Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The home game blues

So John, the guy who posted that Craigslist posting about Amit the cheater, invited me to his home game for last night. I ended up going, along with Matt Slavin, and it was an interesting experience. The apartment was located near the big white Verizon building in this dingy and hot three floor walkup near Chinatown, on the east side. We went up there and the game is in a little rec room (emphasis on little) even though the living room is much larger. I think it's because there is an air conditioner in this little room, not that it worked very well. There were 9 people cramped around one of those little octagon table top setups you see so many of, playing a very fast and very loose No Limit cash game, with blinds at .50/.50.

I asked John what the max buyin was and he said that they didn't cap the max buyin. This made me a little wary, at first, but I understood as soon as I started playing the game. The action was insane! People were calling all the way down with middle pairs, raising post-flop with Ace high and chasing inside straight draws. The blinds were really irrelevant because the standard pot was approx. $50. I really like these sorts of fast and loose games because, over the long run, they do wonders to my P/L. All I have to do is wait for a good hand, raise the pot, flop something good and take it on home. Rinse and Repeat. As long as I don't waste money chasing, I can keep my winnings and walk home with serious cash. Unfortunately, I got a bad run of cards last night. I had exactly three playable hands for my entire two hour session. The first, an AKo in early position, saw me raise the pot to 6, get 4 callers, and three rags hit the board. When I checked, someone bet 20 and I had to fold. The second, an AcTc in early position, saw me raise the pot again and get a few callers. The flop came AJrag and the guy to my right went all in for $8.50. I had $29.50 in front of me and I wanted to isolate the two of us so I reraised all in. The guy to my left decided that his AJ was good enough to go all in with himself (whoopsie) and I lost my initial $40 buyin. No big whoop. I reloaded for another $40 but these cards were even worse than the first group. I didn't get anything playable, except a JcTc that didn't flop anything, and I was down to my last $15 when I was able to limp into the big blind with Qc8d. The flop came Q52 and I tried to take the pot down. Top pair, at this table, is a pretty good hand and I thought I would have some success with it so I moved all in. Matt called me with A2 and hit an A on the river. Oh well. It was a fun 2 hours. I dealt for the table for another 30 minutes and then called it a night.

Matt, on the other hand, stuck around. He had bought in for an initial $40 and then turned it into $250 before I could blink an eye. This game was perfectly suited to his playing style. At first, they believed his big bluffs (if they were bluffs), where he would bet 3X the pot on occassion. Then, they started playing back at him and he sometimes took the pot down with monster hands (including AA which stood up) and other times made incredible draws. One drawing hand, in particular, sticks out in my mind as representative. Matt has JJ and raised a small amount preflop, getting many callers. The flop came 995 and Matt bet out, getting raised by another player. Matt reraises. The other player moves all in and Matt calls. The other players shows down Q9 (duh) but a J spikes on the river and he takes down a big pot with Jacks full. This pattern would repeat many times. However, in true Slavin the Slayer fashion, he had trouble holding onto his winnings. He tried to take down a few pots with huge raises and was reraised mercilessly until he folded. When I say huge raises, imagine there is $25 in a pot and Matt goes in for $60 and gets reraised to $160. Later on, he was taken down to the felt by an older gentlemen who, I believe, had top pair to Matt's middle pair. That pot was easily over $100. Matt reloaded for another $30 and doubled up on his first hand. When I finally left, he had about $90 in front of him. When I hear more about how he finished up, I'll post it here.

As I left, I pondered the story of Amit and have come to the conclusion that Amit was not cheating. I know that they all are convinced that he was cheating because he played really really loosely and hit big cards, but I just don't see how someone could stack a deck in such close quarters. Granted, some of these players were drunk or high or both, but they're literally on top of each other. I just can't see how it's done. Besides, these players were showing the same loose play and no one was complaining when they sucked out. And if making big bets and calls and then drawing miracle suckouts is what constitutes cheating, then Matt should be hung in the town square. All in all, I think I might try that game again. If I can get just one run of good cards, I could clean up triple what I lost last night.

UPDATE: (11:15PM - 7/2/06) - Matt was up to about $350 after I left but lost it all. One day, he'll leave when he's up! :-)

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