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All Pinzur, All The Time

Sunday, July 25, 2004

People are stupid...

... and this time it's costing me money.

Over the last few weeks, I've been playing a good amount of poker online. I'm a pretty tight player, so I end up folding most of my hands, which lets me work on other stuff while I'm playing. I enjoy it, it makes time pass more quickly when I've got mundane work, and I've more or less doubled my initial stake.

So tonight I went with a buddy to the card room at the Hard Rock Casino on the Indian reservation here in Miami. And got my ass handed me to the tune of $40.

I blame stupid people.

In the online game at Poker Stars, even the low-stakes games I play, most people have a pretty good idea of what they're doing. The hands proceed fairly predictably and everyone's happy - even when you lose, it's generally despite doing the right thing.

But the same poker renaissance that brought it back to prominence has drived lots and lots of stupid people to the casino card rooms - people who have no serious interest in learning poker or even winning money. They just want to play, and consider wild losses the entertainment cost.

In small doses, people like this are good. They turn up online every once in a while, driving up pots they have little chance of winning, doing the job of good dead money.

But in large quantities, they can really screw up a table. If lots of people are throwing lots of money at fairly stupid bets, it has an odd effect: the odds of one schmo hitting a gut-draw to the straight on the river is innocuously low. But if five or six people are holding nearly-dead hands and betting heavily despite having only one or two outs, the chances of AT LEAST ONE OF THEM hitting is eerily high.

When you can't count of people to fold crummy hands early, there's a whole world of hurt waiting for someone like me. Combine that with the fact that I had generally bad luck, pulling weak hole cards and getting crappy flops on the few decent hands, and you can see the Seminoles stashing my two $20 bills.

Case in point: I was dealt an offsuit A-K in one hand on the button. It's a $1/$2 game, so I raised to $2 and called a reraise to $3.

The flop was a rainbow, something like K-7-3. So I paired up my king, had an ace kicker and saw no flush and no real straight threat. I was a happy boy, and against raised to $2 and called at $3 - by this point, about six of the nine players at the table were still in.

Online, that would faze me, but I had watched for an hour as these gomers limped into big pots with nothing but magic beans in the hole. The turn was a deuce, which wouldn't really help anyone. But still, everyone stayed in and the betting reached $6 each. I was a little nervous, but (if I figure the board right) only a hole pair of kings, sevens or threes could beat me.

The river was another 7. That became a little worrisome, since even a rational player could've stayed in the hand with K-7, and a loose player might still be around with A-7. But the pot odds were in my favor, so I stuck it out.

Five players were still in for the showdown. Every single one had garbage, nothing better than a queen high and a pair of 3s. Except for one royal bastard who 4-7, and won with the set.

I really wouldn't have been angry to lose that hand to hole kings (for the set) or K-7 (for the full house) or even the A-7 (for the set of 7s). But to lose it to some jimmy who tossed more than $10 into a hand that had a king on the board, despite having nothing but a low pair... that is INFURIATING.

Stuff like that happened many, many times tonight. I am a chastened man.


  • 1) Are you really bitching about losing $40?? If so, you are NOT ready for Vegas.

    2) I have never ever ever seen or heard a more ludicrous example of the overuse of poker jargon than in that post. And that includes watching the fucking World Series of Poker on TV. We get it - you've read a book or two on the topic. But man, I will laugh at you for a good 3 days for that. I swear if you start talking that shit at a table in Vegas -- any table: poker, blackjack, dinner -- I'll drown you in the river and then bury you in a hole I'll dig right in the middle of Fifth Street.

    By Blogger LiAps, at 10:51 PM  

  • 1) I'm bitching about losing $40 on a freakin' Indian reservation where I have to pay for my drinks and can't go play blackjack to break a streak.

    2) Bite me, legal boy.

