Friday, October 23, 2009

C'mon - We've All Done It

Let's talk for a moment about the bane of the poker player's existence, that's right, let's address the dreaded suckout.  Is there anything poker players hate worse then being on the wrong end of a suckout?  You know that feeling, the turn card has been flipped up, you're still ahead and you only have to dodge two or three cards on the river.  The blend of satisfaction and terror as the last card starts to turn and the punch in the stomach felling that arises when that last card is one of your opponent's magic bullets.

I'm not going to write - at least not right now - about dealing with being a suckout victim.  It happens, we learn to deal with it, next hand.  No, what I want to write about is a much deeper, darker thing, that being the fact that we're all suckout artists at one time or another.  I think it's time to bring our hidden sucking out shame to the surface.  Let's take pride and ownership of our suckouts.  I mean, as it says in this post's title, we've all done it.

I will relate a story of a recent suckout I performed.  Now to be truly discussion worthy, a suckout has to have something more then just your average, "he had Aces, I had Kings, and flopped a set" tone to it.  I mean, there's no doubt that's a suckout, but it's what you'd call your garden variety suckout.  I want to tell the story of a suckout of a much more spectacular magnitude.

The setting is the last hand of the third level of a typical daily NLH tournament on the strip.  The significance of the last hand on the third level is that it is the last hand where a player can bust and then reenter the tournament.  When I am in such a situation and my stack has dropped below starting, I will from time to time, shove with any two cards, the idea being that I'm better off reentering and getting a full stack then being down below starting.  Of course, from time to time, you can catch a weird hand and double up.  So, we're at that point in the tournament, I'm in an early position spot and I've gotten a little short and decide it's time for the ATC shove.  For the record, the two cards in question were a red king and a red 7 (offsuit of course, or if you prefer, double suited).  Things quickly fold around to the blinds, and I'm starting to think I'll just be picking those up when the small blind (has me way covered) can barely get the word "call" out of his mouth fast enough.  He's so eager that he actually flips his cards (the two red aces) up before the big blind has a chance to complete her act of calling which she was going to do.  The dealer stops things and the SB grabs his aces back.  The big blind (who only has about 3.5 BB total including what she posted) says something like, "no I was going to call anyway", and sticks it all in.  She flips over AQ of spades.  So the hands are: AdAh, AQs and Kh7d.  Just in case you're curious had this been on ESPN where they put the percentage chance of winning on the screen, the AA is 76%, the AQ is 13% and the mighty K7 is 11%.  I'm not worried though.  Flop comes with a K and two rags.  Hey, that's pretty cool, I actually have outs now.  Then the turn comes another K.  Wow, that's really cool although I do have one more A out there to dodge.  The river of course comes a K because that's how I roll yo.  So yeah, I sucked out and I sucked out huge.

Alright, seriously I don't revel in that.  And I wouldn't want to be the holder of the AA because I know how that feels, but you know it just happens.  We've all been on both sides of the coin and it just isn't something you can get too wound up about it.  The post script is that after riding the wave of that hand to a pretty healthy stack, I knocked out the same player on a much more conventional AQ v KJ situation.  He just looked at me and said something like, "it figures."

So the next time someone sucks out on me maybe the best way to get past that punched in the gut feeling will be for me to remember that I too will do my fair share of sucking out.

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