Player Shows Card, Loses $65K Pot in $5 Big Blind Game at Bicycle Casino
In 2005, I attended the World Series of Poker for the first time, covering it live for a poker news website. That was the first year the WSOP was at the Rio, but the final three tables, if memory serves, were still at Binions. While I relished being able to witness the final table of the Main Event at the historic venue, it is still live poker and it gets boring as hell, long into the night. At one point, I took a break in the press room and decided to play a little online poker. I was a micro-stakes player, but feeling confident, I bought into a game for $100, a lot for me at the time. I don’t know if it was fatigue, bad luck, or just shitty play, but I lost it all in a hurry. It was painful. A hundred bucks down the drain.
I’m a full-grown man and have been in the poker industry for more than 13 years now, but I still haven’t gotten comfortable with losing money at the tables. I know it happens – I can think logically – but it hurts. That’s a big reason why I don’t actually gamble very often, aside from when I played micro-stakes poker online pre-Black Friday. When I went to the Four Queens to play blackjack switch with my boss in 2006, I almost wanted to cry when I had one of those split-split-double-double hands only to see the dealer spike a 21 and wipe out that night’s bankroll.
This is all to say that when I saw the brief video of a hand at the Bicycle Casino from earlier this week, I felt my balls recede back into my abdomen. This one was way out of my weak-tight, pansy-stakes league.
The Bicycle Casino in the Los Angeles area is one of the premiere poker clubs in the country and is also well-known for its live stream of cash games, called “Live at the Bike.” This hand took place before the stream began that night, but fortunately someone whipped out his cell phone to film the river action (demerits for filming in portrait mode*) and the video made it onto the Bicycle’s twitter page.
The game was only $5/$5 No-Limit Hold’em with a $5 ante, which makes this that much sicker. Now, the mitigating circumstance here was that a Mississippi Straddle was on, which can quickly juice a pot, but still. Plus, the stacks were James Bond-playing-for-the-fate-of-the-world deep, so the players were ready for a donnybrook.
The video picks up on the river with the board reading A♦-2♣-5♦-K♦-4♠ and a pot that was bloated to about $15,000.
A player who goes by “Bitcoin Yoda” announced that he was betting “ten grand.”
The dealer, who may not have expected that large of a bet (or maybe he did, considering the size of the pot, and just didn’t hear him), said, “Sorry?”
When Yoda repeated, “Ten,” the dealer responded with a more quizzical, “Ten, ten thousand?”
Once the chips were counted, action was on a man named Eric Hicks. He had mulled his decision for just a few seconds when Bitcoin Yoda gave him one hell of an offer.
“Would it help if you saw a card?” he asked.
“Yes!” Hicks quickly replied.
Yoda then mixed his two hole cards a couple times and let Hicks choose one, which turned out to be 3♠.
It didn’t take long for Hicks to raise to $25,000 and Bitcoin Yoda instantly called. Hicks had 7♦-6♦ for a flush, beating Yoda’s 4♣-3♠, which had resulted in a flopped wheel. No wonder there was so much money in the pot.
Why Bitcoin Yoda let Hicks see a card is anybody’s guess. While I don’t know what the betting looked like before that, it had to be pretty obvious that Yoda either had a straight or a busted straight. Hicks obviously knew at that point that he had the hand won and he was just hoping he would get paid off on his raise. The only way he folds is if he doesn’t have a flush and believes Yoda made a straight.
The only thing I could think as far as Yoda was concerned was that he was banking on Hicks not having a flush. Really, that’s the only thing. Or he just decided he likes the notoriety of a crazy play more than he likes money.
Interestingly, Hicks apologized, telling Yoda that he should have turned down his offer to see the card, though his opponent said that he would’ve called anyway. Hicks added that had Yoda showed a “high diamond” (I think he said “high” – it sounded like “five,” but that doesn’t make sense) that he would have folded, presumably because he would’ve been afraid of a better flush.
So there you go, a $65,000 pot in a $5/$5 game. I would have folded pre.
*My wife thinks taking cell phone video in portrait mode is ok. To this, I ask her one question, “Do you watch television and movies in portrait or landscape?” The prosecution rests.