Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Poker Diaries: The Best And Dumbest

At Least Not This Week
Yesterday at the Sit and Go Game, I'm in a game of Pineapple, which is a fun derivative of Hold'Em in which you get three cards, but have to discard one after the flop. It's fun because it's more action than you normally see out of hold'em, but without the full brain busting odds work that comes from Omaha. I'm short-stacked after some previous foolishness, and the way the game works is that as soon as six players are ready, a fresh table starts.

So with my chances low in this game and a new table about to start, I get dealt pocket deuces under the gun, and try to limp with them to a family pot. No such luck, as the button, a pretty loose guy with a big stack, raises 3X, and both blinds call... so while I know I'm behind, I also know that pot odds are suggesting a call. And more importantly, the situation in the overall game is telling me that I'm either going to need a big hit real soon, or I could wind up out of this game and waiting for another table to fill. So I call, and we get a big family pot when others go behind me.

The flop, of course, misses my deuces, but without Big Paint in the mix. So I raise, hoping to steal or get a lot of Ace-Miss laydowns... but the loose guy makes it more, and he gets snap-called by the big blind. So I know I'm behind, I know I've got two outs, and I also know that the rest of my stack is not going to get anyone out with a bluff. But I also know that the next table is calling, and that if I had a quarter for every time I've folded a pair on the flop, only to see trips on the turn, I'd have all kinds of money for the laundromat. So, knowing that this is the worst play I've ever made in poker, I shove. It's called... and hey, presto, deuce on the turn.

Honestly, I nearly laughed out loud. Had to hold up because hands were live, but still. The river is a brick, and I wind up getting something like a 5X boost as the three other guys in the hand stare at my trip 2s as if I've just done something illegal.I wound up taking down that game, with A-K winning over A-8, with the 8 coming on the flop, and the K on the river. Which sounds like a nice moment of skill, until you realize that the money came in over two stages. But hey, the river matters, right?

The longer I play, the more I'm amazed that anyone ever wins this game without luck. The difference in skill and quality, at least at our table, gets squashed by the draw all the time. And, well, it's always better to be lucky than good...

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