Poker Words - A Poker Blog

Mostly a recount of my poker exploits along with a bunch of random other stuff just for fun.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

New Home Game Details

So, as I mentioned last post, I found a new home game. Or more accurately a new home game found me. A coworker of mine invited the poker crowd to his old regular game which he hasn't attended for about a year. I've been suffering from poker withdrawal so I took him up on the offer as did one other guy in our crew.

First let me tell you a bit about the setup that they have for this game. Our host had converted his basement into a full bar. He had the whole setup, four beers on tab, wide assortment of hard liquor, barside video game system, basically anything you would expect to find at your local drinking establishment he had. I was more than a little jealous. There was a $10 fee upon arriving, but that covered all the beer you wanted plus pizza that would be ordered later. I'm pretty sure I got my money's worth there.

Our host also ran a very well organized game. I think some people may have been annoyed by it, especially your more control freak types, but I certainly appreciated it. He kept the games moving, had clear standard operating procedures and well established routines that made it easy for new players to figure out how everything works. I haven't been to a lot of different home games, but I can't imagine anything operating more smoothly then he had this game going.

Limit Poker
One of the things that had me excited about this game is that they don't just play tournaments, which is what my usual game does. They start off with a few hours of $2/$4 limit then go to a $50 tournament and follow that up with a $50 NL cash game. I was anxious to try out my cash game skills in a live setting.

We played ten handed when we first arrived, and after a while when a couple more people showed up we split into two tables of six. I finished up a few bucks after the allotted time.

I think I could have been better except that I kept giving people more credit than they deserved. I would hit middle pair with a strong kicker on the flop but have to fold when there was a bet and a number of calls ahead of me because I had to assume someone had at least hit top pair. Then I would see that the pot ends up going to the guy that flopped bottom pair and didn't improve. I guess that's where being aggressive comes in handy.

I also lost a substantial amount of chips fairly early on when I flopped a King high flush and Archie, one of my coworkers flopped the Ace high flush. It was a family pot as most were so I was rooting for no more spades to come up throughout the hand. If a fourth had come up on the board it probably would have saved me some chips since I would have worried about someone having the ace. Instead Archie let me bet for him then raised on the river when I all but had to pay him off.

Still, I finished up with more chips than I started with so I was pleased with my results.

After two hours of limit and a break for some pizza we started the tournament. It was a $50 buy in plus an optional $10 for the head hunter option and another optional $10 for the last longer bet.

For the head hunter option everyone participating got a special chip and if you knocked them out you claimed their chip. After the tourney you turned them in for $10 a piece. The last longer option was a simple side bet, winner take all, on who would last longest in the tourney.

We had 15 participants, all but one of which were also playing head hunter. I think only 5 people entered the last longer pool. The structure was a little different than I'm used to but I think it worked ok. Blinds were 20 minutes. You start with 100 chips and blinds at $T1/$T2. Then it goes 2/4, 3/6, 4/8, 6/12, 10/20. At 10/20 we color up 10-1 and reset the blinds to 1/2.

Things went well for me in the tourney. In the first orbit when I was in the big blind I got to see a free flop with 47o. The flop was 56X two suited so I called a small bet with a open ended strait draw. There was one other caller. The turn brought my eight and I raised the small blind's bet. The third player in the pot pushed all in. The small blind backed out and I had to check my cards to make sure I actually had the straight. I did, and if he has 7-9 then good for him. I call and he turns over a flush draw before pushing his stack my way. One head hunter chip for me.

I didn't do a lot for quite a while after that. We combined tables shortly thereafter and one ran over everyone, amassing more chips than everyone else combined. I took out my second victim when he pushed all-in preflop with AJo. I called with a pair of jacks and dodged the ace. Unfortunately he was the one guy not participating in the headhunter portion, so no bonus prize for me there. It may have been a loose call there, but it was the best hand I'd seen in a while, and the blinds were starting to creep up there fairly quick.

Four positions paid. When we got to five handed it was me, my two coworkers, the monster chip leader and a small stack. After a number of all-ins in which the small stack always came out ahead, Archie finally busted out on the bubble. I'd feel bad but that put me in the money. And he made back plenty in the cash side game. More on that later.

Four handed we were all pretty even. The small stack had won a few all-ins to be formidable and the big stack had lost enough where he was no longer very far ahead of us.

The biggest hand of the tourney for me came when I tried a steal with 82s. I got called twice which I was not too happy about. The flop gave me some hope though with two diamonds, although the cards were pretty scary with AKJ. I had two options. I could check and probably fold, or hope that my preflop raise would be respected and I they would think I hit the flop and go away. I pushed all-in hoping they didn't hit the flop hard enough to call. They did. I don't remember what they had though. I think one guy had flopped a straight and the other had an ace, or maybe two pair, but I don't remember exactly. What I do remember is that the turn completed my flush and it held up, putting me in the chip lead where I didn't look back.

I should mention that heads up against Pete, the guy who invited me to the game I did suck out on him to win the game. I had T2s and he had Jx with a flop of 4TJ with one of my suit. I pushed, he called, and I runner runnered a flush to beat him. I should also mention that we started heads up with him way ahead of me and I battled back to the point where I could win via said suckout.

So I won the tourney plus four bounty chips including my own. So far its been a good night.

$50 NL

At this point it was midnight which is where my ability to concentrate on cards rapidly declines. We're also an hour and half away from my house as we traveled way out into the middle of nowhere to this guys house. I wanted to try some NL though and didn't want to be the guy who leaves after a big win so I decided to play some NL. Plus we carpooled and I didn't want to force Archie and Pete to stop playing. We decided to stick around until 1:30 then call it a night.

The play I witnessed at the NL tables was amazingly bad. Since I knew I was tired, and drunk from all the free(ish) beer I was playing especially tight. Add to that the fact that for at least the first two orbits I didn't see a card higher than a seven, or two connected or suited hole cards and lets say I wasn't putting very many chips in the pot.

So my first respectable starting hand is AQ suited and I raise the $1/$2 blinds to $12 after a number of people limp. Everyone makes a big deal about how this is the first hand I've played and how I must have a high pocket pair or something. And then at least five of them call me. I think the flop was nine high and it was checked around to me. I have about $35 left in front of me and the only reasonable bet I can make is all-in and hope everyone folds. I get a couple of calls, one guy on a draw and another having picked up bottom pair with his 84o. I don't care. Its late, I'm tired, I'm still way up and I'm ready to go home. Then I hit a queen on the turn and take down a monster pot more than doubling up. The other guy made some comment about my play, but how do you call a preflop raise with 84o against someone you know is playing super tight, and then how do you call his all-in with bottom pair? You deserve to lose those plays. Even if you are ahead at the time.

I didn't get involved in any big pots after that. I still played tight and everyone still acted surprised when I played a hand, yet still called my pre-flop raises with garbage.

The guy that had bet into my straight in the first orbit of the tourney had amassed a stack of over $600 from his $50 buy in. He would play any two cards under any circumstances and just kept hitting. It was sick. If you ever got a hand you could be almost certain he would pay you off, but alas, I couldn't pick up anything. I think we were all just concentrating on those chips and how easy they should be to claim because before we knew it it was 3:00am and we had to call it a night. I think the three of us all ended up ahead a good amount when all was said and done. It was a lot of fun and I hope I get invited back because I was really starting to miss poker.

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