Sunday, February 12, 2006
Last night, Randy and I went over to my cousin's house out in the boonies (about 20 minutes south of where we live - yet, ironically, I am not in the boonies. My backyard is the edge of civilization). My cousin just learned how to play poker. His wife has played in several of our home games, and finally convinced Kevin to learn the game. The two hosted a little home game of their own last night, with Randy and I and two of their neighbors (Mike and Fran) in attendance.
We broke the ice with some pass-the-deal games for quarters, one dollar max bet. Randy bankrolled me, as I didn't have time to stop at the ATM. I tripled my money, turning $2 into $6. I'm not even sure what games we were playing, as some of the other varieties of poker are still foreign to me. I believe it was a hand of 7 card stud that won me my biggest pot of quarters.
There was an incident involving some marked cards that bears mentioning. Neighbor Mike brought to our attention that one of his cards was significantly bent. This was about 10 minutes into our play, so Randy and I were still "new" to the table. Randy said, "Yeah, I noticed that." Kevin asked what the phrase "marked card" meant, and to demonstrate, Randy told him, "I can tell you what that card is." (It was still face down in front of Mike). Kevin asked, "What is it?" Randy replied, "It's the 9 of spades." Neighbor Mike flipped up the 9s and Kevin oooh'd and ahhhh'd like it was a magic show. His wife Tracy went off to find us a new deck of cards. That little incident solidified the notion that Randy is "a professional" when it comes to cards (since he works as a dealer at a casino - though not dealing poker). It's quite amusing to me to watch people respond to Randy's job.
Once we got a new deck of cards, we brought out the poker chips to play a hold'em tournament. We started with 800 in chips, and 5/10 blinds for ten bucks a head. Here's what I knew about my opponents at that point:
Tracy: Solid player. We've taught her well :)
Kevin: Newbie, but a surprisingly quick study. Needs work on his physical tells.
Mike: Likes to play hands to the river without looking at them, betting all the way. He likes the surprise in flipping up the cards at the end to see what he's got. Gambler extraordinaire.
Fran: New to hold'em, but knew other forms of poker. Rock-ish. Stay out of the pot if she's in.
The tournament started out well for me. I put on my "versus newbies" game (which involves playing more of the Ax and Kx hands, since the newbies are often very willing to call down to the river with second and third pair and other weak holdings). It was working well for me, and my top pair was taking down some nice pots. Then, Randy and I got into a bit of trouble.
We're in a 3 way pot with Neighbor Mike. I have KTs. The flop comes KQQ. Randy bets, Mike calls, and I call. (I'm not sure anybody raised the entire night - after all, it was a "friendly game"). The turn came another Q. Randy checked, Mike checked, and I bet. Both called. Now I know Randy's got a K. But wtf does Mike have? You never could tell with this guy. The river was a blank, and when Randy checked, Mike bet out. We both had to call, and of course, Mike had the case Queen. How on earth is that possible?? Out of all the cards he could have had... there's just no way he had the case Queen. At least, that's what Randy and I were thinking as we went to showdown. That pot hurt us both.
I took Randy out of the game shortly after that hand. I was last to act, and he had raised all in with 4 callers. I had A7 of spades, and called. An Ace flopped, and that was all she wrote. Randy graciously continued to deal for us, though by the end of the night I could tell he was totally sick of dealing. Thank you muchly, dear - you are a saint :)
I continued peddling my short stack, until I made a near double-up through Kevin. I held pocket 7's and flopped a set. The board paired on the turn, which gave me a full house, seven's full of fives, and gave Kev his own set of 5's. An Ace on the river gave Kevin a full house, fives full of Aces. It was his first boat-over-boat heartbreak, but he took it well.
A little while later, Fran went out when she pushed her short stack in with Ax. Then, I took out Mike and Kevin in one hand. I had pocket Aces (my only premium hand of the night), and they held up on a scary board of 10-10-x-Q-J.
Tracy and I embarked upon familiar territory - heads up at the final table. The two of us have dueled each other before. I had about a 5:1 chip lead on her, but she made a valiant effort to dethrone me. She was making a bit of a comeback, but the cards were falling in my favor, and flops kept hitting me. I chipped away at her until my Ax flopped an Ace and won the tournament.
It was good times in the boonies, and I left with a profit. That was a nice bonus. This Wednesday, Randy and I will head out to a mid-week incarnation of the Diamond Game. Next Saturday is the semi-monthly big Diamond tournament. And, I just might end up at Trump on Monday afternoon with Ed, Jim, and Scott (of the Diamond games), who have planned their own trip up there. I think I may play limit, though, as I don't like to sit down to the 200NL game with less than $400 in my pocket (due to the unusually high blinds of 2/5), and I don't have $400 right now.
To update you all on my poker status... my tax refund will seed my B&M bankroll again. I expect it to arrive any day now, as I sent in my taxes last weekend. (I love Turbo Tax Online - highly recommended. I've been using it to do my taxes for 8 years now. http://www.turbotax.com). I had a talk with our favorite Princess a couple weeks back, and she gave me some advice that I've been mulling over on a daily basis ever since. I'm pretty sure I've come to some conclusions based on my pondering, but am not quite ready to share them with you all just yet. Soon - once I decide if in fact I've made up my mind. At any rate, I may play 3/6 limit on Monday at Trump, as I can afford a $100 buy-in, but can't really afford $400. (Rarely is a rebuy necessary at the 3/6 game).
So - you might get a Trump story out of me a bit sooner than expected, after all :)