probably the last game of the year...

ran the game last night, decent turnout of 12 people not named me, including 5 new players NOT from Go All In.

I got stuck with a table that...well...how do you politely say is NOT designed to be fun. I had Boston John who was taking even longer than usual...how long was he taking? They were done with their third hand at the other table before our table had DEALT the first hand. How is that even possible? Anyway, besides him we had Janet, Norman, and Darrell...and for whatever reason, Janet was cranky with everybody and Norm was nicer than usual. Weird. The new girl did not know how to play and the other new guy (her husband? boyfriend? anyway...) was a strange, strange player. I almost elected not to play since with the last arrival the tables would almost be even without me (6 and 7) and I knew this table would instantly put me on tilt.

I play to have fun with friends and sitting at a smoky table of players that are hard to get along with is not my idea of fun. But I elected to see if I could overcome my tilt to play well.

So John and this other guy promptly get in these huge bluff and rebluff wars. 2 and 3000 chip pots were being taken down with hands as bad as Jack high. Well, Darrell and I were just sitting there with our jaws on the floor and eyebrows on the roof...and waiting to catch any excuse for a hand.

I checked into a hand with an K/J from the big blind. Called off a bunch of chips against crazy guy when he bet on a low board and I had the bachelor hand. Called his turn bet. He checked the river and my King high took it down as I thought it might. Against Boston John and that guy I stayed in against a pre-flop weird raise (blinds 25/50 he would raise to 125, stuff like that...and he was doing it on purpose to screw with us, as he admitted) with a pretty marginal A/7 suited. Stayed with them through the flop and turn bets, rivered a 7 and took down another nice pot.

By this point I had not had a single legit hand but had won 3 or 4 pots with nothing despite heavy betting. I had not raised once at this point. Not pre-flop, not post-flop. In other words, I was playing really, really well, not raising bluffing maniacs, calling with weaker hands than I normally would, and knowing when to fold them.

I think one hand where I nearly doubled up is a good example. Boston John did one of his goofy raises, new guy called, I called with 3/6 diamonds, new girl calls. Flop came with 2 diamonds and a gutshot straight draw. I checked, new girl checked, John raised, new guy re-raised. I had nothing but a 6 high flush draw. I called because I did not believe either had a strong hand. New girl calls behind. John folded. Turn is a blank but a big card, I think a queen. I checked, new girl checked, new guy bet. Pot odds were right for a flush to hit and I genuinely thought I would have the better flush, I called, so did new girl. River was a big diamond. I checked, new girl checked, new guy raised, I called, new girl hesitated, hemmed, hawed...and called. Her I put on the straight. Him I put on a pair. Nope. He had 2 pair. She had the straight. And I raked a huge pot with a 6 high flush.

By the time I put out 2 last people at our table (the other one was down to 3) I had about 8 or 9 K. However, Darrell had also accumulated a fair share of our chips. We spread 21K among 5 players. Meanwhile, at the other table, they had accumulated all the chips from that table into just three players hands, so Darrell and I were still about medium on the chip stack despite being far and away the best players at the table that night.

And the game promptly got wilder. Janet was low on chips and playing short-stack, Darrell and I were waiting for hands, and three or four guys were just maniacally raising and re-raising with nothing. It was so bad that at one point 3 people were all in on a board of A/K/J/10/3, 3 clubs....and the winning hand was the paired king. He beat pocket 9s and someone who didn't even have a pair! Darrell and I were just laughing/crying...we had both folded queens for the straight.

Then came I think maybe the second hand all night I was active in and lost. I raised from early position (by now we were down to 5) with A/10. Lance, the big stack, hesitated a long time and then called. He could have something like A/rag, maybe 2 face cards, maybe medium pockets? Flop was ugly for me, a K/J/rag rainbow. I had a gut shot straight draw. He raised. I thought about it for a few seconds. He had been involved in some of those crazy pots, but if he hit the King I was drawing pretty thin. I called. Turn was ragged and he overbet the pot.

Every instinct I had said to call him. I did not think he had even a pair which meant I was probably ahead. BUT...he was also big stack and if I folded now I still had over 8K, plenty to work with and if I called and did not hit the river I could not call him and he would bet big. I did not feel like falling back to 5K. I said, "I think I am being bluffed" and folded, as did he. He claimed to another guy he had the jack. Maybe. Maybe not.

He tried to give all his chips to the old guy to my right. He raised from early position to about 6 times the blind. Old guy re-raises. I look at my 4/5 suited and cry. I would love to have a reasonable hand to call but can't call pre-flop 50% of my stack on a long shot draw no matter how loose they are. New guy folded, I folded, Darrell folded, Janet folded.

Flop came ragged. Lance raised. Old guy re-raised. Lance re-re-raised. Old guy called. Turn put possible straight on the board. Lance checked. Old guy raised. Lance went all-in. Old guy paused, hesitated...and finally called. He had Lance covered by about 1K. They flipped up their cards.

