Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Evil Columbo

Last night, I was more Rorschach than Columbo??? Anyone who's played with me knows I am about as unemotional at the table as it gets. So how did I become the bad guy?

I sit down at a 1-2 charity poker room table with $200 (max). I flopped top pair a couple of times and it was good. After about an hour, I am at $325 with nothing memorable happening. I did get Aces once, and 2 callers saw a flop that had more draws than an animation studio. I played the hand very cautiously but both players stuck to the end with a pair and a gutshot that did not get there.

and now "the hand".

UtG (2 to my left) limps, folds around to the cutoff, who makes it $15. The button, with $400 sitting in front of him, makes it $30. This is significant. In my entire time at the table, there had never been a pre-flop re-raise. I also know that this guy would normally bring in a pocket pair for raise, never a limp. All the alarms go off in my head, and I figure in the SB I am going to fold almost all holdings. It was then I peeked down at KK.

Obviously, folding is a horrible play. So even if I think he has Aces, I am not going to fold pre-flop. If this is a tournament, this is an easy 3-bet. But at a 1-2 table with a raise and a re-raise and the bet at $30 (the largest yet). I do not intend to drop $350 on a pair to a weak table. I am thinking Deep-stack cash poker (or so I hope). The "correct" raise here is about $90, forcing all hands but Aces or stupid morons to fold. And that is a large and insane bet at a 1-2 table I felt, when the button could very well have AA here. Why get $90 in pre-flop when I am winning the hands I showdown? (that is my thinking at my time.) So, I decide to make a marginally incorrect play and call here, seeing the flop 3 handed and put pressure on any flop without an ace. The original limper surprises me and calls. Now the original raiser has a must call and 4 people see a flop with $122 in the pot!

The flop is 9s9c4c. The UTG immediately moves in for his remaining $115. The cutoff insta-folds. The Button makes a relatively quick decision and CALLS. Oh what a tangled web we weave. If I had raised pre-flop, then the decision would have already been made. I sit back and mutter "Wow". It takes me about 30 seconds to work through that the EP limper either had 44 and flopped the biggest hand of his life, or that he simple had "some pair" and decided to move in because of the pot size. I make a mental note that I don't think he moves in there with 44 and that is that. I am no longer thinking about the UtG player at all in my decision. So now back to the button. I start calculating the odds that he has AA. He did not raise here, nor did he really consider folding. I am thinking about AA and if I would call here vs. raising. I count out the $115. About 2 full minutes has passed. This is a long time apparently, since a guy at the end of the table starts muttering to make a decision. I then realize, late in the process I know, that I can NOT call here. Either I am playing for my stack here or I am not. I am not going to face another bet on the turn and fold. So, the entire $350 is at risk.

Then he gets louder to insure everyone hears his discontent. I look over and say "Do you have somewhere to go?". To which he replies, "Yes". Normally I wouldn't have said anything, but now the engagement has started. I say, "Well go then. I have an important decision to make." At this point the BUTTON jumps in and says something to the affect of, "you can call the clock if you don't like it." This guy immediately does that. This did not go over big at the table, but what's done is done. I say, "fine" and I fold. (I actually am still torn at this point, knowing I am probably the best hand yet knowing that this fold is only a small error. I am obviously uncomfortable with my decision or lack of one.)

UTG tables 33, button shows 88. ARGH. Everyone could tell when I saw the cards, I was ahead. It was written all over my face. The turn was an 8. Wow again.

There was much discussion now about the hands and some of it directed at the guy who called the clock. I chirped in "You were out of line." "Hey, Don't blame me for folding." "I do blame you." He bolts out of his chair. There was some sort of exchange now that seemed like I was back in high school. "You want to take it outside?" (really, he says this. The guy is 50 easy too.) I say "Com'on, how old are you (using a tone that indicating I meant we were too old for that, not that he was weak old guy). Then, Something about it being my fault. Then me saying that I am not the asshole here. Then him saying "are you calling me an asshole?" and I said "I am not the asshole here." Finally it comes to an end, somehow. Mostly, because having seen this SO many times in my life, I know the answer is to simply not stand up. That usually ends the escalation. When the second guy stands up (*cough* Motor City *cough*) its shouting.

The game moves on. The button and I continue to talk about the hand, much to the annoyance of the UTG player in the hand. He especially did not like the fact that we both thought he had nothing. The button and I discuss this for the next two hands among ourselves.

At this point, the clock guy gets up and leaves. That's right, he had to leave anyways and wanted to get a few more hands in, thus his complaining. He called the clock to get in 2 more hands. And I am the evil Columbo? He walks over and from over my left shoulder offers his hand and says, "Are we good?" Aghast, I shake his hand not meeting his eyes. Actually not even turning to look up at him. But I am not one to refuse his "closure".

