you’re the kind of person that likes to play a high variance game.  (But I don’t)

A brand new player (we’ll call him Franklin) with almost no history sat down across from me.  I had AKs, and I made it $11.  This is a $1/$2 game, remember.  Standard raise is $7 if you’re trying to build the pot (everyone calls this), $11 or more if you want people to fold.

Three players called, including Franklin.  The flop came Ace-Queen-Queen.  Franklin bet $20, the other unrelated players folded.  I raised to $60, and Franklin pushed his last $170 in without hesitation.  It smelled like a trap.  There was a certain air of smugness and relief to Franklin when he went all-in, like he’d gotten to do what he wanted to do, instead of seeing me just call or fold.  I’ve learned not to discount these indications, but I don’t rely too heavily on them if they contradict other data.  In this case, it all smelled bad for me.

I sat back, crossed my arms, and went into the tank.

First of all, I was going to have to call $170 to win $271.  This wasn’t even 2-1.  Also, assuming he might play this hand in this way with any Ace-X down to Ace-Ten, any queen down to Queen-Ten, and AA-JJ, I was definately a razor thin  favorite.  About 2%, according to my favorite calculator PokerStove.  And that’s only if he was loose enough to do this.  If he actually was tighter than this, or if he had a Queen, I was dead dead dead.

Realizing I was either beat or out-bluffed, I folded my hand, making possibly a small mistake.  As he folded his cards I saw an indeterminate face card, though possibly a Jack.  Queen-Jack became a real possibility, with Ace-Jack as a less likely one to play that hand that way.  He then said, "I had a queen."  Five minutes later he said something about "stealing that pot".  I avoided monkey tilt that this was likely to cause me.  I played a few more hands well, and at 1am they pushed dealers and asked for time.  I tipped the new dealer $5 since the table was breaking and cashed out with a profit of $10 for my 4.5 hours.

I spent the rest of the day stewing about this hand, but managed to talk myself out of tilt mostly by composing this analysis in my head.

Cest la vie..