Lance had A/4. No pair. No straight draw. No flush draw. Nothing. (See why I thought I was bluffed off my earlier hand?) And worse...he was winning. Old guy had Q/J suited. But no straight draw. No flush draw. Just 2 big cards.

He did not improve and now Lance had a HUGE chip lead.

Not too long after I limped in with a 4/6 suited from the small blind. Darrell checked it. Flop paired my 4. With a defeated look Janet went all-in for her last 200. Old guy went over the top all-in. I called. Darrell called. Turn was a 6. I checked, Darrell checked. River was a 4. Darrell raised. I went over the top all-in. He folded. I took the other 2 out with my full house.

Now we were down to 3. And Darrell decided he wanted to go. So he just started pushing all-in. Every hand. I told him I could just take his chips off the table. At first he did not get what I was saying. Then he understood, but not before he had doubled up Lance again.

So now Lance had a ridiculous lead, something like 4-1 on me chip wise.

Well, about the second hand I rivered a straight on him that he priced me into calling. He got disgusted and just started shoving all-in pre-flop every hand. Sadly...with his chip lead, if I could not catch a hand, that was some good poker. I could not call it with 2/7, 3/5, 2/6...which is what my first three hands were when he was doing that.

Then I caught K/7 and called. And won. And again with A/6. Paired the 6. Took a slight chip lead. Called with q/j...and his 2/8 paired the lowly 2. Ouch. Next hand his 8/9 took out my K/10.

Looking back, I think I did about all I could. From the time I saw the make-up of the first table I was totally on tilt. I hate playing with sssssssssssssllllllllllllloooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwww players...and I would say taking 3 hands to get one hand dealt is pretty slow. I dislike playing with "drunken monkey poker" players...and ended up with 4 at the first table and 5 and the second table.

But I deliberately wanted to see if I could play well on tilt. I intentionally bust out quite frequently because if I am not having fun I don't care. Well, that is the epitome of being on tilt. Playing badly on purpose is still playing badly. Tonight I wanted to play goodly. And I did.

And there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that in a legit game I would have destroyed Lance. Just wait for a semblance of a hand, double up, rinse, repeat. But it wasn't worth my time. I was ready to be done with this group for the year.

Which is too bad. Some of the people are really nice and fun to play with. But my tolerance for some of the others is really slipping and more and more often it just isn't fun. Oh, well. On to the next thing, then.


How to go from chip lead to out in 2 hands

Played at Mixers to hang with Roman for a bit and let traffic die down. For them, a HUGE turnout...we started with 7 and after one guy busted out we had another guy join.

To my left is a guy I have played with 2 or 3 times. Complete maniac which means when he hits cards he wins and when not he loses. To his left, All-in Dee. We don't call her that for nothin. To her left, a guy I had not seen before. To his left, Taz, and to his left was Gypsy. Then to my immediate right was Roman.

First hand I limped with J/9 from late position with several people in the pot. Flop was low, Taz bet, I folded, guy to my left called, but on a big turn bet he folded. Tazz claimed low pockets. Maybe.

Then I folded for a while to get the feel of the table. For the most part it was a limpfest but heavy, heavy action thereafter. Dee is still Dee. If she raises a reasonable amount she has something, if she goes all in she usually has nothing but will also re-raise with a super strong hand if someone has raised ahead of her. Taz also will go all-in if he thinks people will fold, as will the guy to my left.

Therefore, the correct formula is to limp into more hands than normal since nobody is raising, then fold unless you catch the nuts. If you catch them, check once, if nobody raises, make a small raise and call their all in.Easy money.

So I limped with 8/10. Flopped 2 pair. Checked to me, I bet small I think 200 into a pot of about that, both Dee and Taz called. Turn was a blank, I raised 200, Dee folded...what, Dee folded? Huh? That confused me a lot. Has she switched up her play? Anyway, Taz called. River was another blank. I bet 600, Taz folded. I wanted to set a table image of strong hands sho I showed the 2 pair.

Guy to my left got felted. He decided to deal so he moved to my seat and I moved to his. This would soon cost me because I have not played with a dealer for months so I don't follow the button, I follow the dealer. Bad, bad habit.

Folded a few, limped with 7/8. Flop came 4,5,6. I bet into it. Oops...Roman was first to act, I was acting on the dealer, not on the button. Idiot. Roman admitted he would have bet into it, instead he checked. Taz called. Turn was a third diamond, I bet into it, he folded, I showed the straight. But I had cost myself chips with my out of turn bet. Bad play.

Shortly thereafter I checked the big blind with 8/10...and the flop was 7/9/J. I raised, Taz came over the top all-in and I called. He had top pair but never improved and I had a huge chip lead.

