Edmond and I made plans to "bring our home game to the Commerce" this past Monday. The Commerce has a great program where they will host your regular home game. They provide the dealer, will furnish snacks and will even offer instruction on some new games if you need it. There is no extra fee; they only take their normal rake depending on the stakes played. No crazy wildcard games allowed. You need to stick to the basic games offered at the Commerce, but that does leave you with lots of options (click here to learn more
). We were planning on starting with a basic $300-500 stakes NL game and throw in some H-O-R-S-E games if everyone was up for it.
We were pretty excited to play and Dave Mosikian, head of player relations was set to play with our group. However, Dave had some bad back issues Monday afternoon and had to pass. Could it be that he was channeling Kobe Bryant’s back pain from Sunday’s Lakers game? Dave is a big Lakers/Kobe fan and controls the keys to Commerce’s great luxury box at the Staples Center , so that close link to the Laker great is a real possibility.
Dave hosting a bunch of us at the Commerce box
We were all looking forward to playing with Dave so decided to reschedule for the near future when Dave (and Kobe) feels a bit better. Dave, please get some rest. We’ll looking forward to some future donations at the tables! (note: I’m writing this from a plane ride to NYC the night after game 5 and Kobe’s back is getting better so Dave, there will be no more excuses!).
Alternative Plans at the Huslter ‘s Monday Night Tournament
Since my beautiful wife had already given me a poker pass for the night I decided to meet a few of the guys over at the Hustler for the Monday night NL tournament. It’s a $100 buy-in with one optional $100 rebuy. I arrived about 10 minutes late and was seated right away. My very first hand did not start off good at all. I hit tptk with A9, but my opponent turned two pair and took about 600 of my starting 2000 stack. I immediately requested my one optional rebuy ($100 for another 2k in chips) and proceeded to win my $600 back on the very next hand when I turned the nut straight against my opponent’s middle pair.
Crazy Dealer Mistake Costs me Down the Road
Towards the end of the first level a crazy dealer mistake followed by a questionable floor ruling ending up costing me (indirectly!). Two players are in a pot and by the turn the board reads:
The woman to the left of me who is fairly active and aggressive goes all-in and is called by her opponent. She turns over QQ for the full-house and her opponent puts his cards down in front of him without turning them up and says "you got me." The dealer starts moving the cards toward the muck, but given that it’s a tournament and the cards need to be shown I stopped him (I was sitting in the 6 seat and the cards were right in front of me) and asked to see them. Here’s the important part – the cards never hit the muck so there was zero doubt what the cards were. The dealer turns over the cards to show Q rag, for two pair. He also claimed to touch the muck with his other hand indicated that the cards were mucked. Of course the river was a third A! The dealer starts moving all of the chips towards the woman but everyone at the table tries to stop him since this should be a split pot. The losing player seems a bit embarrassed and does nothing to stop him, but we all insist on a ruling.
The floorman comes over and the dealer explains what happened. The floorman rules that yes, this is a tournament and the hands need to be turned over and the player cannot muck his cards prior to the river. This is actually important and is used to prevent collusion. However, the floorman says that it is too late to reconstruct the hand so there is nothing he can do. Too late? He didn’t even ask if they had identical stacks because if they did it would be trivial to reconstruct. If the losing player had more than the woman then at worst, they could split the pot and the woman would be BETTER off. In reality the woman had a bit more, maybe 300-400 but he never asked, and the losing player didn’t protest so no attempt was even made to figure it out.
So how did this effect me? Let me explain...
Down to two Chips, but still alive
For the next level or so I fluctuated a bit between 4-5k when a hand came up where I bet the flop against one player (I’m out of position) with TPTK and a backdoor flush draw. My opponent took a long time to call which told me that there was a good chance he had middle pair. The turn paired and brought me 4 to a flush. I’m concerned that he made trips and if I bet he will raise me and I’ll have to fold, but I really want to see the river. I think of just check-calling, but what if he didn’t have middle pair he would probably fold if I bet. I do decide to bet and he does raise me. I take a while to fold and am visibly upset that I bet. This is important because...
On the very next hand I look down at JJ on the button. Blinds are 50/100 and there are two limpers to me. I make it 600 and am very conscious of the fact that it probably looks to anyone who is noticing that I’m steaming from the last hand. It’s a perfect spot for one of the blinds to raise me and the SB obliges by raising to 1400. She is the active player who won an extra 2k because of the floor decision I previously described. It’s folded to me and given that I was expecting her or the BB to raise and have no reason to believe she has me beat, I go all-in. Oops, she immediately calls and shows KK.
