Monday, April 26, 2010

Live poker & a What would you do...

I played a little live poker last night; I've been trying to get my old home game back together in good order.  I wrote about it last week, though this week, we had around 9 players (instead of the 12 from last week).  Most of the players at the home game are fairly straight-forward, but there was one noob last night, who would call all-ins (PRE FLOP NO LESS) with any Ace; A4o was good for a call of a $30 shove...  He simply would not fold his Ace-rags...  Whatever...  He fits the mold perfectly - he's my wife's cousin; a Moroccan Jew who would typify the Israeli mindset (or, I guess, Middle Eastern mindset) of "I love to GAMBOOOL it up!!!!"  Picture Sammy Farha without Sammy Farha's knowledge of math and outs.  It would be between him and another crazian from last week, whose game I don't necessarily respect, but is capable of strong moves which he knows are fairly un-callable.  For now, let's call crazian "Spew monkey," because I have no doubt that in my recap of future home games, he'll be a fixture.

A little description of Spew Monkey prior to my "What would you do?":  Spew monkey, if I were to put it into online terms, is a 60 VPIP / 40 PFR - with an off-the-chart aggression factor.  He makes reasonably good reads where he picks on weak players holding marginal cards, and makes bets large enough, as I described before, which he knows the weaker players won't call.  He will stack off without a second thought on a top-top hand, and will second-think himself, but won't be afraid to make a stack off call with TP no kicker.  In fact, a few hands prior, he would stack off to my Aces on a 2 6 T (two-tone) board with JTs (non-drawing), where he raised pre-flop, out of position, and I 3bet him to $7.50.  He check / raised my flop lead to $25 (I led for $10 and I shipped the effective remaining stack sizes of $50, full knowing that he was capable of this play with any top pair, overpair, or flush draw.  He essentially instantly called my shove, and sucked out on the turn with a Jack.  Given the prior hand, he know sits stuck for ~$50 (he had re-bought approx. 3 times, and now sits on $100).

This hand brings up a question though:  I'm the dealer, and I accidentally flipped UTG's card while dealing, exposing the Ad.  As is standard procedure in our game, we use the exposed card as the flop burn card and re-deal the would-be burn card as the replacement.  I'm sitting on the button, facing a raise from Spew Monkey, holding AA (obviously non-diamond :-) ).  Given the exposed card, I have to 3bet there, right?  I should consider my hand into a made hand at this point, correct?  If I hit the 1 remaining out, bonus, but I have to 3bet here; I'm not slow playing, right?  If the same situation is with 22-TT, etc., I'm likely folding the raise, but with AA, there's a lot of hands that I beat on the flop (as evidenced) that I have to play it the same, exposed card or not, right?

Anyway, now onto the WWYD:

I'm in the middle position, sitting on a stack of approx. $60.  Spew Monkey has me covered (~$80-90; he bled away a few chips after the suckout to crazian plays), and waanabe Farha has us both covered with ~$150 (he'd been hitting improbable Aces and 2 pairs all night by getting rewarded by the deck, but those Middle Eastern types *ALWAYS* have the luck of Allah / God / Buddha (for the Far Eastern types) it seems!!!  Mental note:  I need to become more religious, because I want the F*ING LUCK!!!  Anyway, back to the hand...  Spew Monkey is UTG and raises to $3, a fairly standard aggro-move for him.  Farha calls the $3; he's a calling station who VPIPs about 97, and PFRs about 10.  I call with my KTo - normally not a call for me in my position with 5 more players to act, but given my position over the big stack / volatile players, I'm trying to get into the action.  Everyone else folds and we got to a flop 3-way.  Flop comes K 5 3 rainbow.  Spew monkey checks, Farha checks, and I check (I feel like I lead this flop and I will either get hammered on with a check / raise, or I will lose my customers because they missed entirely).  Turn puts a J on the board and puts a two-flush draw out there.  Checks around to me and I [finally] lead for something like $8 (into a $10 pot).  Both players call.  River is a 3-flushing Ten, giving me two pair, and completing an AQ straight and a back-doored flush - a possible hand for either player to be calling without pot odds, but perhaps suspecting implied odds (?); neither of them really care about mathematics.  Checks around to me again - I'm looking at a ~$34 pot, and I want value.  I have seen both players check / call 2 streets - which leads me to believe that they are weak.  I settle on 1/3 pot; not wanting to commit a HUGE amount, but also not wanting to scare my customers away.  I want them to feel comfortable with the call because they've called with Ace high for a lot more, but they know the style in which I play - TAG - and usually give me credit for a hand.  So it gets back to Spew Monkey, who comes over the top for a raise to $50 straight.  I am not great with tells, but I am familiar with bet sizing and patterns and here are the prior facts:  As mentioned, he's stuck for a buy-in, and looking to "get even!" as stated in prior action.  I've never seen him check raise big on the river, but he is well capable of this type of move on other streets.  He is a bully.  Even though he was happy with the results of the JT hand described prior, I feel like he's tilting a little bit because he knows he misread me.  Oh yeah, Farha folds, and I'm left facing a $40 raise; the remainder of my stack.  Are you making the call?

