Friday, November 23, 2007

Smells like bacon

I visited the CrackHouse Wed. night for some .50/1 NL action. Dawn sets a nice table even if it can be a little haphazard at times. I forgive her, being gimpy and all. I mean, really, did you SEE her foot? (Not for the faint of heart).
I got home from work relatively early because it was a shortish day before Thanksgiving. I laid down on my couch for a short nap at 5:15 and didn’t get up until 3 hours later, and then only because I was woken by a phone call. I was in a woozy state because of the extended sleep and I heard an unfamiliar voice on the other end of the line.

“Hello, Jamie?” “Yes? Who is this?” “Hi, this is Laura.”

Now, even in my hazy state of mind, I knew that I didn’t know a Laura. The only Laura I remember, for that matter, is a cute girl from Camp Scatico I knew back when I was 9. Could she have tracked me down? If so, how did she get my number? And is she as hot as I think she’d grow up to be? Will she go to bed with me on our first date? Am I in a monogamous relationship now? What’s my name?

The woozie questions my mind invented were endless but lasted all of two seconds.
“Hi. Uh, who are you?” “I don’t know if you remember me, but we met at Cathy and Steve’s wedding. Do you remember, we danced?”

My woozieness started to clear up and I recalled that Cathy and Steve were the names of two friends of mine who I hadn’t spoken to since I had gotten married back in Sept. 2000. I was the best man at Steve’s wedding but I got enormously insulted when he declined to attend my wedding at all, opting instead to use another friend’s 30th birthday party as an excuse. He had gotten offended that I didn’t invite him into my wedding party, but the truth is that the wedding party was very small and limited only to some family members and two friends of mine I’d known for 14 and 21 years respectively. My own brothers wives weren’t in my wedding party! Anyway, back at Steve’s wedding, I had cut the rug something fierce with this lithsome woman, whose name I don’t think I could possibly have remembered until she called me up and told me, but I do remember that I had gotten her number. I remember this because I didn’t have any paper and I was way too early in my career (I was about 23 at the time) to have business cards to write on, so I put her number on the very edge of a packet of Equal. For a few days I rode around in my car with that packet of Equal in the cupholder, just staring me in the face. But I didn’t have the courage to call, for some reason. A few weeks later, I was deeply in love with the woman who would eventually become my wife and the point was moot. Besides, a drop of coffee had fallen on the packet of Equal and smudged the number.

So it was with great confusion that this moment from my past would call me up out of the clear blue sky. She was very nice, meaning no disrespect to what could be my current wife or girlfriend. She just wanted to know if I was single and wanted to get a cup of coffee sometime. I seriously doubt I would do it, but I couldn’t let her down right there and then because I had to leave the house to go play poker and I hadn’t talked with Laura more than 5 minutes. And it wasn’t even talking really considering I was just getting up! So I told her to call me after the holidays when we could properly catch up and I went to go get ready for some CrackHouse action. But yeah, I still got it baby.

I hopped a cab on Water Street and I was at Dawn’s place in 20 minutes flat. It was 8:50PM, and the time called for was 8:30PM. I’m normally right on time, when I then proceed to cool my heels while everyone else is late, so I didn’t feel bad about the 20 minute late entrance. I had even brought a gift (An unopened 2 pack of KEM cards) to smooth things over. I was shocked then to discover that I was only the 4th person to arrive! Mary, Kearns, Dawn and Jordan were all hanging out, playing some game for play money. Dawn announced that we would start cash once six people arrived and then, almost on cue, in walked CK and F-Train! Now loyal readers of my blog know that it’s been a long time and I’ve never been able to meet the F-Train. Well, tonight was my night. A quality guy, no question, and CK seems very happy with him so that makes me happy. One thing I will say though; his voice was much higher in pitch than I had anticipated. Don’t read anything into that. I’m just saying.

Cards were in the air for .50/1 ($50 max buyin) and almost everyone bought in for the max. Action started right away. I was dealt QhJh in the cutoff. Dawn, UTG, raised to $3. Jordan re-raised to $7. This is the first hand of the first deal! I had enough sense to throw away my QJ. Dawn called and the flop came down QJ8 with two spades. Wow, really? Top two? Thank you God, for really messing with my head! Dawn bets out and Jordan comes over the top BIG. Dawn moves all in. Jordan, with about $11 behind him at this point, is obligated to call and he turns over KK. Dawn has 88 for the flopped straight. Well, I guess the QJ laydown was pretty damned good then, no? The turn is a brick and the river is a King! Jordan doubles up on the re-suckout and Dawn seems like an instantly broken woman, having to rebuy on the second hand at her own game after losing to a two outer. Dawn, my dear, I feel for you.

