shipitfish: (cincinnati-kid-betting)

Although my wife cannot understand why I refuse to remove it from the TiVo, perhaps my other readers can. My wife is the biggest film buff that I know, and keeps a online movie review journal, so perhaps even she can reap some benefit from my discussion here of this film. Perhaps it will make up for it floating around the TiVo for as long as it has. A few months ago, The Cincinnati Kid aired on Turner Classic Movies. I've saved it, watching parts of it from time to time over the past few months, and I watched parts of it again this morning. I have seen it more times than any other poker movie, and I have seen just about every one of them. I do have a bit of goofy, pointless pride about my connection to this one, though, as I first saw it in graduate school while sitting in my living room in the middle of the actual Cincinnati, just after returning from a conference in New Orleans. (The actual action of the film takes place entirely there; The “Kid” himself is a transplant, hence the name.)

This movie has often been criticized, because for some, much of the “poker isn't real enough“. I actually disagree pretty strongly; I frankly think that everyone is quibbling about the wrong things.

I am going delve into some analysis of the movie, but not from the perspective you usually see it. The poker accuracy isn't all that bad, frankly, despite the years of debate about it. I think most tend to look too much at the technical details and not its thematic study of poker. I am going to hide it the bulk of the discussion behind this cut, because while the movie was released in 1965 and spoiler time has long since passed, I know that some of my regular readers haven't seen the movie, and you should before poisoning yourself with the age-old debate about it. )

The last word on the subject is that I have yet to see a better poker movie. The Cincinnati Kid shows with nuance and depth what poker is. Poker changes people's lives; it becomes a confined space where their deepest fears and aspirations manifest. The Kid, both the film itself and the character (played flawlessly by Steve McQueen) gives us a window into how poker takes hold and subtly changes people as they face the personal challenges that were once concealed, and are now made obvious in the game. If you see only one poker movie in your life, see this one. BTW, leave Rounders last on your list, as it's deeply overrated even if the poker is more “accurate”.

shipitfish: (u-club-stack-2006-03)

Back at River Street once, I called a bet that was somewhere between $300 and $400. Until last week, that was the biggest single bet I'd ever called (or made, for that matter) in a poker cash game. Thursday night, I made that new amount $452, which yielded the largest pot I've ever played as well: $1,012.

Work Dan (since there are two Dans commonly mentioned in my journal, I'll start being more careful to distinguish) and I went to the U Club for an evening of poker last Thursday. The $1/$2 NL ($300 max) game was more happening than usual. There were a number of calling stations, and a number of would-be “strong” players who would make big all-in raises when they should have just called (e.g., when holding a straight made on the turn on a board that made a three-flush on the river), or who would constantly overplay one pair.

I had built a stack from my $300 buy-in to $475 when the following hand came up. I limped from middle position after one limper with 5h 7h. Most pots were seeing flops with no raises for the preceding fifteen minutes or so; the table was quite passive. Two more limped behind me and the small blind completed. The big blind (BB), a regular who has good starting hand selection but couldn't fold an overpair at all once he saw a flop, raised, making it $25 to go.

The limper between us quickly folded, and I looked to the left. I got the feeling that one of the two limpers behind me was ready to call (a calling station who would pay almost any amount for a draw). I figured the small blind and the other limper were likely to fold. I was offered 25-to-60 (roughly 1-to-2.5) direct odds to call. These weren't great, but I had a really clear idea of what the BB held. He had AK earlier, and had raised a smaller amount from the blind with roughly the same number of limpers. However, with QQ, he'd raised about this amount. I really eliminated the no-pair hands right there — I felt pretty strongly he wouldn't commit that much (he was a bit of an “absolute amount” better) with even an AKs. I decided TT was maybe a possibility, but JJ-AA were the most likely.

The BB was also very deep; he had me covered for sure (I eye-balled it at around $500, turns out it was $580). I decided to call, because if I flopped two pair or better, he would have trouble folding and put a lot into the pot drawing thin. Two folks actually called behind me (the calling station I expected and the button), and we saw the flop four-handed with $108 in the pot.

I watched the BB watch the flop. He didn't love it, but I felt before I even looked myself that he held an overpair to it. He stared for a moment, then looked at his chips and aggressively said “All in”. I began thinking why did he make such a huge overbet? as I looked down to see 5c 7c 5s. Wow! Ok, so I have the second nuts, and someone likely drawing to two outs just bet $450 at me!

I looked behind me to see if there was any way I could showboat to get the short (relative) stacks to call, probably drawing at a flush. They looked as ready to fold as anyone could look, so I said Call and watched their cards hit the muck. He tabled the As Ah, and stared at me, looking worried. When the fourth five hit the board, I turned my hand up saying: You have outs to the bad beat jackpot, I think. (As it turned out he didn't; the bad beat jackpot at the club had been hit the previous night, and they'd increased the requirement from “any aces-full beat” to “aces-full-of-kings beat”, but I didn't know that until after the hand was done.)

I counted out my chips and said, $452, I think, dealer, please recount me, though. Meanwhile, this guy was going ballistic. I didn't listen to most of it; it went on for a full minute. The last utterance was: what do I need to raise preflop to get you off that donkey shit?. I didn't know what to do, I wanted to remain silent but felt bad and wanted to say something. I gave the only answer that came to mind: If you went all-in preflop, I wouldn't have called. I should have kept my mouth shut, because that probably made it worse, but I didn't know what to do with the guy flipping out. (He fortunately wasn't the beat-you-up-outside-later type, but I made sure waited a full half after he left before leaving.)

He kept muttering but I just ignored it as the dealer squared and shipped. There was a lot of chat after the fellow left (an hour later after he dumped his rebuy to Work Dan — more on that later) about why he'd made this overbet. My best theory remains that he was focused on the other stacks, which were only about $200 at most. I think he thought that he was overbetting by about 2-to-1 instead of nearly 4.5-to-1. It's a great example of making sure you know the stack sizes. I didn't feel bad because I'm always careful to keep my stack visible with all greens up front.

In the end, considering his reaction, I think he was more angry with himself for the overbet than he was at me for playing 57s. And, hey, maybe I am a donkey. But, knowing he'd often overplay an overpair, I think I had reasonable implied odds to call. What do you all think?

Obligatory stack pictures are available as always.

shipitfish: (Default)

In the previous installments, I discussed the classic AK plays, and how they fail to be optimal play in modern NL HE cash games. In this final installment, I explore some common thinking about AK. I believe certain misunderstood recommendations have led people to play AK incorrectly in cash games.

This article is rather long, so I've not placed it all on the front page. )

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shipitfish

November 2016

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