Thursday, April 30, 2009

And Now, A Guest Columnist

Over the last 9 months I've developed friendships with several other players. Specifically, there is a group of 5 of us that often exchange emails discussing hands (can I raise this river?), bad beats (so then he rolls the T5 soooted), poker etiquette (should I tell the fish on my right he's telegraphing his folds, or just try to get him on my left?), or generally comical situations (so after the guy declares "Queen High", WTK fastrolls QJ on the AK842 board for the nut nothing and drags the pot. The other guy courtesy shows QT). Recently Pete shared this gem of an email, which he's given me permission to basically steal and put up on my blog. And away we go. The names have been changed to protect the some cases. I kept the props names the same cause I mean, they're props....They're not real people, right?

Subject: World's Worst Poker Fold
From: Pete
To: Jesse et al

So I'm sitting at not-so-good table at Bay101, and have a bunch of funny hands with Gerry the prop. I don't normally show my hands, but these were some funny situations, so...

========Hand 1:========
1 limper, 1 poster, I complete SB with Q8o. Gerry raises in the BB (monster alert!), everyone calls.

Flop Q-Q-5, two spades. Gerry bets, folded back to me, I c/r, he calls.

Turn Q. I bet, Gerry calls.

River non-spade 2. I check. Gerry literally tanks for like 20 seconds and then finally bets. I c/r, he tanks for another 10 seconds and finally calls with KK. He tells me he almost checked the river (true).

After this hand, JH/Steve/Gerry go on and on for about 10 minutes about my play, and how he almost checked the river or folded after I c/r'd. JH and Steve laught at the thought of folding KK and think Gerry is being funny. Gerry actually says afterwards "I was going to muck on the turn except when the 3rd Q came out. Then I had to call". This is what Steve the prop and JH start bawling about and almost fall out of their chairs. Gerry says, "no, I'm serious. I was going to fold KK on the turn."

========Hand against JH========
JH opens on button, I defend BB with 95o.

Flop Q-3-2 two diamonds. I c/r, JH calls.

Turn 7r. I bet, JH calls.

River Tr. I bet, JH calls.

I say "Nine-high" and show my hand, JH shows T8dd and takes down the pot. JH starts laughing and pointing at my hand and saying to Gerry "he c/r'd me with 9-high and you're thinking about mucking Kings???" lololol.

========Hand 2:========
Gerry limps in EP, 2 limpers, I complete A2o in SB, BB checks.

Flop A-A-2 rainbow. Checked to LP (John) who bets, I call, Gerry calls.

Turn Tr. I bet, Gerry thinks and calls, John mucks.

River Q. I bet, Gerry thinks and calls. I show my hand, Gerry says "no good", I'm like whaaatt? Then he looks again and says "oh, it's good." and flips over 22.

So these series of events leads us to hand 3, which I'm sure will brighten everyone's day as to how bad I am at poker.

========Hand 3 (aka World's worst fold):========
Gerry raises UTG, I 3-bet button with 99, he debates for a split second (maybe fake?) on 4-betting and then calls.

Flop A-Q-5 rainbow. He c/c's.

Turn 9r. He c/r's, I call.

River Q. He thinks a bit and then bets, I muck faceup. Gerry says "ok, we're even now". I say to Gerry, "that's twice I pwn'd you today."

YES, YOU READ THAT RIGHT, I mucked Nines full. :-( It's amazing I am not actually busto at this point. So in case you guys ever feel bad about making a bad play, refer to this hand when you're feeling down, and console yourself with the knowledge that no, you are not the most idiotic poker player in the world.

========Hand 4:========
1 limper, I raise black 77 in MP, Gerry cold-calls on button, blinds/limper call.

Flop A-6-5 two spades. I bet, Gerry calls, everyone else folds.

Turn 5s. I check, Gerry tanks for 8 seconds and then bets, I c/r, Gerry tanks and mucks. I flash and say "flush draw" and Gerry is silent.

========Hand 5 afterlude:====
So I show the bluff in Hand 4. A few hands later, Gerry raises UTG and I call in the BB with K7s. Flop is: 8-2-2 rainbow. I c/f and say out loud, "I have to fold -- there's no way I can bluff Gerry anymore today." The table isn't quite sure what to make of it.

And this concludes our guest post by Pete, Alpha Lag of the Bay 20 game.

April Results

I've decided that, unfortunately, I'm no longer comfortable posting my exact monetary results up here on the interwebs for everyone to see. Back when I was in fact just "taking a shot" it seemed completely reasonable for me to be completely honest with everyone, both so that my story would be more enjoyable and so that those reading to glean some sort of insight into whether or not they should try to walk a similar path could accurately assess how things were going, and maybe even extrapolate how they'd go for them. Well, the shot has ended. Now posting my exact results seems an unnecessary beat/brag/risk, and I'm just not going to do it any more. I'll provide occasional updates, and if you're interested in knowing more feel free to ask either in a comment or via email.

That said, so far I've been astonished at how "even" things have been. I've being doing this for 9 months, and I haven't yet posted a losing one. My goal was to make $8K a month. I've averaged $7967. My hope was that I could win $50 an hour at live 20/40. Through ~1400 hours it's at $50.55. The only real "break" I've caught was the 9 rack heater in the Ocean's 40/80 game. I mean, without that, my results would be a fair bit worse. Of course, I'm currently stuck 4 racks in my last 30 hours of 40/80. Can I really not beat that game? I doubt it. All in all, I don't feel like I've experienced the full vengeance of variance just yet. Knock on wood I won't get a taste for a while.

April itself was a rousing success. I logged 179.5 hours (my highest total ever) in 25 days of play (counting today's 3 hour Garden City Hit 'N Run), with less than 3 coming in "small games" (less than 15/30). I logged almost 30 hours of 40/80, and just under 20 hours of 30/60. I'm hoping to continue adding hours above 20/40 in the coming months, and will start on May 1st by playing the 30/60 game at The Oaks.

The above was written a few days ago....Now for a brief addendum.

I'm going to go into May without an hours goal, mainly because I have a lot of travel/visitors during this month and don't want to stress myself out. I'm simply going to play as much as I can and hopefully win some money. Easy game right?

I started out on the right foot today, crushing the Oaks 15/30 and 30/60 games for 1 and 2.5 racks respectively. Then I stopped at Artichoke Joe's on the way home to meet Danielle for dinner and some good old fashioned 6/12 madness (she let's me buy half her action usually....I'm up almost $300 on this deal in the last month, including $103 today when she played 1 orbit, dragged a monster with aces full, and decided to just eat her pancakes). I lost 60 bucks, 74 of which went bye bye on my last hand when I got 5 bets in preflop 4 ways with AA, then put in 6.333 bets on the flop, heads up, to get the guy with Q9 soooooted all in. Sadly the board had a pair of nines on it. After the he got all in I declared "9 good". He sat stoicly. The dealer ran out the turn and river and in the same instant I said "Aces" and rolled my bullets. He sat there for a second, looked at the board, then triumphantly turned over the goods. My chips were already racked, and I somehow managed to say "Good luck everyone" instead of "Nice hand and thanks for the slow roll". I'm not really sure how, but I did....

