Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Duh, winning!

There are times that the poker gods have decreed, "You will lose tonight," and there is nothing you can do to stop it. You play patiently, read opponents with laser precision, get your money in with the best of it every time--and lose, lose, lose.

There are other times that the poker gods have decreed, "You will win tonight," and there is nothing you can do to stop it. You play loose, from out of position, make every mistake in the book, get your money in bad every time--and win, win, win.

I didn't exactly play that badly tonight, but it was unmistakable that some unseen deity had declared it to be my night.

A year ago, almost to the day, I met reader Matt from Atlanta. As I reported then, he generously staked me in a tournament at the Venetian, just to have an excuse to meet and chat with me for a while. We've kept in occasional contact via Twitter since then. Several days ago he let me know he'd be in town again for a convention. He said he'd be staying at Hooters, and planned to hit their poker room Monday night. I had no other plans, and hadn't been to Hooters in a couple of months, so quickly agreed to meet him there.

I got there early and was one of the four to get the game started. Within the first ten minutes, I had called a raise with 6-6, flopped a set, turned quads, and picked up a $100 high-hand bonus in addition to the pot:

It has been several months since I last hit a jackpot--a statistically anomalous dry spell. It was high time it ended.

After that, the good times just kept rolling. I just Could. Not. Lose. I literally won every pot of over $50 that I contested the entire session, save one; I lost a race with J-J versus A-K all-in pre-flop for $45 each. Other than that, pretty much everything rolled my way. Raise with a good ace, and the flop would have an ace or my kicker as the high card. Call somebody else's raise with suited connectors, and I'd make the flush, straight, trips, or two pair. This streak was completely, utterly, off-the-charts, must-be-rigged ridiculous, and it had the full attention of every other player and all of the poker room employees.

I played for just over 2 1/2 hours, starting with the max buy-in of $200, and cashed out with $980, for a win rate of $297/hour. That is insane!

Matt and I had agreed in advance to a $5 bet over who could win a pot with and show the Mighty Deuce-Four first. Well, before he even arrived, I had scored a double-felting with it. I raised from the button to $15. The small blind moved all in for $27. The UTG player called, leaving himself only $10 behind. I called, too. The flop was K-4-x. UTG tossed in his last $10. I called, of course. Both he and the small blind had K-Q. So what came on the turn? A deuce ex machina. Two pair, thankyouverymuch. Pot to me.

(I explained to the table that not only was it my favorite hand, but it was the most powerful hand in poker. Some actually scoffed at this idea. Another player claimed that deuce-five is much stronger than deuce-four. Now it was my turn to scoff. The silly ideas that some poker players get in their heads!)

Matt was kind enough to pay me off when he arrived and heard about the Deuce-Four double-felting, even though he hadn't witnessed it. I didn't think it should count (even though other players were vouching for it having occurred) since I had an unfair head start. But I think he just wanted to give me this chip anyway:

He had been in Panama on his honeymoon, and brought it back as a souvenir for me, knowing that I collect $5 chips. I think it's lovely, and it's one that I am extremely unlikely ever to have picked up on my own. Thanks, Matt. You're a classy guy.

So how did I repay his kindness? The story gets ugly here. Gory, even. If you have small children in the room, you might want to have them leave before you read on. You don't want them having nightmares.

I had 7s-9s and limped from early position, Matt (on my left) also limped, along with a couple of others. Mr. Deuce-Five raised to $17 from the big blind. He raised a lot, but usually with good position, so this smelled of a real hand. I called, as did Matt. Three to the flop, which was J-7-7 rainbow. Ding! Mr. D-F bet $25. I smooth-called, assuming he'd bet nearly any turn, and it would either be an all-in bet or he'd be pot-committed to me shoving on him.

That's not how it worked out. Matt blindsided me with his own shove, for about $120. Mr. D-F shoved, too, for slightly more than that--almost surely with an overpair to the board. I was pretty confident Matt didn't have J-J, both because he hadn't raised pre-flop and because I think if he were that strong he would milk it more, trying to keep both me and Mr. D-F in. No way was he bluffing, and no way was he foolish enough to think that it would be a good spot to commit his stack with something like A-J, after my suspicious flat-call on a drawless flop. He had to have a 7, no two ways about it. But what kicker? I feared an ace. But Mr. D-F might well have two of the aces, and I also thought that after an ace his most likely kickers were a 6 or 8, for suited connectors. If so, I was ahead by a nose. It seemed to me at least twice as likely that his second card was a 6 or 8 as that it was an ace, so with more than 2:1 pot odds, I called, holding my breath.

I showed my 7-9, and Matt rolled over.... wait for it.... suited 7-10. D'oh!

I just barely had time to process this bad news when, Boom! Nine-ball, corner pocket. Full house. Blank on the river. A roughly $530 pot came my way. When the poker gods have made you their golden boy for the night, hitting a three-outer is child's play.

Fortunately, Matt's lovely young wife was taking the slot machines to school, making up for his sick losses. Also fortunately (for me), he laughed it off like the good sport he is. He left to go do something else, though we may meet up again tomorrow night. I've got to give the guy a sporting chance to return the suckout! Maybe my luck will have run out by then.

But I wouldn't count on it.


Ben Devlin said...

Wow! Sometimes you're the windshield..and sometimes you're the bug! Great run.

I need to check out the Hooters Poker room. I was there when they first opened the casino, but haven't made it back since.

What do they normally spread there?

Rakewell said...

I've never seen them have anything except one table of $1/2 NLHE.

Anonymous said...

were the cute dealers PJ and TK there?

AtlantaMatt said...

Think of me when you write your rent check this month as I will be thinking of you when I sign us up for welfare.

I actually sat back down and recovered a bit. Then went down late the next night at GN and made a smallish profit.

Never did see 2-4 in any session. Maybe that's what did me in!