It's my usual drunken stoned Monday night biker bar game. This is the game that got me interested in poker, and is full of crazy play and questionable manners. It's also a hell of a lot of fun and one of the highlights of my week.
To the hand. It's well past the usual quitting time, and four of us are hanging tough, two of them working desperately to bust me. On the button is the Deep Pocket Calling Station, on the table for who knows how much, currently sitting on $60. Taking the Small Blind is Push Any Two (PAT), a crazy short stack player who can become dangerous with a big stack, on the table for almost as much as DPCS, currently at $210 after a rush. The Big Blind is home of Angry Drunk Hyper Maniac, a player who knows enough to make good decisions sometimes and will give me respect when he needs to, but is far too loose overall. I recently made a few thin calls against his big bluffs, so he's down to about $80, probably around even for the night (a good night for him). This brings us to Our Plucky Hero Under The Gun, who has spent a spell being rather loose and aggressive, but tonight has turned into Super Nit, and at one point folded for over two hours. I've steadily grown from my initial $40 to $230.
There has been much discussion about how late quitting time should be. I'd love to stay there as long as it takes, but I have to work at 1:30am, and at midnight I gave 12:30 as my quitting time and set my phone alarm. As I'm being dealt, the alarm goes off, so I say "last hand". I look down at two black Queens and not wanting to hit and run, say "one more orbit". There's protesting, but I don't want to get fired. The SB (PAT) is dealing (he and I had been alternating). He is also the host.
I raise the 50c BB to $3, a rather small raise for most of these folks at this point, but coming from me it will get some respect. This means no $30 bets preflop. Button folds, SB calls, BB minraises. All call.
Flop KQJ, two clubs. This is a wonderful flop for me. SB checks, BB bets $8, I raise to $20, SB pops to $60, BB folds. This is going beautifully, as BB sticking around would mean I was likely done. SB is mostly likely on a club draw, but a pair and a straight draw (perhaps gutshot) isn't impossible. Highly unlikely I'm beat, but I know he'll call a push, so I call to assess the turn.
Turn blank, checked to me, I push my remaining $160 or so, SB tanks and ultimately calls.
You know how the hand ends, so no need to go further. I'll take that call every time.
Okay, so the first part was partially a brag on what a wonderful game I have (and no, none of you are invited), but it's where I think I may have been cheated.
First, good things about these people and reasons I don't want to believe anything nefarious is occurring.
* I'm often loaning money, and usually forgetting about it. Even after several months of not seeing me, PAT has paid me back when I had long forgotten the debt.
* A few months ago, we all drunkenly misread a hand with multiple sidepots, and I was stacked instead of shipped. The next hand had started to be dealt and a couple of us realized what had happened, and PAT (the recipient of the pot) immediately pushed it back to me, despite it meaning he was busted.
* These people have a great deal of respect for the game (albeit sometimes in their own perverted ways).
* PAT had recently watched HSP and was encouraging people to run it twice. I think he'd have taken me up on it had I offered on this hand, but I didn't think about it because nobody had done it and he had given up his campaign.
* The till has been short a few times lately (a couple of times a missing $20 showed up the next week behind a shelf), and this night PAT (the host) was diligent about counting out buyins and colorups and cashouts in front of everybody.
* And, well, I like these guys. I've been playing with them for years, and it's a good fun group. I want to believe it's on the level.
But, well, there are far too many things that point to at least a good possibility that something fishy is going on. Namely...
* There was a lot more drinking than usual, and PAT, who is usually sober, had been taking part as well.
* PAT plays well above his bankroll and is usually stuck at least $100 every week, usually borrowed from others, including this night (mostly from me).
* BB had earlier joked with PAT that they were really just all waiting for the hand to pick me off, then we could stop. But this isn't too damning, as I encourage this kind of attitude, and they know I'm after them, too.
* Earlier in the night, PAT had tried to confuse the very drunk DPCS about a side pot, keeping what should have gone to DPCS. ADHM then stole some of that from PAT, at which point PAT complained, which drew my stoner attention to what was going on. They didn't seem to be joking about this, they were really trying to get away with it, and ADHM was a bit annoyed that PAT complained about it, thus busting them. But, again, I don't know what would have happened had ADHM not interfered, and I can believe PAT may have given it back after a few beats of nobody noticing. On the other hand, I have memory of a few weeks ago of a similar shady interaction between those two, but I only got bits and pieces. So it's possible they've done it before.
* Thinking back to that hand where PAT mistakenly got the pot, he IS the person who said, "and three queens takes the main". He claimed to have misread it himself, but of course he would say that.
* Most damning, there was something with an exposed burn card after the turn. He very easily could have picked up a couple of them and then said, "oh, oops, I saw the burn" and then peeled off the burn. I wasn't really paying attention.
* Also not helping his case, when he's dealing and out of the hand, PAT loves to peek at upcoming cards. But he's always very obvious about doing it.
