Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Ballad of Sheriff Short Memory and His Magical Penny

I walked into the Oaks last night and within 5 minutes was sitting down at a new $2/$3/$5 NL game that just started.

About 10 minutes later I got involved in my first noteworthy hand. The under the gun player raised to $15, two players in the field called and I looked down at AQ in the small blind. I should have raised to $75 here, but I just called and along with the big blind we took the flop 5 way. I could argue that against an under the gun raiser AQ was not in great shape and that I wanted to get to know the players a bit before getting involved in a big hand, but more so I think I called because I'd gotten my ass beat the night before and was a little tentative, which is not ideal.

The flop came down Q T 7 which was great for me. I went for the check raise, but sadly everyone checked around. The turn was a 6, I bet out $50, and got called by the big blind (who is the Key Villain in some upcoming hands). The river was another Q! Bingo! Trips!

I figured my opponent either had one pair like a T or maybe 88 or 99, a worse Q, or a draw and I had to decide how much to bet. If he had a draw I wouldn't get called no matter how much I bet so I threw that out of the equation and if it was a Q I could move all in and probably get called. But there was only one Q left after accounting for the one in my hand and the two on the board so a T or pocket pair was much more likely. I bet $100 figuring I might get called by a hand like KT or JT.

My opponent quickly called and said "I hope we chop." "What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" I thought. He rolled over 98 for a straight and I thanked my lucky stars that he didn't raise me on the turn or the river. I guess he figured I had to have at least a straight to bet and was hoping I didn't have a full house? Strange. Not a great start.

A few hands later I got dealt KK in the big blind. There was a straddle just to my left and when the action came to me 5 players were in for $10. I made it $65 to go and I got two callers. The flop came down K T 6! Top set! Zing!

One of my opponents had about $200 left and the other only had $50 so even though there was $200+ in the pot I bet small sliding $65 into the pot. The guy with $200 shoved and the other guy called!

I had the nuts, but this was a draw heavy board with two clubs out there on the flop. The turn was a 9 meaning the obvious straight draw got there. The river was the 7 of clubs bringing in the flush draw. Shit! I rolled over my hand reluctantly and the bigger stack showed 66 and the other guy mucked! Hey good things happening to me! I remember you!

Right before that hand the dealer found a penny in the rack of chips and tossed it to the guy with the 66. When I took all of his chips he said "here take the penny too" figuring perhaps it was cursed. I kept it on my stack the rest of the session planning to throw it to anyone who got my chips and that's where it stayed for the rest of the night.

I had more good things happen to me for the next couple of hours. After my set of kings I had about $900 in front of me which was enough to have everyone covered and I used that stack to my advantage. There were two guys in the game who had a pattern of calling the flop with just about anything - any pair, overcards, gutshots, backdoor flushes - and then folding on the turn if they didn't have at least top pair. If they did have top pair or better or made their hand they'd come out betting on the turn. All I had to do to beat them was bet the flop and bet the turn every time I was in there with them. Ta da! Easy!

One of these two guys kept asking me what I had or could I beat hand X. I told him "I don't know" or "Maybe" or "It could have been anything." After the second or third time he started calling me 'Short Memory.' "Hey Short Memory, could you beat fours on that one?" "I don't know, maybe."

Around that time I got involved in two hands with the Key Villain I mentioned earlier. This guy was about 40, Asian, looked kind of dorky. He bought in for $500 and handled the chips and cards like he was experienced, and I had a hard time getting past the fact that he looked and acted like he knew what he was doing, when looking back I don't think he really did.

On the first hand 5 of us saw a flop for $20 and I flopped a flush with 97 of diamonds on an A 6 4 all diamond board. Key Villain who was not the preflop raiser bet out $30 which was a really small bet into a $100 pot. I figured he had an ace with no diamond or maybe the king of diamonds. I was all set to bet if it was checked to me and all set to call a big bet, but I wasn't really sure what to do with this bet. I didn't really want to let someone else with a big diamond outdraw me cheaply, but didn't want to blow everyone out of there on the flop either. I decided to take a risk and just call, and everyone else folded.

The turn was a black 8, and he bet $35. Gah! I was really hoping for a bigger bet or a check. But this even more so felt like an ace with no diamond holding. I figured if I raised I'd blow him off the hand for sure and my guess was if no diamond came on the end I'd see a check and could make a sizeable bet that was likely to get called. With that in mind again I just called.

The river paired the 4 and he bet $35 again. I made it $145 and after 5 seconds went by and he didn't shove on me I knew I didn't run into a full house. After 30 seconds he folded. I would have been nice to make more with that hand, but picking up $180 or so didn't suck.

A little later the player just to my right who was sitting on a stack of $1,000 made it $30 and I called with 99 dreaming of hitting set and taking it all. The big blind plus the Key Villain who had just called under the gun came along as well.

The flop came down A 5 4 with two diamonds and everyone checked to me. I figured if no one had an ace I could bet and take down the pot so I fired out $75. Only the Key Villain called. At this point I figured he had a draw that was likely a flush draw. In that previous hand where I was pretty sure he had an ace he'd come out betting and even if he did have an ace it probably wasn't a strong ace since he didn't come in for a raise preflop. I on the other hand had called a good sized raise cold so a big ace was squarely in the middle of my likely hand range.

The turn was an 8. He checked, I cut out $150 from my stack and pushed it into the pot figuring I could blow him off a weak ace and knowing I was a big favorite against a flush draw. After about 5 seconds he shoved for $241. Ugh!

Turn check raises are almost never bluffs. No one ever bluffs for another $91 into $400+ pots. All I could beat was a bluff...or maybe a flush draw? Would he do that with a flush draw? I didn't really think so, but I was getting more than 5 to 1 on my money so I reluctantly put in another $91.

The river was a 2 and he said "Just an ace." I nodded sadly, but didn't roll over my cards as it was his turn to show first. When he flipped over his cards he had 87! He'd actually said "Just an eight" and I'd misheard him! Yeah baby! Send the cookies!

As soon as he left I said "Let that be a lesson to the rest of you. Don't test me! I'm calling everyone down super lite!" That got a good laugh and someone said "The Sheriff is in town!" which got echoed in a few other spots.

Two hands later I got dealt AT off suit and raised to $20. I got 5 callers which was not ideal, but the flop came down A Q 6 with one spade which was pretty good. Some of the time I like to check top pair even when I'm the preflop raiser. Not often, but enough so that people have to consider that I might have an ace even when I check on an ace high board. A 6 way pot seemed like a good time to let someone else take the lead. It got checked around.

The turn was the 3 of spades and the big blind bet out $45. I called and everyone else folded. My hope was I was up against a worse ace and that I'd see a check, bet, call, I win type of action on the river.

The river came out a 4 of spades completing the flush draw. My opponent quickly shoved all in for $140. Most people will back off when a flush draw comes in and my check on the flop plus call in the turn would be reasonable with a flush draw. His bet felt off to me. I figured he either had made the flush himself or had lost his mind. It was the latter. I called and he showed 77.

The guy to my left leaned over and said "he must not of heard what you said a minute ago." Sheriff Short Memory is calling people down over here! Watch out!

I ended up playing for 5 hours and won $1,219 on the night. It was a fun session. Good things happened to me! And I played well! Hooray!

I took the penny with me...

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