For the first time in a long time, I played in a home game last night that wasn't mine. There is a game I've played in ocassionaly in midtown but I haven't had the time or energy to go to that one lately. But an opportunity came to me when I got an email from Weikei, a player in the Wall Street Game, that his regular home game was looking for players. They normally play limit Hold 'Em, and sometimes Omaha, which is right up my alley. I have kind of a tempestuous love affair with limit poker. I grew up playing it so I'm used to the rhythms of it (that is to say, how slow it is). I'm also used to the incredible suckouts suffered in limit. What I'm having a hard time gettings used to, though, is how badly I do at it. I hardly ever seem to do anything more than break-even at limit poker, which is frustrating to me. I seem to play all-right, but after all the swings are taken into account, I'm hardly ever up more than a few blinds. Even though I play far fewer hands in no-limit, I prefer the idea that I can protect my stack, boring though it may be. In limit, there are too many situations where you have the worst of it but are obliged to call because you're getting the right pot odds.
I arrived at the game at 7:30p. The location is not what I'm used to. It's an office in a Tribeca building with a little round snack table and a table cloth over it. At least the cards and chips were good. The people who played are perfectly nice, and fairly good players. I drew an awful seat, with the two loosest and craziest players directly on my left. Only 7 players played, which is also not my style. I prefer a full table when I play ring games, so I be more selective with my hands without the blinds whipping around so often. The game was $4-$8 limit. There was a $1 rake taken at $20/$40/$100 to pay for a dinner or freeroll or some such. I had no problems with that at all.
Last night was a typical up and down limit session for me. I went on a card rush early, which in limit doesn't mean much if your starting hands don't stand up! But mine were holding up early on. At the end of two hours, I was up about $150 on a $200 buyin. Not bad at all. I was getting tired at about 10:00p, but I had already been told that given the small number of players, leaving early wasn't allowed until 11:30p. Since I had already been told in advance about it, I couldn't argue.
So there I was, with a nice profit, when I pick up KK on the button, for about the fourth time today. I had won twice and lost twice with KK, but I wasn't playing them any differently than I should be. I raised on the button and got calls from the BB and UTG. These two players were the loosey-goosey crazies. I had been calling light with them and winning, so I couldn't put them on anything here. The flop is 9♣ 8♦ 2♠. BB checks, UTG Bets and I raise. BB re-raises (!), UTG folds and I call. At this point, I put him on A9, or an overpair. A set of 8's or 9's certainly crossed my mind. I made up my mind to call his turn and river bets regardless, making a note that when I had called down his aggression in an earlier hand, he had shown Three high on the river! The turn was the 8♥. It was a bad card for me. At this point, all I'm beating is a stone bluff or a semi-bluff (Ten Jack?). But I put the bets in regardless on the turn and river (a blank) and he showed me 82o! WTF?!?! He's in the blind, sure, but how often do you flop a winning hand with 82o? Holy crikey!
That hand set off a chain of events that ensured I lost al of my profit. Not always to bad play. Our host was nice enough to bet into my Jacks with A♣ 4♣, flop garbage, and then go runner-runner flush for the win. And I flopped bottom two on a board of A56, and the tightest player at the table led out. I raise, he calls. Turn is an Ace. He leads and I fold. Disgusting.
So I left the game at 11:30p at -49, BUT I had paid $25 for dinner with chips, so really I was -24. That's fine for a little home game, but my frustration and simultaneous love of limit poker continues.
I feel a bit like a battered wife whose husband hits her brutally for four hours straight and then is crying in his living room chair an hour afterward saying he's sorry and telling me he loves me. Why do I stay with you, Limit Poker? Why?
P.S. I know the gender roles are mixed up in the above analogy, but there aren't too many battered husbands. Just deal with it.