So I could possibly be forgiven if I bitched at Special K for holding up the action in the first 30 minutes of our home game last weekend. I mean, at times it felt like the guy wasn't even there, it took so long for him to make a decision.
Of course, when you realize that he was playing via IM from Iraq, I guess you gotta give a brutha a little slack. K dialed in just before cards hit the air, and hung out with his usually tight style of play for the first couple of orbits. I provided the chips and performed the actions as instructed, and the running joke was that I obviously wasn't the one doing the betting, because at no point in the first ten hands did I bet 10x the pot.
Well, homeboy did better from another continent than he did the last time he actually played in my house, racking up a few dollars profit before heading to bed. Then it was time to get down to bidness. The bidness of serious poker.
Yeah, friggin' right. This was the Falstaff home game after all, where the variance is huge and the Nate is drawing. And Sunday afternoon, he was drawing and catching. Brian the Red ran afoul of the monster that is Nate on a heater again and again, consistently mucking the second-best hand, or a strong hand that turned foul by the end. I don't think I've ever seen him run so consistently bad for an entire session.
It wasn't helped by the fact that Jim was running hot, and making looser calls than normal. I spent most of the afternoon trying to catch Jim and Dave B. in a bluff or overvaluing one pair, and finally caught Jim, but Dave B. was my kryptonite on several hands. I don't remember the circumstances of my first stacking, but there was never a second stacking, as I ran my second buy-in into a 1,000BB profit. This is not something that happens often above the $.25/.50 level. But I'll take it.
My first ridiculous hand came against Nate, as have so many of my ridiculous hands in the past few years. T raised preflop, and I re-raised with the Hammer. Nate and T both called, and we took a flop of J-8-8 rainbow. I led out for about $10, Nate called and T got out of the way. I'm pretty certain in hindsight that she folded the winner, but that will become more apparent as the hand plays out. Turn brings a 6, and I fire again, for about $25. Nate does what Nate does, which is call. The river brings a second Jack, for a final board of J-8-8-6-J. The only way I think I can win the hand is if Nate was on a draw that missed, so I ship in my last $60. Nate calls, and I say "well, I go the hammer, so I got nothing." Nate tables pocket threes.
I think for a second before I realize that my 7 played, and I took down a $250 pot with the Hammer, unimproved on a double-paired board. From there I just value bet everything. My standard preflop raise was $5, 10xBB. I typically got 2-3 callers with that, and if I missed, I folded. I picked up a lot of AJ-AQ-AK hands, and got paid a couple of times when I flopped a set with 10-10, and once when I rivered a boat with KK. But I could never get a big draw to hit against T, and I was probably responsible for at least a third of her profits, thanks to at least a dozen missed flush and open-ended straight draws.
Then came the hand of the night, which became a little ridiculous by the end of the betting. I was in the small blind, and Jim was in the big blind. Everyone at the table limped in, and I completed with J-4 off suit, the Jackhammer. Jim popped it to $3, and there were several callers. I decided to see if I could hit he flop, so I made the call, getting not quite 10-1 on my money, but close. Flop comes down J-4-3 rainbow, and choirs of angels sing in my head. I check, knowing that Jim will fire whethe he has hit that flop or not, and he obliges by sticking out $15. Nate called, and it folded around to me.
I pop it to $75, perfectly willing to take the hand down right there. Jim goes deep into the tank, muttering about "what do you have? what are you doing?" and finally moves all in over the top. Jim was stacked about $250 deep at that point, and I had him covered. Nate called his last $18 or so into the pot, and I think for just a minute.
Ok, thought #1 - he doesn't raise that heavily preflop with pocket 3s or 4s. So those two sets are right out. Thought #2 - he doesn't lead out on the flop if he makes top set, because he's frequently been heard to talk about what a bad idea it is to bet your set (I may or may not disagree, depending on the situation, but that is his statement). So I'm pretty sure he doesn't have Jacks. Thought #3 - he has the Asian Jew, and I've got him dead to three outs.
I call, Jim turns over A-J and Nate shows A-4, for middle pair with top kicker. My two pair holds up for over a $500 pot in a quarter/fifty cent game, and Nate and Jim both decline to rebuy for the last fifteen minutes of play. Say what you like about my play or Jim's play there, I'm very happy he was unable to let got of top pair, top kicker in that place.