    By Blogger Big Pinz, at 7:41 AM  

  • You guys still going to that shooting range right? :)

    By Blogger Pup, at 9:05 AM  

  • Unfortunately, they may turn and point the guns at each other. I just may be down with going to that shooting range. How $$$ is it?

    By Blogger Little Pinz, at 1:20 PM  

  • I hear people complain about that kind of thing a lot, and it always bugs me. Think about what you're saying: "I'm losing money because other people are bad poker players." This is clearly not the case.

    The problem here, Big Pinz, if I may, is that you're not changing your game based on the way the people around you are playing. Case in point: you were way too confident against five players -- five players! -- with an A-K offsuit. Multiway, that hand is not so fantastic. Your preflop raise was ill-advised; you should raise with that kind of hand because you hope to knock people out, not because it's necessarily a favorite to win. And in a $1-$2 game, you're not going to be knocking out anyone with a preflop raise. It's one dollar. I'm pretty sure I would play 7-4 for a lousy dollar. (Not really, but you see what I'm saying.)

    In a game like that, you should be raising only with hands that play well multi-way, particularly suited connectors, because you know your raise won't knock out anyone; it'll just add money to the pot. Remember, if you're holding AA against five players, you may be the most likely individual to win, but you're still favored to lose unless you make a big hand.

    Andrew Furdell

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:41 AM  

  • Yeah, Andrew's right... when you have the typical novice "loose-weak" players and lots of multi-way pots, you have to change your game a bit. I get a lot more cautious with the high-pair hands, if I can tell it's going to be impossible to bet three other idiots out of their draw hands.

    I've been meaning to transcribe my notes on David Sklansky's "Theory of Poker," which talks about situations like that. It's a big help.

    By Blogger James F, at 9:20 PM  

  • You're all missing the point here. Big Pinz is a whiny bitch. Which is almost as bad as a huge pussy who surrenders at blackjack. By the way Furdells, your strategy trainer was trying to get me to surrender 17s. That's GOT to be a joke.

    I promise I won't be an abrasive antagonistic jerk in Vegas. That's just for these posts.

    By Blogger LiAps, at 9:37 PM  

  • Once again, Liaps, you are almost certainly putting in the wrong parameters for the strategy trainer. Or possibly your drunken adding skills are at work. The program works fine, I've used it probably hundreds of times.

    By the way, I played online today (in a freeroll 7-stud tournament), and someone else's bad play actually did cost me a pot. No kidding! Check it out...

    I had two pair, 8s and 2s, in my first four cards. Definitely a winner. So I bet the whole way with two other players, and the pot got pretty big. Well, on seventh street (that is, with no cards to come), I still just have my two small pair, and one of the other players has a pair of aces showing. Pair of aces guy bets; guy next to him calls. The caller must have pair of aces beat, which means he has at least two pair -- and with his board, which includes JQK, my eights up must be dead. So I fold.

    The pair of aces wins. With just a pair of aces. This idiot called -- CALLED, mind you -- with a hand that couldn't even beat what the better had SHOWING!!! I was really, really pissed off. I had invested a lot of money in that pot. I lost shortly thereafter.

    I hate online poker.

    Still anonymous,

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:02 PM  

  • I put in the same parameters I've been putting in all along. The ones you guys told me to. And I may not be Archimedes, but King and 7 equals 17.

    By Blogger LiAps, at 11:48 PM  

  • That deserves a beatdown.

    By Blogger Pup, at 8:21 AM  

  • I was "the buddy" Big Pinz was referring to in his original post. Just dropped in cause I was a little bored at work/home. I love poker and cards as well, but I think you guys might be LITTLE too jacked for Vegas.

    Not that I don't wish you all well.

    By Blogger Medium Ray, at 2:21 PM  

  • I am not sure I comprehend, a little too jacked for Vegas? Is that possible? Gambling, booze, hot sun, pool, friends, hot chicks, gambling and booze. How can one not be jacked up about that?

    By Blogger Little Pinz, at 3:22 PM  

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