Saturday, May 12, 2012

Taking on the luckbox

I was at the Riviera tonight. There's a big pool tournament going on there, and it's the busiest I've ever seen the place. For the first time ever, I could not find a spot in the parking garage and had to resort to the surface lot east of the garage.

The poker room had three $1-3 NLHE games going when I arrived at about 8:00 p.m. On a typical Friday night they would have one that's having trouble being sustained. I have seen two no-limit games going at the Riviera before, but I don't think I've ever seen three. And a fourth one started up while I was there.

The first seat that opened up was to the immediate left of the table drunk. He was incredibly annoying, paying no attention to the action, playing out of turn, slowing everything down whenever it was his turn, talking about the hand, flashing his cards both deliberately and inadvertently, etc. But he was so awful that nobody complained much, for fear that he'd be kicked out, and that would be tragic.

He was the prototypical drunk luckbox. Shortly before my tussle with him, he had twice in ten minutes come out on the good side of set-over-set situations, stacking two good players who had patiently waited for their chance to trap him. The second of these profited him about $600, and he was sitting on about $1400 when the key hand occurred. (I had a mere $320 or so, just barely above my buy-in.)

He would frequently raise without looking at his cards. He would just grab a handful of chips and toss them forward helter-skelter, with no idea how much it was. This appeared to happen randomly, without respect to position. I kept an eye on him so that I would always know whether or not he had looked at his cards before doing this, because if he looked, he actually had a respectably tight raising range.

To the matter. He and I were the blinds. The player to my left straddled, and picked up a bunch of callers. Drunk Luckbox--who had not picked his cards up off the felt--yielded to one of his urges to raise in the dark, and tossed a bunch of chips forward. The dealer counted it as $31.

I had J-J. This is, of course, comfortably ahead of two random cards, so I slid two stacks of $50 across the line, which was followed by rapid-fire folding around the table. DL finally figured out that it was his turn again, and the dealer informed him of my reraise. He looked annoyed and said, "Now I'm gonna have to LOOK!" He did, quickly followed by, "I'm all in."

There is just no way to know what range of hands he will do this with, as such a situation had not occurred before. There's also no way to get inside his head and deduce what he must be thinking about me and my range, etc., because he's just too wild and erratic for logic or third-level thinking to be of any use. I felt that all I could do was go with the math: If I have J-J, the probability that anybody at a full table was dealt a higher pocket pair is only about 13%, and if he has anything less than that, I'm OK getting all the chips in with my edge. In my first few minutes at the table I had seen this guy call all-in for about $300 pre-flop with A-Q offsuit, hit top two pair and win. The way I see it, he might well shove with a baby pair or an ace-rag hand. In fact, I had seen him reraise all in with 10-10 once, probably because he didn't want to play it post-flop. Given his past history, I thought it would be crazy to put in a third of my stack, then fold.

I insta-called, as I had actually made up my mind in advance that that's what I would do if he pushed, knowing that he might do so relatively light.

We turned up our cards. My J-J was up against his...


Mother-effin' snakes on a mother-effin' plane!

There are three hands he could have that were a favorite to my jacks: aces, kings, and queens. There are six ways to make each of those hands. That means that out of the 1225 possible two-card combinations he could have been dealt, only 18 of them would have me in trouble. And he had to have one of them right now?


Flop: 4-5-7.

Turn: 5.
Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled with a crack,
For from the cards left in his hands, the dealer found a jack.*
That's the second time in a week that I have misread an opponent for being weaker than he actually was, got all my money in at a severe disadvantage, and got my butt rescued by the fall of a lucky card. It's not really the way I prefer to make my money, but I'll take it and be grateful.

Sometimes, in order to win, you just gotta outluckbox the luckbox.


Incidentally, this is going on a few steps outside of the new location of the poker room at the Riviera. It seems that some of the players at the tables find this distracting. I can't imagine why.

* From "Casey at the Bat," by Ernest Thayer, very slightly modified.


bastinptc said...

This and the other hand on the back side of a seven game losing streak. I had a PVC or two just reading the damn post. ;-)

Lindy99 said...

So there is joy in Mudville on this day! You have to love when variance is on your side.

grrouchie said...

Even though you got your money in bad it's nice that you have a streak of "rungood" saved up.

I agree 100% with everything you wrote above and with JJ I'd be looking to get all my money in against this type of player no matter what action he decided to take.

I forgot that they had the Pool Convention going or I would be down there with you playing again. I sure do love those pool players.

Josie said...

Oh wow, you said "mother-effing"!

Rob said...

Wow. Great example of why your blog is so darn popular. A great story and extremely well told. Loved the adaptation of Casey at the Bat. And even a little bit of video skin thrown in for good measure. Nice.

I do wonder tho if the drunk was too drunk to have any reaction to his bad luck? Or did he piss and moan?

Congrats on being on the right side of a suck-out!

Rakewell said...

Rob: He was perfectly nice about it. He was feeling no pain. And he was still up about a billion dollars.

Quiet Lion said...

Good post, but obMathNit: there are 1225 combinations of starting hands he could have had, not 2550.

Rakewell said...

QL: Thank you. I always, always, ALWAYS mess up the math when I come home from a session in the middle of the night and write a post. The story is fresh on my mind, but I'm sleepy and brain-dead.

In this case, I simplistically took 50 (the number of different first cards he could have, given my JJ) times 49 (the number of second cards he could be dealt), without remembering that that counts every hand twice (because, e.g., Ac-4d and 4d-Ac are the same hand).

Fixed the post accordingly.

Missingflops said...

I'd disagree with your assertion that your read on him was off. I have no doubt that he would do that with a very wide range. Unfortunately, this time he happened to be on the high end of the range.

And you know, nice catch. :)

LOLfolding said...

I'm with Missingflops here. Your read of "Didn't look at his cards" can't be refuted and your raise was obviously right.

As you have described the villain, there is absolutely no way I'm folding. His range of possible hands includes every suited ace, most (if not all) pocket pairs, and probably all of the Kx or Ax varieties. I'd get it in with him all day with the action as described.

Nice that he didn't explode though. It always sours a game when the luckbox is finally on the short end and thinks he's been wronged. I hope you got your newly doubled stack in against him too.

MF said...

Mother-effin' message received loud and clear, you passsive-aggressive little prick.