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Daniel - Poker Journal

I'm a Props Man Now

27 Oct 2005

I showed up to the poker room at about 8:00pm and sat with: Steve Weiss, Ralph Perry, David Grey, Abe Mosseri, David Benyamine and Phil Ivey. Jennifer showed up about five minutes after me and took the last seat.

The game was $2000-$4000 Hold'em, Stud, Stud H/L, Omaha H/L, Stud H/L Regular, and 2-7 Triple Draw.

I got off to slow start losing about $100,000 in the first hour or so. A couple of the players were playing props and I finally decided that I was ready to play all the props.

It was three handed in the props and I took the following:

4-5-6 (My Big Boy)
7-8-9
3-5-7
2-4-6
2-5-9
5-7-8
3-4-5

I decided to take cards that were all 9 or lower so that it would be easier for me to see them without sleeping them.

Player A's Props were:

4-5-8 (His big boy which pays more)
Q-9-2
A-10-6
6-7-8
2-3-5
K-4-3
J-9-7

Player B took:

A-K-3 (His Big Boy)
Q-J-10
K-9-6
8-6-3
2-5-7
Q-4-5
A-J-8

Each player also gets a suit, and mine was clubs. Hitting your prop on the flop pays $7000, and if it's your big boy it pays $10,000. If you hit your prop in your suit it pays triple.

Also, if the middle card on the flop, or the second card dealt in stud is an A, K, or Q of your suit that is another prop that pays $2000.

We also play the Jacks. If you hit the J of your suit on the flop that's also a prop. If you hit it in the middle it pays $4000, and it you hit it on the side it pays $2000. However, if you hit your J prop with no other card of your suit on the flop it is considered "stiff" and YOU have to pay out.

Also, if the flop contains an A-K, A-Q, or K-Q of your suit that's another prop worth $3000.

If the flop comes all in your suit that's another prop that pays $5000. A three card straight flush, well that pays $10,000.

If in Stud, you hit your Jack in front of you as your door card, that pays $10,000.

There's more, if the flop comes 4-4-4 or 7-7-7 all of the props you have containing a 4 or a 7 pay double. So as you can see from my props, 5-5-5 would be awesome for me especially if I was on for triples (I'll get to that soon).

Now those are your "basic" props in Stud games and flop games. When you see your prop you have to say, "I see it," and explain what you see and what you are owed.

There is another very important wrinkle to the game. If you hit a prop, you are, "On for doubles," meaning that if you hit another prop on the very next hand it's worth double.

In this case, you have to call out your prop and also mention that you are on for doubles. Something like, "I see your stiff jack and my ace in the middle and I'm on for doubles."

If you hit a prop when you are on for doubles, you'd now be on for triples. When you are on for triples, all of the props pay triple. So for example, if you hit your "Big Boy" prop (mine is 4-5-6) that would pay $10,000 times 3, or $30,000. I was playing 3 handed, so that would have netted me $60,000.

Wait there's more! Since we were playing three handed there was an odd suit that nobody had, the diamonds. When you are on for doubles or triples, the diamonds become your suit also. So now, if I were to hit the Jack of diamonds in front of me in Stud, that would pay $20,000 when on for doubles and $30,000 when on for triples.

For triple draw, since there are no flops or up cards the props are a little bit different:

JJ pay $1000
QQ pay $2000
KK pay $3000
AA pay $4000
AK suited pays $2000 ($3000 if it's your suit)
AQ suited pays $2000 ($3000 if it's your suit)
KQ suited pays $2000 ($3000 if it's your suit)
49+ points in hand pays $2000
51+ points in hand pays $3000
53+ points in hand pays $4000
Trips in hand pays $5000
Straight in hand pays $5000
Color in hand pays $2000 (all red cards or all black cards)
Flush in hand pays $7000
Full House in hand pays $10,000
Four of a kind in hand pays $15,000
Straight Flush in hand pays $30,000
A Pat 8 in hand pays $10,000 (five cards 8 or lower with no striaght or flush)
A Pat 7 in hand pays $20,000 (five cards 7 or lower with no straight orflush)
Jack of your suit pays $1000 (also called an activator)


Sound simple enough people? Ok, now remember all that and focus on the poker game at the same time and you'll be giving your brain a full work out. You see, if you don't see your prop, or "sleep it," as they call it, you don't get paid!

I don't think I slept any props at all, but there is a slim chances that I missed my activator Jack of clubs in triple draw that may have cost me $1000.

I was keeping track of my props so that I could separate them from my poker results. It was a see saw battle for most of the night, as I was up as much as $44,000 and down as much as $78,000.

