Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Project Manhattan Session #17 - That's Not a Bad Beat, THIS Is a Bad Beat

Poker players love to tell you how unlucky they were after a loss. We've all told our share of bad beat stories. When I was cranking away full time playing online poker I'd usually play about 3,000 hands a day. That meant that 3 times a day I'd have some 1 in 1,000 bad shit happen to me. Most days that was OK. I always said that one of my big strengths was having good bounce back. And of course I had 1 in 1,000 good shit happen to me at the same rate.

I've been sitting here trying to think of my worst bad beat ever. I feel like there has to be a worse one somewhere, but one that sticks out was in a $2,500 event at the WSOP. This was in the days when you got $2 in tournament chips for every $1 in buy in. If I'm remembering this correctly (and I think I am) the blinds were 100/200 with a 25 ante and I was in the big blind. The under the gun player who I'd been playing with for close to 4 hours and seemed like a reasonable, fairly solid player, moved all in for 10,000. I looked down at AA and quickly called. He had K9 off suite, flopped a pair and rivered two pair. It wasn't the K9 beating AA. That happens about 14% of the time. It was that a guy just lost his mind for no reason and moved all in for 50 big blinds and I lost a pot that was worth over $10,000 in real dollars as a result.

Anyway, back to the present! Or the recent past rather!

I was in a fantastic game on a recent Friday night. There were no good players and a few players who were if not total novices, pretty close to it. I played for about 4 hours, but my session was really defined by two hands that happened back to back about 2 hours in.

On the first I got dealt JJ and made it $20 to go under the gun. I was losing about $200 at that point, but had around $700 in front of me and had been playing pretty tight in a loose game. The player just to my left was a guy I'd never seen before who was a total lunatic. There were a couple of hands where he got it in with weak top pair or middle pair by 3 or 4 betting when it could not have been more obvious he was crushed.  He looked like he was in his early 30's, had maybe Greek or Italian heritage and was wearing a gray sport coat with jeans. He had his headphones in, never said a word and barely reacted when he won or lost big pots.

So after my $20 raise Mr. Lunatic called as did 6 others (SIX others!) and we took the flop 8 way. It was about the best flop I could imagine that did not have a J in it - 8 5 2 rainbow. It's really uncomfortable betting into 7 people without the nuts (close to 1/3 of the unknown cards are in play), but betting was the only option. I slid $100 out there and only Mr. Lunatic called with $375 more left behind in his stack. At this point I knew if he made a better hand than me I was in deep shit. I just couldn't possibly fold against this guy given his play up to that point. As the turn came out, if it couldn't be a J, I was hoping it would be a 2. Sure enough the turn was a 2! Even though he had about one pot sized bet left in his stack I figured I'd have better luck getting it all in vs a 5 or an 8 or whatever else he had by getting him in two chunks. For chunk #1 I bet out $150. And he made it $300. Oh God. Facepalm. Seeing a minimum raise when a player only has a little bit left behind that is surely the sign certain doom...unless he's a total lunatic. I didn't love it, but I couldn't let it go. I put him all in for $375 total, he quickly called and the river came out a K. I showed my hand and he rolled over...wait for know it's going to be bad right...7 2 off. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

The real majesty of this bad beat is that I was under the gun, was probably the tightest player in the game, he was right after me, and it is literally the worst possible starting hand. It wasn't even suited. You can't find any more questionable circumstances to play a hand. It wasn't like he was fully committed to seeing every flop either. He was folding maybe 30% of hands preflop in the field. He just figured he'd go with that one. Every time he folded preflop after that I wanted to ask him "Found one worse than 72 off that time huh?"

At that point I was committed to staying until he left.

On the very next hand I was in the big blind and got dealt 95 of diamonds. There was no raise and I got a free look. The flop came out 8 7 2 with two diamonds which looked pretty fantastic. I bet out $15 into the $20 pot and got 3 callers! That many callers had me thinking that my flush draw might not be good and I was hoping to see a 6 roll off. The turn came out the Q of diamonds and I wasn't sure what to do, but I figured checking was probably best. It checked around to the button who bet out $65. This was mildly promising. If one of the other players had a flush they'd very likely to bet out and the button could easily have a hand with a Q in it or even a hand like A7 or A8 with the A of diamonds. I called as did a fairly tight player. I was all but certain another diamond would be the end of me and a board pair might be bad as well. Happily the river was a black 4. If the button had a flush I didn't want to bet and if he had something else I wanted to give him a chance to bet again with whatever it might be. I checked, Mr Fairly Tight checked it along, and the button bet big putting $205 out there. Again I didn't love it, but couldn't fold. I called, and then to my shock and horror Mr. Fairly Tight moved all in for $550! NOOOOOOOOOOO! This had to be without a doubt the absolute nuts. The button surmised as much and folded and I mucked as well. Mr. Fairly Tight showed us both AK of diamonds as he scooped in the pot.

Eventually Mr. Lunatic got a phone call and within 30 seconds had his chips in racks and was walking away from the table. Astoundingly he walked off with $1,400. Another of the softies racked up $2,500 and left and I knew it was time for me to follow them out the door.

I lost $1,038 on the night. After 64.5 hours I'm ahead $1,263. I've pushed my target completion date back to July 4th, I should be in action Friday night and I'm hoping to get in at least one long session over Memorial Day weekend.

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