Weekly Recap: Bad Beats With A Smile  

Posted by Alex Laforest in ,

"Death is the road to awe."
What a crazy week poker wise this has been!!!! It all started with Monday's HORSE freeroll on Stars, which was a blast, no doubt. I kinda sucked and spewed many chips during the Hold'em and Omaha8 levels :p, but managed to get right back to par with the Razz level :D!!! Razz for the win!!!!! lol

And then came the Stud level and this first in a triad of sick hands to come over the week :).

Unbelievable Hand #1 - Stud 60/120

I wake up with 6d6c in the hole and 9d showing with 2 villains with 3h and Kh up completing the small bet with me. Fourth street brings my set of sixes while a villain pairs his King, and Third Wheel hits an Ac. Cowboy Villain bets 120 and we both call. Fifth street brings me the 5d, Cowboy the 7s and Third Wheel the 8h. Seemingly blanks and I figure I'm in the lead and need to build some competing stack so I raise, get re-raised by Cowboy and have a sudden sick feeling in my gut but call nevertheless. Third Wheel follows, amazingly. Sixth street brings me the 8s increasing my outs, while Cowboy gets the Qs and Third Wheels sees the 4h added to his hand. Cowboy bets, we both call. And then to the river, the 9c in my case, giving me a wonderful boat, Sixes full of Nines. Cowboy opens, I raise, Third Wheel calls, Cowboy re-raises and I re-re-raise, capping while muttering "this suddenly smells bad...". Third Wheel folds and Cowboys shows the Ks and the 7h, for a bigger boat than me - Kings full of Sevens. The next hand I hit the rails and wonder what happened.

Writing this, I realized I played the hand like the Stud newbie that I actually am, and understand this is probably why I didn't whine about it being a real bad beat, rather labeling it a "sick hand". I still took it with smile!


On to Tuesday and my weekly home game (with our very own newly pink Railbirds ncaron - lol). All in all, it took me about 25 hands to win a darn pot, I ended up felted - twice as a matter of fact and saw one of the craziest hand I have ever saw live :p. Hand that actually killed the comeback I was desperately but effectively mounting ;).

As the evening was winding down, I figured I'd have to be very - very - aggressive to cut my losses. And, I immediately made peace with the money I was about to lose if I didn't unstuck myself. 10 bucks doesn't buy much in life, but that's the beauty of microstakes poker in my humble opinion; this lousy 10 bucks does buy LOADS of fun :D! Anyway, the home game. At that moment, I decided to shove in the dark every hand the very next hand, which I did with what happened to be 8-7 off and rivered a straight, felting our very own ncaron (I had to tell dude ;) ). The following hand, same scenario, except that I peaked out of habit. And then comes the 3rd shoved in a row...

Unbelievable Hand #2 - The One That Should Never Have Been

No Limit 0.01/0.02 Hold'em - 3-handed. On the big blind (with 2 all-ins in the 2 previous hands), UTG limps, Small Blind makes 0.25 to go and I peak. Rockets!!! No shit. I go "all-in" in a jiffy, with the typical Caro's Law of Tells "Weak Means Strong" shoulder shrug tell. lol. Small blind moans a "Aaah man...", thinks for a while and calls. I burst out "Third in a row and my only legit of the nite!!! My very first Rockets in this home game, by the way!!!" and flip my beautiful Aces. Small Blind lets out some sound of desperation while showing Ac9h. Talk about domination!!! Now, I do not have the courage and willpower to paste the odds again, but know that the outcome was a little better than a 100 to 1 shot :p! The flop came Q-J-T rainbow, giving him some hope for even a win. Then, the turn brought a blank - like the 2d - but the river spiked... that's right... a lousy King for a split pot... Which happens 1.37% of the time when Aces are against A-9 offsuit and the money is in pre-flop. Dividing the blinds, I did mutter some shocked cuss words off course, but with that laughter of amazed disbelief in my voice; like I've just witnessed something extraordinary rather than lived one of the worst bad beat of my life actually (not money wise off course, but odds wise).

