June 2007
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Prelude to a stat-fest

The royal flush was an anomaly.

When you run bad you start doubting things.  You start to ask yourself things like whether flopping a set really is that good at all.  Because yesterday, I flopped four sets, and every one of them lost, and every one of them cost me my entire stack.

OK, as you insist, I’ll indulge you with a bad beat story. 

I have pocket fives on a king-five-deuce flop, all different suits.  It all looks so gorgeous.  The pre-flop raiser fires on the flop, I call and the other player – who it turns out couldn’t get away from pocket queens – also calls.  Magic.  The turn brings a second king and he leads out again, but for a much smaller bet this time.  Does he hate the king, or does he have AK and feel like he just got invincible?  Well, I can’t put him on K5 or K2 and I don’t expect he’d have played KK so strong on the flop.  Right now is where I’m going to make him pay, so I move all in.  Pocket queens feels like he’s pot committed and comes along for the ride…

"I have AA", he types in the chat box.  I don’t know why, because almost half a second later he’s called anyway.  Considering I was hoping that he would have ace-king, I’m especially pleased.  Just four cards left in the deck – the two remaining aces and two kings – can improve his hand to beat me now, whereas AK would have had 3 aces, 1 king and 3 deuces for the win.

But when you run bad, you don’t just get beat, you get beat in the cruelest possible ways.  A third king on the river gives us both kings full, his aces both playing but my hand being reduced to what may as well have been a five and a joker.

On days like this you start to wonder whether it’s just a matter of karma.  If you somehow did wrong by someone, but it surely couldn’t be that when I hadn’t left the house all day, and the only phone call I answered was from the bank, telling me that a cheque I dropped through the letterbox at the weekend wasn’t signed.  I now know I must try harder to check these things to make the nice lady’s job so much easier.  She ended the call by asking, with a sigh, whether I wanted her to send it back to me.  Clearly, some of their customers are indifferent about money.

And so, finally, to the business of reassuring myself that flopped sets are actually good hands.  Of course I know this really, but it’s a great excuse to conjure up some stats that Poker Tracker can’t provide by itself.  So I’ve started to construct a few queries that can be run against a PostgreSQL Poker Tracker database to analyse set performance.

You lucky lucky people have a stat-packed post, full of SQL code and probably just proving something we alreayd know, to look forward to – hopefully tomorrow.

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