Later on, not too much later on though, we (the button and I) start discussing the hand again. Now, the cutoff guy in the hand chimes in and says, "You are obviously a good player. You were taking a long time to make a decision." I reply. "It was a long time, but it was a big decision for $300 and 2 minutes is just not that long of a time when you think about it that way." I could tell he not only did not agree, and additionally thought I was some asshat.

Still later on, the button and I are talking about the hand again. This time the UTG chimes in rather exhaustively, "You guys are still talking about the hand? Let it go." I am already out of my shell... "If you want to be a good player, you need to think about these types of hands." He then says, "If *I* want to be a good player? You don't think I am a good player??". Oops. I realize the box I am in, so I just say "I don't think anyone here is in the November 9." and that is that. But now he too has me labeled as an asshat. And NO, I did not think he was a good player. He was the worst kind of player, who floats out of positions with marginal hands and marginal draws. Now he has targeting me, and this will be VERY profitable for me as he will continue to call my raises with marginal cards, flop just enough to call a flop bet, then fold on the turn to a huge bet, losing chips in $35 chucks.

Moving on. I am in a hand with a player and I flop TP. I bet 65% of the pot and he folds his flush draw. Now HE makes a comment that I did not bet enough. (um, but, you folded.) I say, "No, I bet enough to give you -10% equity on your draw." This statement shocked him that to the point that he never said a word the rest of the night to me. It did not hurt then now I am accumulating chips at an alarming rate.

I take a flop with AK and the flop is Ace high (like A47). My UTG friend cant let go of yet another hand and the Button wanted to play again too~ More chips for Columbo. The River was a King, but I was already ahead. No one called my river bet.

Another hand I have QQ and the flop is Ten high with 2 spades. The UTG bet, the button Calls, and I make it $100. They both fold.

I am up to close to $500 now and I am about to get into another hand of interest. I take a flop (there was a small raise) with 77 in the SB. The flop is T73 with 2 spades. The raiser moves in for almost $100 and I have second nuts. The button CALLS. Sound familiar? For the only time all evening, say "all-in". Now he knew I folded a BIG PAIR last time he was in this soup. He also knows I have shown down all monster hands. He also notices I have him covered. He asks if I have a big hand and I, noting the 2 spades, say "Oh yeah" with confidence. The button eventually, after much pain, folds the Ts. (No he did not have 2 spades). The turn and river (they rabbit hunted) were both spades. The giant bet was not what pushed him off the hand. It was the fact that I was practically telling him I had a set. I did everything but state it.

I am sitting now on $800 in chips and hear from the two newer guys who sat down in the 8 and 9 seats. I limp from EP with 7s6s and call a small raise to stay in the hand. The flop is 5s9sTd. I check, he bets, I call. The flop is the 2h. I check, he bets, I call. The river is the 8s. I just made the immortal nuts. I check, and when he checks behind, I casually as you say "oh high" say "Straight flush" and turn up the cards. The 8 seat already thinks I am an asshat. He also makes a comment about about my play and "keep doing that", like he is going to stack me. Then he tells the 9 seat about "the hand". Now the 9 seat thinks I'm an asshat. I don't know how the 8 seat even knew about it. He was correct for the wrong reason. My calls were correct (I could even raise the flop, but I put him on a weak holding), but my check on the river is bad in retrospect.

I played another rotation and the button is now involved in a new hand with a player on my left and the infamous UTG guy (who is UTG+1 in this hand). I am NOT in the hand. The flop is KK5. Guy on my left moves all-in for $300. Famous UTG guy (if I want to be good?) CALLS and the BUTTON (yes, that button) calls, Proudly stating that he knows he's behind! All three all-in. It does not take a detective to know what the hands are. 55, AK, AA in my opinion. Turns out it was 55, AK and KQ. That KQ call may be the single worse 1-2 call I have ever seen. The button just called $350 with the THIRD BEST HAND. (now do you think losing $30 with KK is bad?) They both go broke.

I play a few more hands and leave, saying, "Sorry for the drama guys". In the end, I made great decisions with the potential exception of the KK hand. But it was quite a night. Columbo the asshat. Up 350% for the night.


matt tag said...

I don't like your "equity" comment - even though it shut the guy up. It also revealed how much you know about the game, and made him (and probably others) less willing to get into a pot with you.

I don't see a any major problem with the rest of it though - strange how things can escalate.

Unknown said...

I think you should be AHC (Ass Hat Columbo) more often. It appears to be profitable for you.

BTW, I do like your new format. I think it's a good break from the regular format. Plus the best thing about is I think it shows how differently you might play hands given the stage of the tournament you're in, which is a great lesson for anyone who wants to play tournaments.
I would like a return eventually to the old format but I'm looking forward to this one playing out for a quite a while.

Shrike said...

Epic post. I echo PP's remarks, but you'll have to figure out how comfortable you are talking at the table against bad players.


Memphis MOJO said...

Nice write-up.

diverjoules said...

Great Report. Laughed thru most of it. We all have met those people at your table, time and time again.