The loser becomes the winner
Poker players swim in a sea of variance and while not a requirement, most have a high pain tolerance. They also have a low tolerance for other people’s pain. Bad beats are commonplace, but no one wants to hear your bad beat story…until now.
As my regular readers know, I co-host the podcast “The Chip Race” sponsored by Unibet Poker alongside my colleagues. VegasSlotsOnline news Contributing to Dara O’Kearney. The Unibet Open Bucharest takes place at the end of November and we are pleased to be giving away a package worth €2,000 ($2,117) for the festival.
After thinking about a number of contest ideas, we finally decided how nice it would be if we could change the ending of someone’s bad beat story and retell it in a way that turns a loser into a winner. Therefore, players are cordially invited to write us their most painful story or create a video.
In keeping with the competition, here is a bad beat story from my personal collection.
The Curse of the Pocket Kings
I’m not superstitious in the slightest, but like many poker players, I have a strange relationship with pocket kings. Early in my pro career, when I was exclusively an online grinder, me and my first poker friend Nick “rounder63” Carrillo seemed to beat every MTT final table with the Cowboys. It was so relentless that every time we picked her up and pushed her, it would trigger the abbreviation “GG me” and the other would scold.
I’ve been eliminated from seven out of eight consecutive live tournaments with Pocket Kings
In 2012 I started playing a little more live poker and over the summer I was eliminated from seven out of eight consecutive live tournaments with Pocket Kings. Like the Pavlovian dog that I was (and perhaps still am), I developed this thing where every time I looked down at Kings, I immediately imagined myself lying on my hotel room bed five minutes later, on the ceiling stared.
In February 2013, I played my first EPT event by securing a Deauville package via an online satellite. Home to France’s most eccentric film festival, it’s an exclusive getaway for the rich and famous, a mock-Tudor Disney land for aristocrats and nouveau riche. It was therefore the most perfect yet ridiculous place to host a large buy-in poker tournament series.
Just don’t bubble
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous as I took my place in the €5,300 ($5,611) Main Event. I had about $500,000 in online winnings and $170,000 in live winnings, but I had never played anything that big. At this point in my career, my average online buy-in was $81 and my average live buy-in was less than $500. Suffice it to say, this was a shot.
Day 1 went well as I was able to fight my way through small balls to an above average stack. Day 2 was a shorter day and played until just before the money bubble. I suffered a small setback at the start, but thanks to the great structure I had enough time to recover to an average stack by the end of the game. Day 3 started very well, as a small card rush coupled with a terrible call from Freddie Deeb helped me jump into a larger stack with the impending bubble.
Don’t do anything intellectual now!”
However, hand after hand took on a full level as the short stacks refused to lose races, and my then relatively new friend Dara O’Kearney and my long-suffering friend Saron joined me at the rail. Since each hand lasted ten minutes, I was able to go and chat with them and received inspiring pearls of wisdom like, “Don’t do anything spiritual now!” and “Just don’t seethe!”
Pain au Chocolat Strategy Chats
Luckily I didn’t get a blister, but sitting at a stacked and aggressive table with a whole layer of rags, I dropped back to 60% average until bursting. The drought continued and when there were only 70 left, I was short. I had climbed a few steps, but that hadn’t really been the plan, but rather the remnants of card death.
With 23 big blinds, I was all-in for the first time in the tournament and got my double-up when the queens played the princes. From there I navigated to the end of the day with two-thirds of the average and 54 remaining. There were a few tough levels, but I was glad I survived.
As I ate several pain au chocolats with Dara on the morning of day four, I made it clear that my approach would be different. For three days I had rejected marginal spots, taken lots of pot control lines, and waited for situations where my advantage was significant. Going back with 27 BBs, I signaled my intention to open tight and re-shove selectively, but look for some good, cold four-bet shove spots if momentum and my holdings permitted.
Suppressive visions of an elegant cornice French ceiling
I played with the big boys and now it was time to do some big boys. In the first two orbits I found three cool spots, a king-queen reship twice and a cold jack-ten four-bet shove good for 27 big blinds, via an active UTG open and a Jason Koon- Three-bet. With €770,000 ($815,161) at the top, there were suddenly 40 players left, including very few big names, and for the first time it occurred to me that I had a real chance to do something special on the Côte Fleurie.
Oh dear God!”
After the first break, I returned to my table and looked down at two black kings in the hijack in the first round. Pushing aside the vision of an elegantly corniced French ceiling, I opened it and was summoned by the little blind, then Winimax ambassador Aurelien Guiglini. He check-called a flop of 3-2-2 and when another 2 came on the turn, the player in the big blind jumped out of his seat gesticulating wildly and shouting, “Oh mon Dieu!”
“Okay, so I can rule out Aurelien having a twosome,” I thought.
Looking for value, I bet again and again Aurelien made the call. The pot was 195,000 and I was 205,000 behind. The river was a 7 and he checked again. At this point I took a moment to reflect on the situation. My impression of his perception of me was that I was a tight since we had played the final levels of Day 3 together. My impression of him was that he was able to fold a small to medium pair when my river bet seemed too much like a value extractor. So I decided my best choice would be a larger one that would polarize me better. I fired 156,000 and stared blankly at the felt, hoping for a call.
Getting the award for “extremely unlikely.”
Twenty seconds passed and Aurelian announced, “All in.” I looked up and stared at him in complete shock. That was the last thing I expected. I was 49,000 down and the pot was 556,000. I rubbed my face and started muttering things like, “I can’t believe you have sevens” and “That’s so sick, how the hell can you have sevens?”
I went over the hideous math of the situation. I only had to be good about 8% of the time to justify the call, but how often does he push here without a 33, 77 or AA? It was possible, but very unlikely, that he made a poor, ultra-thin value bet with jacks or queens. It was possible, but extremely unlikely, that he was bluffing. The problem was that I got the prize for “extremely unlikely.”
I got up and called. He showed his pocket sevens and I was eliminated in 38th place. Five minutes later I was lying in bed in my room at the Royal Barriere, staring at the ceiling. Those cursed kings had caught me again.