May 2018 pokerpalooza: The rest of the mess

June 26, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
June 26, 2018

Following my elimination from the National Tournament of Champions Finals, I had a bite to eat before deciding to sit down at a $1-$2 no limit holdem cash table with $95.

I had a slow start, dribbling away chips. I got excited during one hand that I must have played from the blinds with decidedly inferior starting hand — say, seven-five off-suit.

The flop — 3-4-5, I think — gave me a pair of fives and an inside draw to a straight. I bet on it, and the older fellow to my left called. The turn was, I believe, a six, completing my seven-high straight (3-4-5-6-7). I bet even more; my rival called again.

The river, unfortunately, was the kind of nightmare I’d twice experienced in the early days of the pokerpalooza. The dealer turned over a seven on fifth street, which gave everyone a seven-high straight. This completely negated whatever advantage I might have previously had.

Even worse, I think (goodness — this happened more than a month ago!) that the river gave the board three cards of the same suit. If this was what happened, my rival might have made a flush, which beats a straight of any sort.

I briefly considered betting, but it seemed useless, so I checked. My rival, who had many more chips than me, shoved all-in.

I had $45 or so at that point, and I’d been on the cusp of scooping up a sizable pot. Now, however, I saw only three scenarios, none of which were appealing.

If I called, there were two possible outcomes. The absolute best that could happen was that I chopped the pot with the other player, meaning that my winnings would be minimal. (I think three or four people paid to see the flop but dropped out post-flop without contributing much to the pot.)

The other result of calling would be the worst possible outcome. If my opponent had at least one eight, or worse yet a nine and an eight, he’d have a superior straight to mine and I would lose the entire stake I’d brought to the table. I’d also lose everything if he had a flush.

There was a middle path, however: Folding. By doing this, I wouldn’t win anything at all, but I’d still be able to play more poker without giving the casino, or another player, more money.

Bitterly disappointed, I stated aloud some of the thoughts going through my head. “Well, I don’t have a flush, and I don’t have an eight.” I announced that I was folding and threw my cards down disgustedly.

Later, ruminating upon this hand, I think I may have made the wrong decision. The chances that my foe had an eight were low. In all likelihood, he probably shoved because there was almost no downside to doing so: My checking the river indicated that I was not strong, and therefore his chances of losing chips was quite low.

On the other hand, could he have had a flush? Well, there’s nothing that can be done about it now…

I tried to wait for a premium hand, but the best thing that came my way was the ace and five of diamonds. A middle-aged man to my right bet $10; I went all in with something like $35; an older man across the table called me; and the player to my right, who’d raised to $10, then went all-in with a stack that was probably worth a few hundred dollars, if not more.

The older man across the table called with a lot less, and we turned over our hands. The older man had king-queen or king-jack, which I think were suited, while the middle-aged man had pocket aces. The board provided an ace and a face card, giving the man to my right triple aces and my other foe four of the cards he needed for an ace-high straight.

None of us received any further help, however, and so the man to my right scooped up a rather sizable pot. I collected my items, left the casino and began driving to my parent’s home. It was a little after 3 p.m.

During the two-hour trip, I realized that I was extremely tried — a consequence of not getting enough sleep over the previous week. I was so tired that I considered pulling over to nap, but that seemed like a bad idea because it could subject me to rush-hour traffic.

(Shortly after I arrived at my destination, I did take a nap, sleeping for around two hours.)

And that’s the full story — more or less — of my May 2018 pokerpalooza.

fin ~

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