Know the Rules

I am sure everyone is going to read the title and give me the no shit response. I mention this because every place you play has slightly different rules and it is important that you understand them before you start playing.

When you approach the podium to have your name put up on the board for a game you should ask the person all the questions you need to have clarified. Simple questions include minimum and maximum buy-in. I like to ask, “How much is the rake?” Are there any promotions currently going on? Do I need to have a player’s club card and where do I get one? These are all fairly simple questions and anyone working the board should be able to explain them to you.

I recently wrote a story about a bad beat hand and one of my readers mentioned the possibility of a bad beat jackpot. In that story I was playing in a casino that did not offer a bad beat jackpot. For many years my regular game did not have a bad beat jackpot. I will go so far as to say I am not a fan of bad beat jackpots. I think they take money out of circulation and hurt the game.

I happened to travel to Trinidad to play some poker and jumped right into an open seat in short handed game. I really had no idea what was being played or any of the details. The game was a weird $2-6 anytime dealers choice game. When the dealer picked a game it would be played for an entire orbit and then the next guy would pick a new game. I didn’t really understand the two, three, or four card choices and the option to play high or high low. Of course before I got all my questions answered the key hand of the night took place and I paid dearly for not knowing the rules of the game.

During a hand of hold’em I picked up pocket nines and saw the flop for four bets with an old woman who did not much appreciate me re-raising her pre-flop. After her four bet I just called and saw the flop heads up. The flop came A94 and I felt pretty good with my flopped set for a total of six bets on the flop. I guess I am a slow learner but she convinced me that she flopped a set of aces. I threw in the call knowing I was beat. The turn card brought the case nine and I was no longer beat. I am a slow learner but it took her nine bets on the turn to figure out I had made quads. The river card brought the case ace and the woman actually applauded and bounced in her seat. I was disgusted and threw my quad nines toward the muck face up as she was betting $6. The dealer just looked at me and said’ “six dollars”. I was pissed off and raised my voice, “I folded”. The dealer looked at me and said, “it is only six dollars”. “Muck the damn hand.” “I will eat the whole fucking deck if she does not have quads.” He reluctantly killed the hand.
The old woman started to cry and apologize. She asked, “Was I not supposed to bet?”

“You are fine I just can’t believe my luck.”

The dealer asks me why I didn’t call. I told him I knew I was beat and I won’t waste a dollar on a losing hand. He mentions as politely as possible that I would have won $9,000 if I had called.

We had hit the bad beat jackpot and I did not know that there was a jackpot.

I can only imagine the pain that dealer felt in killing my hand.

I had to learn the lesson the hard way. I hope all of you can benefit from my lesson learned.

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