Sunday, July 22, 2007

My Advice Column...looking for some, not offering any

Ed and I went to Potawanomi Casino in Milwaukee for the first time Frinday night. It was part of a sporadic trip to go see the Brewers play the Giants (and watch Barry Bonds do absolutely nothing). The casino portion of the trip was an interesting one, however, in no way was it profitable. I was involved in two hands, both of which I lost, that stuck out in my head and I'm curious to see what some of you have to say about them.

Hand #1

This is my fourth hand at the table. I have not been able to observe much, but in the first three the dealer has been saying things like "Six to the flop". There has been a lot of limping and a lot of people who are calling small raises after limping in. I'm in the SB ($3/$5 NL) and I'm doing my best to pay attention to two players specifically, a young kid who has almost $1,800 in front of him and the player to his left who has been very talkative. The UTG player limps, my monster stack limps, then something really catches my attention and sirens go off. My talkative guy, losing track of the action due to his conversation, bolts up in his seat and, very intently, asks the dealer, "Is the action on me?" He seemed way to eager to enter the pot, however, he only limped. I found this action extremely peculiar. We pick up two more limpers. I look down and see QcJc and I complete the bet from the SB and the BB checks. Seven to the flop.

The flop comes J-9-3 rainbow. With top pair and a decent kicker, I bet out $10 into a $35 pot to get a better feel for where I stand. The player two seats to my right calls, monster stack folds, then my talker bumps it to $40. Action fold around to me. I think for a second and my mind goes back to the pre-flop sirens. I have to call another $30 in a $95 pot. I'm struggling to put him on a hand, but for some reason, I pick AK as the strongest hand he can have and that there's a reasonable chance I'm ahead plus I'm gettin better than 3 to 1 and unless he's holding 33, 99, JJ, QQ, KJ or AJ, the odds dictate a call. After deciding that he's not on one of those six hands, I call. The other player who called my $10 bet folds.

A 10d hits the turn. I now have an open ended straight draw to go along with my top pair. However, I can't get those sirens out of my hand so I check to the aggressor who checks it as well. I'm lost. At this point, I'm not even sure what my name is.

The 4d hit the river, putting a diamond flush draw on the board leaving me with top pair and Q kicker. I check again and he checks. His check makes me feels pretty safe that the $125 pot is coming my way and I announce top pair. The talker flips over AA! A fricking A!!!!!! He then admits to playing that hand terribly to which the old man sitting to my left quickly replies, "You sure did!"

What the hell just happened? Was it a mistake to call his post-flop raise? The only thing I'm thankful for is that he didn't value bet the river because I don't see how I could have folded to another $25 - $30. Plese tell me if you think I made a mistake in the hand and what you would have done differently.

Hand #2

This hand comes about an hour or so into my session. There is a player at our table who moved in just after hand #1 and has been stuck on mega-tilt ever since joining our game (who will be referred to as Tiltboy for the purposes of this post). From overhearing a conversation he had with a floorperson, he had an interesting situation occur at his previous table that really, really upset him. From what I've been able to piece together, this is his story.

Tiltboy is at another no limit table and raises a hand pre-flop and gets a couple callers. He makes a strong bet after the flop and gets one caller. After the turn, he bets out enough to put the other guy all in. This is where the fun begins.

The other player is torn on what to do in this situation. So what does he do? He shows his hand to the player sitting next to him and asks him what he would do. This gets Tiltboy all bent out of shape and he tells the dealer to kill his hand because it should be one player to a hand. The floorperson I saw Tiltboy have the conversation with was called to the table for a ruling. According to the floorperson, since the person he showed his hand to did not give a response, verbally anyways, the player's hand was still live and the hand will continue. The guy calls and eventually wins the hand. That was the last hand Tiltboy played at that table and after telling the floorperson how big his mistake was and how at "real casinos" (I loved that line...I almost laughed when I overheard that part of the conversation) that decision was a "no-brainer" and that guy's hand would have been ruled dead.

**Just a side note, I agree with Tiltboy completely in this situation and because of this situation, I may think twice before going to their poker room in the future. I do not agree with how that hand was ruled. I think the only reason Tiltboy wasn't escorted out of the poker room was because the floorperson knew he goofed up.

So, thanks to a little drama, we have a new player at our game. Yay.

Our tilting maniac held true to form, raised hand after hand in the vicinity of 5x - 12x the BB (7 hands straight at one point). He continued his ruthless (and brainless) aggression post-flop as well. He showed down several miserable hands like betting out $100 on Q high and getting all ticked off when someone calls him with top pair to take the pot. I had the "pleasure" of tangling with him in the next hand.