The game went on for hours with lots of action hands just like the one I’ve described. My personal favorite was when I was dealt KsJs UTG and I opened for a $3 raise. I got three callers and the flop was Ad-Kd-Jh. I bet out $15 with bottom two, a sizeable raise, and RonLad (Karol’s aggressive younger brother) smooth called. Phil, at the other end of the table, moved all in for $31 on top. I was sick to my stomach. I had a good hand, a very good hand, but what was I beating? A smooth call into an aggressive bet and an all-in afterwards indicate monster hands. But RonLad is known to be very aggressive and loose and he could be just on a flush draw. Phil had just sat down three hands ago and was a completely unknown quantity to me. But my instincts got the better of me and I folded, knowing at best I could beat someone who was overplaying a single pair and that two players doing that was unlikely. RonLad, after a whole bunch of agonizing, laid down his hand and Phil flashed his QT for the flopped Broadway. I whispered a silent prayer to the gods and then watched in horror as Dawn ran the turn and the river. The river was a Jack, completing my boat. Damn you Dawn! I have to think there’s no way she didn’t do that to me on purpose! Devil woman.

I made one great play in the night and one lucky read. First, the lucky read. I had 44 UTG. I had been getting lots of pockets pairs (probably 13 or 14) but only made one set. CK had just loudly called me a “pussy” for some reason or another. Oh yeah, I didn’t re-re-straddle after she re-straddled to $4. Anyway, I grabbed the opportunity to pretend I was playing trash when I bet out $17 UTG into the blinds and straddles. It was kind of stupid, considering 44 is not exactly a monster, but only Ari came in, and it was for a raise. She made a min-raise to $30 and I thought about it. If she’s got a big overpair, why isn’t she putting me all in? I only have $25 or so behind. This is where I made the read on two high cards. Specifically, AK or AQ. I called, knowing a low flop could win the whole pot for me on the off chance I could scare her away with my remaining $12 bullet. Probably not, but stranger things have happened. Anyway, the flop WAS low. 8-6-2. I moved all in for my $12, knowing there wasn’t any way she could have hit that. But instead of laying down, she called (properly most likely). The tension was thick as I fought for an $80 pot with nothing but a pair of 4’s. The turn and river were both low bricks and she didn’t show right away. Eventually, I sheepishly turned up my pocket 4’s and she flashed AK (whew) before mucking. W00t!

The great play was inspired by something I saw Phil Ivey do in High Stakes Poker. I was dealt 6c7s in MP. RonLad led the betting out to UTG $6 on my big blind. It folded around to CK who called with a look on her face that said, “let’s see what the flop brings”. If she hadn’t come in, I insta-muck. But her money now gives me some pot odds and, more importantly, a read that both players might be playing high cards. Again, if the flop comes low, I could make good money. So I called with th $1 discount. The flop was NOT low. KQ8. Uh, bad. CK checked. I deliberately hesitated before checking and RonLad checked. Whoo, free card! The turn was a Queen, pairing the board. Okay, if no one has anything, then the turn doesn’t do much. But if I can keep up the charade that I might be slowplaying something, then I might be able to see another free card. CK checked and I know she has nothing. Again, I hesitated slightly as if I was contemplating a bet but checked. RonLad also checked. Yay, another free card! The river was a 6. Here was the card I wanted, but I’m still not sitting on a monster. CK checked and I lost heart to bet it so I checked and RonLad picked up $20 and threw it in the pot. Here’s the problem though. Since the board paired, my 7 kicker doesn’t play in my two pair. Instead, the King on board plays. So there’s an excellent chance that even if RonLad had a six, somehow, we’d chop. Or it could be a high card bluff. So when I called and he said, “Ace high”, I felt gratified. He even paid the rare complement of, “nice call”. He had taken a big off me earlier so I was just getting it back, but thanks.

Anyway, that’s all the action that I remember. Things slowed down considerably when more people came and we were forced to break our full table into two short tables of 7 each. As people busted or got tired, the whole thing broke up quickly and I shared a cab home with F-Train, CK and Jordan. A fine group of people that I’m proud to be associated with.
More games are coming up before my surgery at WSP. I can’t wait. Then my gall bladder gets yanked (Dec. 5th), I convalesce for 2 weeks and then it’s off to Vegas!


ckbluffer said...

Hopefully, E does not read this blog.

Jamie said...

I think our relationship can withstand an out of the blue phone call from a complete stranger. I'm NOT following up on it.