Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Spread Limit Home Game

So last night was a diversion from the norm. For those who have never played it (and if you're ver in Charlotte on a weekend, let me know and we'll fix that problem), my home game is usually $.25/.50 No Limit Hold 'Em with a high hand jackpot that awards at Midnight. I take $.50 out of every pot that sees a flop to fuel the jackpot and half goes into the nightly jackpot and half goes into a rolling jackpot that builds until somewhat hits quads or better. For our jackpot, quads is defined as four of a kind using a pocket pair. So it can get up there. The nightly high hand is just the biggest hand anyone makes, no matter if it uses both hole cards or not. Then usually after the jackpot is awarded, we switch to a $1-$5 spread limit mixed game, with anything they'll spread in a casino eligible for play.

Last night I asked if folks minded if we played mixed games instead of Hold 'Em, and everyone said that was fine, so we did Dealer's Choice, $1-5 spread all night, with a $2 ante from the dealer instead of blinds. That kept it fair when we played stud games, and generally kept the confusion down.

The unintended consequence of this choice was to make the game play MUCH bigger than normal, since people very seldom took advantage of the lower end of the spread. I went into the game for $360 by the time the night was through, 3 buy-ins for myself at $100 each, and a $60 buy-in for Suzy. I managed to climb back for a profit based largely on some success at Razz and a $100+ pot on the last hand of Stud where I started with rolled up Aces and got called on every street only to have Nate misread his hand and announce a full house when he actually only had trip fours. That made me profitable for the night by about $50.

But that's a lot bigger than we usually play, and the problem with it running bigger was that not many people adjusted their play, so several folks went broke way earlier than normal (frankly BG usually ends the night with a decent stack, and he got broke early). It wasn't a remark on their play (or mine, since I was 3 buy-ins deep), just a remark on the fact that the calling stations in the game didn't adjust to the bigger levels, and the suckouts were for bigger pots. I thought that putting a spread limit in place would slow down the action and give people a chance to splash around in more pots for a reasonable price, but since the red chips were flying right off the first bet, it ended up having the inverse effect.

A large part of Nate's game is based on making his opponents fold. He hasn't yet realized that we've all seen him show down so much abject trash that there's no way he can push anyone off a hand early, so he gets a $5 bet on 3rd street in stud called in five place. By that time, with $30 in the pot, it's hard for anyone with any kind of hand not to see every hand to the river, especially given that his range of hands is so wide, and he's usually controlling the betting. Many times last night I'd see people reach for chips, look over to see if Nate had cards, and then check, knowing that he'd bet if they checked, and raise if they bet. One hand Skoon and I even discussed it, saying "I wanted to bet $5, not $10, and I knew he'd raise if I bet, so I just checked and got the money I wanted in the pot anyway."

So it ended up being a bigger game than I expected, and it really did take me most of the night to get back up to a comfortable stack after some brutal suckouts in Omaha (and while I understand that Omaha is a drawing game, a 2-outer is still brutal, and I lost two big pots to boat over boat on the river), mostly because my opponents didn't know enough about the game to fold. I did better in Omaha when I folded through most of one orbit, and waited for Stud, where people could actually lay down a hand. I did okay in Razz, since I kept getting 3 wheel cards in my hand and people understood enough to lay down most face cards.

Heh, sounds like a lot of my game is based on getting people to fold, too. But we knew that already. So the whole idea behind the $1-5 spread experiment was to keep the option open for people to bet small enough to see a couple of streets, but also have the option to bet big enough to make people fold. Maybe next time around I just make it all No Limit or Pot Limit games, then people can bet whatever they want, and maybe get away from hands cheaper. I welcome any opinions on the subject from folks that were there or who weren't. It'll be a couple weeks before there's another game here, just because of some travel I've got going on. I'm in Denver the first week of February, and then I'm in Vegas that weekend, so look me up if you're in either place. I'll have at least one day to go to Blackhawk and check out the casinos there, and I'm gonna try and play my way into the $540 Venetian Deep Stack event on that Saturday, but if I can't win enough to cover my buy-in then it's a no-go. That's a little out of my bankroll right now.


Special K said...

I'd love to see the statistics on how many hands Nate raised on the first street. I know it was well above 50%. It could have been 70 or 80%. It felt like 95% or better. That is about the craziest thing I've seen at a poker table.

briangre said...

i will say that i'm pretty sure that is the quickest I've made an exit when making more than 3 buy-ins..

I did not enjoy last night.. not because of the amount of money lost (if that ever becomes a problem then I need to stop playing).. but because of the play.

1/5 spread is nothing more than 5/5 limit at that game (and in truth many casinos).. I'm not really prepared to play that at my local home game considering i've sworn off ALL limit games in casinos.

it may be because my style of play just doesn't fit here, but I think it has more to do with how it affected *every*one at the table..

Tcsparky said...

I agree with what Special K and briangre said....last night was certainly interesting. I didn't have as much fun as I usually do. And it wasn't about the $$$....heck, losing money was my style for over a year before I figured out how to play well enough to occasionally take someone else's money home with me.

I think I was having a hard time last night because there was such a variety of games coming at me, one after another, and I didn't have time to adjust before we were moving on to another game. I don't mind playing the other games. I would just prefer to play one for an extended time before moving on to the next one. For example, if we played Stud til 11, then Omaha til 1....And I don't like the limit games. It's too tempting to put in "just one more chip" to see a card. I'd rather Nate go ahead and raise to $15 so I can fold, instead of raising it incrementally $5 at a time.

I don't know if it was the amount of people at the table, the games we were playing or the narcotic the doctor has me on, but I was very discombobulated for most of the night. I've had more fun at our home game at other times......

Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

Poor-Poor Nate...happens. But Dude, you should check that a few times...wait, I misread my cards all the time...holla!