The A-R-C Strikes Back

Once again I haven't posted anything in a week. I don't really know how that keeps happening, but I'm home early on the last day of the month because of a combination of factors (I hit my hours goal yesterday and was actually entitled to take today off, then I went to Garden City anyway and ran like freaking Jesus as per usual when I'm there and won the standard one rack per hour for 3 hours) and going to spend the next 90 minutes writing. I predict I'll only be funny for maybe a third of that, but here's hoping.....

The point of this post is a follow-up to this clusterfluc of a hand where to make a long story short Pete just took all my chips then randomly redistributed them around the table. Pete has been running "bad" in April. Through 29 days he was actually stuck over 40 some odd hours of play. This is the equivalent of me having a losing week, but since Pete seemingly always wins it was kind of weird to see him lose 7 sessions in a row and actually felt kind of epic. Anyway, shit like this hasn't been helping. First, my attempt at revenge:

I open limp with T9 at a fantastic 20/40 game practically UTG. Pete raises next in (as is our custom, I have positioned him on my left so that while he will take my money I will have first crack at the fishy money that pours in most freely) and gets 3 callers back to me (at least one cold call behind and at least one blind. I don't remember if the 3rd player was in late position or the small blind). I decide that while 6 handed would be optimal to fire the cannons, 5 handed is just gonna have to do, and I make it 3-bets. Pete looks at me and I look at him, and then comes the obligatory "cap it!" as the 4th bet goes in. The other 3 players call and we have ourselves a 20 small bet pot preflop. I decide that I'm gonna play this one "a little weird" if I can, mostly for fun but also to blunt the fact that Pete knows exactly what I have. The flop is:

T 5 2

We all check to Pete, who dutifully bets. The other 3 players call back to him and I just call, mainly cause I don't have much of a hand, nobody is folding like ever, and I think I can get Pete to raise me with overs on the turn so long as it's not a club and it's a card I like (like note one of those Ace things).

T 5 2 - 2

Aiyah! Not only is there a flush draw, but it's mine! I donk into Pete, and he looks as though he's been punched in the chest. Not so much as it really hurts, but in a sorta "hey man what the fuck was that" sort of way. He raises and everyone else folds. Perfect! Now all I have to do is call down and win this 16.5 big bet pot.

T 5 2 - 2 - J

Time for Plan B. I check and Pete fires one more barrel. I raise because I have just luck boxed my way into a monstrous hand. Pete thinks for a second, in that strange way of his that I can't really tell if he's Hollywooding or actually confused, then 3-bets. I cry. I call. Pete rolls AQ and gathers in the 22 big bet (880 American Dollar) pot. I am left a husk of my former self, wondering where I went wrong, other than perhaps playing every street as badly as possible.

So we're now onto the next day or perhaps the one after that, I can't really remember (aside....yesterday Debbie the dealer at Bay 101 asked me "How'ed you do in the red chip (40/80) game yesterday" to which I'm forced to respond "I don't remember". I get some crap, then realize that 1). I didn't play Tuesday and 2). I didn't play 40/80 on Monday and 3). I in fact hadn't played 40/80 for 5 days) and Pete and I find ourselves at the same table. I get in the first shot by bluffing him out of a 3.5 big blind pot on the river with 8-high. The board came down:

A76r and I checked and called him on the flop with 85, heads up. The turn brought me no help, and he checked behind. On the river I still had 8 high, heads up, and I bet. Pete asked at this point "Was he the big blind?" to which the dealer responded "I can't tell you". I confirmed that I was the big blind, and that makes it even easier for Pete to believe I have some garbage pair on this board and he folds King-High. I am happy. Baby steps here, people, baby steps.

Addendum: We have an email from Pete:

board came down:

A-7-6-6-3 all rainbow

The reason I mucked actually was because I was confused what the heck was going on, and that you actually cleared up the confusion and said that you were in BB. I thought if you were bluffing, you wouldn't open your mouth. Bad read... :-)

Then a few hands later I have my friendly T9 again and end up in a big multiway pot from one of the blinds with Pete as the aggressor. I don't remember the board exactly, but I flop a pair, a , and a gut shot, so it was probably something like:


I call a bet, then agonizingly call the turn when I pick up no help in the form of something like the 3. The river brings a Queen, and I just fire the donk of death. Pete not only folds, but calls out my hand, "9 Ten soooted, eh?" while doing so. I flash my hand to the table and comment that everyone should be wary of Pete, what with him knowing my cards and all. He makes some silly claim about folding a set, and I respond "You mean a pair, right? You folded a pair?" and he nods.

This brings us to our final barage, in which I reclaim my manhood by sucking out in the only truly acceptable fashion: While drawing to one (1) out.

Same 20/40 table, and I open raise JJ in latish position. Pete cold-calls on my immediate left, and we see the flop 4 or 5 ways for 2 bets a piece. The board comes down:


And one of the blinds donks for almost all of his chips. He's kind of a spastic dude, capable of doing this with pretty much any pair, so I raise. Pete calls two cold, which should immediately signal "Danger Will Robinson! Danger!" to my feeble brain. The blind calls all in and we're 3-handed in what's becoming a sizable pot.

K84 - 6

I consider checking and folding, but feel that'd kind of weak. Pete knows the guy that's all in could have total cheese, and would just love to bet me off these Jacks with pretty much any pair. So I bet once more, hoping to find the fortitude to fold to the raise...that doesn't come. Hmmm, time for the river. Drumrolll, please.

K84 - 6 - J

I bet cause I've been betting the whole time and well holy crap look at that I just made the 3rd nuts. Pete raises, and I go into the tank for a second, standing up and looking at board, before deciding that 75 is really just not possible because of the preflop action alone (always a dangerous assumption, but one that I'm glad I made). I 3-bet, Pete calls saying "nice hand" and MHIG. Pete held KJ, giving me the pleasure of formally one outting him. Ladies and Gentleman, the ARC has struck back.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Rain Maker

I've realized that a lot of my stories are bad beats. I think there are two main reasons for that:

1. Those are the hands I remember.
2. Honestly, since I play tighter than most of my opponents, I probably take more bad beats than I dish out.

