Sunday, August 29, 2010

I Love Poker

Yesterday, I got a call from my friend Terry about a Texas Card Players Association game that was to have been held not far away from the house.  Before her call, I hadn't played poker for a week, and that's a long time for me.

Wouldn't you know it, I get all set and ready to go and as I'm driving to the game, Terry calls to say it's been canceled because TABC came in.  I'm not really clear on why they shut the game down.  It was being held at a Hyatt, but I think it had to do with the service of alcohol and the event not being licensed to do so or the fact that the Hyatt served alcohol or something along those lines.  At any rate, lots of people were turned away.

I was bummed, but got back in touch with Terry and my other poker friend, Ann, who had news of another game further down the road (New Braunfels), but at a much greater buy-in ($250 vs $550).  Well, I was in the mood to play so the higher cost didn't deter me. 

Ann and Terry and I are realllllly serious about poker.  We rail each other on-line, play a monthly game (if not more often), serve as each other's sounding boards, and have started meeting weekly (or as often as our schedules allow) to go over the books we're reading and to discuss strategy.  I think it's helped my game a lot.

One thing that Ann's been doing is to take pieces of other players' action as well as giving pieces to select players, and staking or being staked.  Hearing that, I decided to take a stab at getting staked/taking and giving a share of myself, too.  Since Ann and I were both going to play the $550 tourney, I felt good that at least one, if not both, of us would money and we'd at least get our buy-in back.  And that's exactly how it worked out.

I ended up having 2 others with a piece as well and it did affect my game in the sense that I really wanted to do well to show that I'm a good investment.  I was mindful of the fact that I was sitting at the table with 3 other people on my shoulders rooting me on, even if they weren't actually present. I think taking/giving pieces with people whose game you respect is good.  If you don't have to get backers, though, that's even better (because then ALL the money you win is yours, and that's the best).  I'll still be glad to trade pieces with Ann and Terry in the future, because I respect their games, but will take the backing on a tournament by tournament basis from now on.  Will probably revisit that when next year's Main Event rolls around.

Last night's tourney was held at a great hole in the wall bar/restaurant in New Braunfels.  For your buy-in, you got all you could eat of some great, greasy, hole in the wall Texas comfort food, and all you could drink of some great, ice ice cold beer, tea, water, soda, or whatever you wanted.  Just like in any other card room, some beautiful young lady was taking food and drink orders, so you didn't even have to leave the table.  They even brought in a masseuse!

 Twenty-five people signed up to play and only five of us were women. 15,000 in chips and 20 minute blinds, starting at 20/50.  After we drew for seats, 3 of the 5 women (me, Becky and Mary) were seated at the same table and right next to each other (in seats 2, 3, and 4) - crazy. 

Most of the group had played together before and several were people who've had great runs in both on-line and WSOP and WPT tourneys.  Larry and Mark are two players in particular who've made several runs deep in WSOP Main Events and both were at yesterday's final table.  Mark was a bubble boy.  Larry moneyed.  I guess as the buy-in implies, these people play, they're good, and they know poker.

Because they'd never played with me, they couldn't figure me out at all.  After several 4bets (me back at them), though, I finally started getting some respect.  One entailed me showing As (because the guy I 4bet also had As and so of course we were AIPF (I had him covered)).

The other was a standard button raise where I was trying to get short stack (SB) out.  She was AI regardless of my button raise.  I was aiming to get BB to fold (I'll call him bberry b/c he kept checking his Blackberry).  He didn't though.  So, when I cbet the flop (with nothing), he agonized whether to call.  Of course I wanted him to fold but wasn't wild about having to show my hand when/if he did.  But I was taking the pot whether he called or not.  He folded and was aghast to see my K9s.  Turn came a K, though, so he should've been relieved.

Bberry and I had tussled a few hands earlier in what could've been a disaster hand for me.  Still 3 tables and blinds at 150/250 (I think).  The chips were hard to read and when it folded to me, I looked down at AJs in HJ.  I thought I'd put in a standard 3xbb raise, but I'd misread the chips. So instead of a $750 raise, I'd made it $1500 to go.  When the dealer called out my raise, I said "Oh, I meant..." and looked at the chips and then shut up.  CO folded and Bberry looked at me and raised to $3000.  Folds back around to me.

I was pissed.  I'd made a mistake in my bet.  What do I do now?  Something in the way he looked at me and raised made me thinking he'd caught the fact that I'd made a mistake and might fold.  To hell with that, I made it $10,000.  That would've left me with room to work, but a shorter stack.  He agonized and agonized and folded.  Later said he had queens,, I don't believe that.

I picked up good hands when I needed them and picked up blinds with position and well-timed raises also when I needed to.

