Saturday, August 2, 2008

Among Friends

Last night was Home Game Night. I manage to hit this game about once a month. Anywhere from 12 to 18 people show up on the first and third Fridays of the month for a tourney, and after folks start busting out, a .50/1.00 cash game.

The tourney is $20 with a $15 rebuy/add-on, and a $5 kill chip. 3,000 to start and the blinds move at a fairly good clip. By the time the blinds are 400/800, blood starts to flow. I have never made the money in this tournament, and never even come close. A lot of these guys play in pub tourneys four or five nights a week or hit the casino a couple times a week, and a good number of them have been playing each other for years and years. I really don’t stand a chance. We all know that I’m dead money in the tourney, and this is why I have taken to coming late, in time for the cash game. I rarely leave the cash game down.

Last night I made it just as far as I usually make it when I play the tourney, to that 400/800 level. I had a decent stack, about 10K, as I had hit some big hands early on and we had just added on. I didn’t raise enough on the button with my AQ to get an early limper off of his KJs (he went into the tank preflop) and he hit a J on the flop. I had to see the turn and then folded. Crippled, I went all in from the BB with K9h when the Button raised. He had KJ and it held.

The cash game started out well. I won a couple small pots right away. A guy I hadn’t played before raises 3 X BB from early position and I called from the CO with AQ. Hit a Q on the flop and led out. Called. Turn was a blank and got it all in the middle. I had him covered. He shows JJ. 2-outer on the river. This is the way my game has been going the last few days, getting AA cracked left and right, falling for an early limp with AA against my KK. I could feel myself listing and taking on a little water. I managed to mutter a “nice hand” and then worked to re-establish buoyancy. I still had about $20 of my original $50, fought my way back to nearly even with a straight and called it an early night.

I like playing cash with these guys, and there are a couple regular fish/calling stations that make the game profitable. The group itself is really cordial, and, as one might expect with a bunch of folks who know each other well, the jokes and taunts fly. F is the brunt of many of the jabs. F is a good, aggressive player. He had the KJs and eventually took 2nd in the tourney. The standing joke about F is that he has no friends. The thing is, he’s a pretty likable fellow, quite congenial. The joke last night was “Do you know how F gets his girlfriend drunk?” The jokester then pours a little beer into his right palm.

M told the joke. An interesting guy. He likes to be in a lot of hands and will call with nearly anything. He called my AK raise with 10 6 off and hit a 10. The only way to get him out early is to make it way too expensive, which doesn’t make for building a pot, but he also is one lucky SOB. I play 20%, he plays 75%. He has high variance but doesn’t seem to care.

M has lost a little weight in the last couple months. He had to as he had a heart attack. I attended a home game with him just 4 days after the infarction. I was hanging around outside, waiting for the game to start when M pulled up in the drive. We exchanged greetings, and then M told me about his trip to the hospital and all that occurred. He seemed fine but I could tell that he had faced his mortality and it had shook him up. The game had started and he still wanted to talk. He wrapped it up by telling me how another home-gamer, P, and his wife, J, had come to the hospital to see him home.

That night, M was the target of jokes, all centered around his heart attack. “Let M win the pot,. We don’t want him to die on us here at the table.” Stuff like that. Even P was getting in on the act. I was somewhat appalled. I had felt like M had more or less sought me out (the somewhat quiet, sensitive guy) in order to talk through what had happened. The group was laughing in the face of Death. Well, that’s guys for you.

Speaking of death, last night I wore my “Dead Guy” ball cap. It’s a black cap, and the words are spelled out in bones. The cap promotes Dead Guy Ale from the Rogue Brewing Company and it is a damn fine beer. It’s become my poker hat, signifying a little “dead money” subterfuge. I just now wondered if M might have been bothered by it, yet thinking back on the evening, I think he got a kick out of it.

I was hanging around outside waiting for the cash game to start and, after busting out himself, M came outside to smoke his cigar.


PAPro_SandMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PAPro_SandMan said...

To tell the truth, were I there, I'd probably be the most vocal of the jokers... Taking something lightly even - no, especially - at the heaviest of times is a completely natural defense mechanism. They were joking because they like to give each other a hard time, sure, but also because the topic scares them and they make light to avoid being stressed about it.

To my mind, humor is the best of things. If I hadn't found a way to laugh at just about anything, I wouldn't be here today...