I sat down to a token game on FTP today, and the trash talk and name calling began right after the first hand. That is always fun. Of course both of the guys involved in the hand thought that they played a good, smart hand, yet only one of them won the hand, therefore either one of them didn’t make such a great play or one of them sucked out. Now, I sure know which guy I am agreeing with here, but since both of these guys are seasoned pros -the very best to ever play the game, just ask them- I don’t know for sure which one of them is the bigger donk.
I didn’t do a screencap during the hand, but since the trash talk was still going on when we reached the final table (from a table of two, huge achievement), I went back in hand history to get a screenshot of the hand. Which shook down like this:
Before I get started on what actually happened, I just want to note that I in fact did not call the 4x bet with my Q-4 s00ted, see I am improving.
Okay, so first hand of a low buy-in turbo. No one knows anything about the way anyone else plays the game, unless they happen to have notes on people, but I can say that this is the first time I have seen most of these people -although I do know that I have played a couple times with one of them. The cards come out and UTG instantly bets 4x. It quickly folds around to the button, who calls, the small blind folds, the big blind calls. The flop comes out 4-8-9 with two clubs and the big blind bets out 120 into a pot of 360. UTG folds (what he says was an A-Jo, which doesn’t really matter, but if you are raising 4x UTG with that on the first hand of a tournament, you probably bust out early a lot, or double up, more likely the former), and the button calls.
So at this point, we have the Big Blind betting 1/3 the pot on nothing more than an OESD, but there are 2 clubs on the board. He has to know that the flush is a possibility, right? the button is making that call knowing that he has second pair top kicker, and he has to be thinking that the only way anyone called the 4x preflop bet with a 9 would be if it was along with an ace, right? I am guessing here, but that was what I was thinking as the hand was unfolding before me. I was putting them both on an ace, figuring that one hit top pair, one hit second pair, but that one of them was suited and had the nut flush draw. Part of all that was right, and that was that one of them did hit their pair and was on a nut flush draw, the guy being in it with a 10-Jo, after a 4x preflop raise, that I could never have guessed. If that is how you are supposed to play 10-Jo, I am never going to get good at this game.
When the turn was a 10h, the big blind bet 420 at it (roughly 2/3 the pot). The button quickly called. I don’t know what either player was thinking at this point, but I know what I was thinking. I was thinking that there was no way that a 10 could have improved either hand. I still think that both of the guys are holding an ace, and that both of them paired their kicker. For my theory to be true, no one can be holding a 10 or the J-Q that would have made the straight. I thought the bet was the big blind’s attempt to scare the button out of the pot, so that made me think that the big blind was probably the one holding the A-8, and that his weren’t suited. So at this point I think the button likely has A-9c and the big blind has A-8o (I don’t know how he calls 4x with that preflop, but I can’t think of any other hand he could possibly have called with and still be in this hand).
When the river brought the little club, I don’t think that anyone doubted that one of the guys had just filled up his flush. Confirming my previous suspicions, the big blind checked. The button bet at it, but only 210. I think he did that because he knew that the other guy knew he was beat, but thought it likely that he would pay a final 210 (into the over 1k pot) to see the cards. Then I see that it was actually A-8c, so I was pretty close on that one, but when I looked in the history and saw the 10-Jo, that I wasn’t expecting to see.
For about the next ten minutes, the trash talk stayed at roughly the level of three-year-olds: Donkey this, your momma that, fish this, tuna that. Once the dude who lost with a pair of tens and fourth kicker calmed down a little bit, he started trying to rationalize his play, while at the same time explaining why the other guy was a complete and utter dipshit. I really disagree with the guy who made the 4x call with nothing but a 10-Jo though, so I joined in on the fun. A couple of quotes from the guy who lost: “how could you possibly think that second pair was ahead on that flop?” I am looking at the hand history and thinking to myself, how could he possibly not think that second pair was ahead? The only way I could justify someone pairing a nine on that flop was if they were in it with an ace, and if someone indeed had top pair top kicker, wouldn’t they bet more than just 1/3 of the pot? Especially with a flush draw on the board? Wouldn’t you want to scare anyone that is drawing out of the hand?
Another quote:”How could you call a bet for 1/3 your stack with nothing but a flush draw?” Well, he didn’t have just a flush draw, he had a made hand with second pair and top kicker, and he had every reason to believe that he was ahead, at least in my mind. The bet of 420 just seemed so odd to me; it was small enough that he would be able to come back if he was forced to fold, which made me think that he was weak, and it obviously made the other guy think that as well.
More quotage:”Only a donkey plays A-8s from early position” Even if we disregard the fact that the guy playing it was on the button, which isn’t exactly “early position”, are you telling me that good players just lay down A-x suited if there is ever a pre-flop raise? I am sure that some players do and some don’t, hell, even my donkey ass will play it in some situations and lay it down others. If I have already paid to see the flop with it though, and I paired my kicker, and I have a nut flush draw, I am probably going to pay to see the turn, and likely the river, depending on what the cards on the board are, and how much I will have to pony up for the privilege.
By far his best argument, though, was:”I was 70% to win on the turn, how can you make that call?” This one is great, ’cause it kind of implies that we are playing with the cards face up. How else would anyone know that he was still in this hand with a 10-Jo? So, to join in on the fun, I went to that handy odds calculator, checked a couple of odds, and said, “He was 68% to win on the flop, how did you make that bet?” To which he replied, “I had a straight draw and two cards to come.” So, I said, “he was 100% to win on the river, how did you make that call?” To which he said, “I thought I was ahead, only a donkey would be in it with nothing but a flush draw.”
So I am just curious. Was the guy playing with the A-8c really playing horribly, or was the guy with 10-Jo the one that needs more schooling? I obviously side with the guy who was playing the A-8, since there is no way he can be putting the other guy on 10-Jo, but even aside from that, is playing second pair top kicker such a bad move on that flop? While I was assuming they both had an ace, it is far more likely that in that situation one of them is in it with nothing more than two overs, K-Q for instance. When the turn is a ten, could you possibly think that it somehow improves one of their hands, taking into account the betting both before and on the flop?
The guy who had been playing the 10-Jo also made the following observation, “You have no idea how to play this game”. This was directed at me, after I was asking him why he was betting with nothing but a draw on the flop. While I really do think that this was his only valid point during the entire tournament, I don’t think that the way I am reading the play of this particular hand has anything to do with it; my lack of understanding and ability is certainly unquestioned, but it has nothing to do with thinking he was an idiot for being in that hand at all with a 10-Jo. This all IMHO of course, YMMV.