I only played one hand where luck was involved.  When we got to the final table (10-handed), the blinds were creeping up such that I needed to make a play fairly early on.  After a few orbits, it folded to SB and he raised my BB.  I looked down at T5s.  I thought if I shoved I could get him to fold and I could chip up.  He didn't fold, though.  Instead, he turned over KTo.  Ugh.  Turn brought me a 5 though - wheeeeee!

After that, nobody knew what the hell I was doing.

My nemesis Bberry would not die.  He'd somehow luckboxed his way into the final table but was shortstacked the entire time.  He didn't play a hand until we got 6-handed and both of those hands were premium.  He doubled up with Ks and then 2 hands later he picked up As.  Better to run good late then early, huh?

Payout was to begin once we got down to 4-handed.  When we got to 5-handed, though, we were all relatively even.  Because of the blinds (capped at 10,000/20,000), it had turned into a blind v blind shove/luck fest.  After every orbit a new person had the opportunity to be short stack or big stack and we were no longer playing poker!

 At that point, Larry wisely suggested a 5-way chop with each of us pocketing $2500. Bberry (who'd been milking his shortstack the whole time until he picked up the two premium hands and was suddenly  3d in chips) and Fred (chip leader at that point) both said no, while the rest of us were game.  We tried to explain to them that things would/could change quickly, but they weren't having it.

Fast forward 5 orbits and the blinds have eaten into both of their stacks.  I'm now 2d in chips and Larry is now 1st in chips.  Bberry raises AI on my BB and I had him covered.  Larry folds SB and I look down at 23o.  I count out my chips and start calculating odds.  I start talking to him about my hand and how I don't think I can fold, trying to get information.

He is squirming and looks sick like he's begging me to fold.  I ask him - "you want $2500 or $500?"  He did not hesitate - "Let's chop...mumble, mumble, mumble."  I ask if everyone agrees, we all do and then he says, "Show your hand!  Show your hand!"  I turn over the 23o and he looks at me like he wants to kill me while the whole table erupts in laughter.  But the best was Larry grabbing me for a big hug and whispering to me that I was a "helluva player."  That was better than the money!  Well, almost... =)

Larry made the dealer run the hand and lo and behold, I'd have turned a 3 to bust Bberry's Q9o.  Wheeeee!

Of course Bberry had to come up to me too and tell me how I'd never have called with 23o, how that was the worst hand in poker, how that was stupid and just otherwise criticizing my play.  I asked him if he'd ever run the hand in pokerstove and he looked at me like I was talking a foreign language.

It's ok - he'll get another chance.

And so will I.

With last night's win (after paying stakers) and my PokerStars check (which came in the mail Saturday), my BR now stands at $2100.  Only $7900 to go and I'll have next year's WSOP ME buy-in covered (Dad, if you're reading this, I hope you're already contemplating staking me!!!).

Well, thanks for reading this far and I'd love to hear your comments and/or about your own games!

Until next time, good luck at the tables!

Edit - I forgot to say THANK YOU to everyone who railed me on Twitter.  Thank you!  It was so much more fun having you guys "around"!  


  1. If you give up law and poker, you should be a writer. I felt like I was there....

    On your shoulder,
    Terry aka txcardslinger

  2. You were great!!!!!!! Way to go! You gave away NOTHING! Ann

  3. Aw!! You guys are my rocks!! Thanks for reading and thank you for your comments - looking forward to our next game! =)

  4. It was a real nice blog. (I'm glad you are off that Annie Duke thing) The pictures were good too. I didn't understand half of what you said, but you won something and that's good. Love, Mom

  5. WTG! Nice blog, goes to show, poker is not always about the cards but the people. Chewey

  6. Chewey - thank you for the comment! And you said it - not about the cards. Really appreciate you reading, I'm about the check out your blog now! Thanks again.

  7. Hey Pokerlawyer - Just read that you are right on track to challenge Ivey on Fulltilt, very good!! However, there are probably better ways to spend your bankroll ;-))

  8. Excellent point, Nils! Nope, I already deposited that money into the bank, in a special account I like to call "Poker Earnings." =) I'll definitely need a much bigger bankroll before I ever consider taking on someone like Ivey!!

    Where are you from, anyway? I love that you come back and check out this blog - thanks so much for reading and commenting. Please let me know how you're game is going.

  9. I would like to order a t-shirt. Do you have any that would fit a whale? And it will need to have a blow hole.

  10. Why do I always get the chance to stake after the money's in your pocket? Pops

  11. hi Pokerlawyer, I am from The Netherlands. Poker is going okay now, but in my case this basically means that it doesn't cost me money, no huge profits unfortunately :-( I also have a special bank account for poker, that makes it more clear to see the results. On Full tilt I play the small stakes, 0,1/0,25 and sometimes 0,25/0,5, but then you are already playing against a lot of pro's that are pretty good. I don't know which games you are playing, but perhaps i see you at the virtual tables :-)

  12. Came across this old blog….I miss those days !



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