Friday, May 13, 2016

A good beat, a bad beat & a little Zeebo Theorem

I rarely call when I'm beat.  That's the way I've been since I started playing 6 years ago.  I like to be correct, and hate burning money, so my preferences fall strongly in line with my overall life outlook.  Sometimes, however, logic gets the better of me.  This time, at least, logic didn't cost me too much money.  Let me explain:

First, a bit of background.  This had been a mostly sideways session.  I'm sitting on about $110 above my original buy in, $410 total (or thereabout).  I'd seen some very poor play from my table mates, but since earlier in the session, my table had tightened up quite a bit.  One hand that particularly pissed me off was when a short stack called my $12 raise with 9d5d with $32 behind as first in, (I had AQo in the SB), saw a 7 5 4 flop and jammed.  I called after all folded around ($60 in the pot), and did not improve.  That set him on a heater from $48 --> $500 by the end of the night.  Total fish that got lucky!  I guess if it happens to him, it can happen to anyone.  It was that kind of table, though... and up & down night.  Now back to the title and point of the post; the setup:

EP raises to $10 and it gets called in around 4 spots when action turns to me with JThh in the SB.  I of course call (again, sitting on $410) and we see a decent flop: JsTcQc.  Not thrilled, as my 2 pair are behind a lot, but the hand has some potential.  I check to the raiser, who in turn checks... in fact, the whole damn table checks around!  Interesting...

Turn kills my hand a bit more: Kd.  Great - 4 straight out there, and undoubtedly, someone has an Ace.  Original raiser [finally] leads for $15 and gets called in all 4 spots; I come along, getting odds to boat my 2 pair.  I remember thinking at the time, though: "I'm beat here - he has KK, KJ."  I can't raise because I'm only getting called by better hands.  I just come along for the ride by calling.

River is where it gets interesting: Jc.  Scared of the prior thought: original raiser has KJ, KK, I once again check.  He carves out $60.  It folds around to the button (terrible player) who just calls.  Action to me.  I say to my neighbor before I even see the bet: "I'm beat here," and show my JThh.  He's surprised.  I think for a bit, wanting to fold, but logically am unable to do so.  In other words, I Zeebo'd myself.  How can I fold for $60 when I'm going to be good some percentage of the time?!?!?!?!?  Well, I call and wait for my opponent to flip his hand.  He's hesitating for a bit so I decide to show, hoping that given the delay, my hand is good.  Nope!  He shows K9cc for the flopped straight, rivered straight flush!  FWIW, the button claimed Axcc for the turned straight / rivered nut flush (like I said, terrible player; how does she let the hand continue on the turn without a raise).

I honestly did not put him on a straight flush, even though I thought I was beat...  It was a good misread, though...  saved me a bit of money.  After pausing for a little, I started piecing the hand back together and realized that I hit a mini bad beat!  Horseshoe pays $200 for Jacks full getting beaten!  Technically, I won $125 on the hand!  A good beat, a bad beat, and Zeebo, all in one!

Side note: After the hand, my opponent was so tilted that I didn't raise there - how could I just call?!!?!?!?!?  How did I not ship him all of my chips!?!?!?!??!  I had a small heater after dropping my profit down to $35 on the night after that hand - walked away up $200+ not including the bad beat.  Ship it!

Update: One interesting note for the session was that on my very last hand last night, as with my prior session, here, I was dealt AA.   This is becoming a pattern.  Moreover, I open to $15 and get raised to $40 by a short stack!  Folds around to me and I raise to $100, which more or less covers him.  He calls and we both have AA!  Runout is 3 diamonds by the turn (my opponent holds the Ad), but the river is clean and we wind up losing a few $$$ each...  Oh well...


  1. Nice story and at least it had a happy ending (ish) with the mini=bad beat.

    I'm embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of the Zeebo theorem before. Glad to add it to my poker vernacular. Pretty good theorem too....can't remember when the last time I folded a boat was. Pretty sure I've done it once or twice but...nothing comes to mind.

    In the link you provided, you gotta be impressed not only with Laak folding his 7's full but the speed with which he did it. No hesitation whatsoever. Man, that was a boat he was folding!

    1. In a tournament, I would have folded my JT above. The bet was so small and inviting that in this cash game, I could not let it go... I was calling $60 to win something like $270! Oh well...

      Zeebo is an interesting theorem - and something you should keep in mind when playing and bet sizing. It's particularly great when you get to the river with a hand like the following: A A 3 3 6 if you hold the A6. A great play is to shove when it's obvious your opponent has an Ace and calls for the chop yet you hold the better boat. Another example is when you hold 5x and the river is something like 5 5 A 5 A or 5 5 A x - your opponent likely holds a full house and is never folding a large bet with the 5's full of Aces... you get the point.

    2. Congrats on the mini beat payout. Curious to know if you had won the hand if you would have been beating yourself up for not betting or assuming opponents had monsters?

    3. Nope. I was confident enough in my decision that I "publicly" declared that my hand was no good to my neighbor who was astounded. I am perfectly happy with my play there. Granted, I'm not always beat, and certainly not always beat by a straight flush, but the reality is there are simply a ton of hands that beat me, and a few hands that I beat; I have the second lowest boat possible, but am beaten by: QJ, KJ, QQ, KK, AKs, K9s, 98s, all likely hands given the flop / turn action, and ESPECIALLY river action. Sometimes I have to go with my gut, like in this instance. As an aside, I was surprised to see K9s given the PF raise.

      I think the better question is what would I do if the Mr. Straight Flush checked to the BTN? I don't think he could expect any value given her turn call, but it would have been interesting. I honestly had no idea where she was in the hand (nor did I think she knew where she was in the hand). I would have been seriously second guessing myself for the whole hand, and had not considered the possibility of a move like that...

    4. Fair enough. Table dynamics are the hardest thing to communicate in a blog post for me.

  2. man i thought I was the donkey. folding a bad beat, calling off $60 with ace queen on flop of 457 etc

    1. I'm not sure what you're saying Tony: Folding a beat beat, calling off $60 with AQ on a flop of 4 5 7? How is that a bad beat? What are you talking about?

  3. Bad when TBC calls you a donkey. Of course, he once referred to me as an "effing donkey," which I guess is much worse than the generic donkey he apparently believes you are.


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