Sorry to all of you who expected more from this blog. It’s been far too
long. My poker playing slowed over the last six
months. I was playing party poker bonuses at .50/1, but
there wasn’t much to report. In fact, I think during that time I
was regressing, only playing to get through the bonuses and thus not
really enjoying the poker. it wasn’t because of my last Vegas
experience in Jan., in which I booked my first major win. For
many reasons, my passion just got
sucked out of it. Last summer, poker was exciting – it was
a meaningful hobby. But other things began to take it’s place.
Well a few things have brought the fun back recently. First, the
last two weeks have featured a no limit ring game among friends here in
San Francisco. Last week I was up, this week I was even, but both
were great learning experiences. I haven’t played much no
limit overall, and it really brought some excitement back into poker
for me. We’re not playing for a lot of money, we’re drinking plenty,
and having fun.
From tonight, two hands stick with me. We’re 5 handed.
Playing .10/.20, I called a pre-flop raise of .30 with QTo from the big
blind. The flop comes 56T, with the 56 of spades. Three players.
One checks, I bet out 1.50, get raised by math-smart, somewhat unpredictable
player to 3.00. He had initially made the .30 raise and had position on
me. I call the additional 1.50, hoping for a blank and thinking
he might have been trying to push his straight or flush draw. The
next card is the 2 of clubs, a seeming blank. I then put him all
in for 8 bucks, about the size of the pot, he calls, shows me ATo.
Now I don’t know if I played this right. I felt like he could have been
pushing a draw or a weaker high pair, because he could make a move like
that and had position me. I figured that making a pot sized bet was my
only chance to win it and in fact 5 handed top pair solid kicker is not
a bad shot. I was worried about ATo or KTo because he made the
initial raise, but he could have had spades or a mid-pair like 88 and
made the raise. Still, perhaps because he made that raise I
should have been able to narrow his hand down further. He didn’t have
T9 or T8 because he wouldn’t have raised there, nor did he probably
have lucky two pair. Maybe JT, but probably not. With that in
mind, he either had a mid pair or he had me out-kicked. If that’s
the case, was my move right? I dunno.
Later on that night, we faced a similar situation but with more money
on the line. I had KJs in the big, called the pre-flop raise to
.50. Flop comes KQ4, rainbow. I check, gets bet to 1.50,
not by the raiser but by the same smart-unpredictable player, I put in
4, he calls. The turn is a 4, still rainbow, I bet 5, he goes all
in for 12 more. I call, he had K8o, hits the 8 on the river. My
call of 12 into the 39 dollar pot seems right. He didn’t raise
pre-flop, so I didn’t put him on KQ or AK. Unlikely for him to
have K4, even though he was in the big, and he wouldn’t have called my
bets on the flop with just a 4 or J4. He could have KT, KQ or K8, or just be on a bluff. But I felt I had it right.
An important point though: his outs weren’t just the 8s. The
remaining K, 4, or Aces would have split the pot – that’s 8 extra outs
for him. I’m still ahead by a decent margin with one to come, but it
still makes my decision a bit closer.
Both those losses felt terrible, but overall the fun was back in
poker. I still feel like I’m a shitty no limit player – I had great cards tonight and didn’t make a damn dime. I won a no
limit tournament among friends the other night, and I can only remember
two things from it. One, how shitty I played (how could I call with
second pair medium kicker with 2 to 1? what kind of hubris led me to do
that?). Second, and much more importantly, how much fun I’ve made
playing among friends for meager amounts.
And with that, I go to Vegas to play some more low limit among actual
human beings. Among a host of friends attending Defcon, I go with Doc Riley, the smart-unpredictable poker
buddy of mine, who I need to train to play low limit. I’ve reread
SSHE. I’m playing around with my simulator. I’m ready to hit the town, put on my table persona, and have a good time.
I hope I have half as much fun as Iggy,
Pauly, and Wil, among many others, have been having. Even though I haven’t been posting,
you bet I’ve still been reading. I was never really a full member of the poker
blogging community, devoting much more of my time to the copyfighters.
But I still get a kick out of the poker bloggers and wish I could put
my energy into hanging out with y’all too. You’re all
terrific and deserve all the attention you’re getting.