Sunday, August 09, 2015

San Fran, Ali, lightning and the Dreaded Pocket Kings

This weekend I was able to get in three poker sessions at Harrah's Joliet, one of two casinos in which I have had outstanding success in 2015. In my final session I ran into a situation that had me thinking of my poker buddy Rob and his arch enemy, the dreaded pocket Kings.

The set up: $1/2 NL table, $200 maximum buy in, full table of nine players.
The players:
San Fran -- relatively new to table, wearing 49ers gear, talkative, friendly, about $200 behind, on the Button
Ali -- relatively new to table, more serious, aggressive, won several big pots right away, about $600 behind, in the Cutoff
lightning36 -- about $300 behind, in the Hijack

A few times in all three sessions, talk centered around the new rules for straddling at Harrah's Joliet. Straddles were allowed from the button and under the gun with utg having priority. Additionally, we were told several times that there was no limit on the amount of the straddle.

Action had been kind of quiet and slow before San Fran came to the table, but he changed things rather quickly. He was talkative and somewhat aggressive, which really picked up the game. At one point he decided to spice things up.

"Okay," he declared. "I'm straddling $15 on the button. I won't look at my cards yet and I guarantee that I'll call any raise up to $40 total."

Play continued around the table. Fold ... fold ... fold ... I looked down at my cards and saw the dreaded pocket Kings! I cut out eight redbirds and placed them in front of me, and then added a ninth one. I was thinking of raising to $41 just for laughs, but decided to just go with $40. I had not been doing anything crazy, so I am sure that anyone paying attention knew I had a big hand. These guys hadn't been at the table very long and might not have seen it that way, or might not have cared anyway.

I was surprised to see that Ali, in the Cutoff, also called. San Fran looked at his cards and also declared "Call."

At that point, with $120 in the pot, I was prepared to make a big bet and take my chances that neither player hit a set or two pair. I don't know that I would have believed either of them anyway. The only thing blocking my path was if an Ace appeared on the flop. The dealer put out the flop: rag, Ace, rag. Dammit! Being first to act, I checked. Ali pushed out a bet of $80 or $100. Double dammit! San Fran reluctantly folded and the action was on me. I gave a disgusted look and folded my Cowboys. San Fran and Ali started talking after the hand. Apparently (since neither one showed - but I have no reason to not believe them) Ali had A-K and San Fran had A-2. My pocket Kings were behind both after the flop. Not fair! They really are the dreaded pocket Kings.

We all laughed about the hand afterwards. Ali and I speculated on how much fun it would have been if the case King had been part of the flop. Certainly that would have been fun for me!

Although the poker gods were not exactly in my favor in that hand, I was soothed because even though I lost a little money, the game was fun -- exactly what we recreational players live for.

I then thought of Rob and the dreaded pocket Kings. Bah!


Blogger Rob said...

See, if it had been, those dreaded Kings would have cost me more than $40, you can be sure of that.

You explained why San Fran was called San Fran, but why was Ali called Ali? A resemblance to Muhammad Ali?

12:56 AM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

@Rob -- Ummm ... I think that was his name, although he did float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.

2:08 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

Wait. You mean you referred to someone on your blog by their real name?

Personally I find that rather odd.

2:17 AM  
Blogger Cokeboy99 said...

Was this just a preview of your blog post? You can't refer to robvegaspoker in your post and then make it so short....that's almost disrespectful!

5:21 AM  
Blogger The Poker Meister said...

"exactly what we recreational players live for."

I think you should consider yourself a bit better than the average bear... Do you really consider yourself recreational or is that tongue in cheek?

Sux for the KK... I'll share a wild hand with my KK from last Friday's session:
I'm basically break even at this point, sitting on a ~$300 stack. I'm dealt KK from EP and raise to $15. I get oh.... maybe 6 callers - the table behind me wanted in on the pot as well. I called my grandma who has been buried for 3 years - she was in on the action as well (they dealt her 2 additional cards in her grave). So anyway, we go to the flop 25 handed and see a 2 6 9 hh flop. Terribad fish open shoves all in for $80 and it folds to me - fold, call or shove? If I shove, it's $229 on top. If I call, it's weak, but I'm fearful of flopped sets. Perhaps it's weak poker, but I opt to call - feeling that I can fold to a raise by a villain that has me covered. Another bad fish calls the $80 and we see a non-heart turn card. With the added information of a flat call on my one remaining opponent, I decide to open shove for the $229 remainder and put my villain to the test. He hems and haws and tanks for a long time before finally making the call. Board runs clean and I scope a pretty decent pot for an overpair.

8:49 AM  
Blogger Poker & Gambling 24/7 said...

will share my good news/bad news/bad played KK story for the week....2/3 game , confirmed professional player (rumored to be one of the better in the room) stack $900, we have been playing together for the last 2 hrs or so and he is playing much tighter than the previous night when I observed him talking it up and playing loose as a goose on the table behind me, makes it $25 preflop in the cutoff, I am in the small blind and flat call with KK. Flop comes KQ4 two diamonds, I check, he checks behind. First thing that comes to my mind is I do not put him on diamonds here, based on my observations I would almost 100% expect him to try and take the pot here if he had the flush draw. Turn 7d completes diamond flush draw and I check again, he makes it $50. While I don't put him on two diamonds, any other single diamond certainly is on my mind so I am not flat calling now, I make it an additional $150 for $200 total. Well, he has something cause a long decision making process ensues, he does not want to fold. He asks about my chips which are stacked in weird increments, and I show him it is a bit over $200 left. He hems, he haws, then he says I might even have you beat now. He mumbles something about Aces....I say you have Aces with the Ace of diamonds? (I say to myself how could he check the flop with Aces there). Anyway, he says yes he is holding the Aces with the Ace of diamonds (in my mind I am wondering if I really want a call and I decide no lol stupid me). I just don't think he is gonna fold here with that hand and there is a big gasp at the table when he folds the hand face up AA with A of diamonds. I would say I never 99.9% show my hand in a situation like that, but I made an exception and showed my KK. Lot of discussion on how that hand was played at the table for a while and one guy was entering it into his journal. I say pretty badly played on my part cause I had a couple chances to get a sweet sweet double (of course one involved a reraise preflop which mean I would be getting it in from wayyy behind). I could have gotten it in on the flop likely if I just bet out on the flop in first position, but I was counting on a flop bet and planned check raise. Of course, if we saw the river, there was a chance a diamond comes and I lose it all.

8:31 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

Your comment illustrates why this is such a crazy game and, despite all the bad things that happen, why we are so addicted to it.

4:33 AM  

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