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Hurgón de Puero Rico

"If you want to play poker, you can."

I thought for a moment. It sounded like a trap. A few days ago, wifey Kim and I discovered the poker room at the Intercontinental Hotel, mere feet from our hotel. No games were running and the prime time tournament, which started nightly at 8pm was definitely not a possibility, but cash games ran after the tournaments, and it was a tempting thought. But I wasn't in Puerto Rico for poker, I was in Puerto Rico for wifey Kim.

"Is this a trap?" I figured I'd lay it all out on the line. "I didn't say anything about poker this entire trip and you've brought it up four times tonight." It sure felt like a trap. Wifey Kim usually never gives me guff about poker, but this WAS our vacation, and I did my best to curb my urges.

"No. I know you like to play and I'm really tired. I'm just going to fall asleep soon." It was true, too. Wifey Kim was never a late night partier, and once hours in the sun are factored in, even the night owls among us can feel sleepy. We had a full day too, spending tons of time in the pool, and walking a long way on the beach before we stopped at a nearby hotel with lounge, where we met Burke, a California lawyer and (get this) online gambling writer for The Reporter, a UK publication. We'll be heading to Salami on Monday for those interested in joining.

After stopping at the rooftop lounge for drinks, we headed back to our hotel for dinner and more drinks. I felt pretty worn out too, but poker was sounding better and better. I began to gather up my things. "Okay, honey, but I'll be back soon." I called Intercontinental to check if a cash game was going. "5/10, sir." "Limit?" "Yes." And I was on my way.

I noticed on my walk over that I was moving at casino-speed, a heightened walk that I naturally switched to in the vicinity of gambling. Once inside, I made my way quickly to the poker room, lest security realize that I was dressed in raggedy shorts and a t-shirt. I grabbed a seat, put $200 on the table, and received my chips.

Interestingly, the table was full of old white men, well Puerto Rican men, but really, white and Puerto Rican are for the most part the same thing. However, there was one younger guy the token Asian. He spoke Spanish, but he was also the only player to sometimes turn to me and speak English. For the most part, I couldn't follow the constant yammering at the table, but I was more interested in the universal things, like bet sizes and players' reactions.

All I can say is that these fuckers played the loosest brand of poker I have seen outside of a 2/4 Limit No Fold'em Game. There was one player particularly on my left who would call everything, unless, of course, he was raising.

I decided to play tight after limping a couple of hands and inevitably folding. Finally, I got my first and only big hand, AA. I raised preflop to $10. I got about 5 callers. The flop was K75, rainbow, and felt confident to bet out $10. That's right. $10 on the flop. For some reason, it was perfectly acceptable to raise $10 at any time, including preflop. I would have raised to $15 preflop if I had realized this, but until that point, I only saw players raise to $10 preflop, and assumed that the $10 raise was not in effect until the flop.

Whatever the case, I raised to $10 and received about 4 callers. The turn was a Queen, and I bet out $10 again, receiving three callers. The river was a Jack, and I bet ten. The only caller was the loose guy on my left. I showed my AA and raked in the pot. He claimed to have AK, and I said in Spanish, "I needed another Ace to get more money." We both chuckled. It was largely a friendly game.

I continued to try to play tight, although I did limp with some god awful cards because of the implied odds. I knew I was going to be called down to the river. In MP, I played 56c for $5, along with probably 8 out of the 11 people (we started with 10, but another player was added to the only cash game going). The flop was 566, with two diamonds. A player in EP bet out $10, and there was one caller before I called. Two callers called after me. I was hoping for a diamond. The turn was an offsuit 2. The EP bettor bet out $10 again, and I flat called. I believe this was my error in the hand. Since everyone was raising, and I was probably facing at least one or two drawing hands, I should've raised here. Whatever the case, the two other players called and we saw an offsuit Ace on the river. The first player bet $10, and I raised to $20. Both players after me folded, and the bettor called. I showed my full house and took down the pot. In hindsight, I think the last bet was a moot point. If I flat call, I probably get at most one caller after me, since at least one of those players were on a missed draw. At least if I bet, I guarantee that the initial bettor will call (it was that type of table) and it was a possibility that someone else would call. Still, I missed a bet or two on the turn.

After that, I tried to play tight again. I limped in position on a few hands when there were multiple limpers, hoping to catch another monster. I even put on my iPod to give me something to do while I waited for better cards. I noticed that some Americans were joining the table and the loose Puerto Ricans were slowly leaving. I also noticed that I wasn't having fun. Grinding at limit poker can really be a bore, and I missed wifey Kim. In a sense, its silly. I'd spent almost every hour with her for days while on vacation, but knowing that she was so near and I was not there made the grind all the more difficult. I finally waited for the BB to come around and then packed it up, less than 2 hours from my starting point with $75 profit. I wished the table buena suerte, which I hope means good luck and not good sweat, and then exited. And, yes, when I got back to the room, wifey Kim was sleeping. She's still sleeping now. How cute.

On Monday, I look forward to meeting up with Burke to head to the Salami tournament. I offered it to him on a whim and he thought it might make a good article for The Reporter. On Wednesday, I'm joining Robbie Hole to a new "homegame". I use quotation marks because it is run by a sorta boss of his, and they take a freaking rake. However, its a $40+10 tournament, so I might as well go and have fun. Besides, I always seem to excel at these types of homegames. Poker everywhere, people. Everywhere.

Until next time, make mine poker!

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:49 PM,

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