Today's post is simply an example of a hand that you'd hear my victim talk about the next day, with me playing the role of the donkey. Also, if you'd to read some serious discussion of the hand from my last post, check this out.

So I'm playing 15/30 at The Oaks waiting for the 30/60 game to start. This irritating Asian guy is talking and talking and yabbering, generally saying stupid stuff and acting like a tool. He's also playing like a nit, and seems to be proud of the fact that he's a nit (you know the type, showing people his folds so they can say stuff like "good fold" and "wow, tight player!" and the like). A few people limp and this guy raises. Somebody calls behind, the small blind calls, and I behold the Eight Deuce Suited (here forward referred to as "The Rain Maker") and call, getting an expected 11:1 to see 3 cards. As predicted, the flop goes off 6 ways for 2 bets and is:

Q82 with two clubs

The small blind donks (what he can possibly have is beyond me) and I raise instantly. Someone folds, but 5 of us remain for the turn of:

Q82-3 with still just two clubs

The small blind checks and I bet "The Rain Maker" once again. The two poor saps stuck between me and the nit-raiser call, and then said nit-raiser...raises. The small blind now folds, and I think for a second and opt to 3-bet "The Rain Maker". One player calls all in, a second calls, and the nit raiser....calls only. I now prepare to dodge half the deck with my catlike reflexes....

Q82-3-J with still just two clubs

"The Rain Maker" is entact! No flush, no counterfitting of the deuces. I bet. All in man shrugs, and the flush draw folds. The Nit Raiser calls and says "Set of Eights good". At this I cringe slightly, but then realize that on this board if he can't beat a set, he can't beat 2 pair either. I table "The Rain Maker". He looks at it, bewildered, tables his AA in disgust, asks to be dealt out, walks over to play Pai Gow, collects 3 missed blind buttons over the next 40 minutes, and is eventually picked up without playing another hand.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Who Capped It?

I'm promising myself I'll keep this short and sweet, as it's past my bedtime. As a note, I'm going to try to move towards frequent short posts. We'll see how that goes.

Pete's kids were off school for a week, and Monday of this week marked his triumphant return to The Land of Dolphin Chips. He and I managed to get on the same table and spent 4 hours or so making up for lost time, bullshitting, talking poker and life, and generally probably making everyone else feel a little uncomfortable. At one point three (3) other two plus twoers were either sweating us or talking to us, and it just kind of had the sense of the cool kids' lunch table or something.

So we're moving right along, running good, winning hands, etc etc (for most of the session we were both up more than a rack. I think he cashed out almost 2 in profit, I left for the 40 game up 1) and generally making life a challenge for everyone else at the table. Then it happens. 3 or 4 players limp to Pete, who completes the small blind. I raise because I have pocket Jacks, and everyone calls in quick succession (in that way people do when it's obvious everyone is gonna call this raise cause they already put in one bet and folding now would be insane) to Pete....who 3-bets. Before the rest of the table can figure out what's going on I have capped it, and the dealer spends the next 20 seconds or so explaining that to everyone.

Seat 5: "Who capped it?"
Dealer: "The big blind?"
Pete: "Who made it three bets?"
Me: "You did."
Pete: "No"
Me: "Yes"
Pete: "Oh, OK. 5 bets!"

So at this point Pete and I are in full table banter mode and I know the texture of his hand. He's got some sort of "biggish" suited connector that for some reason he didn't want to raise the first time around. I'd never forgo the raise the first time and then 3-bet, but whatever. The problem is that now the whole table thinks we're in collusion and I'm gonna give Pete a cut of this pot in the parking lot after I win all these bets. You have to admit, it looked super shady....Anyway, 5 handed or so, maybe 6, and we see a flop of:


I don't remember the suits or the action really, but somehow Pete and I end up heads up with no more than 2 bets going in (either I bet and only he called, or he donked, I raised, and only he called). So I'm pretty happy about this situation, as there are like 9 million bets in the pot and all I have to do is beat Pete's T9 sooooted and we're good to go.


Pete proceeds to check/raise me, as is his custom on the turn. I forget my cardinal rule, which is "You can't fold" and 3-bet my set, after astutely noting that I lose to exactly QT suited. That's all, that's it, nothing else can he possibly have. He can, however, have J9s, 98s, maybe be bluffing with JTs, I don't really know, but I have second set and even if he...oh. Pete 4-bets. This is not good. I call. The river doesn't bail me out, but I can't fold (see above) and pay Pete off to be shown QT suited. $320 shipped to Pete in a single hand could be approaching the record....

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Moving Up

The last week has been quite a roller coaster ride for me, mainly because I've been trying to play as much 40/80 and 30/60 as possible, and consequently have been seeing swings a lot bigger than I'm used to. The 14th and 15th saw me post back to back 1500+ losers, basically eliminating that 4 rack winner in the Oaks 30 game from the Friday before. Since then I've been on a winning streak, but many of the days have been very stressful. For example, yesterday I played 5 hours of 20/40, was up about a rack, and then decided to sit in the 40. I quickly won and was up 4 figures for the day, then got demolished and was down more than that much. In the last 45 minutes I went on a winning streak (flopping some sets, turning some flushes, you know the drill) and managed to leave the game up 400 and the casino up 900. These swings aren't completely foreign to me, but they are a lot larger than I'm used to encountering on a regular basis. Eventually I'll get used to them, much like I eventually got used to the fluctuations in 20/40. My fear, however, is that the 20/40 game will become like 6/12, a game I currently no longer have the patience for.

So a lot of interesting hands have gone down since I last posted, and I'll just recite a few, then perhaps ramble on some aesthetic points for a bit. First of all is a hand I played at 40/80 on my birthday (April about running bad from day zero).

The game is full and Anna, a regular player, is in the big blind. She's not too important in the hand, but the one thing that should be noted is that she will basically NEVER fold her blinds. Like, ever. The big blind she won't fold for any number of bets, and the small blind she'll stick for a singale raise pretty much no matter what. So her range here is...wide. I open raise pocket queens from pretty early position and get cold-called by a guy I've never seen before. Anna calls in the big blind and we're off, 3 handed. I see the door card and of course it's an ace....great. The dealer spreads the rest of the flop, however, much to my liking:


Yahoo. It's not K72 with a set of 2s, but it's still bottom set and worthy of launching an all out war. I of course bet, and the guy raises me. Hmmm, OK, you have an ace, maybe even two pair, but whatever, I have bottom set. Anna calls (which, if you see above, is not surprising. She'd take two to the face here with literally any single card above 9 in her hand) and I 3-bet. The guy just calls and Anna calls, and right now really all I'm concerned about is JT (quote a wise man: "Somebody usually has JT").


