Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Royal Treatment

The Royal TreatmentHad a longer-than-usual session yesterday of online pokery over on PokerStars, the site where I play probably 90% of the time these days. Began with a vague idea that I might be able to retain my Silver Star status, but after a hundred hands of my usual pot-limit Omaha ($25 buy-in) it became obvious that I’d have to play 1,500 hands or something ridiculous to get there, and I wasn’t up to that.

However, I was closing in on 5,000 frequent player points. Did some quick math and saw I’d probably need to play only around 500 hands to reach that mark. Knowing that I could then trade the 5,000 for a $50 bonus -- but only as a Silver Star, which would expire at day’s end -- I decided to do just that and so began three-tabling, one six-handed, and two full ring.

The session went well initially, then I stumbled a little to come back down to even. Was back up a few bucks when the following hand took place.

This was the six-handed table. I was on the button with $35.05 where I picked up 5sTcThJh. Under the gun folded, then the next player, TenaciousD, raised to 75 cents. The cutoff called and I called as well. Both blinds folded. Pot $2.60.

The flop came all hearts -- 2hKhAh -- giving me the second-best possible flush. TenaciousD quickly led out for an almost pot-sized bet of $2.50. The cutoff folded, and I took a moment to consider the situation. Seemed a little odd to be so bold if he had the flush with the queen, although to be honest I was thinking more that he’d shown a tendency to follow up just about all his preflop raises with c-bets, regardless of position. So I called, kind of hoping we could keep this pot reasonable moving forward. Pot now $7.60.

Those thoughts changed with the turn card, though -- the Qh. Whoa. And adding to the fun, TenaciousD rapidly made another nearly pot-sized bet of $7.50.

Again I had a decision. At that point, with four hearts on the board and no chance of him having a heart better than a nine in his hand, I figured he had to have a set of aces and was ready to go for it in the hope that he’d fill up on the river. I’ve gotten royal flushes in PLO before, but never had gotten any action whatsoever when I had. So this was entirely new territory.

I decided if indeed he was going for the full house (or quads, I guess), I needed to get him to put money in now and not wait to see if he hit on the river. I raised the pot to $29, and he instantly called. Sweet. Pot now $65.60.

The river brought a meaningless 8c, and I was a bit startled to see TenaciousD bet out, pushing his last $8.65 in the middle. The reason for my surprise was I had thought I’d gone all in on the turn, and so it took me a few seconds to realize I had $2.80 left behind. Finally I called, he showed 3s3h4d4h for the lowest possible flush, and the post-rake pot of $68.20 slid my way.

A couple at the table typed “nh” after, though not TenaciousD. I typed a quick apology for the river delay, saying I thought I was all in, as I didn’t want it to appear as though I’d slowrolled the dude. (Probably wasn’t necessary, as it had only been a few seconds.) All I can imagine is that he thought maybe the 5h might bring him the straight flush and the better hand. Or that he thought I only had a set or straight or something (?).

Or maybe he simply didn’t believe I’d had anything. Was kind of an unbelievable hand, I guess.

PokerStars offers 'Instant Cash'Played on for a while longer and finally inched past that 5,000 FPP mark, then left my tables. I opened up the VPP Store and realized I had other options with my FPPs that made my end-of-month push unnecessary. Not sure if these were September-only promotions or not, but I could trade 2,500 FPPs for $40 instantly (rather than trade 5,000 FPPs for $50, then have to earn still more FPPs to clear the bonus). My first thought was to do that twice, and thus get $80, although I saw one was only allowed to take that offer once in Sept. So I did.

Then I noticed another one-time only offer -- trade 500 FPPs for $8. Okay, I said, and so in the end got $48 for 3,000 FPPs. Something I could have done without playing a hand yesterday, but then I’d never have enjoyed that royal.

Even with that nice boost at the finish, I ended the month down a bit, thanks largely to that horrendous week early on. But I eagerly move forward, newly-armed with the experience of having handled that highly delicate situation of dealing with an aggressive opponent while holding a royal flush.

Here’s hoping that situation comes up again. Frequently!

By the way, the final table of the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event is just now getting underway, and it is stacked with storylines. Two November Niners are there -- Antoine Saout and James Akenhead -- as are Barry Shulman (father of a third November Niner), Chris Bjorin, and Daniel Negreanu. Jason Mercier has the big, big chip lead heading into the final day of play. Follow the coverage with me over on PokerNews.

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Anonymous PokerLaz said...

Great post... I almost feel guilty when I get that rare monster hand against a player who is determined to put their money into my pocket!

10/01/2009 11:49 AM  

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