R called to remind me that tonight was poker night. I hadn’t forgotten, yet I was a little ambivalent about going. I’m feeling a bit of pressure with all of the work I see coming down the pike from my client, and getting ready for the meeting with the gallerist Monday. Still, I enjoy this group of players so much that I decided to go. I was glad I did.
By the time I arrived, R was out of the tourney and so was M. M and I stood outside and chatted while he smoked a cigar and we waited for a fourth. As the tourney was already past the add-on, we didn’t have to wait long. S and P were soon felted and we fired up a cash table.
M was to my left, which I wasn’t too crazy about. He’s pretty loose and I’d prefer to act after him. Shortly after we started, the tourney ended and I had F to my right. Both guys will play nearly any two cards that are paint, suited or connected… connected being a loose term. For that matter, so will P. We ended up with eight players, the remainder playing pretty standard poker (myself included).
We played .05/1.00, as usual, and I bought in for $50. Most everyone else bought for $40. I figured this was my roll for the night, even though I had another $100 in my pocket. I knew I might need it, for even though these guys buy in for $40, after another beer or two, they start pulling out twenties, ready to play deep stack poker.
Because M, P and F play a loose style, the deep stack play favors them, yet they actually have a hard tie adjusting to my tight aggressive style. I find myself feeling like I overbet the pot, yet I am always amazed that I get callers. I will give you three examples:
In middle position I pick up AQo and limp with several other players. The flop brings a Q and I make a 3/4 pot-sized bet. M calls. The turn is a blank and I bet 1/2 of the pot. Again M calls. The river is a blank and I value bet 1/4 of the pot. M is perplexed. He asks aloud, “What could he have?” and after thinking about it for a while, he calls. He has Q 10.
The game goes on for quite some time before I am in another hand. In the meantime, I have folded some monster draws preflop, that had I played as the usual suspect do, I would have cleaned up. Yet, we all know that this is a form of “stinkin’ thinkin’” and after a few unsuccessful attempts, and a loss of 2/3 of what I had gotten from M, I pulled myself back into TA. I folded for an eternity, except for when I had 6s in the hole and called a small raise. Nothing.
Back to folding until I had Qs in the BB. M, UTG, raises to $4 and has 3 callers before it gets around to me. I have a decision to make: smooth call and hope for a set, or bump it up. I put in a $20. M calls, S folds, P calls and F folds. The flop comes with a Q and I jam with my last $40. M & P fold. M shows me KJh and asks to run them. Two fives. S says he folded pocket fives. (The only reason I mention S in this hand because of a bad beat he put on me the last time I played with him ten months ago. I had 10s on the button and raised. He called after a limp. The flop came J 2 10. He bet and I smooth called. The turn was another J. He bet and I called again. The river was another 2.)
The very next hand I pick up Aces in the SB. Everyone, all six players besides me and the BB limp. I raise it to $10 and everyone folds. “Nines?” M asks. This is the flaw in their game, at least as far as I see it. This is not the first time I’ve played this way, obviously, yet they refuse to give me credit for big pocket pairs in these situations.
Now, I realize that I cannot continue along this same trajectory, for these guys are not dumb and will soon figure out a way to play against me, or not give me any action at all. I have to work on a way to play a little more loosely in certain situations in order to pull down the types of pots that say, P does. I doubled up for the night, so I won’t complain; yet at the same time P and F, especially P, tore it up with some serious coolers. They are playing deep-stack.
Some longer-term readers will remember that R has a new girlfriend and there was talk from the get-go that she might be moving in. Well, the time has come, evidenced by a non-minimalistic bathroom. Was our game in jeopardy, as I had feared? G, the gf was in Portland for the evening with friends, so tonight’s game was safe. And what was this talk of her learning the game, perhaps our game’s salvation? Supposedly, yes. Maybe we will not be banished to the barn quite yet.
R’s phone rings around midnight and it is G. She is on her way home. Now, mind you, R has been dozing between hands for the last hour and this has phased no one. I’m up $50 at this point and I get to thinking that this is good enough for the evening. M has busted out and gone home, S has done likewise, so I say, “I’m going to call it night soon.”
R, even though he has been threatening to go all-in and go to bed for 30 minutes (and doubling up with his pittance) asks why and I say, “Because my mother raised me right.” Others take the hint and a few orbits later, it’s over.
Truth be told, I’m not so crazy about playing a home game into the wee hours. One or two o’clock in the morning and I’m ready to go home, kiss my dear wife on the cheek as she sleeps, pour a scotch to unwind, head down to my hole that is the basement, and recap.