Anna checks, I bet, and they both call. At this point I can safely eliminate JT and would lay well in excess of 10:1 that I have the best hand. Heck, probably 20:1 or more. My opponents are probably drawing live though, as I put each of them on at least a pair and a gutshot or perhaps two pair.


The mother of all blanks falls and I prepare to stack. Anna checks in disgust and I bet. The guy calls me and Anna folds. I roll my hand in that "surely this is good just push the chips over here dealer thank you very much" way. He looks at my hand, looks at the board, and a rush of relief comes over his face. He rolls...KK. That's right, dude has pocket kings, flopped a set, and raised exactly one time the entire hand, including preflop. I am gobsmacked, watching the sizable (albeit way too unfreakingbelievably small but still sizable) pot get pushed the other way. Then I start to count how much money I saved. There should have been 4 bets preflop, 3 on the flop is about right, I suppose, although you could argue for 4, and then at least 3 on the big streets, maybe even 4. At least $160, maybe as much as $280, of my dollars could have been his. Instead he's just smugly stacking, happy to win any pot at all.

This doesn't really tilt me, because I have the happiness of the saved bets, but the next 30 minutes kind of do. This guy goes on the mother of all heaters. He cracks AK with AQ. He flops sets. He makes a two card straight flush against the ace-high flush. He literally wins 5 pots in a row at one point, and then 3 of the next 6 or so after that. And yet, somehow, he only has about 4.5 racks of chips in front of him at the end of it, mainly because everyone at the table saw him play KK like a complete pussy and nobody, even the resident luny toon, is giving him action. To put it in perspective, when WTK goes on a rush like this (if he ever has), he wins almost every chip on the table. This guy was hardly the big stack!

Another 40/80 hand of interest happened just yesterday. Igor, a regular donation station, open raised the cutoff and Anna, as per usual, called in the small blind. Having Anna on your immediate right is really wonderful, as observant players realize that she's never folding her small blind, so your big blind gets picked on a little less. Also, when there is a raise, you're often looking at a 3 way pot getting 5:1 instead of a standard blind defense. Anyway, I look down and find the Jack Ass (Ace Jack) and make it 3-bets. Both of them call of course and we see a flop of:

T94 with two diamonds

Meh, I can work with this. I even have a diamond. Anna checks, I bet, they both call.

T94-2 with two diamonds and two hearts now

Hmmmm, OK. Anna checks, I fire a second barrel, and they both call again. OK, so at this point one of them probably has a pair, right? They will peel the flop with all kinds of garbage and this board very wet but I mean...somebody has a pair, right?

T94-2-7 and the diamonds get there

Anna bets out. I fold, chuckling. Igor calls. Anna tables J8o for a jack-high straight. Igor, confused, tables 86 of spades for a ten-high straight. Anna drags the pot, and I am just in awe. Anna cold called J8 off in the small blind. In the face of not one but two flush draws, Igor called a bet on the turn with the idiot-end gut shot straight draw. It's hand like this that make me think it might be impossible to barrel too much with ace-high. You're just value betting the best hand so often....

I've realized I don't really feel like writing any more at the moment, so I'll just close with an update on my monthly goals. I've played 112.5 hours so far, and about 1/3rd of them have been above 20/40. I've only taken 3 days off, so I'm averaging only 6.6 hours per day played, which is well below where it needs to be. My monetary results, however, have been good, mostly owed to that $4000 winner at the Oaks. It's pretty hard to have a bad month with a day like that, but stranger things have happened.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Just Some Hands

First, here's a hand from a few days ago that I played like a weak tight nit. I'm not really sure what would have been a better line, as it was pretty clear the preflop raiser had me crushed. I might just be having a little results oriented thinking, since the two players showed down KJ of diamonds and AK of spades. Had I been more aggressive, barreling until the end, neither could possibly have called me on the river. Alas....

I spent today at Garden City, working on my renewed pledge to play as much 30/60 and 40/80 as possible. I played 3.5 hours in the 40/80 game, then moved down to 20/40 once the lineup wasn't to my liking (specifically two players who are just complete ass hats sat down and I decided I didn't need that shit in my life today...also, Stockton Thunder was on the prowl but not up on the 40/80 list, and the chance to sit with him in the 20 is something no money-loving, rational person could possibly refuse). My first two hands in the 40/80 were very strange, with me literally calling 9 times without raising and breaking exactly even before rake.

Hand 1

It's a brand new game and the button is 3 seats to my right. I find T9s UTG and limp. Frank the prop raises and we see the flop 4 ways for 8 small bets. Thus far I have called twice, the first one being one of those "you say tomato and tamahto" calls, the second being fine.

KQ4 with one heart

We all check to Frank who bets, and I am the lone caller. This call is questionably thin, and I probably wouldn't make it without the heart on board. My 4 jack outs are not to the nuts, but at 9:1 I couldn't resist. The turn is:

KQ4-Q with two hearts now

Well gosh gee willikers, now I have a real honest to goodness flush draw. I call Frank again, this time getting 6:1 and obviously correctly.

KQ4-Q-A with all three hearts that I need

Hmmmm....Should I donk? Getting raised sure would suck, and there's full houses all over the place....OK I check. Frank bets. I call. Frank rolls KK for a full house, against which I was drawing dead on the turn. Yikes.

Hand 2

Now I'm the big blind, trying to shrug off losing $280 in the my first 45 seconds at the table, and it folds to the button who open raises. I've played with this guy before, and to say that he is a LAG would be a bit of an understatement. He's literally opening like 50% of his hands here. OK, let's see, something easy to play would be nice to pick up...what have we here? A2o? Frack....This hand is as far from easy to play as you can get in this spot, at least for me. Basically there are tons of boards on which I'm gonna have to call all the way down with Ace-High, hoping to catch him barreling. Great. But I sure as hell can't fold, so I call. To the flop heads up:


Remember that call down thing I just said? Well this board is shaping up like one. I check and call his bet. Then the turn is:

T94-6 with all four suits represented equally :)

Yikes. I check, hoping he'll check...but no, he bets like a good little LAG. I tank for a bit and consider mucking, then decide that I have to grit my teeth and call this thing down.


I check, now actually hoping he'll bet. If he checks back, he probabaly has a better ace high and I've lost. But if he bets, his range will be polarized between good (paired) hands and bluffs (KQ, KJ, QJ, J8, Q8, etc, etc), some of which I will beat. He bets, and I call quickly. He says "you got it" and turns over QJ. I table my A2o like it's the nuts and puff my chest out a little. The table quickly confirms that I must be on some sort of tilt, and I bunker down for a $1000 win.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Long Post

So much has happened in the last few days that I'm forcing myself to try and write it all down before the little notes that I've taken on my phone are no longer effective at jogging my memory. The last three days have been very profitable, and would have been more so if I just had entirely avoided the 20/40 tables and stuck to the big games where they respect my raises. In a serious note, I'm a little concerned that I've stopped playing my A game at 20/40 a good portion of the time. I think that perhaps I'm not as interested in the game anymore, or that I've gotten to feeling "entitled" that I should win every time I play without putting forth much effort. This is something I need to address, but not really something that all of you really want to read about. On to the 3-casino lunacy that has been my last 60 hours of life.

