Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Privacy of Home Game

R has pretty much quit holding his home game since he announced that he was getting married. “We do other things” was his answer when I asked if he was still playing. This from a guy who played four or five nights a week and talked of retiring to tool around from casino to casino in his motor home before hooking up. The Nit Express. Yet, he married a good woman, so bless them both. Still, I half expected him to show up at Mike’s game last night.

Mike has been texting me for months about his Friday night games, yet I never seem to have the wherewithal to hit the game, until tonight. “Men only. No women. No drama.” Mike lives with his elderly mother. I arrived about a half hour after the game started, and already there were seven people at the table, five of whom I know, and others were on their way.

R is known as a very tight player, and I’d say I give a similar impression. At .50/1.00 and limited to a $50 buy-in, Mike’s is a very loose game, and  while I will occasionally limp with connectors, leading out with anything less than 10 BBs is asking for four callers. I took this into consideration when early on I was dealt queens UTG. I limped. Of course the guy to my left (unknown to me) limped as well. The next player, Stephen, raised it to $4 and immediately got 3 callers. I re-raised the pot and took it down right there. And then I went card dead, or otherwise missed draws until I was down 20 BBs. I topped my stack off.

I studied the two people I had never played before, and eventually figured out one was a calling station with the capability of buying in again and again; the other, a loud, red-faced guy, played very straight-forward poker and wasn’t afraid to put it all in, as I found out when I re-raised with bottom two pair. Easy fold. Another guy, Roy, I had played with once before: loose pre-flop, and a fan of suited connectors. He didn’t have the best board reading skills in the world, which helped later in the game.

As I have played with a number of these guys for three or more years, they know my story, and Steve (as opposed to Stephen) inquired as to my health and activities. All good, I assured him, and told him that I had gone back to writing while waiting to unload the farm. Without going into the work that generates income, I mentioned that I was writing art reviews for a couple sites in Portland.

Mike: I bet I could write about art.

Me: And I reckon I could drive an eighteen-wheeler. (Mike is a truck driver by trade.)

Roy: But can you back one up?

Me: Exactly my point.

Roy then explains that his son is an artist attending school in California. The son started out as a painter, very meticulous (his word), but had moved over to photography. Knowing many photogs who have that personality trait, I assured him that it sounded like a good choice. And as I have done a fair amount of research on the faculties of art programs in California, told him that his son was most likely receiving excellent instruction from prominent artists. This seemed to lessen the furrow in his brow.

Now I must digress before moving forward.

Not long after I arrived, a troupe of four young guns arrived, and while they were not turned away, as most of us knew the guy who brought the rest, there was a collective, if muted sigh of disappointment, for Jimmy is a crazy, unpredictable player who never shuts up. It is only the last part of that characterization that poses a problem for the old timers, and which only bothered me because the straight player I mentioned earlier is so loud and has such a irritating laugh that I found myself having to cover my ear closest to his mouth. The young’uns were seated at another table and the rest of us drew high cards for the move. I stayed put.

The other table was playing a lot of Omaha Hi-Lo, and the two regulars who moved to that table found themselves busted enough times to make them leave, and when we lost a couple, the tables combined. And soon thereafter, Fred arrived. Fred is affectionately known as Fuck You Fred, primarily because he likes to splash around and frequently delivers the cooler. The players who did not know Fred found the nickname amusing, and once they had a little taste of his style, joined in with the name calling. Fred responded with mentioning that he had often been the subject of my blog because of his play. Roy quickly picked up on this little bit of information.

“Can you write down the address of your blog?”

“No.” and realizing that I may have come across as too abrupt, added,  “Sorry, the blog is kinda private.”

Well, I just wanted to give it to my son so he could send you some of his art for you to comment on it.”

“I can give you my art website, but not the blog.” I told him my art site’s address. “He can contact me through it. Yet, I might mention that your son could find it awkward to make such a contact. There is a bit of a protocol with such things.”  He had mentioned a bit earlier that his son was “the strange one” of his children, and while I felt the guy was proud of his son’s talent, he may have some questions about the boy’s way of seeing the world. I did not want to add to the latter should the son be reluctant.

Now, back to poker.

The young players brought their Omaha game to our table. It was clear that Roy and the guy to my left had never played the game. This is how it went: limped near-family pots that quickly grew after the flop. I was able to come in with 3347 in the BB and flopped quad threes. I checked, Roy bet, the SB called, as did I. When the turn made no low possible, I put out a 1/3 pot-sized bet, which both players called. The river straightend the rest of the board, and again I led out, this time with 1/2 pot bet. Roy called and the SB folded. I made a pretty penny,

The very next hand I called with my .50, again with pocket 3s, an A and 10, this time calling a $4 bet from middle position. With all of the callers, the odds seemed to be there. I flopped a set of threes, but the 3 was accompanied by 45. At best, I would be splitting this one, so I checked, as did everyone else. When another 4 came, I made a 1/3 pot-sized bet. Again, Roy and the guy to my right called. The river was a 7, and the SB led out with a pot-sized bet of $64. Something about the bet made me know my underfull was now no good. Roy was not convinced and lost to sevens full and the nut low of A277.

I was now down $4. It was midnight and time to go.

As is my usual practice, I began writing this post in my head on the drive home, recalling the significant hands as best as possible and trying to remember the more hilarious moments. Yet it was Roy’s questions and interest that kept creeping to the forefront. In the three or more years I’ve been playing with the majority of these guys, no one has ever asked me about the art side of my life. Not that I’m surprised at the lack of interest.

There are several lacquered and framed jigsaw puzzles hanging on the walls at Mike’s house.

“Your mom do jigsaw puzzles?” I ask.

In almost a sneer except for the embarrassment behind it, Mike replied, “Yeah.”


Memphis MOJO said...

What's the secret of winning in a loose game like this? Do you have to drop your standards (for calling preflop) or do you stay pretty tight?

bastinptc said...

Mojo - As a rule, I play fairly tight, yet try to mix it up some when in position. My image at the table over the years has been as a 10% player, which may be to my advantage, because I certainly am not as nitty as that.

Several of these guys drink pretty heavily while playing, and they like to gamble with T7 off, 34s, so one has to play with that knowledge in mind.

Winning? I think I'm ahead in all of the time I've played with them, but I can't say I'm way ahead.