When one of the players quit, the props changed slightly in that I now had two suits, clubs and spades.

Oh, and by the way, we played some poker too! I was playing well, but started out ugly as I said. After about 4 hours I think I was stuck close to $200,000 in the poker game.

Jennifer had quit by that point and Chau took her place. I love playing with Chau. If you saw that whole, "I love play pokah," segment on ESPN you'll know what I'm talkin' about. That dude is hilarious!

So anyway, an interesting situation came up in the Stud H/L regular. The regular part basically means that there is no qualifier for high or low. A 9 low is good enough if no one can beat it.

I was in early position with (As-6s) 2d and decided to just limp in and try to get some action... action I got! David Grey raised with the 7c and Abe re-raised with the 6h.

I just called as did David and we took fourth street three handed:

Me: (As 6s) 2d 3s
David: (x-x) 7c 5s
Abe: (x-x) 6h-3d

I decided to continue to slow play my hand and checked. In Hi-Lo regular the lowest board has to act first. David checked, Abe bet, and I wanted to get more money in the pot so I raised it. David called as did Abe. On fifth street, things got crazy:

Me: (As 6s) 2d 3s 2s
David: 7c 5s 9c
Abe: 6h 3d 6d

It was David's turn to act first and he checked. Abe bet and it was now up to me. This was a really tough decision, one that often comes up in hi-lo game which is why I find the game so interesting.

Hi-Lo regular isn't my best game as I have loads more experience playing 8 or better, but I do feel like I'm decent at it. The decision lied in whether or not I wanted David in the pot, or not? I really wasn't sure what to do here.

I had the best low draw, a pair, and the nut flush draw. If I raise and David calls that would be a good result since I'm getting more money in as a money favorite. If he has a 9 low made he would definitely call here. The only way he could fold is if he started with 77 or made a pair of 55 on the turn.

If I raise and he folds, I'm likely looking at playing a worse pair against Abe, albeit with a monster draw. Generally in Hi-Lo regular it makes sense to knock an opponent out so that you increase your chances of getting at least half the pot. That, coupled with getting more money in the pot was my thinking.

I decided to raise it, and I'm still not sure if that was the right play in this situation. Either way, it couldn't be all that wrong either way, but this game is all about knowing what to do in these marginal situations. That's where an understanding of poker math becomes very important.

David apparently folded after pairing 5's. He thought long and hard about calling since he started with 5-6-7 suited and caught 5-9.

I ended up catching a big fat King on sixth street and Abe caught a 4... yuk! On the end, I caught yet another King to give me kings up and a King low.

At this point I'm just hoping that Abe has a low with no straight, flush, trips, or even aces up. I, of course checked and Abe checked behind me.

"Kings up, Abe," I said. Abe just looked in disgust and then finally revealed that he'd made three pairs! 66,44, and 33, which meant that I had a better two pair and my King low beat his pair of 33 low.

I scooped the pot, but that doesn't mean I necessarily made the right play. It's a hand that I need to do a little study on. Frankly, at this point in my poker career there is little about hold'em odds that I don't have down. The interesting variables you encounter with Stud H/L are fascinating. Again, it just sickens me that the WSOP could care less about poker, about the players, or about protecting the longevity of various poker games. They are more pre-occupied with wondering, "You think if we charge those suckers $3 for a soda they'll pay it? Eh, why not, screw em'! While we‘re at it, is it legal to hike up the room rates 300% for the tournament?"

That hand helped me spark a comeback, and at 4:00am a ghost of sorts walked into the room... ESKIMO!!!! Yup, the grizzly bear of a man, Eskimo Clark decided to jump into the game.

That brought Allen Cunningham as well who was playing in a juicy $600-$1200 game. Later that evening, at about 7:00am "Tight" Jim also showed up to make it a full game again.

By about 9:00am my mind and body were telling me it was time to go. After getting ahead in the props, I went on a cold streak and ended up losing $37,000 in the props.

The poker, well after a 13 hour session of being stuck for the majority of the night I walked away with a monster $8500 win!

When I got home I checked some hockey scores, and ended up waking up right at around 4:30pm today, just in time to watch the Leafs get taken out by the Bruins 2-1. My fantasy team, though, is having an awesome night and that is more exciting to me than a poker win. Seriously, I am a fantasy hockey sicko, you have no idea.

The plan for this evening is to watch the Colorado Vancouver game, veg out a little bit, relax, clean the house, watch some Tivo, and possibly drop by the poker room over night. If I do, I'll let y'all know.

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