Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Sunday, March 23, 2008


You just have to play well enough to stay out of your own way. Last night all I kept trying to remember was "don't force it, as loose as this game is you don't have to get creative, just stay calm and you'll get paid off." And for most of the night I managed to do just that, netting myself a 5x buyin profit by the end of the evening, by far my best performance ever in our home game (I've made 5x my buyin before, but since I took the cap off the buyin, that particular variable has increased, so while the multiplier my not have been my largest ever, the cash certainly was).

It started with the tournament, where I actually went on a rush and put myself in position early to crush the whole event, before giving away most of my stack when tryig to force action. It was a night of huge hands, as T flopped quads on the second hand of the night. Someday we'll convince her that it's okay to bet out and have everyone fold, rather than checking the river with quads and not getting anymore money in the pot anyway.

I had pretty good table position, with a couple of looser players to my left, and one tighty in Dan. When Dan raised preflop and I looked down at pocket sevens, I decided to take a look at a flop. His raise wasn't really significant as the blinds were still very low in relation to our stacks, so I could peel off a call and dump if I missd without doing myself any real harm. The flop came down K-J-7, pure gold for me since there was a bunch of hands with a King in them that I figured were in Dan's range. He led out at the pot, I raised him 3x his bet, he re-raised me then insta-called when I went all in over the top. I actually was concerned at the insta-call because Jacks and Kings were also certainly in his range, but he was packing K-J, missed his four outs and graciously agreed to deal for us while waiting for the cash game.

Jim the Knife was I think my next victim when we got it all in with his Queens in trouble against my Kings. Not only was he drawing to two outs, I hit both of my outs by the turn, making the second set of quads in the first hour of the tournament! Not really much he could do there, nobody in their right mind is gonna lay down Queens preflop to someone as loose as me.

I think BG was next to fall, and honestly I don't remember if I took him out or someone else, but I think it was me. I don't remember any of the circumstances of his demise, just that he was amazingly card dead all through the tournament, and by the time he picked up something to work with, he didn't have enough chips to fight back from the brink.

Special K was next to fall, setting up the cash game and becoming my only suckout of the tournament. I raised preflop with J-10 sooted, because I was the big stack and I could, and he went all in for not even enough for a legal raise more with K-10. I called, and a Jack in the window ended his tournament. See above paragraph re:BG & card dead for a description of K's tourney as well.

I think Big Nick took out Nate in circumstances I don't remember, then T went out on the bubble. I don't remember her exit either, because I was busy kicking myself under the table for my first big mistake of the night. We limped in 4 ways to see an all-diamond flop, 10-high. I was holding J-10, with no diamonds, and called Dave's flop bet. The turn was an offsuit blank, and I went all in over the top of him. He called with his flopped baby flush and I was crippled.

I should have known better on so many levels. I should have known that Dave is not laying down a small flush to me, because he thinks I'm always bluffing, regardless of the fact that I had not bluffed all night up to that point. I also never should have committed significant chips to the pot with top pair, mediocre kicker on a flushy board. I shouldn't have committed anything to the pot with top pair, mediocre kicker on the turn after getting called on the flop. I made my one stab at the pot and was too stupid to let it go. That was the hand that cost me the tournament, I'm pretty sure. With 4 people left, I had at least 40% of the chips in play, and didn't have to play any hands. But I tried to amp up my aggression on the bubble with a calling station left in the game, and it cost me my win.

Anyway, after T busted we were in the money, and I chipped up a bit until I picked up Kings for the third time in the tournament. Dave min-raised preflop in my small blind, and I thought for a moment before smooth-calling. It was not the correct play, and I knew it was not the correct play because I knew as I called that I was not going to get away from my hand if an Ace hit the board, but I wanted to double up and finish this thing off quickly so I could get into the cash game.

Well, I managed half of that, anyway. I was right, an Ace hit the board, I went over the top of Dave's bet, he called with A-10, proving once again that I have no fold equity with that player, and I was busto. In hindsight, he was the big stack and wasn't going to lay down A-10 preflop anyway, so even if I shoved it was going to be betting my stack that an Ace didn't hit, without the added possibility of getting a bunch of Nick's chips if an Ace didn't come but he hit a smaller piece of the flop. But while I was busto, I was busto with profit, breaking at least a year-long streak of not cashing in BG's tourneys.

So I took my profits and added a couple bucks to them and sat in on the cash game. I don't remember too many individual hands, except that I was playing extremely loose preflop and fairly tight post-flop. If I was within two seats of the button (which was most hands since we were playing 8-handed) I didn't even look at my cards preflop before limping in. It was bullshit, but it worked most of the time. It curbed my natural aggression on the flop and allowed me to pick up some pots by accidentally trapping people on the turn because I never looked at my hand until someone fired at the pot. As the hour got later, the chances to do that bullshit grew fewer, as most hands got raised preflop.

The tournament had ended and Big Nick had overcome a massive chip deficit to win the thing, so he joined our cash game table. We were pretty happy with this, as while Nick is one of the better tournament players in our little coffee klatch, he's a little weaker in the cash game side of things. So he had splashed around in a few pots and was down to about 40 units in front of him when I looked down at the Hammer. I had not dropped the Hammer all night, because I only play the Hammer in tournaments with a bunch of bloggers, and not in my home game. But there had been a sick number of Hammer flops coming down, so I figured I'd hit one. I reraised Big Nick, and he made the call. Flop missed me completely, but I fired out about $10 into about a $13 pot. Nick called, and I picked up a deuce on the turn. I fired another $15, and he looked like he really wanted to fold before finally calling. River was a blank and he checked to me. I bet out about $11, enough to put him all in, and he called. My typical response when called on the river with the Hammer is "Shit." So I tabled my Hammer, and he looked back at his cards before finally mucking. Most powerful hand in poker.