Click to see results

Here's what was going through my head: is villain ever making this move given he knows my style of play? Given the T is such a scary card, if he made his hand, he's got to be expecting a check through in this spot; the majority of players in the world are not value betting this river card. He also thinks that my 1/3 pot bet is very weak - he believes that I'm scared of the T, which completes a lot of possible draws. He also knows his image is reckless aggro, potentially raising ATC pre-flop, which allows him to backdoor many hands. But the reality is that it comes down to this: is he ever checking a made hand with the hopes of check / raising, given that the river card is such a scary river card? No - I feel like he's value betting the river in order to get some value while he's finally ahead. I make the call and he auto-mucks.

For the night, I won $88 - not a bad 2-week take for the home game. I'm so happy that I pushed the buy ins to full 100BB stacks! It's working out very well for me :-)!!!

One final minor issue / note: What do you do when you nor your opponent are sure whether you had them covered, but you've already dragged a large pot into your stack? After the hand above was over, Spew Monkey tossed me his $50 in chips and I immediately proceeded to stack and organize my chips. Neither he nor I realized that it was really close as to whether I had the $50 covered until after I finished stacking. I think the difference would have been no more than $5, but still - I'm not looking to cheat anyone. I believe that he thinks the same (I'm not angle shooting), though I tend to be honest to a fault (when he mucked his cards, he was fine with me mucking mine but I felt compelled to show just to be sure that the rules were followed; can't win a hand without showing the cards). So, without the help of videotape, how do you make sure a situation like that is proper and there are no hurt feelings? He seemed to be completely fine with the way it went down, but still... Any opinions on how to make the situation good for the both of us?

EDIT:  Let the record show that my wife's cousin read this and was a little miffed that I compared him to a Sammy Farha and not the Israeli "Eli... forget his last name not some stupid arab".  LOL!


  1. We always in home games do the chip count after the hand is completed. If one guy is close we just match up the chips and we don't let people who are all in splash the pot with their chips. Sounds like he was satisfied though. Congrats on the win. Oh and thanks on the advice re sending in the ID. I had a change of heart and took digital photos. We will see how fast they open my account

  2. My general thought on rule snafus is that the guy running the game loses in that situation. I'd estimate how much he still had and give it to him. Since you are running the game, you are the house and should have dealt with the chips the right way. BUT, if he's cool with how things played out, leave it be.

    As for the AA hand...why would you ever, EVER, not re-raise in that situation? It seems like a standard 3-bet.

  3. I realize that you're never set mining with AA, so I guess you absolutely have to raise (unless you're slow playing), but as is always, you need to re-evaluate the flop knowing that you have no hope of improving your hand...

  4. Haven't looked at the result yet.

    In this spot... There was a $34 pot and you bet $12ish, then got shoved on for $40 more with a $100 pot for you to win. 2.5:1 means you need to be right a little less than 30% of the time in this spot.

    I liked the detail you gave on your opponent. Based on the action (he raised pre-flop, which doesn't mean much, but then he checked flop and check-called turn before the big check-raise on the river) he could have:

    Beats you: AQ, KK (very, very unlikely), KJ (unlikely, since he didn't bet at it earlier), flush, one of the lower sets (KK, 33, JJ, 55), etc. He could also have TT but that is also unlikely since he'd need the case two cards.

    Doesn't Beat You But Not Bluffing: strange two pair you beat, single pair (AK, AJ, etc)

    Bluffing: Almost everything else.

    The ones I think are most likely are a weak wacky two pair, set (slowplayed), KJ (slowplayed), flush, and bluff. AQ is a real possibility too.

    Some of the draws are much less likely though since he'd probably bet them on the turn since no one else bet. That makes a bunch of hands that beat you (namely, the flush), much less likely.

    Getting 2.5:1, I say call. Your line was pretty weak (check flop in position, bet turn, weak river bet) and it would seem to him that there was plenty of room to get you off your hand. If he's remotely tilty, then it is even more likely. These aggressive guys are the ones the rest of us have to pay off on occasion.

    So, yeah, call. Now to see what actually happened and what everyone else said!

  5. I hadn't thought about the fact that he would lead a lot of rivers for value with that dangerous final card. Good catch -- that swings it even further toward a must-call.

    I'll echo that the host always has to go against his best interest if any debate comes up in a home game.

    Although it isn't always practical, I also like to have a rough idea of how many chips I have before a hand starts and then I'll reconstruct the action if I need to. Usually, I've done odds calculations before the final call so I'll be able to estimate the bets all through the hand. Sticky situation though, glad he was cool about it.

  6. Yeah - I tried to give the benefit of the doubt and send him $10, which was likely the amount in question (more than likely closer to $5 or less, but I want to be overtly cautious in this spot). He accepted it graciously declined. All in all, I'm pretty sure he was cool about it.


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