Archive for the ‘live poker’ Category

Posted by baccaratguru at November 20, 2014

Category: live poker

I suffered a bad beat recently that was truly surreal. I was playing in a $6/$12-limit Hold’em game at a nearby casino and happened to have a couple of loose cannons seated at my nine-player table. I really couldn’t wait for my chance to beat one of them in a big pot . . . or so I thought.

Opportunity soon knocked when one of the loose cannons, let’s call him Mr. Maniac, raised to open the betting on a new hand. I looked down to find pocket queens, so I immediately re-raised. There were a couple of callers, and then Mr. Maniac capped it at four bets pre-flop. The flop came Q-4-2 rainbow. My crazy competition, first to act, fired out. I decided to raise, which drove the other two callers out of the hand. Mr. Maniac, not surprisingly, re-raised and then I just called (hoping to entice him to fire out again to me on the turn).

The turn produced the seven of hearts, which kept the board a rainbow of unsuited cards. As anticipated, my hapless opponent fired out again. I re-raised, hoping I wouldn’t inadvertently cause him to fold. Such fear, naturally, proved unfounded as he re-raised back, making it three bets. I began to put him on a hand such as pocket rockets or possibly K-K, which were over pairs to the board and which Mr. Maniac would likely think were golden.

As I’d soon learn, however, what Mr. Maniac actually held was 4-4, which gave me the better set, queens versus fours. The board, you’ll recall, was Q-4-2-7, all unsuited. So, this poor fish I’d hooked was drawing dead to the last four in the deck with only one card to come! Even though I didn’t yet know what he held, I re-raised again on the turn, making it four bets. Normally, four bets is a cap — but not when the hand is being played heads-up. So, when Mr. Maniac, with his paltry three fours, re-raised me with a fifth bet, guess what I did? Yup, re-raised him with a sixth bet (which, incidentally, totally depleted both of our stacks).

Then an odd, cursed thing happened. As I was making my bet, the dealer momentarily lost his focus and turned over the river card before we were done betting. Perhaps he was glancing at a TV across from the poker room, or thinking about what he’d eat on his break, or who knows? Such blunders happen from time to time; dealers are human and can make mistakes. The general rule when a river card is accidentally exposed is that it’s returned to the deck, the remaining cards are shuffled, and then a new river card is dealt.

Anyway, much to my dismay, the mistakenly exposed river card was none other than the queen of diamonds, which would have given me four of a kind! I tried to forget about this tormenting near-miss as the dealer prepared to re-issue the river card. Because Mr. Maniac and I had both invested all of our chips in the $450-plus pot, we were basically all-in at this point and so we decided to show our hands. He turned over his pocket fours and, having no clue what he was facing from me, declared, “My hand is already made!” I showed him my queens and joked, “My hand was made on the river, but I guess it’s not made anymore!” Mr. Maniac’s face turned bright red when he realized how badly he’d overvalued his hand.

Finally, the dealer was ready to deliver the river card, for the second and final time. Need I say what it was? Yes, incredibly, the four of clubs, giving my opponent four of a kind . . . and me an ulcer.

Posted by baccaratguru at March 8, 2012

Category: live poker

Tags: , , , , , , ,

I was recently watching a WPT final table on the television and here is one interesting hand I saw.

There was lots of room for players to manoeuvre with the blind structure and no one was so short-stacked as to not have a chance. With players starting with 10K initially, there was $7,840,000 in play and the blinds were rolled back to the start of Level 22, which is where they left off the previous night – blinds 20K/40K + 4K antes. Danny Chang – Tournament Coordinator, BC Lotteries, Phil Quelch, the Tournament Director and Daryl McCullough also inserted a new Level 23 of 25K/50K + 5K antes to give some more play to the final table.

One of the greatest assets of River Rock tournament staff is their knowledge and control of these expansive events. The only legitimate concern expressed from the players was about the $4,000 in starting chips for each of the $1,000 events and some issues raised about rule adjustments, but like any player concerns, they are quickly addressed and improved for future events.

As Daryl said, “My job is to do the handshake at the end and steal the microphone sometimes and handle any problems.” Much too modest as always; more importantly, he noted, “I want to find out what the players are looking for and find out how to meet those demands.”

The first casualty occurred at Hand #13 with Michael Sun being first into the pot, risking his chips all-in with a legitimate A♥10♠. Bad timing though and he hit a brick wall with Greg’s A♣A⋄. No help from the board and the BC young gun took home $40,000. On the very next hand Lazaros pushes all-in on the button with 8♣9♣ for a semi-steal. The brick wall was still there with Greg’s A♥K⋄ – an easy call for the 32-year-old, who has been playing poker for half his life. The 5♣ 6⋄ K♥ on the flop spiked top pair. The 4♣ on the turn offered hope of a club draw, but the 10♠ on the river helped Greg accumulate even more chips.

I first met my friend in the parking lot of the Regina Inn. He had just arrived for a Casino Regina Poker Classic event. He had checked in, taken his bags up to his room, and returned for the remainder of his luggage, which consisted of a mini-trampoline. That is when I met him, just as he was pulling the mini-trampoline out of the covered bed of his pickup truck.

For my friend, exercise serves a twofold purpose. First and foremost, he keeps fit. He is a sixty-five year old retired electrician. He is married and they have two boys. In addition to trampoline, he does yoga and rides an exercise bike although, like all of us, he admits that he doesn’t exercise as much as he should.

Keeping fit became really important to him when he was injured. Working in the Alberta oil patch, he was on a ladder that collapsed. He injured a vertebra in his back and has been unable to work steadily since. More than anything, the injury has caused him a balance problem that is not compatible with the work of an electrician. Shortly after the injury he started to take poker more seriously. Although he played in his teens in home games and into his twenties in the underground club scene, it was not until the mid 1990’s that he bought Doyle Brunson’s Super System. Brunson gave him an epiphany: there is a lot to learn about poker. He started to study a lot. By his own estimate, for the last seven years poker has provided the bulk of his income.

The other thing that exercise does for him is give him time to think. Away from the distractions of TV and family, alone on his exercise bike with the whirr of the wheel to relax him my poker friend gets time to think about poker. He runs over past hands. He thinks about his usual opponents. He considers how best to win his next tournament entry. In short, he spends a lot of time studying and thinking about his beloved game.

When I asked him for just a single tip he might offer someone just starting out he couldn’t stop at just one. First and foremost he suggested that new players should make use of all the tools available: books, video seminars, software, and internet chat rooms. His first book was Oswald Jacoby On Poker but he stays completely up to date by buying almost every new poker title that is published.

He has a library of over thirty poker books, he owns the complete line of Wilson Software poker simulations, and he continues to read several internet poker newsgroups. There is so much to learn he says, and mistakes are very expensive in live action. On top of reading and studying, my friend suggests that new players keep records. Winning players keep track, losing players find excuses not to.