4th Annual Birthday Poker Tourney
Last weekend was the fourth annual "Mike's Birthday Family Poker Invitational Fiasco" where I futilely attempt to get my non poker playing relatives to learn how to play poker. As much as I complain about them not getting it, I think some of them may actually be starting to pick up on a few things. I think we even made it through the event without the traditional infinite check loop that they tend to get stuck in.
Lets go around the table and I'll introduce you to this year's players.
To my left we my wife's Aunt Karalee. She claims to have played a lot poker back in the day, and knows more or less what she is doing, but is quite rusty. She has issues with the whole betting "before you get to see all your cards and know exactly what you have" thing. Then again, I don't think I got anyone to raise pre-flop.
(note to self: Next year I need to stress raising rather than calling, and the benefits of limiting the field in a hand where you are favored.)
Left of Karalee was Uncle Jim who isn't a terrible player. He actually won last year or the year before. He is a little tentative in his play, but he did actually raise on occasion which puts him light years ahead of the rest of the table.
After Jim is my father in law and my wife's Aunt Char. I think the only reason they play is because I'm organizing it, and have very little intention to actually play or strategize. I think they are lost causes.
My wife is after them, and I'm proud to say that she is a pretty good player for someone who only plays once a year. I've forced to watch enough poker on TV where she understands strategy, and when to bet or raise or fold. She's probably better than half the people at our regular monthly games. I should also note that she started talking trash about a week before the event claiming that she was going to win and that she had a new strategy. That new strategy was to use the handranking cheatsheet that I provided for everyone.
My parents rounded out the table. They don't particularly care for the poker, but play just to humor me. They do however at least try to play well, and figure out what they are doing. My Dad is also one of the few players to actually use a raise. He's a maniac!
So on to the game. I tried to explain to everyone the value of good hand selection before we started, but I don't think may people paid attention since the average number of players seeing the flop at our eight handed table was 6.
I can't recall as many comical plays as in previous years. I'm not sure if its because they are actually getting better, or if I was doing a better job of moving the game along, or if I just don't find it humerus anymore.
A couple hand of note, which I feel bad about. I crippled my dad when I played ATs for a raise. He called and the flop was ragged, but with two of my suit. The turn was a king and one of the other fifteen people in the hand made a small bet, which he min raised. A bigger bet and I probably would have folded, but I didn't and rivered a flush to beat his AK. Of coarse on the river I made a big raise which he called.
I feel bad because he played a good hand, raised when he made top pair, and still lost. On the other hand, he should have raised preflop like I had instructed and bet more when he made his hand, so hopefully he will learn that for next year. I'm guessing not though.
The other hand was against my wife. I had wired nines and she had AQ. The flop was AQ9 and I took all of her chips, putting me in the chip lead for good. Not much she could do there. She flopped top two pair, and even though I raised her bets, and bet bet big when she checked, its hard to think your hand isn't good in that situation. Unless you've played a lot, and even then its tough to put me on trips rather than AK.
On the positive side, after I raised her bet on the flop, she was about to bet on the turn, and Karalee pointed out that she should check because she knows I'm going to bet anyway. So at least someone is paying attention.
The final three were myself Aunt Karalee and Uncle Jim. I had a huge chip lead and they stood no chance since they weren't willing to bet without a hand and the blinds were a significant portion of their chipstack.
I kept bluffing whenever they would check, and then showing my hand and pointing out that if they check it doesn't matter what I have, if I bet I've got a good chance of winning the pot. No one ever picked up on it though and even after it checks around on the flop and turn, they'd rather check around again on the river than try to steal the pot.
(note to self: Next year do a better job of explaining how to take advantage of position.)
So that was it. After that we got everyone to play wii games. Watching non-video-game playing relatives play Rayman Raving Rabbids is pretty funny. I'd recommend you try that.
Originally posted at blog.pokerwords.com