Hands that Haunt Me: Episode #1

If you’re a poker player everyone has one…a misplayed hand that keeps you from sleeping at night.  Haunted hands are like horror flicks, they stay with you way after the fact.  You see the board and the hand over and over, like your own little version of Groundhog Day.  Exhaustion sets in and you fall asleep.  “Peace finally,” you think.   But down in your subconscious, more torture…Pink is singing “U + Ur Hand”, giving a whole new meaning to that song you loved.  You sink deeper into sleep and can’t your mind from dropping you deeper into Inception-like nightmares.  Your dreams formulate ways to horrify you about your horrific play:

You’re standing in the middle of an enormous hallway.  You realize you’re in a desolate hotel when Jack Nicholson bolts around a corner holding an ax yelling, “Ya shouldn’t have played that hand.  Now I’m gonna chop off your hand!!”  You run into the nearest bathroom, shut the door, and lock it.  Good thing Jack has an ax. He smashes a hole thru the door and peeks his head in with that sinister grin…

Heres Johynny

He disappears.  You stare at the hole in the door.  Seconds pass, but they feel like minutes.  Suddenly Jack pops back in.  He put his hand through the hole holding two cards,  J-7 off.  He starts to shout, “HERE’S J–” and up I shoot out of my bed in a cold sweat yelling, “–JACK-SEVEN-OFF-NICHOLSON!!!”

Yeah, that’s my set up to this first of two haunted hands.  Ironically, both happened when I was in the small blind (what does that say about me?  The worst position and not even mathematically obliged to be involved…another blog title comes to mind, “Small Blind Small Mind“).  The idea here is to spook/shame myself into making better decisions at the table (smart ass alter ego:  Good luck with that!)…


This is during a Foxwoods ladies event.  Blinds are around 400/800.  I’m probably, if not definitely, the chip leader in the tournament at the moment when I get moved to a new table (my apologies for the vagueness of level, chip stacks, and bet sizing info in advanced).


An Asian-looking woman in a coordinated, red Adidas sweat suit raises in early position.  A woman in the CO calls.  It folds to me in the small blind & I look down at, YOU KNOW IT:  Js7h .

I 3bet to I don’t remember, but I re-raise.  Red Adidas woman contemplates for a bit, then her and CO both call.

F:  Jh7sQs

I bet out X?  Red Asian Adidas raises.  CO thinks for long time then folds.  I re-raise all in, Red Adidas calls.

She flips over clubs-28398_640.pngnicubunu-Ornamental-deck-Queen-of-hearts  and I’m like, “OH MY FRIGGIN POKER GOD!!!”  (to add to this cooler flop the woman in the CO folded Ahnicubunu-Ornamental-deck-Queen-of-diamonds, YASSSS the case QUEEN)!

And just like that my friends, I’m crippled.  Red Adidas had the 2nd biggest stack at my table.  Had I been the player I am now…well shoulda coulda woulda but…there it is.  Now run n’ go tell your Mama.

Way Delayed Assessment:

I’ve had a lot of time to think about this hand so I don’t have any gut reactions to give you.  I’ve reached out to the woman in red Adidas about this hand.  She’s an amazing player, a thinking player.  And I hope she doesn’t mind the Asian stereotype title in the blog.  To be frank, in poker there’s a lot of stereotyping going on since all we have to go on at a table initially is stereotypes.  Sorry.  That’s how it works.  WHOLE ‘NOTHER BLOG!  All that said, Asians tend to be very aggressive and that’s where my thought process should’ve started and ended.  I misread this woman and just should’ve folded this hand.  That’s it.  Nothing to assess.  Additionally, I’d just gotten moved to this table and I didn’t have a read on anyone.  I tried to force something that just didn’t need to be.  Just a classic stupid Janice move brought to you by Happy Tilt.  BTW, Red Adidas won that tournament, with MY chips!  Insert gif here:



This is from a $1/2 cash game at Harrah’s Altantic City.  It’s a Friday night around 11pm and I’ve had some drinks. #Foreshadowing

A guy with heaps limps in UTG.  It folds around to a mid-to-late 40’s black woman in the cutoff.  She raises to $6, the button calls, and I call in the small blind with $180 and  3h4h.