Thursday was a Bay 101 day filled with the antics of my buddy Pete. In the morning I first was stuck at the 8/16 table (there was only one 20/40 and I was 4th up. Anticipating a 30 minute wait, I snagged a seat when they opened an 8/16 game). After basically folding every hand for 2 orbits and losing 32 dollars, I moved to the 20/40 game for 45 minutes. Some tilt inducing stuff happened, but I managed to only lose less than 200 dollars before being called for 40/80. I always put my name up for 40/80, but probably play less than half the time. The game has to look good, and I have to be feeling good, etc, etc. There is a rather long list of criteria, all of which were met, so I cozied up to the game, added on like $1300 from my pocket, and promptly got stuck 800 dollars in about 30 minutes. Then I played a couple of hands badly (equity wise, at least) against Chau, the prop player who came in 6th in the Shooting Star for some odd hundreds of thousands of dollars (in both hands I basically raised with a draw, allowing him to 3-bet, getting myself heads up against a far superior hand, but then made my nut hand and took all his money). The game got worse and after about 90 minutes I moved back to 20/40, up over a rack (~$1300), all of it from Chau. When I left he actually did the "try to get the fish to stay come on man it's a good game" act to which I responded "Yup, it's a good game 'cause I'm in it" while racking up.

So now I'm back at 20/40, comfortably up 4 figures for the day. Pete leaves to go back to work, and I continue to play. Nothing really interesting happens, and my stack practically does not fluctuate. I'm pretty much between even and up 500 for over 3 hours. Then Pete returns from a long hard "day" at the office and wanders to the bar, which goes a little like this:

In the words of Pete:

So yesterday I don't feel like working, so I head down to the local cardroom to make some gambool. There's a bit of a wait for 20 and 40, so I go to the bar and order up a glass of whisky. Glass of Booker's, tyvm. Bartender tells me, oh, you get a free chaser here at Bay101. Chaser? I don't need a chaser. She tells me "oh, well you can have anything you want. Juice, BEER, water, soda, whatever." ORLY? I can have some free beer too? "Yes", she says, and points to the tap where they have Fat Tire. Glass of whisky and a free half pint of beer? I'm freerolling at this point!

So I drink my whisky and bring the beer over where I get a seat in the 20 game. First hand I post in cutoff and get dealt A5. Jesse defends his blind and c/c's twice and we chop on a J-8-6-Q-8 rainbow board against his A2o. Niiice...

Playing against Pete is really easy these days, because I've basically removed every line from my arsenel that involves "folding." You see, I simply amble towards show down, at a bare minimum calling every street and only risking a bet or raise if I can comfortably call a raise or re-raise or if I have something like Ten-High that really can't win a show down. You'll note in the hand above that, had I had any stones, I would have simply check/raised Pete on the turn. However, were he to 3-bet, I'd be obliged to call down, since I have Ace-High, which can beat lots of stuff with a queen and jack on board, like King-High for example.

So moving on, Pete is actually kinda drunk at this point but playing alright, and the following cluster fuck of a hand comes up. Again, in the words of Pete:

A few hands later, Jesse mucks in EP, EVERYONE calls to me in SB, I raizeiup with JT, BB mucks, everyone calls. 7 players to the flop of: J85. This looks like a decent flop for me, so I stick out $20 just in case someone nobody has anything. Chuck Thompson raises, Indian guy (Bolly) 3-bets, LAG Asian woman cold-calls, ATC (which is also exactly how he plays) cold-calls, I cap, everyone calls. Well now I reckon this pot is getting kind of big. We're now 5-way for 34 sb. Turn T. Hmm. I guess if I capped the flop, I better bet the turn just in case someone was raising a flush draw (I want to protect my hand you see). Chuck Thompson insta-raises again, Indian guy 3-bets again. Now the Asian LAG woman is thinking, thinking... she says "pot's too big!" and slams down 3 bets. ATC says "crap, this is a big pot but I can't call 3-bets" and mucks. We're now 4-way for a nice little 2 and a half racker (29 bb). I tank. In my inebriated state I'm pretty sure I have a good hand. I think I got at least one pair, right? Well, maybe the river will counterfeit someone's two pair, so I call and Chuck Thompson calls. River 7. I check because the board didn't pair, Chuck checks, Indian guy checks, Asian Lag woman bets triumphantly, I look at my hand and I decide pockets might be good and call, Chuck looks upset and mucks his JT. Indian guy looks at his hand and says "this can't be good" and mucks 55. Asian LAG shows me 96 and beat my big pair. ATC looks astonished and says "How can you call with that, Asian LAG? I had the same hand, but I can't call 3 bets!".

Watching this hand unfold was a thing of beauty (Pete showed it to me on the flop, so I knew exactxly what he had). There was actually some smoke coming out of his ears when it was 3 bets back to him on the turn, which caused me a bit of confusion. Then I realized he wasn't considering a fold....he was considering a cap for value. Had ATC called, I think he might have done it.

Anyway, eventually Pete leaves and as I'm planning my exit strategy, Willy the Whale flounders into the high-limit area. There aren't many players I'll stay an extra few hours for, but this guy makes the list. When he's eventually called I manage to finagle the seat changing at my table such that he's placed on my immediate right, giving me full Jesus seat privleges for the next 2.5 hours, during which I lose about 1000 American Dollars (I should have taken the hint on my very first hand, when my AJ flopped JT2 against Willy's 22). I go home after 9pm, having logged over 10 hours for the day, feeling like crap, but still up a few hundred thanks to my new buddy Chau.

And then there was Friday, one of those days on which I wonder why I ever thought of doing anything other than playing Texas Holdem. The day started innocently enough, with me taking care of some "life details" in the morning. Specifically, I arranged a trip to DC the weekend of May 16th (thanks to my friend Chris having a free plane ticket he needed to book and literally having so much travel on his calendar that he'd rather fly me there with it than go someplace else), and finalized my payments of taxes to "the man." This amounted to making margin calls on most accounts that I have (my pocket wad of 100s, my box at Bay 101, my Full Tilt account, etc, etc) over the past week, culminating in having over 25K in my Bank of America Checking Account, 22K of which now belongs to the executives at AIG.

