Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Poker at South Point: The Weird (VegasSummer 09, gambling)

Before I get to the tales of the weird, here's a hand I played and I want you to guess what I had:

I limped UTG and a middle position player as well as the button also limped. The small blind completed and the big blind checked. The flop came A 4 5 and it was checked around to the middle position limper who bet 10. Everyone else folded and I called. The turn was the 5 and I checked again to the middle position player who bet 20. I thought for a little bit, then asked the bettor how much he had remaining in chips. Upon hearing the answer of 80 more, I thought some more, then moved all in over the top. Any guesses what I held?

So during four of the six nights I was there, there was a guy on vacation who was also in the poker room every night. He was recognizable because he was very talkative and decently loud. While some of the regulars got annoyed, I didn't mind him at all and I knew that at the very least the table he was at would be friendly and fun. As some of my bridge partners know, I'm capable of playing at a pretty good level while chatting away.

On his last night playing, he tried to get the people at the table to play a 2-7 sidebet. For those who don't know, it's a simple side game where if someone wins a hand and shows 2-7 (it can be a hand where everybody else folds), everyone in the bet has to pay off a predetermined amount to the winner. It wasn't for anything crazy, just 5 per person. We only had 4 people willing to play and there was a woman who said she wanted to play but that a sidebet like that can easily mess up her play. After a little bit of trying to persuade people to play, one guy said he'd play if it was for 10 per person. With that, the woman agreed to play and we had 6 of us in the sidebet. While the floor did their job of telling us that sidebets were not allowed, we kept going anyway. Now that there was a 50 bonus riding on the 2-7 in a 1/2NL game, it made it worthwhile.

The weirdness began on a hand that I hadn't even been paying attention to. After two limpers, the woman on the button makes a nice sized raise. On the flop, the early limper bets out, and after a call, the woman makes a big raise again. After the turn, it gets checked to the woman who bets about 2/3 of the pot and is then check-raised all in by the early limper for about 80 more. She seemed visibly troubled, and then said, "I call. See, this is what that stupid bet made me do!" as she turned over 2-7 for a pair of 7s, drawing dead to the other guy's set. It's one thing to take a stab or even two stabs at it with 2-7. It's another to call an all-in drawing dead for 80 more. The weirdest thing was that she had been playing really tight, smart poker for an hour and a half before this.

She went all-in and lost about a few hands later. She seemed to be able to laugh about the incident, but she left shortly after. After she left, we managed to get the whole table in on the action. One guy won the 2-7 with a decent-sized preflop reraise while another won with a preflop raise and a flop bet on an AK7 board that scared everyone away. A couple guys took stabs at the 2-7 on the flop, but gave up on it fairly easily and didn't go down in flames like the woman did when faced with resistance. The first 2-7 hand that won post-flop was, well, have you figured out my hand from that first question I asked? I did indeed have 2-7 on that hand, and the middle position limper folded an A face up.

But there was one more weird little hand before I decided to call it a night. The talkative fellow raised it to 11 UTG, which was his regular raise. One guy called and I called from the button with J3. The big blind called as well and four people saw a flop of A 10 2 rainbow with no diamonds. It was checked to the preflop raiser who bet 20. For some reason it felt like a standard continuation bet to me, so I decided to float him as everyone else folded. For those unfamiliar with the term, floating essentially means to call an opponent's bet with nothing with the intention of taking the pot away from him on a later street. See here. The turn was the 9 and it was checked to me so I took a stab at it with a bet of 30. He said, "Good hand." as he folded 2-7 face up and added, "You couldn't let me have this one?" I showed him my complete bluff and we had a good laugh about it. His 2-7 was actually well ahead!!!

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