Sunday, January 9, 2011
A Brutal Beatdown of Pocket Aces
The weekly poker game in Ashburn was good and bad for yours truly. The good part was a strong tournament finish. The bad part was a very bad beat down in the cash game following the tournament- which specific to the hand, might be the worst beat I've ever taken at a poker table.
I finished 2nd in the tournament, and probably should've finished 1st, considering I was chip leader with 4 to go, and when it was heads up and all the chips were in the middle of the table, I had the best hand until the river. But so goes tournament poker, and sometimes the river is not your friend. Just ask Ed Reed's brother.
What, too soon?
After getting my tournament winnings, I proceeded to the cash table, which was well into a session that had started when tournament "losers" began to get knocked out. Its usually a pretty friendly $1/$2 game, mostly NL Hold'em and sometimes PLO. Tonight was just NLH.
I sat down and bought in for a modest $150. I was up and down, usually between $130 and $160. At one point, following a hand in which I flopped a boat while in the small blind with J7 off suit, I had my stack up to about $230.
Towards the end of the night with about 20 minutes before the agreed time to end the session, I was in the small blind when a player made it $10 to go. Three people called his raise, and it was back to me. I looked at my cards to reveal AA. I re-raised the pot to $55. At this point, I had about $60 in chips left.
The original raiser, who is a pretty good player, and ironically enough, was the player who doubled me up earlier when I flopped the J7 boat, called the extra $45. The other 3 players folded.
Prior to the flop, with just $60 behind me, and now with about $140 in the pot, I had made up my mind that the rest of my money was going to the middle of the table, right after the flop came out.
The flop came out J, 10, 4, rainbow-no chance for flush draws. His range could've been JJ or TT in pocket, but my decision had already been made. I shoved my remaining $60 in chips to the middle, and the initial grim look on his face told me he had not flopped a set. He took about 30 seconds to hem and haw, and eventually said, "I can't get away from this one.", and he called me. He flipped over KQ off suit, to reveal that he was on an up and down straight draw.
At this point there was about $260 in the pot. Prior to seeing the turn and the river, the caller asked me if I wanted to run more than one board. Basically, for those of you who don't know, running it more than once is when the dealer deals out more than one board, and in this case, more than one turn and river cards. Its essentially an insurance for the favorite in the hand.
I agreed to run it three times which meant two turns and two rivers. The pot would now be broken up into thirds. I'd be happy winning 2 of the 3 boards, scoop my $180 or so, and get out of dodge. Hell, maybe I'd win all three. AA is pretty strong heads up against KQ, especially when 3 of the 5 cards are out, and he hasn't connected on anything yet. But you never know.
The dealer burned a card and then turned a 9 on the first board. Damn. One card out the gate, and I've already lost 1/3 of the pot. The 9 completed the caller's straight and I was drawing dead on the river. Oh well, there's two more boards. Thank god I agreed to run it more than once!
The dealer burned a card and then turned a Q. Not good. Although this card did not complete his straight or win him the hand, it now gave him more "outs" to go with a 9 and Ace that would complete another straight. A river Q or K would give him three Q's or two pair, crushing my AA. The dealer burned another card and BOOM, another Q on the river.
Ok, are you fucking kidding me?!? Not only did I just lose the second board (his trip Qs to my AA), but this was the worst card I could've seen. Why? Because he beat me on a board, and didn't eliminate any of the straight outs in the process. Meaning, we're now about to go to board #3, and there are still three 9s and two Aces in play that would complete another straight for him.
The dealer burned a card, and thank god! A rag 5 or 6 on the turn, I forget exactly what it was, but it didn't matter. The card didn't improve his hand, and now I just needed to dodge a 9 or an A on the river, and I'd salvage 1/3 of the pot.
But it was not to be. The poker gods were determined to stick it up my ass, even after dealing me the best starting hand in all of poker. Following the final burn, the dealer put another 9 on the river, completing another straight for my opponent, and allowing him to scoop the entire $260 pot.
Three boards, three ream jobs. I was so shocked, I think I just stood up and laughed. Yes, it had still been a profitable evening, as my tournament winnings had guaranteed that, but what a brutal way to end it.
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