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Cock the Hammer, Fumble the Bullets

Hi all. Last night I played at Chris's home game. The game was some of the most frustrating loose action I have ever experienced. There were eight people at its most full; .25/.50 blinds. $20 buy-in. I know a lot of the action was because of the small blinds. Some of the players literally limped in every hand. A six-way pot was not uncommon last night.
It started off well for me. At one point, I was up approximately $35, maybe more. I whooped ass with subtle plays, and minimal bluffs (this was afterall, a loose game). I'd like to highlight a couple of hands in particular, which really stuck with me.
Early in the evening, when there were only 4 players, I was getting blinded to death. With about $9 left, and 6 people at the table, I raised to $3 on the button, with 72o (aka, the hammer). I know. I'm sorry. But I thought that the players saw my relatively tight table image, and I wanted to change up my play. Two callers, at least. I think 3. The flop was K87 rainbow. Check, check, check, and I raise all in for approx. $6.50. Hey, I had low pair, which alone is miserable, but I also was the initial aggressor and wanted to represent an overpair (AA) or Ks. Plus, I sensed weakness all around. Well, it worked. And I showed my hammer. I am still proud of myself on that play. Side note: I was later told by the player on my left, Rouss (pronounced Roose), that he had an 8. So, a successful bluff took out the better hand. Why did it work? I'd say a lot of luck. That, and I had a good strategy on the hand. I knew I was last to act on the button. I had decided pre-flop that I was cool with going all in. And at a loose table, I may have even been called by an AQ, or an under pair. Especially, with my seemingly obvious position raise. You've got to keep one step ahead.
Now, the hammer was successful for me, but the bullets, nope. I have to give a big F you to Chris, who was dealing the cards while I returned from a quick jaunt into the kitchen. When I got back to the table, I saw an As face up at my position. He flubbed the deal. But, since everyone saw what a great card he flubbed, they all decided to deal it out just to see what I would have had. AA both black. Damn that Chris. Damn him to hell.
I got the bullets one more time. I was in the big blind, and at least 6 of 7 people had limped in (remember how loose of a game it was). Now, I was faced with a decision. On a prior occassion at this game, I raised a shit load pre-flop and got one serious mark to call and then fold post-flop. With this many people limping in, I thought maybe I'd get one or two callers. So I raise it to $5. Everyone folded like an oragami convention. I guess, in the end, it was a good hand. I picked up about $3, and I avoided going into a flop with so many players. Someone could have easily hit two pair, a set, or worse. But it still stung. I guess I have to remember the words of Doyle Brunson (paraphrased of course): with bullets, you either win small or lose big. I guess I won small.
Okay, now here is a hand that is the very incarnation of my poker weakness. I was in the big blind with 84os. At least 6 people limp in, myself included. The flop came down 567, with two clubs. What's a man to do. The small blind checks, I check (knowing that someone in this loose table will bet), Ruff (a solid player) raises 1$, some folds, and the button goes all in for $6.25. I was up about $20-40 at the begining of this hand. I saw the flush draw, so I decided to isolate. I moved all in. Rewind a bit. As soon as I saw the flop, I felt danger. Someone was going to have the 89, completing the nut straight. And that someone was going to be Ruff. My hunch was right. Ruff called my all in (which put him all in for about 25$, on top of the 6.25$). The button has 34, for the low straight. I had 84 for the medium straight. And Ruff, like clockwork, had the 89 suited clubs. Ruff took the hand. I suck. If I need to learn anything, I need to learn how to lay down strong hands. Ruff later told me that he would've gone all in over the top if I merely called the button's all in. I would have been put on a hard decision, and ultimately probably have called. Its a hard thing, folding a solid, made hand. But it will save me money in the long run. Live and learn. Nice hand, Ruff.
To finish this post, I want to discuss my (and the) final hand of the night. I had about $7 left, and was looking at A3os (off suit, which means of two different suits if you are a non-poker player) in the big blind. Now, this was the loose table, and I was ready to call it a day. Do I stick around for another 10 min or so (when the game was scheduled to end), with shitty cards, losing blinds, and then cash out with whatever measly chips I had left. Nah, with the first to act, a tight player, raising it to $1 total, and the big stack calling after him, I went all in. The tight player, Chris, folded (Q9 suited), and the big stack called. He had KJos. The flop was A3x with two spades. I was elated. The turn and river were spades too. The KJ beat me with the nut flush. His K was a spade. Damn it. I could have sat there upset at the hand, but I got up and left (upset at the hand). I was happy the night of ridiculous poker was over. I lost $20, but no pride. And $20, is a mere dent in my winnings for 2005.

On a side note, after my last hand, a couple of players were telling the big stack that he was nuts to call my all in with KJ. Number 1, if someone is a bad poker player and he is not your friend, don't insult his play. He may learn something and play better. This happened earlier in the night, when the big mark of the game called a $15 all in with nada because he had so much money in already. Stupid for him. Great for me (not for that hand, but down the road). So will everyone stop encouraging my competition to get better. Number 2, I think it was a smart play on his part. He was up near $100, and $6.50 or whatever, was not a huge dent for him. He could have been facing an underpair, or an AQ. Either way he was not entirely screwed. So, for all you who insulted the big stack's play, I was the one that was consequently screwed, and I'm not crying. So shut the F up! I spent the subway ride with the big stack complimenting the play. Because next time, I'll have KK, and he'll be screwed. Ka Ching!

posted by Jordan @ 8:39 AM,

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