Her stack is fairly close to mine and once the count is made we learn that I had her covered by two chips! Looks like it will be an early night, but wait...
Never Count me Out
I get dealt TJo on the next hand and am tempted to just throw in the two chips, but I’m now in the CO and have a full orbit until the blinds hit me so I decide to just wait and see what happens. My patience is rewarded with AQs a few hands later. I toss my chips in the middle and a few people come along. My AQ holds up for the side pot and I’m now up to 250. It’s a start.
I fold a few hands and now I’m UTG and have a decision to make. I only have K8s, but on the next hand I’ll be in the BB and will basically have to play any hand. Also, if I put my chips in now there’s a chance that everyone will fold to the blinds so I’ll only have to beat 1-2 others. If I wait there could be a limped community pot and I might have to outlast a ton of players. Looks like playing my K8s makes the most sense so I do. A few players join in the pot, but a flopped K gives me hope. When the dust settles a paired board on the turn actually killed my chances of a substantial win, but I do split the sidepot with my opponent’s K3 and I’m now at 400.
On the next hand the blinds go up to 100/200 and I’m in the BB. An EP player raises to 600, a few players call and the button pushes. I have A9 and call and 2 other players call. Believe it or not I have the best hand PF. The button was trying to muscle everyone out with KQ and the other players called with suited connectors. I don’t pair my cards but neither did anyone. I win a pretty nice sidepot and am now up to around 1800. Pretty nice orbit.
Three Strikes (mistakes?) and You’re Out
Not sure if any of the next three hands are serious mistakes but I have second thoughts about all of them. Here’s how they went down:
1) Two hands later I’m on the button with AJo and push. The BB is contemplating calling me and while I’m 99.9% sure that I have a better hand I am so happy to be back in the game that I really don’t want to be sucked out on and would rather just take down the pot right there so I open my trap and tell him that I have a really strong hand and will show him if he folds. He says he has a good hand too, and I say that "you’ll need to suck out, but if that’s what you want to do, you should." After a minute or two he folds KQ face-up. I really should have invited the call and I’m almost certain that he would have called if I just shut up. Of course it would have been about a coinflip, but at that point I should have welcomed the call; especially given that his range likely had an A or J so I would have been a nice favorite to his range. Stupid!
2) I get moved to a new table and find myself UTG with AQ and about 2200 in chips. A standard raise isn’t an option here since I will be pot committed on any flop. I could limp and push against any raiser or just see the flop for only 200 if nobody raises. I decide to push, which is standard of course, but again, I need to be taking a little creative risk here. I really didn’t like the push once I thought it through, but that’s what I did and I won another 300 when everyone folded.
3) On the very next hand the HJ makes it 1k (BB still 200) and it’s folded to me. I look down at TT. I don’t know anything about the HJ’s game but my quick read is that he is a regular and knows what he is doing. He had a called a few players by name and he is in his mid 40’s-early 50’s.
My thought process here was way too quick and missed a lot of the necessary factors. I decide that he’s aggressive and I just cannot fold TT when I’m short-stacked. I called, he turns over AA and I’m out.
Here’s the problem... If I would have spent a bit more time thinking it through and tried harder to put him on a range I probably would have realized that I could narrow it down given his 5xBB bet. What could he possibly have that I would want to see? The only hand in his range that I really want to see is 99. AK is possible and wouldn’t be too bad, but that’s it. When he makes it 5xBB he almost certainly has 99+/KK. Maybe 88 or AQ, but unlikely.
Do you agree?
The good news is that it was not very costly, the Hustler is only 30 minutes from my house and I got home relatively early. I have to say that it was a fun time. What more could I ask for? Perhaps a final table finish and check?
** BTW, during the break I approached the floorman and discussed his decision on the all-in. His first reaction was that he couldn’t reconstruct the pot at that time, but when I pointed out that he never even asked any questions of the players so how would he know -- he reconsidered. He told me that he was tired and having a bad day and that everyone makes mistakes. He further pointed out that the player never protested and defended himself. If the player did he probably would have come around and tried to split the pot in an equitable manner.
So the lesson here is to always fight for your rights when you believe in your position! I admire the floorman for admitting his mistake. I have always been impressed with the Hustler’s staff and this night did nothing to change my opinion!