Monday, October 08, 2012

Nightmare scenario

Saturday night I was playing at Hard Rock. I had bought in for $200 and was up to nearly $400 when a hand came up the likes of which I do not think I have experienced before.

I had 2d-2h in middle position. One of the several bad players at the table raised to $10 in early position. I called, basically set-mining. The guy two to my left also called. He was one of the only good players. He was rock solid, conservative, never bluffed that I could tell, never got his money in bad. The fact that I had observed this about him would prove to be crucial. 

The flop was 2s-8d-9d. Excellent! EP guy bet $45, an overbet of the pot. I estimated that he had about $80 left. I wanted to isolate him, so I raised to $125. But Seat 3 (I was in 1) called. Ruh-roh. I knew there was no way he would put that much money in with an overpair or with an ordinary draw. Two pair? Maybe, but he's not playing 8-2 or 9-2 after an early-position raise, so if it's two pair it's 8-9. Furthermore, I think he would reraise two pair here to defend against the obvious straight and flush draws. Or he might have a good enough read on me that he would fold two pair. So I was mostly discounting the two-pair possibility. I thought he either had a bigger set than mine, or he had a monster draw. I think the only draw big enough that he would call that much would be a straight flush draw. Specifically, Jd-Td, 7d-6d, or 10d-7d, in decreasing order of probability. Any of these would give him more than half the deck to make his hand. 

The original raiser also called. He actually had $84 left, so we had a $2 side pot. 

The turn was the Qs. Ugh. Tight guy's most likely draw just got there. If he didn't have me beat already on the flop, he probably did now. I checked. Seat 3 messed around with his chips for a while, stacking and counting and restacking and recounting. He finally settled on a bet of $250--basically about what I had left. I found it completely implausible that he would do this as a bluff or a semibluff. He had a made hand, period. And the only made hands he could have were a set higher than mine or a straight that had just been completed. If he had the former, I was dead to one out. If the latter, I would have ten outs to make a full house, but zero implied odds--there would be no more money to extract from him. 

It's painful to flop a set and see it go down in flames. It's even more painful to do so after investing $135 on it. But this was a clear fold. I thought the probability of him doing this with any hand that did not have me crushed (e.g., top two pair) was maybe 10% at best. With most other players, I would have to give this decision serious thought, because most others would stack off with enough lesser hands (e.g., pocket jacks) that I'd have to try to read whether they were as strong as they were representing. But with this particular guy, given all that I had observed about him over the course of a couple of hours, it took me less than five seconds to reach the conclusion that I had to fold. So I did. 

I was not a bit surprised to see him turn over 8-8. 

I was, however, surprised to see the original raiser turn over Q-Q. He had hit what he could not have known was a two-outer for top set, and won the pot. 

I don't think that I've ever been in a set-over-set-over-set situation. Heck, I'm not sure I've ever even seen one in live play. (I saw a flopped set/set/set in a televised tournament once.) It is a phenomenally rare occurrence. That I was able to figure out what was going on and therefore lose only $135 instead of my whole stack felt like the biggest win of the night. 


DavidCF said...

As long as the river was not the 2c....

Mr Subliminal said...

<< I think the only draw big enough that he would call that much would be a straight flush draw. Specifically, Jd-Td, 7d-6d, or 10d-7d, in decreasing order of probability. Any of these would give him more than half the deck to make his hand. >>

More than half the deck? You're still a 58% favorite if he has a straight flush draw.

However, given the turn action, I agree that you have to reluctantly fold your hand.

Incidentally, given that he had a set of 8's, I find his smooth call of your flop raise rather interesting. Clearly he didn't put you on a draw or he would have gone all-in on the flop. And had he done this, I would have lost my stack. What about you?

Rakewell said...

1. Yeah, I said that wrong. I was thinking in terms of probability of winning the hand, but said it in terms of number of cards. Typically a straight flush draw has 15 outs, which puts it at a little over 50% to win with two cards to come if pitted against an overpair. But here if he had, say, the 6d-7d, I had one of his diamonds, so he would have had only 14 outs instead of 15, and his win percentage is further cut by my redraws to a full house.

2. He said that on the flop he was worried that I had a set of 9s. He wasn't slow-playing; he was being cautious.

3. I THINK I still would have managed to fold, but it sure would have been tough. The Q on the turn gave me the extra nudge. Absent that, it's hard to know if I would have made the right conclusion.

Michael M. said...

Heck of a laydown. With that busy of a flop, and knowing how many low stakes players overplay overpairs, two pairs, and combo draws, laying down a set is tough to do.

I've seen flopped set over set over set twice. Once at the Meadows it was Ks over 6s (I think) over 3s; the 3s turned quads after the money was all in on the flop. The other time was at the Venetian, and it was something like 8s over 7s over 5s; I had middle set, we got it all in on the turn after top set made quads. Doh!

lightning36 said...

I once played at a charitable games cash game table -- $1-2 NL. Four people were all in after the flop. It turns out that three people had pairs and hit their set on the flop and the other player had pocket Aces! The person with the highest set (Queens) won the pot and felted three other players in one hand! Can you say "huge stack" -- at least for a charity game?

Anonymous said...

Very well played. You have mentioned recently that poker is going well for you. Any particular reason, or just run good?

Maybe the bike + exercise = focus?

Good luck and keep it up.

JT88Keys said...

I think the harder part of a situation like that isn't correctly analyzing it, but having the faith in your skills of deduction to act appropriately. I definitely still struggle with acting on my reads or "gut instincts." I had one Saturday night in a limit game. I chased a flush draw to the river except when it hit it also paired the board. My opponent solemnly shook his head as though he hated that card before betting anyway. The alarm bells went off as I thought, "Well that was an Oscar worthy performance." I raised, got re-raised, called and wasn't a bit surprised to see him turn over his boat.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of one of my favorite hands, it's been years so the numbers are fuzzy.

Online play, dealt KK in early position. I raised the standard 3BB's when the next to act min raised. Usual fold, fold fold, and then a call. Back to me I decide to flat call.

Flop K-Q-J. I raise, the original re-raiser pops it again, and the 3rd player calls once more. At this point I shove for a bit less than a full raise--and the both call. Cards turn over: My KK, QQ, and JJ.

Still remember the stunned/elated feeling I had seeing that. Dodged the pair of 1-outers to triple up. Can't image the odds of ever seeing that again.

Mr Subliminal said...

I witnessed a set over set over set on the flop at the Venetian in 2009, and wrote about it here (NSFW) :

posing the following question : "Given that 3 players have 3 different pairs and see the flop, what is the probability of each flopping a set?"

And the answer is ...

... 8/15180 = 0.000527.

lightning36, you even commented then about that very same hand you once saw.

geezer said...

The very first day Canterbury was open set over set over set at a 6-12 limit games 5 players still in at the river Monster pot