The time I lost $6k in 5 minutes

Sometimes live poker is rigged too.

I’m playing 5/10 on a Thursday night in the summer of 2012. I bought in for the table max of $2k and ran well for a few hours building up a stack of about $6k. A full blown maniac well known in this room sits down at my table. I naturally became excited but little did I know that within the span of 3 shuffles I was going to be felted.

The first hand he sits down I’m dealt KQ of spades. I open from early position and this maniac 3bets from LP and I call. It’s heads up and we’re $1k effective. I flop a K high flush. I expect him to check back on a monotone board with most of his hands so I lead out with a healthy bet size and he calls. There is a safe turn card and I bet a good size again, this time he decides to raise. There is no other move in my mind here other than a shove. If he has the ace high flush somehow I have to pay him off. Given how wild this player there’s no way to narrow his range, he can literally have any two cards. But this player is never folding a lower flush and is never folding the nut flush draw. He might even call with two pair or even one pair. I announce all in for an overbet and he says something I will never forget – “I just can’t fold this” then tosses in one chip and turns over A4o with the A of spades. And he rivers the nuts, of course.

The very next hand I have JJ in +1. I’m tilted and I make it 10x. Everyone folds except the maniac who calls. We’re heads up at about $2k effective. The flop is Jxx with two hearts. Wanting to represent tilt I make a cbet that’s larger than the pot. Being a full maniac he shoves into me for an asinine overbet and obviously I snap call. He turns over T6h and hits the flush and once again doubles through me.

Then the next shuffle I have AA UTG. My stack has taken a beating and I’m even more tilted. I do something entirely ridiculous that I have no explanation for. I open shove for my whole 3k stack. A few people at the table are shocked and ask if I’m serious. The dealer points out that it’s binding and it doesn’t matter if I was joking. I don’t say anything hoping people will think I was kidding and am now bound to this foolish decision. It folds to the maniac who doesn’t fold immediately. He thinks for a while then calls. Everyone else folds. I turn over my aces and he looks disgusted in himself. He doesn’t want to show his cards and I don’t ask him to. I’m pretty sure I’m going to win this. The flop looks pretty safe, low unconnected cards with two diamonds. The turn is an ace of diamonds. I feel pretty good about the hand now, I’m expecting him to have a mid or high pair and is probably drawing dead. But his mood does a 180, he starts smiling and is shouting “brick brick” calling for the river to be a blank. The river changes nothing, I’m confused about what’s going on until he turns over QT of diamonds.

I debate refilling given how good the action is with this guy at table, but decide I’m too tilted and cut my losses then make the walk of shame back to my car.


Really does sound like one of those James Bond type hand sequences, except that the hero is supposed to win the last hand.

In retrospect, do you think it was rigged? You had won a lot of money, so maybe they wanted it back. Sounds like he was playing with the house’s money, or the money did not matter. Maniacs usually like to be first into the pot, and the final call seems particularly suspicious.

He might have been the hero in this case. Sometimes you’re the villain you just don’t realize it.

This was an established licensed casino, I really doubt it was rigged even though it certainly felt like it. And they wouldn’t care about 6k. If it was a shady underground room it’s possible.

This particular player was well known in the casino I play in. I talked to a pit boss about him once who explained he made significant earnings in the real estate business and had a net worth in the tens of millions. He was considered a top gambler in the casino and was a regular in the high stakes baccarat room. For some reason every now and then he decided to try his luck at poker. From what I gathered he had no interest in playing profitably and was just having fun.

The last call makes absolutely no sense in any context even when the villain is a degenerate gambler. It’s actually the most absurd thing I’ve seen in my 10+ years of live play - calling a 300bb open shove with QTs. I have trouble believing it myself and I was there.

For whatever it’s worth, when playing live for cash, if I triple my initial buy-in, I say “Thank you” and leave the table to cash in. I might return later or try a different game, or just hold the cash for a while. It’s just too easy to give the $$$ back if you continue playing. At some point, every investor/gambler needs to take his/her profits. That’s why we were playing to begin with.


Well said!

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For people who like to say that Replay is not real poker, refer to the quote above. Those massive casinos in LV are built on gamblers. When the pit boss called him a “top gambler” I doubt they were referring to his skill level.

True enough, the likelihood of someone gambling is a lot higher when free chips are at stake, but it isn’t as if playing for cash stakes is going to magically turn a person into a better player – tighter possibly, but not necessarily better.

Calling a 300bb shove with QTs would be totally sick even for free chips. That said, you were hoping that this player would call your shove and double you up, but you ended up unlucky. Getting beat like that in Replay for free chips is enough to dissuade me from playing for actual money.

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Tilt will kill you. Get up and go splash some water on your face.

If I ran 2K to 6K, I’m not leaving that game until they physically pry me out of my seat. It’s just too good a game to leave.

“Luck comes and goes, but stupid lasts forever.” - SPG

The whale was playing stupid, only his luck can change. No offense to you, but I would reload and keep playing.


I have similar stop-gain and stop-loss rules when I play live. I don’t bring more than 4 buy-ins with me for the stakes I plan to play. Similarly if my net profit for the day is 4 buy-ins I stop and take at least a 24 hour break. Years of data have found that for me somewhere around 4x up or down things take a turn for the worse. I need a full 24 hours in between sessions to do an emotional reset. If I start playing earlier than that it tends to be another disaster.

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Get up and go splash some water on your face.

This works for typical beats, but this situation was really extraordinary.

Understanding and managing my emotions is the hardest part for me as a poker player. I treat certain events as circuit breakers which call for an immediate day long break when triggered. One such example is doing something I know is very wrong and indefensible, such as open jamming 300bb from UTG. When my brain says don’t do something but my hands do it anyway, something is wrong and it probably means I’ve lost control.

A more disciplined player would have just refilled and continued making +EV plays, being grateful for the loose action even if they ended up not winning. But knowing myself I would have played progressively worse after suffering those beats in rapid succession.


Know thyself and prosper.

If you are steaming and can’t shake it off, nothing left but to quit playing.

Responsible gamblers set loss limits and stick to them. Responsible gamblers quit when they aren’t playing their best. I’m not faulting you at all for leaving the game. But man, do I hate leaving a juicy game.