Meanwhile, another guy arrived and ended up sitting to my right. He is exactly the type of player who puts me on tilt. He is slow and methodical about everything, even if he is folding 2/7 off to a massive raise, puts in the wrong amounts, splashes the pot, etc.

So the game got boring to me. Plus, Dee was talking on her cell, the dealer was talking instead of dealing, and the game slowed to a crawl. I got bored. That is dangerous.

So I made a crack about being the next one out.

And instantly trouble arrived. I raised with Aces. Dee called. I blind raised the flop. It came J/10/J. She hesitated. I could see she wanted to put all her chips in. This could mean any of several things.

A) She thought I was bullying and would fold.
B) She had nothing and knew that was the only way she could win the pot.
C) She was on a straight or flush draw
D) She hit top pair and wanted to bet it.
E) She hit trips

I thought the most likely was any of C, D, or E. Her hesitation led me to weight E heaviest and figured she had a weak kicker. Anyway, I knew I had priced myself in with my pre-flop and blind raises (800 and 1600) since there was now over 5K in the pot and she only had 2200 left...even if she came over the top all-in and I put her on the Jack I was calling. So I thought about it and decided she had the jack and was trying to decide if I would call. So I flat out said "Go ahead, Dee, I'll call you, let's get it over with." So she went all in, I called, and sure enough, she had the jack. But she did have a better kicker than I expected, a Queen...and that is what flipped on the turn so I was drawing dead.

I still had 3450, so it was not like I was short stack. Next hand I limped, Dee limped, the second-to-shortest stack went all-in. I had Q/J and decided it would be funny to call so I did. Flop gave us 2 diamonds. Check, check. Turn was a Jack and Dee bet it all-in, only this time she had me covered. I instantly put her on the Jack as I have seen her do it before, and also figured I had a better kicker. So I decided to think about it. I still had about 2200 if I folded. I verbally counted my outs.

I had 9 minus two for the diamond flush...7 outs. 46 cards to come, 7 outs...about 6.5-1...except then I realized 2 things;
1) there was already about 3800 in the side pot. So I would be calling 2200 to make 8200. Not near the 6.5-1 I needed...IF I WERE BEHIND.
2) I was probably ahead. Yes, Dee had the Jack...but I was pretty sure my Queen had her outkicked. Which meant her outs were either 3 (if she was not diamond suited) or 12 (if she were diamond suited)...so I was probably actually either a 15.33-1 favorite (if she had 3 outs) or 3.83-1 if she was on the diamond draw. Either way, I knew I was the favorite.

Of course, I did not bother to figure up the odds on her winning, just as I did not bother figuring out the pot odds. I did the outs counting, knew she had the Jack, knew I was ahead...and checked the time. It was 7:30. Traffic should have died down, I was ready to go, the game was boring, and THAT is how I decided to call. Forget the pot odds, forget the outs...if I won I had chips, if I lost I had no traffic.

And sure enough, she had the J/6 of diamonds.

Now, remember, the previous hand, my Aces got cracked by Q/J. This hand, I had the Q/J...a hand I normally won't play against an all-in raise.

I deserved to see that diamond roll off on the river. I cannot argue I was not on tilt, I cannot argue I did not play the last hand poorly, and I cannot argue that I cared about going from a dominating chip lead to out in two hands.

But here is the real irony...traffic sucked. Getting off I-5 onto the Banfield was BRUTAL. My evil plan for world domination was foiled once again by import drivers...(there were about 4 Washington, a California, and 2 (two) North Carolina plated cars jockeying with each other for position and slowing everybody to a crawl.)

On on the whole, I am pleased. As usual, whenever I want to I can build a chip lead at that venue. Then it depends on how into the game I am and how Roman is running whether I finish or not. I suspect you will seldom see me win there, largely because I don't care. I just want to see a few hands, get off a few jokes, hang out with Roman for a bit, and let traffic die down. So I will have a lot of blow-ups like this. I will build a chip lead just about every time, of that I am confident. And I am just as confident I will give it all away real, real fast.


A quite Vincible Smurf

only 8 players. As John and I had discussed last week, last week I just got no hands at all and it was as un-action oriented as he had seen me. This week what would happen?

Early on, more of the same. Fold, fold, fold. Picked up A.Q. Raised. Couple callers...but I only saw one of them. That would hurt. Flop comes out A/Q/9. I raise. Bill folds. I thought he was the only one in the hand and show mine...so Christine folded. She would have called. Cost myself some chips.

Couple hands later picked up the Rockets. Raised. Couple callers. Flop was ragged, more raising, they all called right down to the river, picked up a nice pot.

Then...nothing. Went cold. Fold, fold, fold.

Blinds are up. Fold, fold, fold.

