It’s been a rough week on the poker table for me. First, I got crushed in my own home game, including getting doubled through by this guy on the second hand of play AK vs JJ. It’s perhaps what I deserve for trying to sit a table with a guy who’s had more than $720,000 in just tournament cashes since last summer.
Despite the loss in my own home Wednesday night, I decided to spend Thursday night at Aria grinding in the $1-$3 NL game and make back the money I had lost the night before and try to win some more to play in the Friday night tournaments.
My bad play made sure that wasn’t going to happen.
Poker is a game of information. With that information a player can make the right decisions at the right time to maximize wins and minimize losses. Even a momentary loss of focus can lead to failure. Here’s how.
I was down about half a buyin from early in the game. By the time this hand came up I had folded 20-25 hands in a row as my cards were not worth playing.
In between hands I was changing a song on my iPhone to something else when I didn’t notice that under the gun (UTG) +1 had raised the $3 big blind to $15. I also didn’t notice UTG+2 call the raise. I am not sure how I missed both of these actions, but I just didn’t see them.
A mid-position player called the $15 and the player to my right folded. That’s when I looked down at Q-Q. Since I had missed the first raise and the flat call while fiddling with the music on my iPhone, I believed there was only $19 in the pot (the $15 flat from the player to my right and the two blinds). With that incorrect knowledge I raised to $35, a raise of not even 3x the previous bet.
If I was heads up with one other player, he would have to lay $20 to win a $54 pot. But there was $30 in the pot I didn’t even know about. I had just bet $35 to make the current pot $84. All three players with $15 in the pot would surely have to call with those odds.
Unfortunately for me, it gets worse.
The last player to call $15 before I raised said something to me, only I didn’t hear him due having my headphones on. I pulled off one earpiece and told him I hadn’t heard what he said. He told me an oft-heard phrase at the poker table, “I wish you had told me you were going to raise before I called.” We both laughed and I put my headphones back on.
As the action moves back around the table both blinds fold. The original raiser goes all in for $175. Again, I miss this action completely. And that is really hard to do at Aria, because it is one of those poker rooms that tosses out an ALL IN placard when a player goes all in.
I look up to see the 10 seat, who was the second caller, ponder a call. He’s Hollywooding it a little bit but then he also elects to go all in for around $300. That is more than I have left.
The joking tourist to my right folds. I was still thinking I was heads up with just the 10 seat for all my chips despite the fact that there are now two ALL IN placards sitting on the other end of the table when I decide to go all in.
This is a terrible play for the following reasons:
A. These two players were the first raiser and a flat caller of a 5x preflop raise.
B. Both of these players are all in, and they both have me covered.
C. Neither player apparently thinks much of my tight image or the fact I have folded every hand for the previous 20 minutes.
D. Q-Q cannot possibly be the best hand here preflop.
E. I’m only into this hand for a total of $35. If I fold I still have plenty of chips left to play in this game.
None of those thoughts even crosses my mind as I push my stack in the middle.
There was no more betting since all three of us were all in. The board ran out K-10-2-Q-J rainbow.
Player A had K-K for a flopped set. Player B had A-A for a rivered nut straight. Player C (me) was in third place before the flop, third place after the flop, second place on the turn (when I hit my Q) and third place again on the river.
I had disobeyed a basic principle of poker: I didn’t even bother gathering all the information I needed to play this hand.
A great player — even an above-average player — would have flat called the preflop bets with QQ and/or folded to the two all-in raises preflop.
Because I didn’t gather the correct information to play the hand, all I was left with was a long walk to my car and a simmering drive home from the Strip to my house in Henderson.