Friday, February 18, 2011

Statistical Improbabilities in Texas Hold'em

I played the $1-$2 last night at Winstar and lost my first $200 in my first 10 hands at the table.  My first big loss was with the AK of hearts in the hole (the 5th best starting hand in poker).  The flop was A Q 6 (2 clubs).  I get heads up with a guy that I figure likely was holding KQ or maybe even a flush draw.  He also could have AQ which seemed like the only hand that could beat me based on probabilities.  So, he went all-in and I called.  I had an Ace.  The board had an Ace.  He had Pocket Aces for a set on the flop.  It was so improbable that he would have Pocket Aces that I never considered it as a threat.

5 hands later I got pocket cowboys and decided not to see a flop, so I pushed all in pre-flop with my remaining $55.  I got called by another guy who was holding, of all things, pocket aces.  I lost with very strong hands twice in 10 hands to pocket aces.  That is a statistical improbability.

So, I re-loaded with another $100 and moved to center position at the table, directly across from the dealer.  That $100 played for the next 3 hours and I was up and down throughout the night until at one point, I was sitting at just over $50 and ready for a double-up.  I was dealt 9-10 and got to see a cheap flop that was 9-10-2, with 2 diamonds.  So, with top 2 pair and a possible flush draw, I pushed all in.  I didn't need to see the flush.  Everyone folded except for one fish who liked his 2 small diamonds and didn't know about the "rule of 4".  He called and the river was a diamond.  He had the 6 and the 8 and the river was. . . wait for it. . . the 7 of diamonds - he hit the straight-flush on the river - the most statistically improbable hand in poker.  And I was out again.

But I wasn't mad.  I wasn't on tilt.  Everyone suffers from bad luck from time to time.  I played strong and solid all night and lost some very big hands to the most statistically unlikely hands imaginable.  It was actually funny.  So, what did I do?  I found an ATM and a new table.

I played one more $100 stack and found the table with the largest stacks in the room.  One guy had about $1,200 in front of him and a couple of others had more than $500.  The table was loose and despite my bad beats, I felt like I was playing hot.  So, I sat down.

Unbelievably, I mixed it up with Mr. $1,200 2 hands in a row very early on.  The first time, I had AJ suited and pushed all in with a flush draw.  He had pocket K's and I was in trouble until I hit my magic Ace on the river.  So, I was back.  THE VERY NEXT HAND, I had K 10 and a K came on the flop.  The same guy had pocket K's again!  Back-to-back pocket K's!  Statistically improbable, and at that point, completely hilarious.  He got half of my stack with that hand.

Within the next half an hour I was dealt pocket A's (about time) and the house had an "Aces Cracked" thing running where if you lose with pocket Aces, the house pays you $100.  So, I slow played and ended up heads up with a guy who had KJ and a Jack on the flop.  I was way ahead until the river card came and it was another Jack.  I found out a few seconds later that another guy at the table folded a Jack.  That means that he hit the only jack left in the deck.  I lost the hand, but got the house's $100. 

30 minutes later, I had $218 in front of me and had to quit (but didn't really want to).   I was playing good all night long, but just taking some really bad, statistically-improbable beats.  I doubled my last $100 inside of an hour and felt like I could have gone on doing that for the rest of the night against these guys.  But, now I'll never know for sure.

2 weeks ago, I tripled up at these same tables.  I'm still up $200 in my last 2 trips up there despite the crazy night I had last night.  I guess these swings are going to happen, but if it's going to take the most statistically unlikely hands to beat me, I'll take them.

But like I said last time, "results not typical".  True.

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