Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Poker club outings

Wendy called me this weekend and convinced me to go over to a poker room on Houston Street to play in a tournament. I had been to this room before with my friend Jeremy, but they had never offered tourneys before. This one was a decent format. $50 + $10 gets you 2000 chips with 15 minute blind levels, much like us. Unlike us, there are rebuys allowed for the first 30 minutes. This leads to some pretty flaky play in the first 2 levels. The first night I went with Wendy, there were 16 players for two tables and three payouts. I couldn't get a thing going and finally dropped out in about 10th position. I had the two big stacks of the tourney to my right and left and they were going at it for the first 30 minutes like they didn't care about money. Both of them bought in at least twice and they hit some monster draws. I, on the other hand, couldn't get anything to challenge them with. Wendy made it to the final table, but busted out on the bubble unfortunately. I like this room because it's very small (3 tables) and they serve really amazing cappucino for nothing. Plus, the cook will make you pasta for $5 and omelletes for nothing. In addition, Wendy can practice her Italian with them so it's all good.

The next night, we did the same thing, this time with Matt in tow. I played pretty well but got crippled when my pocket 3's ran into pocket Jacks as I was trying to double up. Wouldn't you know it, but a Jack came on the flop to boot?!? My awful run of cards continues. I went into the cash game afterwards, with Matt following shortly. Wendy, who had dragged a huge pot earlier with KK, made it all the way into the money! She is now 2 for 3 in those tourneys, so you know she'll be back!

The cash game is incredibly wild there. If you have the stomach for it (I don't), you can make a fortune very quickly. Play started very conservatively, just like in AC with pre-flop raises at around $12. But that changed in 10 minutes flat when the guy to my right called a $200 bet with a flush draw and missed! I saw him do that three other times, all of them with Ten or Jack high flush draws that missed. He was down over $800 in the hour that I sat at the table. When Matt busted out of the tourney and joined me at the cash game, I was frankly afraid for him. I was up about $50 when Mr. Loosey-Goosey to my right paid me off on yet another missed flush draw, but Matt was liable to get clobbered here, and quickly. He bought in for $100 and lost it in about 15 minutes. But then he bought in for another $100 and cashed out 40 minutes later with $1,022!! It was all on two incredible hands. In the first hand, Matt had J8 offsuit (which he loves), in early position. He called two pre-flop raises to $65 total and there were 3 other players in the hand. The flop was 7c8d9c. Matt checked and the 4th seat checked. The 6th seat bets $250 (!) and the 8th seat (Me. Loosey-Goosey) goes all in for $620. Matt calls (!!!!) and the 4th seat folds. The 6th seat calls for the rest of his chips and the next two cards are run. They're two blanks with no clubs. When everyone shows their cards, the other two players have busted flush draws and no pairs! I tell Matt he wins if he has a pair and he says he doesn't. He almost throws his hand away when I point out that his pair of 8's wins! He was looking for the inside straight draw the whole way but ran into some ridiculous fortune of being in the right place at the right time.

That pot was over $500 but The Slayer wasn't finished. I whispered to him that he should get up and leave but he carved out his profit, set it on the table, and insisted he wouldn't go into the other chips. Which is why I was so bothered by what happened next. Matt, in the small blind called a raise to $40. There were two other callers in and the flop came Ah2d4h. Matt checked, the 5th seat checked and the 6th seat, who had raised initially, bet $60. Matt called and the 5th seat folded. Matt had used up nearly all his profit on this hand. He lifted his cards to check them again and I saw two red cards, so I assumed he was on a flush draw. A black 8 came on the turn and Matt checked again. The 6th seat bet $200 and Matt called! I buried my head in my hands and asked the person sitting next to me to tell me when it was all over. The river was a black 6 and Matt checked. The 6th seat checked as well and turned over A8 for top two pair. Matt turned over 3h5h. He WAS on a flush draw but had flopped the wheel straight for the monster win! Other than his check on the river (and the questionable call on the pre-flop raise in early position), he had played it perfectly. It must be nice to flop the nuts. I hope someone can tell me how it feels! :-)

I decided the best thing would be to force Matt to leave so I declared that the next hand would be our last and Matt left with a ridiculous profit taken from a bunch of sharks. Those guys HATE it when you hit it and quit it like that but such is life. The amazing thing is how much those guys bet with marginal drawing hands. If I had an unlimited bankroll, and the fortitude to withstand $40-60 pre-flop raises, I could practically mint money there.

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