Thursday, April 28

What The Hell Was That?

I've Never Seen THAT Before

I was just a few minutes late to my weekly poker game tonight, but they still dealt me in.

I wish they hadn't.

Let's start with the good part: of the ten players who were in the game, I made it to the last four (we usually pay top two only). I had just come off a successful huge bluff, so I was grooving pretty good. In first position (blinds 200/400 at this time, average chip stack ~ 6000 or so), I looked down and found A§/Aª. Hell, yeah. I raised to 1000, which I figured was just enough to get someone to call, and the player in the big blind, on my immediate right (hereinafter I'll refer to him simply as "Right") called.

The flop was A©/Kª/5ª. Yippee, I've made a set, but I have to cash it in now to drive out the flush draw. Right bet 700, and I immediately made it 2500. He thought about it for a while and somewhat reluctantly called. To me, it seemed like a dead giveaway that he was on the flush draw.

Which meant it was a big problem when the turn came Jª. And an even bigger problem when he went all-in. He had about 5000-some chips left, and I had 3400 or thereabouts, meaning he was putting me all-in. My temples started throbbing as I calculated the pot odds. My brain was too foggy to do such math (and I hadn't been drinking, like last week), so I showed a spectator and said, "I have to call, right?" He agreed. I called.

What I forgot to think about — and what he reminded me after the hand — was that at the time I had a set. This meant that not only did I have 7 outs for the nut flush (13 spades minus 3 on the board minus 1 in my hand minus the 2 that were almost certainly in Right's hand = 7), I had 10 outs to make a full house or better (3 kings + 3 fives + 3 jacks + 1 ace = 10). As I confessed to Beck from INCITE, I have somewhat of a problem with grasping the idea of how to make a full house. Since I was focusing only on the flush draw, what I thought was a loose call just because I didn't want to let go of my aces was actually a very sound mathematical decision (17 outs in 44 cards is slightly less than 3-2 odds and I was getting better than 3-1 on my money).

He did have a flush — a lousy one, in fact. He had 10ª/4ª. The river was 6ª and I won the hand.

Don't congratulate me, though.

A couple hands later, Right was under the gun and pretty much had to go all-in with anything before the blinds ate up a major chunk of his stack. I, holding K©/10© and the player on my left ("Left" from this point on) called.

The flop was Kª/10ª/4¨. Yippee, top two pair, but again I had to cash it in to keep the draws out. I moved Left all-in. I'm not sure what possessed him to call with A©/Q¨. Perhaps he put me on nearly nothing, but just attempting to overbet so I could isolate myself with Right to take all his chips. Right had Jª/4ª. So, I was thinking, Great, all I have to do is dodge a spade or a 4 and I knock out two players and guarantee myself the lion's share of the money (the top two players usually settle on a fair split of the cash depending on their chip stacks).

The turn was Q©. Uh-oh.

The river was A¨. What I thought is unsuitable for reprinting here unless I put in a profanity warning. So, here it is. Now click to discover my emotional state at that time.

I've been trying not to complain about bad beats. I really have. Most of the time I contribute to them with poor decision-making and the rest of it is just bad luck. It's not that the poker gods are out to smite me.

But two players BOTH sucked out on me, BOTH with runner-runner draws: Left hit A/Q to make a higher two pair than mine, and Right hit A/Q to make a backdoor inside straight.

That cost me over half my chips. I was back down to the 3000-range. I hung around a while longer, enough to finish in third, but still got no money despite having nearly half the chips on the table at one point.

Next week I think I'll go back to drinking.


Location: Mishawaka, Indiana, United States

I graduated with an English degree from the University Of Notre Dame in 2001, and in 2008 I have a day job that has nothing to do with my degree but gets the bills paid in a semi-regular fashion. (I have running water five days a week!) The idea is that once I get turned around on my bills, I go to grad school. I also have an idea for cold fusion. Anyone's guess which will be feasible first. In non-work mode, I'm usually reading columns by famous and well-read thinkers, blogs by critically praised writers, or sometimes blogs by overzealous cranks who make me laugh. I yearn to be all three at once; until then I'll settle for being the third. I also have an undying love for the Chicago Cubs and Notre Dame football. Praise them and I'll buy you a beer; curse them and I'll dump it over your head. If that's not enough, I'm becoming quite the fan of no-limit Texas Hold'em. My games have one of two results: I either win all the money or whine because I didn't win all the money.

marchandchronicles -at-

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July 2006
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Essays on whatever I feel like writing about.

August 8, 2005: High Gas Prices
August 1, 2005: Judge Roberts' Hearings
June 20, 2005: Senator Durbin's Comments
May 23, 2005: Newsweek & Pepsi
May 2, 2005: Al Gore's MoveOn Speech
April 25, 2005: Lebanon
April 18, 2005: The Nuclear Option
April 11, 2005: Pope John Paul II
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Contributor to Steal The Blinds


marchand chronicles has such massive readership and influence that it makes me weep.
—Glenn Reynolds


Damn right.


What's Your Line?


I absolutely love the name of your site.

Scott "Big Trunk" Johnson, Power Line
Just the name? Not the content? . . . I'll take it.

You have something in common with Dave Barry, Hemingway, and Mark Steyn: I'm not linking to them, either.


That's good stuff there Mark.

Dean Barnett, Soxblog
Psst, it's "Mike."

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All text and original images © MMVI by Mike Marchand/Marchand Chronicles.

Okay, so I don't really have a copyright. But I still don't want you ripping me off. Reprint it all over the Internet if you like, but give me proper credit and link back to me. Besides, if you're going to plagiarize, steal from someone with some talent.

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