* Later that night I saw ADHM at my card club, and he pretty much ignored me. But then, I was feeling weird about the hand and didn't make myself super obvious to him. I was only briefly within his field of vision, and he could easily have been focused on something else. And drunk. Or maybe he was feeling guilty and avoiding me.
As I said, PAT had been drinking, and was acting far out of his usual sober character. There was much more drunken mayhem and destruction than usual, and PAT was losing a lot. But here's what REALLY makes me question it all. On the turn I knew he was drawing and I knew I was best. I felt I had earned enough, and it was better long-term life EV to just end it there. I bet because I had to, but told him to fold because I had a strong made hand. He had been tanking for a while up to that point, but he even said afterwards that once I said I had a made hand, it made it easier for him to call. He was fearing I had a pair with a better draw. So if he knew the river gave him the flush, it became a snap call for him. On the other hand, he loves to call with long draws anyway.
DPCS in this hand was talking with me about it on our drive home, and he said he wondered if something was amiss. Once I started saying it was a possibility, he seemed to backpedal a bit (probably not wanting to implicate anybody), and said he had been watching PAT's hands, and didn't see him do his usual peek. But that doesn't discount the 'oops' about the burn.
That's all well and good, but what the hell do I do now? It could even have been accidental, but since he was very drunk and very stuck and knows that I'm a consistent winner and have a better paying job... well, we all have weakness and make mistakes. I don't see any way to bring this up in any sort of productive manner. At best it kills a lot of the atmosphere of the game over what was potentially an isolated mistake. At worst it gets the crap beat out of me and I'm out of the game. I'm too pretty for that.
I do not want to leave this game. Not only is it very profitable for me, it's a lot of fun. We're not super close friends, but we do share that small poker group bond. I can control the dealing in the future, because usually they want me to deal anyway. And I would never question most of the others there. It's just... well, I wouldn't put it past this guy.
I plan not to play in the game for at least a week, probably a few. It will suck, as I count on it for weekly income and have a great time there. I've taken breaks before after a big beat, so if nothing was suspect, it won't seem out of place. But if something was up, this will let them know I at least have suspicions. I figure after a couple of weeks, I'll just go back to business as usual, with the exception of paying more attention.
So that's that, was just wondering what others thought about the situation or how I plan to handle it (or my play on the hand).
Nothing you wrote really suggests cheating to me. Maybe I was only half paying attention while reading it, but I think you should go back to that amazing game, obviously pay a lot of attention to what is going on, and then decide whether or not you think they are cheating you.
Quote: But here's what REALLY makes me question it all. On the turn I knew he was drawing and I knew I was best. I felt I had earned enough, and it was better long-term life EV to just end it there. I bet because I had to, but told him to fold because I had a strong made hand. He had been tanking for a while up to that point, but he even said afterwards that once I said I had a made hand, it made it easier for him to call. He was fearing I had a pair with a better draw. So if he knew the river gave him the flush, it became a snap call for him. On the other hand, he loves to call with long draws anyway.
If I did my math right, you pushed $160 into ~$130 pot. If he had two clubs and any broadway card, then he's got 14-15 outs to two pair or better (your strong hand could easily just be AK). He still doesn't have the right odds to call, of course, but this is the sort of call that poor players will gleefully make all night. Even with just two clubs, I know plenty of bad players who will call here, especially at the end of the night if they are stuck.
Also, if he stacked the deck to give himself the flush, I just can't imagine that he would ever consider bailing on his plan because he thought that he might have accidentally given you a better one. And of course, if he knew the river club was coming, I really don't think he'd talk about his thought process during the hand.
So I really doubt you were cheated, at least not in this hand.
Thanks a bunch for the feedback, folks, and for slogging through all that. Yeah, I write too much, but I just wanted to get a lot of ideas across. I felt like I was making it too strong of a case that he cheated, so I tried to temper that, but apparently either I did that too much or I just don't have the right perspective.
I'm not trying to find a way to get over steaming over a bad beat, not at all. I was completely fine with his call and completely fine with the results (aside from a slight stinging sensation). I WANT these kind of calls, and he makes them all the time, and I love it. I take bad beats very well (if only the rest of my game were as good), and think I played the hand well for the players and situation. It just seems a lot of coincidences around this hand. I wasn't even considering that something was wrong until someone else mentioned it to me on the drive home.
I don't think he stacked the deck. I think that he either deliberately or inadvertently glimpsed the river card when the burn after the turn was exposed. He seemed torn on calling when he thought I had a bigger draw, but almost instantly called when he knew I didn't.
It's not a $40 loss (actually $13, I had him covered), it's a $200 loss. But yeah, it's really just $13. This is the smallest game I play, so no biggie. And this wasn't the only thing to give me a weird feeling through the night, overall it just got a bit more out of hand than usual, and I have another standing invitation with another group (not poker) on the same night, so I'll just take next week to do that instead.
Again, thanks for the responses. It's good sometimes just to get an outside perspective, since those of us in the mix sometimes can't see around us very well.