OK, to be fair, it’s probably not quite the stupidest poker decision I’ve ever made. And it certainly wasn’t the most expensive bad poker decision I’ve ever made.
For that matter, it wasn’t even a poker decision, technically. It was a decision about poker, sort of.
I headed out to Ventura Saturday for another session at Player’s Casino. Due to any early morning appointment, I got their earlier than usual (around 12:30PM) and it was even busier than usual. I think I got the last parking spot available, or close to it. The tournament was still taking up 7 tables. There were lists 20+ players long for both the 1/2 and the 2/3 games. I got on both lists and after about 45 minutes or so, had managed to get near the top of both lists. They had opened a couple of tables since I’d gotten there and were actually calling names pretty fast. I believe for the past 20 minutes or so, they had been calling players for one game or the other on average of every 2 minutes.
I looked up and I was second on both lists, but I was pretty sure they had already seated the player in front of me for the 2/3 game and just forgotten to taken him off, so I figured I’d be in that 2/3 game any minute now. At that point, I made the decision that, if I was called for the 1/2, I’d tell the guy that since I was first up for the 2/3, I’d pass and wait for that. I was sitting right next to him, so it would easy.
You see I really wanted to play 2/3 not 1/2, and it sure looked like if I did take a 1/2 seat, it would only be minutes before I’d get the 2/3 seat. What was the point of sitting a few minutes at a game I didn’t really want to play just to move? Plus I’d have $1 chips—a hundred of them—that I’d just have to exchange for $5 chips when I moved. Hardly seemed worth the inconvenience.
But then….nothing. I swear it went 10, maybe 15 minutes without them calling anyone to either game. It was strange.
So when they finally called a 1/2 player, and then, half a minute player called a second—that would be me—I decided that I could no longer count on being called to the game I wanted that quickly. So, like an idiot, I took the seat at the 1/2 game. Since I had no intention of staying in this game—unless in the brief time I was there I spotted something incredible that would make me want to stay—what was the point of seeing a few hands that I likely wouldn’t even play? Was I that desperate to get my hands on some cards? Not really. I mean, regardless of the outcome, it was just a brain dead decision.
But that’s what I did and they brought me a hundred dollar chips and I sat there with no intention of staying more than a few minutes. And thus didn’t really pay attention, as I figured why study the players if I wasn’t staying? I did notice one thing—a guy made a big bet on the river that another player called with very mediocre holdings, and was good. The guy had made a pretty big bluff bet. And since the guy who called had been playing with him awhile, presumably, he probably knew there was a high likelihood the guy who bet was full of shit, as he was.
So I was dealt a hand and mucked. Then I was dealt King-Queen suited and limped in. I think I would have raised if I had planned on staying but with my short shelf-life at this table, I figured I’d just invest the minimum to either make a hand or let it go. I missed and folded.
I got one or more garbage hands and then, just as I was sent the first card of my next hand, I heard my name being called for the 2/3 game. I should have just gotten up then and not even looked at my cards. But I figured, what harm could there be in looking? I yelled out that I wanted the seat but that I was in a hand.
I peeked at the one card that had been dealt to me. It was a King. Oh well. I figured the second card would be a deuce or some equally worthless card and I’d be on my way. But if you haven’t figured out by now that the second card was also a King, you have never read this blog before. Yes,, my last hand at this table—that I had been at for all of 5 minutes—was the dreaded hand.
Well, even under these circumstances, I’m not about to fold pocket Kings (when will I ever learn?). On this hand, someone had straddled and the guy I mentioned who was caught bluffing a hand or two earlier called the straddle ($4). So I made it $20.
And then the guy next to me shoved for $31. Now, here’s where maybe, just maybe, my inattentiveness to this game hurt me. He had just lost most of his stack the hand before. And I heard him say something about shoving now. But I didn’t hear anything else and I kind of assumed he meant he would wait for a hand that was good enough to take a chance to shove with. You know big cards, a pocket pair. As I later learned, he had actually said he was planning on shoving blind, which is what he did here. Wow. I realize, $31 is not a lot of money but still, unless you have a plane to catch, what’s the rush? And this is $31 to a guy who bought into a 1/2 game where the max buy-in is $100, not $31 to a guy playing 5/10 at Bellagio.
It folded to the guy who called the straddle, the guy I’d seen caught in a bluff. He called. I was hoping he’d repop it but all he did was call. The $31 shove wasn’t enough to reopen the betting for me, so all I could do was call too. The three of us saw the flop. It was Ace high, of course.
The guy who had just been caught bluffing shoved. His stack was pretty close to mine. I suppose I could have folded, but this is the problem with playing in a game where the maximum buy-in is 50 big blinds. The stack-to-pot ratios are going to be low. And based on my stack, and his, I figured with the $31 I’d already put in, I was committed. When I thought about it some more, I remembered the hand where I saw this guy bet with total air, and figured there was at least a chance he was bluffing here, or maybe he was doing that with second pair, which I think was a 8.
So I called. The board blanked out and he showed Ace-9 offsuit, of course. The other guy flipped over his hand, hoping he had gotten lucky, but he had not. The Ace-9 guy took it all. Turned out he had $5 less than me, so I took that $5 left over into the 2/3 game I’d been called to.
When the short-stack turned over his cards and said that he had no idea what he had, the guy next to him said, “You didn’t look?” He replied, “No, I said I was gonna shove blind there.” Well, the other guy hadn’t heard that either, so maybe I can’t blame my inattentiveness. But if I had known that, I would have limped in for $4, waited for him to shove blind, watched the other guy call which he surely would have done—and then shoved myself—$98 total. That would have been the play. Would the other guy have called his whole stack there with his Ace-9 off? I don’t know. But I’m thinking if he called $31 with it, probably so. So it likely wouldn’t have mattered. It still would have been the right play.
So I started the new game already $100 in the hole, not having played a hand there, having played like 5 hands in a game I didn’t want to get in to. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Of course, the fact that it was my nemesis hand, the dreaded hand, just added insult to injury.
The 2/3 session turned into pretty much a break even one. I won a few decent pots early and dripped the profit all away. Nothing worth talking about.
So I booked a 3-1/2 hour 2/3 session BE, and a 5-minute 1/2 session for -$100. All because I changed my mind and decided to take that seat in a game I didn’t want to play.
Stupid, stupid decision.