We're now 10 handed. I'm third to act pre-flop. The two players in front of me both limp in. I look down and see Kd9d. Not a killer hand by any stretch but I decide it's worth $5 to try and see a flop with it. Two more players limp before the SB also limps. Tiltboy announces, "I'm on tilt guys, come get it" and makes it $25 straight. Normally, I'd see that as a sign of true strength and run for the hills, but, this guy was just telling us the truth. The two players in front of me both call. There's now $95 in the pot. I figure, "eh, what the hell" and I join the fun as my odds improved with the two calls in front of my and they got even better with two calls after me (SB was the only player to fold to the raise) $155 in the pot.

The flop come 9c-8d-3d. I'm extremely happy with that flop. I'm assuming that nobody with a hand worth 5x the BB hit any of the rags on board plus I have the second nut flush draw. Tiltboy is first to act and he does exactly what I want him to do...bets out $50. The next player to act folds and the second guy calls. The action is to me with a $255 pot and I have $160 remaining. Calling pretty much commits me to the pot and really doesn't offer a power move on the turn or river. If I want to play this hand, I decide that the remaining chips in my stack have to go in the pot. The bestt possible scenario for me is to get heads up with Tiltboy. Action folds around to him. He calls (was that even a question?). The original caller is torn. He has to call $110 more in a pot that's already hit $525. He folds and claims to have held 89 for top two pair. Heads up...mission accomplished

The Ah hits the turn. I think that by now I have to be behind because I could see him making this play with A high but Tiltboy looks up at me and says, "Don't worry, you're good". The 7h hits the river and Tiltboy jumps out of his seat and turns over J10o for the rivered nut straight. One of the players who folded to my re-raise laughs and says, "Wow, I folded that." I'm beyond pissed and get up from the table while I listen to Tiltboy praise his play and that it was the "perfect play". Does anyone else find fault in how he played this hand or am I just crying over spilled milk?

So that's the tale of my Potawanomi adventure. Buy-in bye-bye. I did, however, feel slightly better when he lost a $700 pot a few hands later when he pushed with 10-10 on a board of 9-8-7 and his opponent's KK held up.


Shelly said...

I've had pretty good luck at Potowatomi, though I've only played limit there, and did suffer a brush person f-up when they forgot to put me on the list when I called once.

On that first hand... I guess it comes down to one of two things: do you trust your gut's warning signs and bail? Or do you trust what the betting of the hand tells you? Per betting, no way you can put him on AA, as only a giant idiot takes 7 to a flop with pocket Aces. Hello, crack-off invitation. Or, you trust your gut, and figure even if you're laying down the best hand, you'll get another shot later. Honestly, I'd have probably laid down QJ suited when he raised on the flop - but I play way tighter than you :) KK or QQ would have been harder to lay down, but the old mantra creeps in - don't go broke with top pair. Without even the nut kicker, I'd bail. Even if the donk has at best something like an OESD, do you want to gamble with him for top pair? Two clubs onboard - different story. If the guy hadn't made the big display preflop, I wouldn't be so quick to laydown, but your gut fed you some reliable information in that instance.

I went bust at Empress that same day. Musta been the weather.

Kenneth said...

Combining the info of the raise, the board texture, and the pre-flop read you are likely drawing to five outs at best. I think the times he does something silly with a hand you are beating here that fit the pre-flop read (AK, AQ, TT) offset the times he has you drawing to less than five outs (set, TP better kicker) such that we could likely consider this approximately a five out situation or something close to it. You are actually facing $85:$30 or 2.8:1.0 pot odds on a five out - 12% - 7.3:1.0 odds shot to the turn. If you think you can get his stack if you hit, then perhaps I make the call (don't know how deep you guys were so I don't know what the implied odds are). It'll probably be tough for him to dump his stack if the top card pairs though. Anyways, I think you probably just had to trust your read here and not assume just because you know not to limp there with big pair after two limpers that another person wouldn't do the same.

Second hand post flop is a no-brainer and you certainly made the right play. Pre-flop I probably wouldn't limp with a marginal hand like K9 suited when I'm not super deep. The BB is too likely to make me play for 15% of my stack here with a hand that'll really need to nail the flop to be playable and doesn't play terribly well multiway. Plus although he's drawing for the wrong odds on the flop, your stack was short enough that it wasn't a huge mistake for him to make that call.