I arrived at the Oaks at 1pm and was saddened to see that not only would I not make the main 30/60 game, but that the must move game might not even go. How could this be? It was Good Friday! Surely there must be people here to gamble? 30 minutes later we fired up the must move game, and I proceeded to run like the Jesus for the full 6 hours I played in the game, and also witness some of the most God awful limit texas holdem play I have ever seen.

Right out of the shoot I get 66 and raise with it after a limper or two. We see a flop 5 ways of:


The UTG limper donks into me, I raise, one of the blinds calls, and he calls. The turn brings:


And he donks again. LOL ok you has a 5, I get it. I can beat the 5 I raise. The blind folds, and the donker 3-bets me. LOL ok maybe you did not hear me, but I says I can beat the 5 I raise. He calls. The river doesn't save him (since he had only 1 out, this is not surprising) and he mucks his T5 (soooooted!) in disgust.

A few hands later I raise AA and get like 7 callers. I proceed to flop:


And have to bet because well I mean I raised preflop I better bet. Since I have all the cards worth having and for once nobody flopped trips against my big pair, I don't get paid too well on this one. However, I did pocket the 6 big bets preflop, which ain't bad. Shortly thereafter I see a flop from the small blind with 63 soooted and make another full hours (my 3rd in 30 minutes). Then my AA holds up again (this time without the help of a 3rd ace), even though the top board cards pairs on the turn (T73-T). My two opponents put in 3 bets apiece on this flop, yet someone both could only call the turn and muck the river when I bet again. LOL, gutshotaments....

The glory continues on and on. I raise KT of spades, flop a gut shot and, with 10 big bets already in the pot, spike the nuts on the turn. I check/raise 3 people, getting 8 more bets total into the pot, and even get called in two spots on the river, dragging a ho-hum $1200 pot. I crack TT with KK by turning a set. Then the following hand just blows my mind:

Somebody raises, 1500 people call, and I cold-call 77 on the button. The flop comes down:

J84 with a flush draw and it checks to me on the button. 7 Ways. I am in awe of this occurence and decide "What the hell, I bet!". Like everybody calls. So OK, nobody's got a jack. But, honestly, where the hell am I here? The turn is:

J84-5 and no flush yet.

Again, like 5 people check to me, including the preflop raiser. I bet again. If nobody thinks they can win, I might as well try to get them all to fold. This time, only 3 people call. OK, that's too many, right? Surely somebody has an 8 and will call on the river...I wonder if I should bet, maybe he'll fold if he's the guy on my left gee hmm what should I do holy shit that's a 7!


They all check to me again and now I bet confidently. Only one player calls and I table my hand. There is a general look of disapproval as I stack the chips.....

The day was not without WTF moments of failure, however. One gentleman in particular provided a tasty one early in my session. I raise the KK and he 3-bets me. Someone else came along for the ride and I capped it. They both called and the board came out:


I bet and only the 3-better called. The turn was a picturesque:


And I led out again. This time he raised, and seemed a little concerned when I 3-bet before he'd finished getting his 12 chips into the pot. He called undeterred, with only 2 big bets behind, and we saw a river:


I bet, and he raised all in. I spent 10 seconds trying to read the board, figuring out what had happened, and decided he could possibly have played TT this badly so what the hell I call. He rolls KJo and I actually burst out laughing. I feel bad, for a moment, then apologize and tell him nice hand. His idiocy, you see, is about to catch up to him.

I limp behind like 3 other limpers with 75cc and the villain from last hand raises OTB. We see the flop 7 ways:

Kh Qs 4c

Curses, I say! Foiled again. If only I could see one more card...wait, what's that? Everybody checked? All 7 of you? Even you, preflop raiser on the button? One time dealer!!!

Kh Qs 4c - 6c

The astute reader will note that I have "picked up" and "open ended straight flush draw" and can now afford to put practically infinite bets into this pot. Sadly the guy on my immediate right bets, so I can just call, and 3 more people follow suit, including the preflop raiser on the button (who so obviously has like 99-JJ it's astonishing). All that is left now is for me to spike the 8d on the river, giving me the stone cold nuts. I of course bet said nuts whence checked to, and the button donates 60 more dollars to see them. He flashes jacks in disgust and I just smile. That's a 14 big bet pot I had no business winning.

A few hands later the same villain calls me on the flop and turn on a board of:


While I'm holding AK. The river is an 8 and I don't even bother to bet. We chop it up, as he has the same full house as me, although with a little more dubious QJo in the hole. On the flop, while calling my bet, he actually said to another player "Looking good so far" and was dead serious. More bad play ensued from other sources, like when I flopped Jacks and 3s on a board of J43, only to get raised on the river by a flopped set of 4s. The guy literally just called the flop (4 ways) and turn (heads up) in order to wait to raise the river. I couldn't believe it, but again just smiled, making a mental note of the $90 I got to keep.

A few more hands went off without a hitch after two players at the table bought rounds of drinks (first a shot of grey goose, then a double or "cup" of grey goose as round two). I rivered broadway with KQdd and cracked the aforementioned jokers two pair (this was a 3-bet 5 handed pot preflop I think). On my final hand of note for the day I held 33, limped in, and faced a raise from late position. One of the blinds called, and there were 2 other limpers between me and the preflop raiser. I actually said to myself "OK, once you flop the set, just donk, because that guy will raise with overs and you want to trap these other guys in". So then of course the flop came 432 and I donked right away, got raised on a turn K and won another biggish pot. Before losing $150 on my very last hand with AKcc against red aces (capped preflop, one bet on the flop, and then I just folded), my stack looked like this (green chips are $10, whites $100).

I cashed out 6 racks for the day, showing a total win of just a shade under $4000. Basically half of my profits for the entire year, so far, have come on 3 days (yesterday, and the two huge wins I booked at Ocean's 11). This is a little discouraging, but I suppose to be expected.

Today I have only one story worth telling, and I'll make it quick (I lost about 2 racks in the Gardeny City 20/40 game, after being up 1.5 racks 2.5 hours into a 4 hour session...blarg). I walk to the table with my empty seat and BA, a regular, tells me he's going to move into the empty 9 seat and that I'll have his 6 seat. He is currently playing the button and will move next hand. I wait for him to fold, then take his seat and pull out a stack of bills to buy in with. Before I even have chips I am dealt the 65 of clubs....The funny part of this story is that I basically have BA's hand right now. He wasn't dealt in (he is waiting for the button to pass seat 9 so he can come in for free, a practice known as dealing off), and had he not moved I would have waited one more hand to post. In short, he gave me his hand.

I check my option after ever player limps to me. Then the button raises and the small blind 3-bets. Now you'd think maybe somebody would fold, but we're at Garden City, and that's just not an option preflop. All 5 players call, and I call two more bets. In all 8 of us (everyone but the not dealt in BA) see the flop for 3 bets. Daaa rummmm rollllll paaaa lease.....


