I hate Aces

Posted by in Poker

Actually not really. I was delighted to see them both times that they graced me with their presence tonight. It’s my play with them that I hate.

Ever since I got back from Vegas, I’ve been feeling very un-pokerish. While I’m relatively happy with my play that week, I still lost. A lot. And it got to me.

But the annoying part, really, is not the losing. And it’s not the money either. Because you can always get more money. It’s a feeling of betrayal almost, the appearance of a suddenly topsy-turvy world where logic no longer seems to function, where bad players win effortlessly, and good play is penalized. It’s a funhouse-mirror world where logic – and the familar laws of long experience – no longer apply. It’s as if you accidentally dropped something, some object, and now the object falls up, not down. It’s the dismissal of a world you knew – or thought you knew.

The Tao of Poker (the book, not the kick-ass blog)

Lose $500 in Vegas in a few days, and you’ll feel the same way too. I mean, good Lord, it’s Vegas. Drunk tourists and WSOP-wannabees…I should have made a killing. But it just wasn’t to be. And while I knew the main problem was just one of those bad runs of luck we all hit from time to time (great timing on that), I couldn’t shake the feeling that I really knew nothing about this game.

I decided to hit the books in earnest once I got home, and take a break from the actual playing. Not only would it be good for me game-wise, it would be good for me mentally – a little break. So that’s what I’ve done this week, avoid the tables and curl up with Sklansky (something that I bet doesn’t happen often in real life…)

I sat down to read tonight, and did, but one thing my reading has done is to point out to me how much I do know – I just choose to ignore it at times. I decided I would give good ‘ole .25/.50 NL a try and pulled up UB.

My first hand I get 2c3c in the big blind, and see a flop of 3h 3s 6c. Not fearing too much from that board, I checked, expecting a bettor from late position. No such luck, and the turn brought a 4d. I bet .50 there, and got one caller. The river came Jd, and my $1 bet was not called. Alright; not bad…

Later I find Qd6d in the small blind. All fold except one player in late position, and the big blind checks. The flop came Qh 4d Td, and my .50 bet was raised to $1 by LP. I called to see the turn of 5s. I checked and then called the $1.50 bet. The river brought the 8d and I again checked, then raised the LP bet of $2.50 to $5. He called and I took it down. Shall we call this a marginal play? I know I had no business seeing the turn much less the river, but I like my check-raise…

All of those beautiful high pocket pairs that were nowhere to be found in Vegas suddenly caught up with me in rapid succession. I find Queens in late position and raise to $2. The small blind re-raises to $5.25 and having no respect for his raises, I call. We see a rags rainbow flop and my $6 bet is called. The turn pairs the board, and we both check. The river brings a Jh, and my $10 bet is not called. I gave him credit for having a piece of the flop, and put him on two pair (if even that), but since my pockets made his worthless, I didn’t worry.

I then see Kings in the big blind and re-raise the pre-flop raise of .50 to $3.50. I have two players seeing the flop of 4h 5c 3d with me. I bet $10 to drive out anyone who might be thinking of drawing, and take it down there.

The next orbit I find AJh in the big blind. 4 of us see the flop of 8h 2c Ad. I bet $1 and the small blind raises to $6. He’s in the small blind, so I know there is a very real possibility that he’s playing Ace-rag and caught two pair, but I decide to call and see what the turn brings. Fortunately it’s a Jc, and I raise his $5 bet to $10. He calls and we see the Qc on the river. We both checked here, and I see that I was correct in my read and was beat on the flop, as he held As2h.

At this point I am well on my way to doubling my buyin at this tight passive table, but it starts to break up, so off I go for other waters. I am greeted at my new table with Aces in the small blind. UTG+1 raises to $2 and gets 3 callers. Feeling that’s too many people in a pot with my Aces, I re-raise to $6.50, and get one caller. That’s more like it. The flop comes 5d Kc 9h. I bet $10 and my opponent then goes all-in. I fold, having him on a set of Kings at that point, given that he called my re-raise.

That hand really bugs me though. Partly because I hate to lay down Aces – they’re so purty. Also because I fear I may have been outplayed there. What if he had AK? Or even Aces himself, it’s rare but it does happen. If you had a set of Kings, would you go all-in on a flop like that? I suppose, if you had your opponent on Aces and feared the two cards to come…

I played nothing but the blinds for one orbit after that, still going over the hand in my mind. Then I found myself with Aces again, this time in middle position. I raised to $2 and got 4 callers. Dammit people! The flop comes Qs 4d 2c and it’s checked to me by the two players on my right. I bet $5 and the player to my left raises to $10. The player to his left re-raises to $45, which will put me all-in if I call. I think to myself “Does he have Queens?”, but call anyway, still afraid I made the wrong call on the last hand; and I tell myself that at least this time I have runner-runner straight outs as well. The guy to my left types that he has QJ as he agonizes over his decision to fold or call. (Thank you for telling the table that you call raises you shouldn’t and then re-raise when you have only top pair decent kicker. And then think about folding to an all-in with a caller.) The turn was Jh, which I’m sure caused a cry of profanity from the guy on my left, and the river was a 3s (oh look, one of my outs). And again I was correct in my read on my opponent, as he did indeed have pocket Queens. Bye-bye me.

I hate my play with Aces. Back to curling up with David…