Raise or Fold:  A Year of Risky Business

Writing and playing poker as if they were activities worth doing well.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Unclear On The Concept

The 2/5 game was wild on Saturday night, the wildest I’d ever seen at Harrah’s. It was playing deep, too; there was probably more than 20K on the table. It was Action Central: in the four hours I played on the main game (after being shifted from the must-move table, well up), there were maybe two contested pots worth less than $200. The average pot was closer to $400. Chips were sloshing from one end of the table to another.

After awhile I realized I didn’t have the stomach for this table anymore. I was just not willing to get it all in to the middle and rebuy, rebuy, rebuy the way it would be required to profit at this particular game. Despite previous oaths to the contrary, I decided to take my small loss for 2/5 and step down to 1/2.

As it turns out, this was a wise move. (In fact, previous stats to the contrary, I broke even at 2/5 but made a profit at 1/2 on this trip.) In the wee hours of the morning, my new table was stocked with the tired, stupid, and clueless, and it quickly became apparent that I was going to clean up here. I had the run of the joint until a young man sat down to my left and started to horn in on my action.

He had a nice line of patter. He was friendly and chatty, and it soon became apparent that his “Aw, shucks” routine was pure bullshit. He knew exactly what he was doing. It also turned out that he had recently moved to DC and was looking for games in my area. I immediately determined to tell him nothing. It was also clear that he quickly identified me as the only other person in our game who posed a threat, and he did his best to disarm me with charm. (As if.)

There was one other person at the table who obviously featured himself as a superior player. He had a few extra chips in front of him, and had evidently been prospering until my arrival. (Really, a blind wombat ought to have been successful at this table.) Shortly after BS-Boy sat down, he tangled with Superior Player.

I regret that I cannot reconstruct the action in the hand with any precision. Honestly, I wasn’t paying that much attention until the flop, when the heads-up dialog began. There was a big bet from SP.

BS-Boy: I raise. (He makes a bet that will require SP to be all-in if he calls. The board has two hearts, a queen, no straight possibilities.)

SP: Your two pair is no good, sir.

BS-Boy: I don’t have two pair.

SP: You make that bet with a draw? You have a flush draw?

BS-Boy: I have a flush draw, but not the one you think.

SP: Really, you are on a flush draw?

BS-Boy: I will show you if you fold.

SP: I call.

The board is run out with blanks. BS-Boy turns over the AQ of clubs, for top pair, top kicker. SP mucks angrily.

SP, indignantly, in high dudgeon, and with apparent total sincerity: You lied to me, sir! You said you were on a flush draw. You did not have a flush draw. You looked me straight in the face and lied! You have no integrity. The money means nothing to me, I have plenty of money, but I find your behavior deplorable.

BS-Boy: (Says nothing, is clearly boggled.)

Me: You are at a poker table. People often do not tell the truth.

SP: But he gave me his word! He has no integrity!

Me: This is poker. You know… bluffing…

SP: Is that how your parents raised you? I feel sorry for you that you were brought up without any morals. I do not wish to play with people like you two.

SP storms off.

Me, BS-Boy, Dealer, and indeed whole table: ??????

A few moments later it dawns on me… “two pair no good.” Oh, really? And yet somehow TPTK managed to take down the pot. (My best guess is that SP was on the nut heart flush draw himself.) The ridiculous thing is I think he was genuinely incensed at having been fibbed to, without even remembering his own bit of misdirection. It’s pretty clear that in fact BS-Boy was the more honest of the two liars (he had the nut club flush draw pre-flop)!

Oh, and the next time someone impugns my parents’ child-rearing skills or ethics, I will inform him or her that they are this very moment looking down upon the defamer from heaven and recommending to God immediate dispatch to Hades upon demise. No one disses my parents, dammit!

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Blogger FkCoolers said...

Friendly suggestion: Don't insert yourself in other people's debates at the poker table.

8/13/09 9:28 AM  

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