Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Art of Suck

How do you feel after you’ve been rivered by a two-outer?  I’ve tried to numb the negative feelings when it happens to me and have had varied levels of success.  But now the real question, how do you feel when you’re the one doing the rivering?


It was another fun night out with the G-Vegas crew.  Otis, G-Rob, TheMark and I met at our local over-priced watering hole and shot the shit for 90 minutes talking about all things poker and non-poker related.  We weren’t sure, but it may have been Otis’ first venture outside the house in two weeks judging from his Grizzly Adams look.

We discussed the possibility of this being the last time the four of us all go play on the same night.  Granted, we were only half-joking, but for a few of us, it’s reached a point where trading chips with each other isn’t the most financially sound decision.  Like I’ve mentioned before, it’s a trade-off between EV and good company.

When the cards finally hit the table at the Spring Hotel, there were the four of us, two house players, and two other regulars, one of whom only plays Aces or Kings.  Still, none of us had the ability to stay out of the other’s pots.  Chips went flying.


Last Friday, I saw perhaps the most brutal of suck outs occur.  I think the worst, mathematically, is when you need to consecutively catch your remaining two outs in a runner-runner fashion, a 989:1 shot.  But in the category of suck, re-suck, re-suck, last Friday’s hand takes the cake.

One player flopped a set of fours.  The other player turned his set of tens and all the money went in.  The case four on the river titled the guy with tens.  The dealer, respecting the recent turn of events, said nothing and readied himself for the next hand.

Last night though, he did confide in me that he does find a certain level of enjoyment dealing hands like that.  Were I in his shoes, I might feel the same way, in a morbid kind of way.


We were winding down, twenty minutes past the time I told everyone I’d be leaving.  In a straddled pot I limped with J8c and five players saw the flop.  It was JT2.  Checked to me, I led out with top pair to see where I was.  TheMark called in late position as did Earl, one of the local regulars from the blind.  The turn was an 8, giving me two pair.  I thought I was good.  For about a second.

Again, it’s checked to me, and I bet $25.  TheMark made it $50 and then Earl re-raised to $125.  Two colossal mis-reads later, and I decide I’m going to push.  Interestingly, I put TheMark on T8 for two-pair, and based on his reaction after my push, really thought I was correct.  Still, he called.  I had a fleeting hope that Earl was over-valuing something like AJ.

However, when Earl pushed all-in on top of TheMark it was quite obvious to me that he had a straight.  Oh well, I thought, TheMark should realize this too and fold, giving me four outs to hit my boat.  But TheMark didn’t fold.  He called.


Poor Earl.  He tabled 97 for the turned gutshot.  TheMark began questioning me about my hand as I kept it face down.  Flush draw?  No.  Set?  No.  I flashed him two-fingers to indicate two pair and he gave me a nod and said, “You’re behind.”

“Great,” I said, “Do I need a Jack then?”

“A Jack gives me a boat””Ooof, so you’ve got top two?  Jack-Ten?”


“I guess I need an eight.”


I tipped our dealer, a die-hard Iron Maiden fan, $10 when he shipped me the $776 pot.   Perhaps, just as on Friday, he had some small morbid amount of pleasure spiking that two-outer for me.

Did I feel the same?  No, not really.  I played the hand about as horribly as possible as the ghost of Dmitri Nobles looked on.  In isolation, I don’t like winning that way.  Justifying it as payback for a host of similar beats put on me over the years diminishes that feeling, but I’m rarely happy to win via poor play.

Without a doubt, I’ll take the pot.  But the way I played it is a wakeup call of some sorts, effectively telling me not to get too cocky.  Sometimes going on a rush obscures your true playing level.

But sometimes, the penalty for playing horribly is a monster pot.  Morbid indeed.

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