Picked up A/Q. Raised. 4 callers. Flop was 8/9/8. Checked to me, raised, 3 callers. Checked the turn, heavy betting at the river, I folded on a 9 high board. Sure enough, Todd stayed with K/8....and lost to Chris and her A/8.

Folded for a while. Picked up A/Q in late position. Raised. Three callers. Hit the Queen on a Queen high ragged flop. Raised. Someone came over the top, the other 2 called, I folded. River was a King and someone won with K/8. Again my raise was called...and beat...by a garbage hand.

Fold, fold, fold.

Down to about 1800, blinds up.

Fold, fold, fold.

I did not want to be folding but Todd was raising regularly and I was getting hands I could not call even a bluffers raise with...q/4 (would have tripped the 4s), 6/10 (would have flopped a straight), 3/6 (would have rivered a 6 high straight), K/6 suited, just trash hand after trash hand and after taking those two whuppings when I got in with far and away the best hand but got crushed by trash, I could not play anything except good hands or bad hands with good position...and with the raises and callers, those were not happening.

Finally I went all-in for my last about 12 or 1300 with A/Q. I would not mind a caller. I got 3. And then 2 of them went all in. Christine ended up winning with 2 pair...K/8 were her hole cards.

Three times tonight my A/Q was beaten by K/8. Grr.

The sad thing is...I played really well. I had good reads on people, I played the correct hands, I played them correctly...and it did not matter. Trash hands sometimes win and this was one of those nights. I ended up 5th or 6th, but to be honest, on a night I thought I should have won, does one place that ain't first really matter? I am going to argue no.

Or maybe I am wrong. Maybe I am just a horrible player who deserves to get beat. I don't really believe that...I pretty much have a good idea of the range of hands people are holding, I get away from hands where I am beat, I do the "correct' things to drive out sub-par holdings...but if people stay in with that, though they are mathematically incorrect to do so, they still are going to hit x% of the time...and sometimes those percentages work against me. And, in truth, with 3 and 4 callers, A/Q is an overall underdog even if it was individually a favorite against any calling hand. So the odds were not even in my favor and statistiacally, my A/Q did about right for the night.

With no cards...

Just 7 other people. I wasn't going to play but thought eh, might be my last game for a while, might as well. Of the 7 there were 2 new players, both older gentlemen playing an older style of poker. It was a fairly passive group, however. Verne to my left did not raise pre-flop even once all night, Bill Rickman will occasionally raise, but not often, Barbara never raises, Gary Todd will, but if he does you know he has Aces so his raises are seldom indeed, Al raised once all night...with Aces...and John very seldom raises.

I limped once, then was folding, folding, folding. Got into a hand from big blind with J/9 spades. Flop came 10 Spades, 9 Hearts, 8 Spades. I had middle pair, open ended straight flush draw. I raised. Everyone called. Turn was a 5 diamonds. Checked around. River was a King. I checked, Verne bet, Barbara called, I folded. Barbara had a straight.

More folding. Got down a ways to about 2600 or so. Raised three times the blinds with pocket jacks. 4 callers. Flop was bad for me with a King and Queen on it. Everyone checked, I raised. They all called. Turn was an Ace. Checked around. River was a 10...yay, I made the Ace high straight. Quick check...nope, no flush possibilities. I raised. And Al came over the top to put me all in. With the nut straight, of course I called...and he had a King Jack. Split pot.

Fold, fold, pocket jacks. Raise it. Only Barbara calls. Flop comes ragged, King high. I raise, she calls. Check to the river, she hit runner runner to hit a straight...

From there on it was look for an all in hand. And I was totally card dead. Nothing. Garbage. Rot. Finally, having blinded down to just 600, Al raised, caller or two by the time it got to me, figured I was getting 4-1 on my chips with a J/9, decent drawing hand, I called all-in. Flop was ragged and low. Al bet big. Bill came over the top all in. I figured I was finished. Nope, just bad poker. Bill did that with nothing. He had A/10. No flush draw, just two big cards against someone who raised pre-flop and, with someone all-in, showed strength post-flop. Now I had 2 live cards. Neither hit and I ended the night having "won" 1 hand...the split pot.

The only two decent hands I got were the fishhooks, and both times they were cracked by K/J. That hurt.

Worst thing is, there was no such thing as bluffing anyone off a pot since virtually every one was contested at the river, including some crazy ones.

Case in point; Bill and Al raised and re-raised each other on the flop, turn, and river. And on a flush and straight heavy board, Bill showed his pair of threes he had raised 2000 on the river, and Al showed the pair of 2s he had called that river bet with. So if they will raise and call like that with nothing...well, you ain't getting them off a pot with a mere 1600 chips (what I was left with after the second Jacks hand) or less. So I had to have cards and just never got them.

It made me sad. Last night should have been John v Drew finals round 2. Sometimes you just can't catch anything or do a thing. I ended the night without a clean win.