I flop a flush. Just right out of the shoot, no questions asked, with BA's hand. This isn't a particularly good way to get paid, having 3 clubs on the board instantly, but it'll have to do. I bet every chance I get, my hand holds up, and after the hand my 1000 dollars (which were brought during the hand) have become 1536 dollars. I am happy, but over the next 4 hours and 25 minutes I lose 1400 dollars, which makes me less happy. You can't win 'em all, I suppose, but with just one or two of these 4K days a month, I think I'll win enough of 'em :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

And Then I Folded the Best Hand

Today was a Garden City day. I've been playing at Bay 101 quite a bit, and I decided it was time for a change of venue. Early returns in the 20/40 game were positive, and when they called me for 40/80 I could scarcely believe my eyes. The next two players on the list were awful, and the 8 handed game already had 3 huge fish. The other players in the game weren't exactly experts, so I had no choice but to leave a fantastic 20/40 game.

Then this happened....

Everyone calls around to the player in lowjack, who pretends like he's gonna raise but doesn't. The hijack does raise...he's a huge laggy fish, and the primary (of 4) reason I'm in the game. I look down and find A9 sooooted and call two bets cold. The button 3-bets, and again everyone calls...literally, every, single, player, calls. Nobody caps it (I considered it, for value) so we see the pot 9 ways for 3 bets each. The flop is:

A73 all clubs

Great. 7 players check to me and I fancy a bet. The button quickly raises, the blinds fold, UTG 3-bets, two more folds, and then two players call 3 bets cold. I'm left with no recourse but to fold. Everyone else calls.

The turn is an offsuit Jack. It checks through. I cry a little.

The river is a baby red card. It checks through. I cry a lot. The fish on my right wins the pot with KJ (and the jack of clubs). He promptly wins two more pots, racks up his $3000, and leaves the game. I go back to 20/40, feeling awful.

Then this happens....

In the previous hand, two awful players put in lots of action after the first had live straddled. They show down TT and AQ (for one pair and no pair) and the no pair man who did not straddle is pissed for some reason. So a 3rd bad player open limps, the steamer raises, and I call two bets cold with J9 of clubs, looking forward to standard fair Garden City 6 way action. Except everyone folds to the BB (who straddled last hand). He calls, UTG calls, and we get:

Td 9d 4c

BB donks. This means he has....two cards. Like really, he could have anything. The guy is beyond awful, as is described in the two plus two post. UTG folds, and the steamer raises...the guy he's steaming against. So I mean, he could really have a lot of stuff. I call the two bets, and the BB calls (as he always does, at least 3, maybe 5 times per hand). But what card do we get to see next? None other than:

Td 9d 4c - Ad

That's right. Supposing I can logically put one of my opponents on a flush draw and the other on overcards, I just went from the gold medal to the bronze. The BB donks again and steamer calls. I fold. The river brings:

Td 9d 4c - Ad - Js

And again it goes bet and call. BB proudly displays J8o for...a pair of Jacks. Steamer turns over QJs for...Kicker plays! Not only was my hand best on the river, but it was best when I folded it on the turn. Argh....

And then....

LV opens in early position. She's a solid player (who reads this blog) who really doesn't get out of line much (especially against me from what I've seen). I find QQ in the hole and 3-bet. Somebody runs out of chips calling all these bets (getting all in) and LV 4-bets. I cringe and call. The flop is:


Where X != Q. LV bets and I think for a minute trying to come up with some possible way I can call. There are two hearts out there...I have the Queen of hearts. And I do have a back door straight ok fine. I fold my hand face up. LV collects the small side pot then turns over her set of Aces. Before I can even finish patting myself on the back the dealer burns and turns:


Aha! I have saved even more money! Behold my awesomeness. The burn and turn again brings:


That's right....running queens. 987 : 1. The table is generally amazed. I can only muster "What the...." and walk away from the table in confusion. I managed to make quad queens in a capped pot and not show down. Live poker is rigged....

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Return of Neal

I haven't been writing much lately, probably because I've been getting bored and just felt like I had nothing to interesting to talk about. Well, the best cure for that, as far as I can tell, is a 9 hour session with Neal. Many of you probably remember my previous post about the man, the myth, the legend that is Neal. Well yesterday he was in rare form.

I showed up at Bay 101 at 10:30am and promptly dusted off ~2 racks in an excellent 20/40 game. Neal walked in and a new game was promptly started around him. Bolly beat me to the table change list, but I was 2nd up to take my shots at the White Whale. Around noon I got my seat, stuck $900, and was astonished to find the Jesus Seat vacant. The player who was currently all in apparently had asked for the seat, but he lost the pot and wandered off, steaming about something or other and mumbling "Gut shot....". I couldn't give this chance up, so I promptly posted my big blind like 3 seats left of the big blind, before anybody could lay claim to my seat. Once I had a hand, I was bunkered down for the long haul.

And what a long haul it was. The thing about The Neal Game is that basically everyone except the most seasoned players goes completely batshit crazy. Neal is an obnoxious SOB, and that alone is enough to put many players on a form of soft tilt. Combined with the attitude that "I've gotta gamble it up with him" and "If everyone else can play that trash, so can I" pretty soon you've got yourself 8 handed raised pots 3 times an orbit. A dash of "Jesse in the Jesus Seat" and "JS the lag is two seats left of that" and all of a sudden the game is just off the chain nuts. Players who normally play well (or at least straight forward and non-awfully) start calling two cold with Q8s and A7o.

So we're muddling along, with basically everyone winning except Neal and I. He eventually gets into the game for 7 racks, and I'm not far behind him after I make my 3rd buy of the day. At my peak I was stuck about 2300, but dedicated to play through and not let his antics get to me (fwiw, I think I did an excellent job). In hour 6 I saw one of the most improbable poker events of my life: consequetive straight flushes in heads up pots.

Hand 1:

A tight regular and Neal go 5 bets preflop (the cap is 4, mind you, but it's heads up), with Neal putting in the last raise. The board on the turn reads:


And Neal gets to bet/3-bet the sucker. He bets the river, fast grabs his chips back after getting called, proudly displayes 53hh for the steel wheel 5 high straight flush, and procedes to call JS a fag for good measure (even though JS wasn't even in the hand).

Hand 2:

On the very next hand....JS open raises from very early, and Bolly 3-bets him. Somehow Neal actually folds, and the flop goes off heads up. I forget the board, but on the turn Bolly has an 8-high straight flush, which he eventually displays proudly. JS comments on his 3-bet with 7-high, and is met only by Neal's astute "Shut up you faggot." JS's girlfriend giggles in such a way that seems to say....well, I don't know what it said. But she did actually laugh.