I picked up AK a couple of times through the cash game, and invariably it was against Jim. In the first hand he raised preflop to $2.50 (it's technically a .25/.50 game) and I popped him to $6. He called and we saw a flop with a lot of pretty diamonds on it. Except I had no diamonds. There were only the two, so I fired $10. Jim called, then checked the non-diamond turn. I put him on the flush draw, which is a pretty good guess 8 hands out of 10 with Jim, and fired $15. He made the call, and the river brought the third diamond. By this point I had unimproved AK, but he checked to me again. I fired $20 and he thought for a moment before laying it down. I have no idea what he had, and thought better of showing my bluff. I did lie about it and tell him I had an overpair to the board, but I doubt he believed me anyway. I tend to tell the truth about my hand if I'm in the hand and decide to chat, but lie about it afterwards if I'm not called. I wonder why that is?

Anyway it wasn't very long after that when I picked up AK again when Jim raised preflop to $2.50, so I made it $6 again. We were heads-up to the flop, and I whiffed again. Flop came down J-Q-7 with two spades, and of course I didn't have any spades. Jim checked, I fired, and this time he mucked his A-7 face up. I showed the AK this time, because I felt like it, but then decided to only show if called for the rest of the evening, because I really do think I give away too much information this way. Most of the folks in my home game don't pay any attention to the information I'm giving, but it's a bad habit nonetheless.

Special K was on my immediate right, his favorite seat because he gets his straddle for 1/2 price once per orbit, and my favorite seat for him because I get out of a lot of flops that way, because typically if he's interested in his hand, he's raising to $3.50 preflop. So I can get out of a lot spots that I don't like just by having him on my right elbow. He had a bad habit last night of picking up big hands when someone else had a monster, so he was getting re-raised a bunch. I did it when I picked up Aces against him. Three of us saw the flop, which didn't include an Ace, but didn't improve anyone else's hand enough to allow them to call me, either. So I was stacked pretty well going into our Omaha round, because I'd been making change for folks as they rebought, and I had developed a decent little stack of black chips in front of me. Black chips are $20 in our game, not $100. I wish.

So we switched to mixed games at midnight, and I spent an orbit getting killed in Stud Hi, then an orbit treading water and raking one huge pot in $2/4 O8, before making the comment that our game played smaller when we played NL O8. BG took that as a challenge, so when it was time for last orbit, he called an orbit of Pot Limit O8.

For the record, I said our game plays smaller at No Limit O8. Pot Limit makes it too easy to just say "pot" rather than thinking about a bet amount, and before you really have a clue what you're doing you've fired out a $50 bet.

Special K was doing his impersonation of a nut peddler, which is pretty good since he is a nut peddler, and he made a serious comeback in the O8 rounds. I repaid BG's favor from last week by quartering him in a hand where we chopped the nut low with the wheel and my straight went to the 6 for the high. That pot ended up pretty sickly large, just in sheer mass of chips. I think that was in the limit rounds, though. I picked up at least 2 $100 pots in that last orbit, and the first one was a case of figuring my outs and essentially being forced to make the right call. I had 10-J-5-4 single suited, and limped. Because everyone was limping, because we were 5-handed, it was late, and that's how our game plays PLO8.

Flop comes down Q-9-3, and I check. BG bets pot, which is $2.50. Jim calls, Special K calls, and I call. Turn brings a 2, and I now have two open-ended straight draws, the board shows no flushes yet, although I think a diamond draw was out there, and I have a mediocre low draw. I don't remember the precise action, but somehow the math worked out that after I checked, BG bet, Jim called, and it was $20 to me. There was right at $80 in the pot, and a whole bunch of cards that gave me the nuts left in the deck. So I called. The river brought a 9 that didn't make a flush, so after Special K checked I thought for a minute to confirm that I had the nuts, and bet pot. No callers, and I raked my first $100+ pot of the night.

My next one came on the last hand of the night, as Jim and I got it all in on the flop after some decent action. Four of us saw the flop, and I flopped middle set with Queens with a redraw to the diamond flush and a low draw on a board of Q-A-2. I bet pot, Jim repotted, and I reraised him all in. He called and he was drawing to a gutty for a wheel and the nut low with 3-4-x-x, and the turn gave me Quad Queens. The 2 on the river killed his low, and left him busto as I raked in my final +$100 pot of the evening.

I didn't do anything spectacular all night except stay out of my own way. I get into trouble when I try to get cute. Like I said to Special K in the middle of one hand when I hit top pair, top kicker with AK, I had been playing a pretty straightforward ABC game all night. If I had a good draw or good cards, I probably fired. If I missed, I folded. I didn't have to try to make too much happen, because you don't have to make too much happen when you're actually getting the cards and the calls. So a good night, making up for what I gave away last week by playing like an idiot.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to change the subject from poker to theatre, but just had to say; Best lighting you have done since "my Country's Good" or whatever it was called. The combination of the set, the costumes and the lighting should receive an ACTING award. Tell Suzy the "red shoes" were an inspiration. Pat yourselves on the back for this one.--Uncle P

Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

I love that name: The Knife.