Thursday, October 6, 2016

A very very deep run by a friend of mine...

Congratulations, Ryan!

A friend of mine, Ryan Belz, (one of the guys I went out to Vegas with earlier in the year) satellited into WPT Maryland! World Poker Tour Main Event at Maryland Live! last weekend.  I was playing over at the 'Shoe, while he was grinding away, ending the night with a ticket to the main event.  Between family time, holidays, and work, I was trying to keep tabs on him all this week.  Wednesday night it became real; he worked his way down to the final table!

Last night, I couldn't get up to Live! to go rail him, but fortunately, some of my friends were able to root in his corner as he worked his way to heads up against Zachary Smiley.  Unfortunately, he couldn't stick out the win, but he definitely scored big with his runner-up finish!  Awesome work, Ryan!

This is the first of my little poker group to make a big score.  Hopefully, this is the start of something special!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Killing the Golden Goose (or Geese?)

The opportunity to play on the weekends has been increasing lately – I suppose my wife is nervous about paying for my son’s upcoming Bar Mitzvah, so she’s been “agreeing” to send me out to play.  Effectively, I feel like she’s my pimp and I have to bring her back some moneys or she smacks me around a bit…  Maybe that’s what I tell myself – maybe she just doesn’t want me around all that much…  That notwithstanding, I find myself at the ‘Shoe late on a Friday night.

Things are break-even for the first hour or so when I see my favorite ATM machine walk in the door with her boyfriend.  A little background on the girl: she’s very loose preflop, and has an ego problem where she’ll rarely lay down a hand in spite of action that says she’s beat.  It’s almost comical; she pays off every. single. time.  Her boyfriend plays more conservatively, but I’d rate him as around average; capable of making a move from time to time, but mostly ABC.  He just watches her dump money, and continually replenishes her with additional buy-ins.

So, I see them walk in, and immediately request a table change to their table – a new table.  Yes.  I’m a bum hunter in this case.  I have my few favorites who I will bum hunt and they are certainly on my hit list.  So, I sit down at the table and fold a few hands (an orbit or two) as I get the lay of the land.  I immediately take note of the hyper aggro guy to my right, raising (and raising big) almost every hand, playing hard post flop & usually taking down the hand before showdown.  It seems he hasn’t run into any powerhouses, so he’s getting away with it.

So, aforementioned dude opens UTG+1 to $20.  I look down and see JJ.  I 3bet to $60.  Everyone else folds and he snap calls.  Flop is A Q 8 dd (around the worst flop EVER!).  He checks and I lead for $45 (he has a bit over $100 behind – maybe $160.  He beats me to the pot with his call, acting very nervously.  Strange.  Turn is a blank – maybe a 3.  He checks.  I decide to check.  River is another blank – 2?  5?  This time, he thinks for a long time and sloppily shoves his chips while saying “all in.”  WTF – around $110 or so…?  He’s stoic, sitting back in his chair and not saying anything and not moving.  I try to piece all of this together, and come to the conclusion that my turn check showed him weakness so he thinks he can push me off my hand.  I’m not really concerned about the Ace, but I’m concerned he has a hand like QJ or QT and turned his Qx into a bluff.  This kind of player doesn’t really think about what he’s doing or why; just acts on impulse.  I eventually make the sighing call and wait.  He’s still in his chair after the dealer says I called.  He waits for a good 30 seconds and flips over KT for the missed gutter.  I flip my JJ for the winner and say nothing.  I scoop and flip the dealer 4 white chips.

My aggro is visibly shaken – angry almost – and asks how much he can buy in for – he wants to get $1000.  The dealer says $300 max and he buys $300 or so.  After a hand or two, I ask him if he’s waiting for the $2-5 game.  He looks at me and says, “I don’t know what you just said, but you’re acting like an a**hole.”  I’m dumbfounded, but before I can even respond, the dealer says, “He’s not acting like anything; he’s trying to converse with you.  He’s asking you about the other games in the poker room and trying to be nice.  Furthermore, your language will not be tolerated here.”  Wow.  Just wow.  Kudos to the dealer for keeping the game under control.   The whole table (including me) is staring at him now after his outburst of uncontrolled behavior.  Now he says to me, “Don’t even look at me.  Don’t look this way.”  What do I do at this point?  I just shake my head and look away from him, wanting to end this potentially violent confrontation.  A few hands later, he gathers his chips and storms off.

Now to the crux of the post, even though the above story could apply to the title as well:
I’ve played with the couple mentioned above for a few months now.  I’ve become a bit friendly with both; sharing personal details (both ways) with the boyfriend.  He’s a nice guy, as is she, though she’s a bit of a brute when it comes to ego and getting her way.  I’ve put some really bad beats on her, but she’s also made some horrendous mistakes.  I’m never getting it in bad against her, and she’s almost always calling me as described.

I raise UTG to $15 with TT.  I get called 5 way ($75 in the pot) to see a flop of 2 5 6 dd.
With so many players in the pot, and a vulnerable overpair, I lead for $60.  She (2 seats down) raises to $120.  It folds back around to me and I tank for a bit.  There are a number of hands she’d do this with: mainly top pair good kicker, I saw her raise a flopped set earlier, and bluffs.  She plays a wide range of hands, so TP is more likely than sets and two pair hands.  Bluffs are less likely, but still in her range.  I figure calling here is useless; I’m just going to get it in on the turn anyway if I call the flop and believe I’m good, and I can’t really put her on a hand but a possible diamond draw or straight draw bluff.  I look down at $250 remaining and shove.  Action is back to her, but by the time I look up, the dealer has already put out the turn and the river – a K and A.  However, she has yet to call!  Alright…. Now what?

I know what’s going to happen: the turn and river cards will be shuffled back into the deck, and pending action, will be dealt anew.  The burn cards stay as the natural burn cards.  However, she’s putting up a huge verbal fight.  Arguing this isn’t fair…  Arguing the burn cards to be shuffled in… etc.  I’m not sure what she’s trying to get out of it, but finally she asks me to chop the pot.  Now, ordinarily, against any other player, I would tell them outright “no” without even a second thought.  I know I have the winning hand here, and I don’t want her to have a sour taste towards me because she’s an ATM.  What do you do?  Do you accept half the pot despite having the winner?  This is more of a meta game move than the actual hand at stake.  However, this is not a small pot at this point; there’s $250 in the pot + my raise + if she calls, another $130.

I decide to tell her that I can’t accept that offer; I have the winning hand.  Optimal or not, she winds up talking herself into a call with K7cc (WTF??????).  Now I realize why she fought so hard; she had turned the winning hand.  She was fighting based on an angle on false hope.  Pretty sneaky; noted.  I will not ever chop with her if the situation arises again.  In the end, the second turn and river flip over harmlessly and I scoop a nice pot!

What would you do?  Given the information at the time – that you didn’t know she was angling for the K to stay – what would you do?

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