So we're all continuing down our path of mutually assured destruction, one hand after another with everyone flinging their own feces back and forth and me just trying not to get too much of it on myself. Then I start to win....first a little, then a lot. Then the following super stupendously awesome hand happens:

Bolly limps in the AntiChrist seat, Neal limps, and I raise A8 sooooooted. 2 other players call and we see the flop 5 ways:

K84 with two hearts

It checks to Neal who bets, and I raise quickly and in rhythm. Everyone mucks back to Bolly, who calls two cold like it's nothin'. Neal 3-bets and I call only since I have, you know, second pair. Bolly takes one more on the chin and we see a turn of

A of hearts

Aiyah. Now the pot is huge (~10 big bets) and I have Aces up. Bolly checks and Neal bets. I think for a minute about this predicament...sure Bolly probably has a flush, but I mean, it's freakin' NEAL. Bolly left the reservation a while back, and he could have damn near anything. And did I mention I have Aces up? Folding is not an option, but raising would be suicidal, so I just call. Bolly turbo-raises and Neal calls. Now I am 100 percent sure Bolly has a flush (aside: A young pro at the 40/80 game said as I was showing down my Kings full the other day "He has Kings there 112% of the time. He always has at least 2, and 12% of the time he has a 3rd one"), but since Neal only called I'm priced in to my 4 outter. Had he 3-bet, I'd have made "the read" and done "the math" and "folded" without a second thought. Here's where this shit gets funny....

Players have been dark betting today (that's betting a street before the dealer exposes it). For some reason, it's just the hip thing to do. On one hand JS managed to dark bet every street with TT on a board of J83-4-4 and get paid off the full 2.5 big bets post flop by Neal (who flopped second pair of 8s). Bolly's been in on the act, too, and so has Neal. So, returning to our hand, remember, the board reads:


And Neal went batshit on the flop and Bolly has a flush with p=1. As the dealer is about to burn and turn Bolly dark bets the river...and Neal dark raises! As the dealer is cutting off the river card Neal is actually putting 16 chips into the pot...and then we see a gorgeous, beautiful, life-giving black Ace hit the felt. Before Bolly even knows what's happened I declare "3-bets" and pick up as many chips as I can with one hand and just put them in a stack in front of me without even counting them (they're coming back). Bolly folds his flush face up and Neal calls, fast-rolling the previous nut Queen High flush. My aces full is of course good and I drag in the monstrosity of a pot. For the next 5 minutes, JS and Neal discuss the various pros and cons of him not 3-betting the nuts on the turn and instead opting to dark raise the river. Neal is sure I would have called anyway. JS is sure (and right) that I wouldn't have. All I'm sure of is that I got out of dodge up $250 and happy as a clam.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Two Hands With Pete

April started off well for me. I actually woke up "early" (at least by my standards) and was seated in a game at Bay 101 at 10:30. That's AM. I managed to play an 8.5 hour day, thanks mostly to the fact that Pete sat in my game for the first half of the day, giving me someone to bullshit with and keeping my mind focused on something other than the idiocy going on around me. I had a few rough patches:

I raise 99. Only the blind calls.


He bets. I raise cause he's full of shit. He 3-bets cause I'm full of shit. I fold cause I mean shit....

He tables T8o and there is a general bruh-haha at the table. It think a lot of the regulars like it when somebody takes a stand against me and kicks my ass because they secretly wish they did it themselves more often. Anyway. Our first hand is pretty funny, and also short and sweet. Pete open limps from the Low-Jack. For a quick review of position.....

We have here a 10 handed table (the ones I play at seat only 9). Alice and Bob are the blinds, and Carol is UTG (under the gun). As far as I'm concerned, only 4 other positions have names. Jim is OTB (on the button, or just the button), David is in the CO (cutoff), Sally is in the HJ (high jack), and Ted is the LJ (lo-jack). Generally speaking other positions can just be named by their number of spots left of UTG (UTG+1, +2, etc). So anyway Pete open limps where Ted is. This is something I never do. I will open limp only from the very early seats. Once I get within smelling distance of the button, if nobody has entered the pot, I'm coming in for a raise only. The possibility of stealing the blinds, or at least getting heads up with one of them, is just too compelling. Pete doesn't quite buy this hook, line and sinker, so sometimes he limps the low jack (and maybe even the hi jack). Anyway, to Pete's horror the 3 players behind him fold, the small blind folds, and little old me gets a free look at the flop in the big blind. I happen to be holding J5 offsuit, a hand I'd muck in a second had Pete raised. And then....


I flop the stone cold nuts. Pete says, as the dealer is burning, "Just check and get it over with". I look at the flop, check, then raise after he bets. Sadly he calls only and folds on the turn. I show my hand, and once again there is a (smaller) bru-haha.

A while later these two awful fish limp and I elect the raise A9 offsuit in the high-jack. Pete calls in the big blind, and the flop comes down:

Q93 rainbow

Pete donks. He donks more than I do, which means he donks in places I don't think he should. So I put on my Pete cap and try to figure it out. I don't say anything yet, but about the only hands I personally would donk here would be JT and 33 (99 if he can have that, but a 3-bet preflop would be likely). Both the fish calls, thus eliminating the possibility of them having a single pair of queens, and I raise. Pete calls, and they both call. All of a sudden this pot is kind of large (8 big bets), and all I've got is position and second pair. Pete calling, by the way, is awesome, as it basically rules out him having anything that could possibly be beating me (the reason for donking with a set would be to get raised and then 3-bet).

Q93-K with a flush draw now

Pete re-donks, or as I often say double donks. Both the fish now fold (or maybe one of them folded the last street, I don't remember) and I actually say out loud "Man, he's got Jack-Ten." Pete, showman that he is, keeps a straight face and quietly waits. I decide I basically can't fold cause he always bluffs me off the best hand (I'm not sure how much of this I've written about on this blog vs two plus two vs just in emails to my friends, but Pete's gotten me to lay down a couple of winners in the last few weeks in some sizable pots) so I call. And then....


Ai Yah! I do believe I've got it! Unless he has Jack-Ten of course. Pete checks, and in the 3 seconds that follow I run through a hand from last week where I 3-bet Pete's CO open with 99. The board ran out:


And because I hate money I bet the river (you'll note I have the worst pocket pair at this point. Every other pocket pair beats me) and Pete check/raised my ass and because he always bluffs me off the best hand I called like a donkey and got shown 88. So anyway, back to the hand in question....

I check. Aces up, in position, on the river, and I check. Pete sheepishly tables Jack-Ten. I feel better about myself, at least for a while :)