Sunday, February 24, 2013

Buying some outs

As I'm wont to do on a Sunday afternoon, I am lying on my folding cot catching up on my poker reading. In her regular column in Poker Player (February 25, 2013), Barbara Connors writes about the concept of "buying outs". She does, however, make an error in the following paragraph :

Say you call to see a flop with A-7 of spades and the flop comes down J-8-3 with two spades. You have nine outs to the nut flush, which is pretty simple and straightforward, except that the flush is not the only draw you have going for you here. You could also hit one of the remaining three aces, which would give you top pair. Problem is, your top pair would be married to a mediocre kicker. If one of your opponents has a better ace, say ace-king or ace-queen, your three ace outs are tainted, because spiking an ace will only bring you heartache and an expensive second-best hand. But if you think a wellplaced raise can push this particular opponent out of the pot, you’re effectively buying three more outs for your hand, giving yourself a total of 12 good outs to win.

The first reader to correctly identify the mistake wins a free self-administered colonic irrigation.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hand Analysis I

This will be the first in a series of posts where I will attempt to convey the incisive analysis that lies behind my decision making process during the play of a no-limit hold'em poker hand. The importance of maintaining a high state of vigilance, in order to detect the constant stream of clues being dangled in front of us, can not be overemphasized.

The following hand took place in a 2/5 game at the Aria on 2/10/2013. The game is fairly lively with a good amount of pre-flop raising and re-raising. Effective stacks are $500, and I am UTG+1 in seat 5.

UTG folds and I look down at 2 black aces. I immediately bite the inside of my cheeks and upper tongue so as not to display any manifestation of bliss.

While I pause and think about how much to raise, I notice that Seat 6 to my left, a 20-something internet punk replete with hoodie and headphones, is cutting out chips.

In the meantime, the dealer alerts me that blood is starting to flow out of the sides of my mouth. I must have bitten off a chunk of my tongue. However, I don't let this distract me as it should grow back.

I decide the best course of action is to just limp in and re-raise the punk when it gets back to me. So I timidly push in a redbird.

To my chagrin, Seat 6 just calls my $5 and then continues cutting out chips. How the hell am I supposed to know the prick has OCD.

It's folded to the middle-aged lady in Seat 9 who now starts freaking out and accuses me of being a vampire, but still manages a call.

"Towel on table 12," shouts the dealer as blood starts to drip onto the felt.

Both small and big blind call, and we see the flop 5-handed :

Ah 3h 3s

I am now starting to feel a little lightheaded, probably from the loss of blood. I peek again at my cards and to my dismay notice that they are now wet red aces.

"Towel on table 12," I shout.

It's a dangerous flop and I won't be lulled into a false sense of security. I have a boat but there are backdoor straight flush and quads possibilities. If someone has flopped quads then so be it.

It is checked to me. I start swaying to and fro, my head spinning like a top. My cards on the table in front of me are now barely visible and the chip used to protect them starts floating away.

With my last remaining strength I feebly announce "all-in".

All this is apparently too much for the lady in Seat 9 who faints headfirst onto the table. The dealer declares her hand dead and extricates the 2 cards from under her left cheek, but not before accidentally exposing them :

3d 3c

I manage to hang on till the pot is pushed my way and then pass out, just as the floor arrives with a towel.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

One more for Snopes

Last June, there was a report in the Las Vegas Sun, together with accompanying photo, about a roulette wheel at the Rio hitting the number 19 an incredible seven times in a row.

Knowing that the odds of this happening are about 3 billion to 1, I immediately dismissed this and attributed it to some electronic malfunction.

Sure enough, the very next day a Rio spokesman told the paper, "There was no one playing at that table. It was just a diagnostic test being done."

In her latest column in Poker Player (February 11, 2013), Barbara Rogers writes :

A good friend of mine, Mike from Rhode Island, played in a game recently where the same player was dealt pocket aces four times in a row. What’s even more incredible is they were the same suit each time, ace of clubs, and the ace of diamonds. As hard as it is to believe, it’s true; you know anything can happen in this game of ours. The chances of it happening are comparable to: winning the lottery 5 times or getting struck by lightning three times in your lifetime. The chance of random aces three times in a row is 1 in 10,793,308. One players’ response to “ace man” was “there is no (f -in) way you have pocket aces four times in a row, I call!”

The chance of random aces three times in a row is actually 1 in 10,793,861 and, had this been the case, I could have believed the story. But the odds of being dealt the exact same hand 3 times in a row are about 2.3 billion to 1, so I have to call BS on Mike's yarn.