The Cards Spoke

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1/09/2004

 

Good things come to those who play tight


The Good: Flopping the nut flush on a $15-30 table, being bet into the whole way, and pulling in a $387 pot.
The Bad: Turning a full house, and having the board double pair on the river. $109 pot is split to the two fools holding a higher full house.
The Ugly: Tilting away a total of $300 after getting rags for an hour.

It began a cold and stormy night on the $3-6 tables. Our hero was mucking rag after rag, and became so bored he started semi-bluffing and drawing to hands that the pot odds didn't justify. The poker gods punished him, dealing him a few bad beats and not pairing his big offsuits. They looked on him in scorn and he felt their laughter rain down on him, as pixellated chips magnetically were drawn to fishy players.

Our hero drew comfort from the instant messages from another chip warrior. He laughed bitterly as he wallowed in the river, and vowed to get his revenge.

So he asked the poker gods for mercy, and sat with the mighty and the bigger fish at the $15-30 tables. He resolved to play correctly, taking few chances. He mucked and mucked, hoping to see a big pair before the blinds came around again. There were a few sharks, and several fish, and he roamed above the waters, waiting to pounce. His second hand, he took a chance and called a raise from the SB with pocket 2s. But no 2 on the flop, so he humbly mucked, and the poker gods were content. The orbit completed, and he was down $45. He resolved to play one more orbit, and hoped for a single big hand.

Rag after rag, he mucked anxiously. His time was running out. 3 more hands until the BB would end his session. The first card was the mighty Ace of spades... and he found his hand filled with the 8 of spades and had to quickly decide whether to call or fold. The player UTG limped before him. He figured this was his last chance, and hesitantly called. The table was respecting calls from early position, and he hoped he could limp in to a multiway pot.

To his dismay, it was folded around to the SB, who raised. But the BB called, along with the UTG limper, so he called the raise, making it 4-way. The computer hummed, and his heart leapt as he saw the black cards hit one after the other. He had flopped the nut flush. Thank you poker gods.

He pondered how to extract the maximum number of bets. But before he could think, the SB bet out, and was called by the 3 limpers. He smooth called, waiting for the turn to raise.

But the turn was another spade, making his hidden flush less valuable. The SB bet out, one call, one fold. To raise or not to raise? He didn't want to scare anyone out, and figured that he could get another bet and call on the river, so he just called.

The river was the horrible, ugly, 5 of spades. Not only was a straight 4-flush on the board, but it killed his action. He didn't fear the 4-flush, but sadly watched the 2 players check to him. He bet, and was called... the SB showing AQ, with the queen of spades as the $387 pot finally floated his way.

#325217303: hdouble wins $387 from the main pot with a flush, ace high with ace kicker.

I'm not sure if I should have raised the turn, but hey, I'll take it. That one hand turned a $300 losing session to a $100 loss in a matter of minutes. For the record, I was drinking Guinness #2 when the I hit the hand (currently imbibing number 4). Regular, not extra stout, like one NL multi-fiend and guinness addict prefers.

Although I don't recommend this desperation style of poker, I do have to say that playing at the outer reaches of your bankroll is guaranteed to make you play more solid poker. "You gotta play where it hurts to lose!" says Doyle, and I think good players perform better when the stakes are higher. I know I play sloppier at the lower levels, rationalizing drawing to pots that aren't laying good odds with the thought "it's only $3". I have to remedy this quickly.

One of the best scenes in Woody Allen's movie "Sweet and Lowdown" is when Sean Penn (playing the idiotic musical prodigy) enters a small-town talent show and blows away the hicks with his masterful guitar playing. They refuse to give him the cash prize, as he is obviously a hustler. His buddy tells him, "Why do you have to play so good?" Penn replies, "I can't remember the tunes if I don't play good."

The main leak in my game is impatience. If I go several orbits without picking up a playable hand, I loosen up a bit, and find myself playing hands like QTo from early position. This leak is getting expensive. If I get 1 playable hand per orbit, I can stay sharp... I think this is why playing 2 tables helps my game. You're almost guaranteed to get a playable hand out of the 20 you are dealt in the single 2-table orbit.

Mrs. Double starts the new job at the posh Beverly Hills Hotel on Monday. So we're both off this weekend. What should we do to celebrate? You guessed it, VEGAS! Well, state line anyway. We're taking off tomorrow morning and will be staying at Buffalo Bill's, one of three small casinos on the Nevada state line, about 3.5 hours from LA. It saves us an hour by not driving all the way to Sin City, and yes, there is a poker room. The game is 1-4-4-8 spread, which I don't like, but at least you get to see more hands (a max of $4 to see the flop makes the implied odds quite good). It's been a long time since I've sat in a B&M, so it will be cool to play a lot of hands.

But I can't miss the games tomorrow, so hopefully we can beat the traffic and get there before the morning game.

Check back on Sunday for the report.

Don't let the fish bite ya, and don't forget to ram and jam.



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