Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Queens no good, and don't even ask about the aces

Had my first losing session of 2013 a little over a week ago. Played my current brand of tight, safe poker but was mostly done in when I ran into some bad luck with pocket queens two different times.

Playing $1/3 NLHE, I first found ladies in the hole from the small blind and raised it up to $20 after three players had limped. Two ended up calling. The flop came 9-8-3♠. I led out for $45, and, after the first player folded, the second guy shoved all-in, ~$90 on top. Not knowing the player at all, I called fairly quickly, thinking he could be doing this with a lot of flush and straight draws along with maybe pocket 10s or pocket jacks (though less likely those last two since he limped preflop). Of course, sets were in play, but (a) I hate folding because the guy "might have a set" and (b) many live low-limit players like to slowplay sets. After I called, he rolled over 8-9 for top two pair, which held. Didn't catch whether they were suited or not. God, I hope so.

A little later, I was again dealt pocket queens sitting early. I opened to $15, and a short-stack sitting on the other side of the table pushed his ~$60 total into the pot. Not really enough money to get me off of it, so I put in the chips and desperately hoped not to see kings or aces. Of course, he had the latter and took down the pot.

I also had aces once during this session, while sitting in the small blind, and sat there in a state of unbelieving awe as the entire table folded around to me -- the first and only time not a single person decided to limp the whole night.

"Chop?" the big blind asked, seeing if I was up for the standard friendly cash-game procedure of the two blinds just pulling their chips back if everyone out in front folds.

"Yeah, sure," I said, but you can be damn sure I flipped my cards face up.

That's the first time that's ever happened to me, by the way. I was once dealt a royal flush in a home game playing a variant where you're given five hole cards. And in 2008 I got a piece of a bad-beat jackpot in Wheeling. But until now I'd never been dealt pocket aces in a blind only to have the entire table fold around. So it's a milestone, I guess, but kind of a shitty one.


Rob said...

Lousy luck there, sorry.

The AA hand is awful. Never happened to me but once in a tournament I was in the BB and had QQ, I was so pissed when everyone folded, including the SB, giving me a walk I very much didn't want. Of course I showed them and got a little sympathy but nothing more.

Fred said...

How much would the pot have to be for a non-chop to be profitable? I had this happen to me once and I never heard of that before so I said no way I'm chopping...I don't think I understand this option completely. Did the BB look at his cards prior to asking to chop? Then I understand a small pot minus the rake isn't worth it, right?

Bob Taylor said...

Right. The gist of it is, if the SB completes and the BB checks, you can't beat the rake unless there's a bet AND a call after the flop. Since it's far more likely that a bet will end the hand, you're better off just pulling your money back.

It also allows you to play "friendly," meaning -- in the rare event that both blinds somehow flop a monster -- no one's going to go broke with a hand they probably wouldn't have played anyway except for the fact that the table folded around.

In this specific case, I'm not sure if the BB looked at his cards or not, but the blinds agreeing to chop an unopened pot occurs 99 percent of the time in the low-limit local casino games I play in. Pretty much every regular player I know does it, and I've seen others agree to chop and then flash a monster before.