Now this hand I played perfectly I think. I had gone all-in twice in a row just before this hand, so my shoving had real good odds of getting a caller while I had the VERY FREAKING BEST STARTING HOLD'EM HAND!!!! lol


On to my last crazy hand of the week, which happened yesterday evening. After the evening's Railbirds freeroll (in which I didn't fare that well, by the way; 518th out 1000ish :(. Still managed to top our very own ncaron!!! /brag lol), I sat at a 0.05/0.10 NLHE table on Stars and started of with my new resolution (see previous post). I grinded out that game for a while, raking a near 4-dollar profit, eyeballing the 5$ Real Money Rankings Railbird tourney, tempted to buy-in and send my recent resolution to hell, but finally resisted and focused and having a solid profitable cash game session instead.

Unbelievable Hand #3 - Wanting To Get Paid

I switch tables after a bathroom break and ten minutes later, I wake up with 7s5s and limp from the cutoff. The button folds, the small blind limps and the big blind checks. The flop comes 3c7h5d and it's checked around to me. I stop myself from pushing all-in, remind myself of the straight and bet 0.25$. They both call. Turn is the 5c and I wanna dance while glancing at the clock, realizing the Real Money Rankings tourney is now well on its way and thus the current big pot I am about to rake will not get me into it. Big blind min bets and I raise it to 1 buck, again wanting to just shove it and hope for a call. Small blind does call, Big blind folds. The river peels the Tc and Small blind opens for the first time with a 1.80$ bet, about 2/5 of his stack. I think a little, only seeing pockets 77s to beat my boat while I type 5$ in the betting box, putting him all-in. And when I click "Raise 5$", he insta-calls and my mind flashes the "only other hand beating me", a mere half second before they're flipped: T-5 for another bigger boat than mine :(! Looking at my screen with this dislocated-jaw-awed look on my face, the chat box pops sympathetically "Ouch, that hurts. nh" from my opponent. To which I answer, my jaw awakening to form this o so peculiar smile poker taught me to now love: "Indeed... Well played sir!", and gets a very courteous "ty". Now if that's not sportsmanship, I don't know what is... lol Of course, one could argue that poker is not a sport but you get the idea lol.

And of course, 15 minutes later, some other guy goes broke on a very iffy play and starts yapping, complaining and, worse of all, insulting players as an observer. I admit I scrolled back up to make sure I hadn't dreamt my polite exchange with my very own "bad beater".


I also understood another interesting fact about that whole courteous smiling behavior towards not only the game itself but also, and perhaps more importantly, bad beats. I have been pissed off after bad beats, no surprises there. But I almost never could bounce back and unstuck myself when in this state of mind. Not tilting, not even steaming. Just not letting go, actually. On the contrary, after yesterday's boat over boat incident, instead of raving about the hand, I just thought about how I could have played differently and if I was satisfy with the way I played it and so on. Just like any other hand actually. And I found myself very well disposed to grind back my losses, knowing for a fact I could do it and thus, let go of the hand. This does not mean I FORGOT about it; wouldn't be writing about it if I did now would I :p? Anyway, I ended up in a better mood, having the fun I want to have when I play poker, and cut my losses by 2/3 by the end of the nite :D.

All in all, I did relive these hands, dreamt about them and thought back on them during the course of the week - what player doesn't think back on hands he's seen, right? But the funny thing that still gets me scratching my head is how I actually took them: with that broad wowed astonished smile. And those who know me know that I am a sore loser and hate Lady Luck with a vengeance (all the chess I played I played because I had boycotted her :p and she was never part of that game lol). But, well, I just seem to behave like a gent around a poker game. Though I must confess a certain tendency towards babbling about everything, and that sometimes slips into something about the hand, which is wrong and I regret instantly. I monitor myself, though, and I think this leak will be shortly fixed; I do not want to be discourteous around poker. Period.
As for bad beats, well, I simply wonder in amazement and awe at the incredible outcome. Mind you, I might first burst out and curse and yell for a while (alone in my office if online, or in my head if live). I am human after all, but I swore myself never to be discourteous or mean or bitchy or whiny about poker. Poker is a mean but wonderful mistress that you actually tap with other people. And in any cases, these bad beats are, at the end of the day, such amazing statistical phenomena that I cannot help but smile in awe before them...

P.S.: For those who may wonder, the quote "Death is the road to awe" was taken from The Fountain, a 2006 movie by Darren Aronofsky.



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