Mixed Results

Yesterday was a day of mixed results. Mostly good, but with a down ending.

My crowning achievement of the work-day was reading a bug and figuring out what was going on without actually looking at any code. This got a “Yep, that’s exactly what’s happening!” comment from the engineer who’s working on that code. It’s a good feeling when your guesses turn out to be correct (not least because a good guess is worth several hours of digging).

In the evening I joined the guys for some low-stakes poker.

The first couple of hours I could do practically no wrong. I was hitting straights and flushes left and right, bluffing people off hands, etc. One hand I went all-in on the turn on a board of K-7-5-K, and my opponent thought for a long time and finally called with 7-5, for 2 pair. I was trying to bluff him off and showed A-T. I rivered the Ten for a better two pair and stacked him. I felt a little bad that I sucked out to win, but was pretty happy with how I played anyway.

I went card-dead for an hour or so but still scratched out a few winnings.

By midnight I had tripled up on the evening, and looked down at pocket Kings in a raised pot. I reraised and got two callers. The flop was 6-5-4 with two diamonds. I bet, got raised, and reraised. My opponent – the other deep stack at the table – thought for a long time and went all-in. I called immediately and she showed 4-4 for a set of 4s, and I missed the turn and river and got stacked.

I realized that I’ve lost more money against sets than any other hand in our no-limit hold ’em home games, and that I rarely win much money with sets. I think I have a blind spot when thinking about whether I might be up against a set (although to be fair, the power of the set is that it’s well-disguised). In this case I certainly thought I had an excellent chance of being good on my first bet. When I got raised I thought there was a good chance he had anything from Aces down to Tens, or was even trying to bluff me off with two big cards (e.g., A-K). I didn’t really think he’d called with a small pair (even though I do myself sometimes) and made a set. By the time he went all-in I felt pot committed, so it was too late to back out then. I guess I could have called his raise, or even checked the flop, although the latter seems very risky on that board. Maybe there was just nothing I could do here.

One thing I keep thinking of is that when you get down to it, Kings is still just one pair, and losing a huge pot with one pair is lame. So when faced with a big bet, I should certainly be thinking that my opponent can beat one pair. Maybe that’s the mindset I need to be in.

Anyway, despite going down I played for 5 hours in twenty bucks, and that’s cheaper entertainment than a movie. Others at the table had worse luck then I did, so I shouldn’t complain. I’ll get ’em next time!

It was fun, tho. We have a pretty competitive group, and none of us are easy marks to any of the others, which makes for some lively sessions.