I’m down in Florida this week visiting my parents, and of course I’m playing tons of poker. The game is a little different down here, but there’s not much choice seeing as how that’s all that’s available. The only Hold’Em games offered in South Florida are No Limit tournaments (both multi-table and sit n’ go’s) and limit game of 1-2, 2-2 or 2-2 with a $2 ante. The low limit games are nicknamed ‘Bingo’ by the locals because it’s impossible to get anybody out of the pot. The game makes for a relaxing past-time because you can’t win or lose much and you get to play a lot of pots. I like to use the opportunity to hone my poker skills by trying to read players and their hands as much as possible. In the past 6 days, I’ve played about 17 hours of poker and I’m up about $240, which is pretty decent, but that’s a single hand at Salami. Still, I’m having fun and improving my play. The best part about the game is that since everyone predictably stays in for their draws, usually correctly, it’s easy to know when your hand is good. AND, the donkey players down here will call you down, or even raise you, when it’s obvious to any skilled player that they’re beat. Case in point, I have Jc5c in late position and I limp along with about 9 other players. The flop brings two clubs and someone bets out. I raise with my high club draw and everyone calls. The turn is a club. Here’s where it gets fun. The same person bets out and I raise, making it obvious I have the flush since I’m not scared of the third club. I even tell people I have it since I don’t want a 4th club to come and kill my hand. EVERYONE calls anyway! There is now a monster pot. The river is a blank but it puts a straight on the board for anyone who has a 6. An old woman who has been limping the whole way LEADS OUT THE BETTING!!! I raise, everyone else folds and she re-raises. Normally I’d put her on a slow-played nut flush but I’ve seen her do this on other hands when she has bottom pair or low two pair. So I raise, she re-raises and I cap it. She calls and shows the 6 for the straight. I almost, emphasis on the almost, feel sorry raking in her money. Another example, I have AA under the gun and raise. Everyone calls, of course, and I get an A on the flop. I bet, everyone calls and another A comes on the turn. I bet out, most people call and the river is insignificant to me. I bet out and everyone calls. The best hand is Aces and Kings with an 8 kicker. My quads crushes them of course. There wasn’t even a flush draw on board. Why are they calling with two Aces on board into a raiser?!?
Anyhow, I didn’t play a tournament all weekend until tonight. The tourney is a $65 buyin with a $5 addon to give you and extra 500 chips. You get $2500 total with the $5 and the blinds are 20 minutes long and start at 25/50, so it’s a good schedule. I play super tight and double up in the first blind level when my QQ survives against AK. In fact, I only play 7 hands in the first 90 minutes and win every one. Unfortunately, only two are for big pots and I’m not exactly swimming in chips. At the first break, I have about 6000 in chips and the average stack is 8500 with 85 players left out of an initial 185. Oh, I forgot to mention one other notable thing. Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi’s mother is playing at my table. The Mizrachi’s come from Hollywood, Florida (Look it up!) and the dealer knew her so her identity is unquestioned. She was a super nice woman and we asked her about her sons (they’re doing great!). She was also the second chip leader at the table and she was aggressive with her big hands. She had one tell though, where she would turn around to see what the big blind was and then bet exactly three times that amount. I knew she only had top pair with a weak kicker when she did that but I never had enough to call her with. Finally my patience paid off. I got TT in middle position. Mrs. Mizrachi, with blinds at 300/600, makes it 3000 to go under the gun. She comments that she had meant to make it 2000 (there’s that 3X the BB again!) and I had to make a decision. I only had 4900 and I was going to hit the blinds in a few hands. I figured it was now or never. If she has me dominated so be it, otherwise it’s going to be a race. I move all in and she calls with AK. Ok, it’s a race. She says, “nice hand”, but I haven’t won yet, of course. Someone comments that they folded a King but I’m waiting to see the flop. The flop is a dream. QQT, rainbow. I flopped a boat! I pump my fist and wait to see the last two cards but I have no fear. The turn is an Ace, but I’m still not frightened. Until the river comes, that is. It’s a Queen! Ouch. She counterfeits my boat with runner, runner and makes Queens full of Aces to my Queens full of Tens. She is very gracious about it and the table groans at the bad beat. Just to give you an idea of how bad, Card Player’s odds calculator gives me a 98.08% chance to win after the flop. Yeesh. I wasn’t upset though. I had played as good as I could and just got a bad break. I went to the cash tables and won back by tournament buyin plus $6. Woohoo!
So I’m up a bit for the week and I had a good time. What more can I want?