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    Thursday, July 06, 2006

    Another Boring Poker Post

    I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "So Dweeze, seen any cool poker hands lately?"

    Well you know what I say to that? I say b'scuse me mother fucker, do I look like I could eat all that chicken by myself?

    Okay, I don't say that. But if I did, it would be more than appropriate for you to respond with a hearty shut up bitch, I don't know your life.

    With that out of the way, there are a couple of hands I want to talk about, one I was in and one I watched. The hand I watched was notable for what happened, the hand I was in notable for how someone reacted to it.

    First the hand I watched. I was in a 90-person tourney, about a third of the way through (meaning about 30 people had already busted out). There were three big stacks at the table, all three with more than 5,000 chips, one with more than 7,000. Hand starts and I get dealt crap in the big blind. The first three people to act muck and we get to the big stack. He raises 500 chips. Next person to act folds and we get to the second largest stack. He re-raises 1,000. Next person to act is the third stack, and HE reraises another grand. Small blind folds, I fold, back to the big stack who smooth calls the 2,000 chip raises. The second stack rereraises all in, the third stack calls as does the big stack. So we've got a 15,000 chip pot at stake. The cards reveal and we see the big stack with A-Q hearts and each of the other players with pocket kings. The two sets of cowboys aren't in bad shape. True, the only way to improve their hands is to hit a flush, a straight, or a boat. But A-Q needs to hit either the heart flush, an ace, or a set of queens to win. So what is the flop? Queen of spades, queen of clubs, queen of diamonds. Big stack flops quads.

    I don't know if it's ever happened to you - it's occurred a couple of times to me - but there a few things as nice in poker as flopping quads. Flop quads and you can pretty much consider that hand yours. In fact, as long as there is no straight flush draw or another quad draw on the board, you can't slow play quads too much. Let the betting come to you, or, if you feel compelled to bet, just make little value bets that give people the right odds to call. (One of the best way to improve the flopping quads experience is to have someone else at the table decide to represent that THEY flopped quads. This has happened to me twice, and both times I was able to bust the person by calling their raises after the flop and the turn. As someone said once, you can't bluff quads out of a pot.)

    But the wierdest thing about the hand was yet to come. The turn comes up an Ace. The river also comes up an Ace. So not only does the guy flop quads, he also flops a set of Aces. Showing on the board at the end of the hand were four queens, four kings, and four aces and that was just with three people in the hand. Talk about your impressive boards.

    As to the hand I was in, it's a 18-person tournament that pays four places. There are six of us left, and I was in fifth place but well within striking distance of both fourth and third. I get dealt K-8 on the button. First person to act, the fourth place chip holder, calls as does the next peson, the chip leader. The next person mucks, I call, the small blind folds. The big blind checks.

    Flop comes down 5-5-K. Big blind checks, next guy raises 250. Big stack calls, I call, big blind folds. I figure at least one of the two others in the pot has a 5, but I'm getting pot odds to call with my two pair.

    Turn comes out another K. I've hit a boat, Ks over 5s. Doesn't matter now if one of them has a five - in fact, I hope they both have fives and I'm the only one with a K. But even if I'm not the only one with a K, I'm still almost certain to split the pot.

    First guy to act bets 500. Big stack reraises 500, I don't hesitate to call. First guy to act then goes all in, with quick calls from both the big stack and me. This means both first stack and I have our tournament lives on the line. Big stack shows K-10 for a full house Ks over 5s. I show my K-8 for a full house Ks over 5s. Next guy shows 9-5 for a full house 5s over Ks. He's meat, unless of course the fourth five shows on the river. Which it doesn't. What does show is an 10, meaning big stack takes the pot with a full house Ks over 10s.

    I'm out, but I stick around to wish the guy a nh. We had been talking throughout the game and I felt I owed it to him. However, the first guy, the guy with the 5s over Ks, starts ranting about getting beat by the river. I helpfully point out that he didn't get beat on the river, he got beat on the turn. I got beat on the river. Guy keeps ranting, calls me an idiot noob poker player. I point out the need for him to check the hand history and that, if he does, he'll see both big stack and I had better full boats on the turn and that he was beat at that point. He must have checked, cause a moment later he comes back with "Well I had a set on the turn and you guys called me," a statement that provoked a round of "lol"s from the people at the table. I pointed out that at the time he was probably ecstatic that we called him, that if he hadn't wanted us to call him he should have made a huge bet that we couldn't call, and that if you can't handle the fact that people will sometimes hit their draws, you shouldn't get greedy and make value bets that people will call, but by that time he had already taken off.

    See, the thing is, if he had been paying attention he would have gotten more than enough information to make the right move at that point. But he didn't pay attention to anything other than the fact that he had a full house, 5s over Ks. If he was paying attention, he could have deduced when we called his initial bet that we were calling with either another 5, a K, or an over pair to the 5s or the K. Those latter two events were unlikely considering the pre-flop action (or lack thereof). And because he already had one of the 5s, if he was thinking he would have known that at least one of us had a K.

    Then, after the turn, when big stack not only called but raised, he should have known that, with all probability, big stack had a K. At the very least, big stack was representing a K. Once I called, he had to know, if he was paying attention, that at least one of us, and probably both of us, had a K. Maybe you bluff-raise and represent the K, but you don't call that raise without actually having a K. Breaking it down, there were five possibilities.

    The least likely is that big stack and I were both bluffing and neither of us had Ks over 5s. Like I say, extremely unlikely, but the best possibility as far as Mr. Rant was concerned. If we are both bluffing, Mr. Rant comes out no worse than a split pot (in the unlikely event a third K hit on the river). This scenario is one of only two where Mr. Rant's all-in makes sense, and, like I said, it is the least likely scenario.

    The second possibilty, also unlikely, is that one of us was bluffing and one of us had 5s over Ks. While this is also unlikely, as no one paying attention would call the bluff with just 5s over Ks, Mr. Rant called with just 5s over Ks so I can't discount it completely. This is split pot between Mr. Rant and whoever had 5s over Ks (with, again, the possibilty of a third K on the river giving a split pot between everyone). Mr. Rant's all-in makes sense under this scenario, because the person with 5s over Ks might think Mr. Rant had Ks over 5s, but again this is an unlikely scenario.

    The third possibility is that one of us was bluffing and one of us had Ks over 5s. In that event going all-in would chase the person bluffing, but it would not chase the person with Ks over 5s. At that point, Mr. Rant would be all-in against a better hand, needing the unlikely fourth 5 to stay in the game.

    The fourth possibility is that one of us had 5s over Ks and one of us had Ks over 5s. In that event, going all-in might chase the person with 5s over Ks, but it would not chase the person with Ks over 5s and, even if it chased the person with 5s over Ks, Mr. Rant is still dead because the only card that would win the pot for him, the fourth 5, got mucked when the other person with 5s over Ks mucked.

    The final possibility is that both of us had Ks over 5s. In that event, going all-in chases no one and Mr. Rant is, for all practical purposes, drawing dead, needing the fourth 5 to win the hand.

    So, five possibilities, only two of which give him any reasonable chance to win the hand. The two least likely possibilities.

    What then should Mr. Rant have done? Well, he could have just called, checked the river, and then folded at any sign of a bet from big stack or me. He could have also made another small rereaise, say 500 chips, an information gathering bet to see how the two of us reacted. If one or both of us were bluffing, we would fold. If one or both of us had a boat, we would call or reraise. At that point Mr. Rant could act accordingly on the river.

    But he didn't, and for the sake of this blog, he shall remain forever as Mr. Rant. To Mr. Rant!

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