Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Home Game - bad beats and cheap beers

Did I ever mention that a lot of my home game strategy came from a couple of sessions getting my ass kicked by G-Rob?

No really, regardless of his statements that he sucks at poker, there's method to his madness. Ok, there's also madness, but there is a method. Play looser than Paris Hilton's...morals (what did you think I was gonna say? Perverts!) preflop, and then if you miss the flop, fold. If you hit, you're probably playing shit and everybody else missed, so bet the fuck out of it. Not to mention the fact that nobody will believe you when you hit with that garbage.

So needless to say this usually results in a high-variance style of play. Uncle Phil has made the statement, half-joking (ok, probably in all seriousness), that nobody at the table needs to worry about me until I'm on my second buy-in, because I don't start to really play until Ive dropped my first $50.

For those who aren't familiar (and really, are there people who just wander in here? I'm not Pauly, I just assume that I actually know everyone who reads here. But anyway.) my home game is No Limit Hold 'Em with .25/.50 blinds, $50 max buy-in. We usually get anywhere from 7-11 players and usually end up with more than one rebuy by the end of the night. So my modus operandi for the past year or so has been to blow through my first buyin pretty damn quick, then work all night to finish up a buy-in or two.

So last night I got off to a quick rush, picking up a bunch of orphaned pots and pretty much doubling my stack in the first hour. It took a long time for me to redistribute that back around the table, no matter how many times I refused to give Crazy Nate credit for the exact hand that would double him through me. Nate I think set the world land speed record for a triple rebuy, going into his pocket for the third time in pretty short order. He ended up down four buy-ins for the night, despite picking up the high hand jackpot with Aces full of Queens.

My first big hand was against Jim (this is a recurring theme). After sucking out on Dan a bunch, catching two pair and hitting straights with raggedy shit cards to bust his big cards, I had about $120 in front of me. Jim was floating around $80 or so. I held KQo in late position and came in for a raise. Flop brought me a gutshot with J-9-7. Jim led out and I called, figuring if I hit, I get his whole stack.

That's the thing - I'm not playing for the pot, I'm playing for the stack. So I'll float a loose call or thirty to make my gin on the turn or river and take down a monster. The blocking bet is also really important with this style, because if you miss the turn and want to see the river, you have to be willing to throw out the blocking bet to take control of the hand and get to the river at your price, or give yourself a chance to take it down with a bluff if a scare card comes on the river.

So choirs of angels sing in my head when the turn brought a 10 with no flush draws out there. I checked, expecting Jim to fire, but when he checked behind I figured the hand was in essence over, and pushed all-in on the meaningless river card. To my shock and awe, Jim called, tabling pocket eights for the baby end of the straight. I turned over the nuts, and had him covered by a bit to give me a big stack. For a little while.

It took less than two hands for half of it to go in the exact wrong direction - to my right. You see, money's supposed to flow clockwise around a table, and me getting tangled up with Special K was really a bad idea in so many ways. First off, he's the tightest player in our home game. By a MILE. The boy's so tight he squeaks when he walks. He's not above exploiting that image, which has cost me a pile in a couple of hands. this was one of them.

I limp, then call a small (6xBB) raise with 2h-3h. I call K's flop bet with two hearts out there, and tell him "You know I got there," when the turn brought the third heart. His response "Okay, then I'm all-in."

That was just about the perfect move at the perfect time. I really wanted to play that, and spend several minutes trying to talk myself into folding. I wasn't man enough to lay down my made flush, even though in my heart of hearts I thought I was at least dead to his draw. I managed to convince myself that he had A10o, for top pair, top kicker and the Ace of hearts for the nut flush redraw. So I made the $45 call and was drawing dead to his Kh-Jh. But it was a coinflip to call it, and I managed to convince myself that he was making a move. He wasn't, and he won't be the next time, but maybe the time after that...

Anyway, that hand, and one shortly thereafter with Jim where he caught runner-runner flush after calling a big bet on the flop with bottom pair and a backdoor flush draw put me back down to a little over my initial buy-in. I worked very hard over the next 20 minutes or so to stave off the awfukkits and play good poker, and managed to pick up a few pots here and there to get myself back to up about a buy-in, when I unleashed a massive cooler on Special K in the last orbit before we called it a night.

I'm in the SB with KQo and raise to 6xBB, which I had done about 3 out of every 5 hands for the last 15 minutes. I got two callers, K and Nate, who will call any bet as long as there's enough money in the pot. Flop is the most beautiful thing I've seen in days - 9-10-J with two diamonds. I'm holding the nuts, but there's a flush draw out there and Nate had been known to chase. A lot.K bets and I raise. I don't remember the amounts, but they are not insignificant. Nate comes along for the ride, and the turn completes nothing. I immediately go all-in, and am less than surprised when Nate calls. K thinks about it for a minute or so and says "I have to call," in the tone of someone who knows in his gut that it's not going to end well.

The river brings the Ad, and I think I'm screwed by the flush, but I turn up my nut straight and hope. Nate shows 98o for a pair with a straight draw, and Special K shows Q8o for the flopped 2nd-best straight, and I drag the biggest pot of the night. That was a helluva cooler for K, who was up considerably at that point, and had to triple up to get up $5 on the night. That was Nate's last buy-in, and I finished the night with a 4 buy-in profit after seeing some huge swings over the course of the night. Everybody wsa gone by 2AM, and then I got a few hours sleep before returning to the keyboard to write up Day 1A for PokerNews. I'll also have an interesting article up in the next day or so on Pokerworks about Steve Wynn and the whole tip-sharing thing. He's a douchebag.

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