UTG, our main villain here, calls.  Pot is $26.

F:  2c5c6d

I check, Villain bets $18, original raiser in cutoff folds, I raise to $35, Villain thinks & calls.

POT:  $94

T:  Qs.png

I bet $45, Villain calls fairly quickly.  POT:  $184

R:  Js.png

I put the rest of my stack in $94, Villain snap calls & shows a low flush with7s6s.png.

Vodka Tonic Assessment:

Yes, in my 2-vodka-tonics-in stupor I didn’t check/raise enough or see the spade on the river.  I thought it was the Jack of clubs.  So I shoved the rest of my stack.  When he snap calls I think, “uh oh, maybe I should’ve worn my updated prescription glasses…and not had these 2 vodka tonics.”  In the 3 seat, the river on the board is hard to see, it’s like a continent away from me.  On the Game of Thrones map it’s like I’m Jon Snow in Westeros and the river card is The Wall…but the difference here is Jon Snow joins the Night Watch, gets killed, and resurrected but I lose and daz it!  No resurrecting for me this time.  I’m out with an empty glass of ice symbolic of this White Walker and the frosty cold, walk of shame I’m about to take.


That’s all the bad reflection I can take in one blog.  Enjoy and rejoice in my pain…




The Shining:


White Walkers:




4 thoughts on “Hands that Haunt Me: Episode #1

  1. I feel your pain. I went through a pretty rough slump recently, and that’s when you doubt every decision you make. Fortunately, I have turned it around. Always look to change something (change of scenery, change of poker game variation, more studying of the game, etc.). As far as these two situations go…

    On the second hand in the cash game, there was nothing you could do. Your chips were going in no matter what. In the tournament, you made an error that I used to make often. The SB is crap. If you don’t have a hand you would play from middle position, just fold. The blinds are fees everyone has to pay on each orbit, not bets you made voluntarily. Plus, as you mentioned, you were out of position. On top of that, you suffered the table-change-when-running-good situation. Hate that! But, that’s the best time to sit back, learn everyone at the table AND establish a tight image so you can make some moves after a few orbits. I knew the Asian lady had a set of Queens before you wrote it. It was the only hand that made sense. Most people call pre-flop with high cards, and two of the Jacks were accounted for. Her pause and re-raise meant MONSTER! Watch out for that.

    All of this is just my opinion. As far as Game of Thrones, ummm … I didn’t get to that part yet. I forgive you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for forgiving me! Sorry for spoiling and you must binge watch!

      RE: the tournament this was at least over a year ago now and I’ve grown so much. I totally agree 100% with your advice. I would never put myself in that spot today.

      I think in the cash game if I’d made it $51 – $54 he’d have to think twice about it. Sigh…anyway I broke one of my own rules. Don’t play drunk. I got what I deserved.

      Thanks for the comment Tyler!


  2. I (and I’m commenting as myself, not the sarcastic blog persona) agree with Tyler here. In the cash game, once you stayed in the hand and saw the flop, you were pretty much done for unless you slow-played the hand so much that you could fold to the villain’s re-raise on the river. Villain’s probably not going anywhere in the turn with a pair and a draw and a huge stack, and maybe you bet him off on the flop with a bigger re-raise, but you want to keep the villain in the hand until the river, you just don’t want that spade to hit. And when it does, maybe a check or a small bet saves you a little money, but with so much in it would be hard not to call a bet in case villain is bluffing or overplaying a hand you have beat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I need to be better about seeing these comments. So I still feel a bigger re-raise on the flop is the only chance I had. And I shoved AI on the river, V did not re-raise. Again, no more vodka tonic playing for me. Thanks Ethan!


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