Monday, May 16, 2016

Optimal play, misreads and the rare trifecta

I have a lot to cover since my last post from my regular Thursday night session.  I had the rare opportunity to play 3 sessions in a row during this past week / weekend.  I played the regular Thursday session, as described above, I played on Friday during the day (got a free Kindle eReader which I'm donating to my religious organization for a raffle event) and culminated my streak in a Saturday night bender!  Lest you think that the "rare trifecta" as described in the title of the post is the 3-in-a-row session, it is not.  Do not jump to conclusions.  The rare trifecta I am alluding to is far more rare than back-to-back-to-back play.  I could do that in Vegas, or I could do that during an extended vacation.  The trifecta I speak of is likely far more uncommon than any of my readers have experienced...  keep reading:

To set the story up, recall that Thursday's session had me winning a mini bad beat.  You likely already have the details on that session, as posted in the recap; if not, refer back to the link provided in the first paragraph.  Let's move on to Friday's session, though.  I don't have any hand recaps to detail during my Friday session, though I do have an interesting story which plays into the trifecta as the second "leg."  I'd been towards the end of a middling session where I was bouncing back and forth between up $100 and up $150 when a new guy - youngish, appeared to be a grinder - sits down.  In conversation, I came to find out he plays regularly at Maryland Live! and was checking out the 'Shoe.  A few orbits into his session, he gets involved in a raised pot.  I wasn't paying close attention to the events of the hand; it was fairly mundane given the action until the river:

Flop was A A Q (checked through I think), turn was a blank (checked again, or maybe a little bet), and the river was a King.  Somehow, (raise, re-raise, shove - maybe?) the two players (the original PF raiser and the young grinder) get it all in by the river (around $300 effective), and the grinder is shown AK for Aces full of Kings for the nuts and the scoop.

I'd been watching the grinder since he sat down, and had determined (in all of 30 minutes) that he was likely a solid player, maybe a bit ABC, but solid nevertheless).  I did not peg him for the type to be shoving / calling light, and was likely smart enough to call or fold trips to the significant river action.  Therefore, I determined from the play that he likely had a boat.  There were a few boats that he could hold: Queens full (a bad beat worth $400), blanks full (worthless), Kings full or Aces full of blanks (a bad beat worth $750), or Aces full of Queens (a bad beat worth $2500!!!!).  The most likely candidates given the up front action (i.e. he called a raise; no 3bet) was he had either Aces full of Queens or Aces full of blanks.  Moreover, the grinder looked forlorn, as if someone just told him his baby was ugly and he knew it was the truth...  I'm sure we all know the look, as we've all been on both ends of the bad beat.  Anyway, he's staring at his cards, trying to will himself to muck his hand, but is pausing ever so long.

Side note: There is a strict "one player to a hand" policy adhered to at the 'Shoe, and most casinos I've ever played.  Furthermore, I can't recall a single event where I've ever gotten involved in a hand where I'm not an active participant.

With the above disclaimer, I went against the rules and decided to get involved with the hand.  I sized up the situation (remember that he's coming from Live! and not familiar with the 'Shoe's rules and bad beats).  I said to him, "Do you have a boat?  There's a bad beat jackpot if you have a full house!"  His reaction gave away his hand - he did indeed have a full house.  I said, "Show your hand!  If you have Aces full, you won a lot of money!  Show your hand!"  Reluctantly, the grinder revealed his hand: AQo.  Bad beat declared, floor came over and promptly paid out the $2500 top prize for the mini bad beat!  He gave the dealer a tip of $100, and shipped me $100!  Second leg of the trifecta complete!  For those keeping score at home, Meister: $300, House: $-300!

This is turning into an epic post, so I will break it up into two parts.  Stay tuned for the third "leg" of the trifecta!


  1. You're producing some good posts lately.

    the grinder looked forlorn, as if someone just told him his baby was ugly and he knew it was the truth


    1. Thanks MOJO! You know, I'm in the top 100 of poker blogs... I have a standard to adhere to :-)

  2. I have been shushed before for reading a hand at the table. It has usually been in a situation similar to the one you described. It's not like you were angle shooting or were playing high stakes. I guess rules are there for a reason, but ...

    1. I figured - what's the worst they can do? His opponent has the nuts - so it's not like talking about the hand can affect his winning or losing the pot. At worst, I get warned about one player per hand, but I doubted the dealer would say anything since she'd get a decent tip for dealing the bad beat... In the end, no one complained or even batted an eye...

  3. Cool article!

    Do you recommend going to sites like and buy hand histories so you can never play unknown players again?

    I think this is how all the pros like yourself are so good at the game.


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