Wednesday I received a text message from R. It read: “y. It will be FUN.” I interpreted the ‘y’ as shorthand for the word yes, and having done so, thought that perhaps he had misdialed and I received a response to someone else whom he meant to text. Still, I had to check. Y, it was meant for me, even though a substantial amount of the message did not arrive.
The “FUN” was to be found at a game tonight, not at R’s house, but in Salem. A game I had been to once before, quite some time ago. There is a preliminary cash game, a tourney, and then another cash game as players get knocked out of the tourney. Very similar to R’s game except for three things: the tourney is a $20 buy-in with unlimited $10 re-buys for the first hour (30-min. levels), it is well attended, and tonight, there would be a joker in the deck for the first hour.
I arrived with about 45 minutes left in the first cash game. The plan was to play a short stack (1/2) of $60, and if I lost that, I would still have $40 left of my bill to play the tourney. The host took my $100 bill, got me my chips and then closed the kitty. I waited a bit and then asked, “My change?”
“I gave you a hundred.”
“I asked for 60. But that’s OK, I’ll just make sure not to stack off so I can play the tourney.”
There were eight people playing. I walked into the game when one guy had just taken a sizable pot with a set of Kings. He kept pushing after that big win. People were calling and pots were sizable. It was pretty raucous. Yak yak yak, complete with detailed hand analysis, strategies laid bare. Yep. Young guns waggin’ peenies, Not that their thinking was wrong, but it was, you know.
You know something else? They don’t like quiet. They respect it, though. Top pair good and one hand under the belt. Next hand, a bit more. But wait, the game is breaking! Suddenly we’re three handed. Well, I’m not too thrilled with this prospect and prepare to quit. The host has taken $20 out of my stack already for the tourney. He says, “Last hand.” OK. I’ll play one more.
I’m in the BB with AQ off. The SB opens with a $6 bet. I’m sorry, but I’m not folding AQ three-handed. I call, and so does the Button (3 Kings guy). The flop comes with a Q and two clubs, of which I have none. The SB puts in eight bucks and I make it $24. The Button folds. The SB had $36 behind and I have him covered. The turn is a blank and I ask him how much he has left as I put that amount in front of me. He says, “I haven’t acted yet.” To which I reply. “I’m just getting it ready.” Mr. Quiet has gotten chatty. He puts it all in and I nudge my chips forward. He has K8c. River is another blank and I’m up $80. (Crubs, DCK?)
Now, I have no illusions about my tourney chops. I have no clue how to manage those chips beyond the basics. What I do have is a read. But there is wrench in the works, and that is the f’in’ Joker. When betting make no sense, figure it’s because of the joker. And I found out the hard way. Re-buy! I couldn’t wait for the first two levels to be over and decided just to wait it out. But that AQh in the BB had other ideas. I called the 6xBB bet for heads up. I had been watching her play and I had seen her make such a raise with a middle pair. I would see a flop, which granted me a Q. Was it good enough? I checked. Her bet and her vibe told me that she was afraid of that Q. I called. The turn paired the board. I bet half the pot and she called. The Q on the river shut down my action. I was now one of the bigger stacks in the game.
I purchased the add-on for $20, as did everyone else. And then went card dead. 9-4, 9-2, 10-3, etc. The guy to my left had designated himself the table captain, proud of the fact that he laid down pocket Aces on a coordinated board with a lot of action before him. Queens held up for him twice as people stacked off to him. He was golden and had a massive stack.
He had just got finished telling me about a 500-person tourney he had won once with a chip and a chair, and wondered if that made me afraid. I smiled. Why had he chosen to ask me? We know why.
Right read, wrong play. He led out with 3 x BB from UTG. It was the same amount he had bet with his Queens. I wasn’t buying it from the BB with A7d and called. The flop came black 789. I checked and he bet the pot. I just knew he didn’t have it and started counting out a raise. The guy did a lot of talking and I figured I’d hear from The Master. “Sir. I like you, and I’ll tell you right now that you had better go all in or fold.” He was bluffing, I just knew it. I doubled his bet. A Jack on the turn brought ahhhs from the table. Yeah, not a good card. I was committed and tossed my 1/3 of the pot I had left in. He called and showed Q10h. He hit his straight.
How could I have played this hand differently? Tourney guys? 3-bet him pre-flop? Fold pre-flop? (I had about 25 BBs) Jam the flop? I actually figured him for AQ or AK, JJ or 10s, not something like Q10. What say you?
On the bright side, I came home with more money that I left with. I just wish there were more home cash games.