By the time I arrived at R’s house tonight, the cash game had already started, much earlier than usual. Many of the usual suspects were there and a couple players already had sizable stacks: one in front of a gentleman with whom I had never played, and the other was Becky’s.
Becky is a good, solid player, as is her husband. They sat next to each other, across the table from me. We tend to keep out of each other’s way. I had R on my immediate right for a good portion of the night, and M on my left. Santa was there, as was Phil. Santa plays a tight game but does so in a manner that makes him seem loose because he makes some outlandishly large pre-flop bets. He does so because of players like M and Phil, who will call nearly any bet size and clean him out, which is how his night ended: JJ all in for $30 against M’s AK after M had led out for $10.
AK was otherwise a loser for the night. After four limpers came in for a buck, I raised one the button to $8 with AKh and got 4 callers. However, immediately after my raise, the table chatter became all about my hand. “Oooooo, bastin raised! He must have a big hand! I’m betting he has a big pair.” And still I got the callers. The flop was 10 5 2 rainbow and the first two callers checked. The next bet $5. I had not played this kid before, and when he arrived late, shortly before this hand, there was some talk about him having a somewhat loose style of play. He originally bought in for $30, which I duly noted, as most players usually buy in for at least $40. The other guy I had not played before called his $5.
I was a little suspicious of the small bet, but something told me that this kid didn’t have much of a hand, and the smooth call from the other guy told me he might have something along the lines of A3s or A4s. With all of the chat about what I could possibly be holding…no, probably holding, which was a big pair, I raised $20, hoping to take it down there. The kid re-raised for his last $5, the other guy folded, and I called, hoping for my overs to hit. The kid had 8 10 off, and I didn’t improve.
Initially, I was a bit steamed but said, “Nice hand” and set to work replaying the hand, thinking about what I would be looking for next time I was in a hand with him. Unfortunately, that opportunity never arose, even though I got to watch his stack disappear over the next hour. He left down $30. Yeah, maybe he does play a little wacky. Come back anytime, son.
R wasn’t playing many hands, and when he did come in for a raise, it was always $6. He did this twice from early position, and the first time I had pocket 9s. Assuming there would be others calling as well, I primed the pump and called. It ended up HU, and with a J on the flop and a K on the turn, I let my hand go. The next time he raised from UTG, I had AQs and called. The flop came Ks, 8s, 4h. R bet another $6 and I called. The turn was the 4s, R bet another $6 and I called. I wasn’t too worried about pocket Kings. The river was a blank, R bet another $6 and I raised to $12. I apparently had him stumped as he mutters, “You didn’t chase the flush did you?” He calls, I turn over the nut flush and ask, “Chase?” I’m about even again.
R is prone to lengthy, albeit quiet steams. It took him a good hour to talk to me again. In the meantime, I hit a baby flush and kept the pot small. I play A8off from UTG+1 and hit an 8 (all fold). I manage to walk out with about $15 more than I put down. I’ll take it.
I have written about this particular home game many times in the past, as I have been playing with these guys for a couple years. I have come to realize a few things. A few of them can’t read the board or a bet size for shit, an equal number have no concept of expressed or implied odds, and, in that I play considerably fewer hands than most of them, they assume I only play big pocket pairs. Add to that the fact that none of them see a need to read about poker strategy. The advantage they have over me is that they will call with anything remotely connected; yet,so far, not much has come from such a tactic. I am way up on this home game as I can remember only three times I have come home with a little less than I went with.
These are the hard facts of this bi-weekly game. It is profitable enough that wish it were a weekly game. Yet, as I suspect it is with other home games, these folks don’t get together just to take each other’s money. We have a tremendous amount of fun, and there is a real camaraderie that I have been allowed to share. I can see it in their eyes. I hope they see it in mine.