Poker Update

I had a plan going in. Or at least something to work on.

Objective: Play less hands. On the hands I do play, play them more aggressively.

I achieved my objective. It worked well. Every hand I played I felt confident I had the best hand or could bluff the other folks out. I did.

But I didn’t get many cards. I suppose I got fair share of A-J and K-10 sort of hands. But I never saw a pair over an 8, I never had a hand that was an obvious “get all the money in the post” kind of hand. Every time it was a decision. That’s good for practicing poker skills but not for actually winning.

There were two mistakes I made. Near the end I had 10-9 suited in early position. I was thinking that if I raised the blinds I was pretty sure I could steal it. The problem was that the blinds were at 200-400 and I had 2400. So raising would cost me half my stack. I decided to just call. The flop was 10-x-x. I called the 850 all in bet and lost to the 10-J. That knocked me down to 1,200. I was annoyed – if I had trusted my read and raised pre-flop I would have stolen the blinds. Still, tough to risk that much.

The most frustrating part of the night was the pace. We were getting in about 8 hands a round. There is one guy who always forgets to shuffle the deck. It’s not malicious, he’s just a space case and forgets that it’s his job to shuffle the deck after dealing. So we always have to wait. On three different rounds that cost me when the blinds went up due to his delays. Other people weren’t much better. Aimlessly sitting around when they are the dealer, not realizing it’s their turn to bet, etc. It’s one thing if it’s a social talkative night, that’s part of the fun. But this was just annoying. And as small stack, it killed me.

Unlikely hand of the night I was involved in: At 100-200 the blinds are raised to 650. I have A-J. The raiser has been raising a lot and could easily have something weak. I decide to call, hoping to bluff him off post-flop. We get one more caller behind me. The flop is J-x-x. The initial raiser puts in 1,000. I only have 1,700. I still half-think he’s weak, or at least has a worse kicker than me. I push all-in. The player behind us thinks for a long time and finally folds. It turns out that all three of us had A-J. What are the odds? It also shows the kind of night I had. I split the pot and earned the split of the third players money, but I had to earn it. I had to make a tough raise to eke out even a little profit.

Unlikely hand of the night I wasn’t involved in: The two big stacks raise and re-raise each other pre-flop and eventually both of them go all-in. They each had pocket aces.

Now the blinds were at 300-600. I have 1,600 left. I have to make a move before the blinds get to me. In dealer position I have a pair of 8s. Someone else has bet it up to 2,400. Close call for me. If he has two high cards I want to call and play out the coin flip. If he has a higher pair I am screwed. I decide not to risk it, he told me that he had two high cards. Dang. A few hands later I went all-in with Q-9. I felt like I had no choice. I was called by A-7 and got knocked out.

Oh well, that’s how it goes. It was a fun night. For the most part I thought I played well. Heck, throw in one more strong hand and I would have had enough chips to start making a difference.

Tonight: -$20

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