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Mixed Hangover

I have a pretty bad poker hangover this morning, courtesy of the OE yesterday. Nope, not the OE of the 40oz variety, but OE of the poker variety, Limit Omaha 8 or Better and Limit Stud 8 or Better. Frankly, I wish it were from the OE.

The games in question were played at the Wall Street Game. The cast of characters included host Jamie, IHO Dawn, KJ, Man-of-Many-Nicknames Pauly, Johnny Darko, Wendy, and a newer player whose name I sadly cannot remember. We even had a dedicated dealer.

By the end of the night, I was down $90, which was actually an improvement from my $185 in losses just a little while prior. My losses probably came down to two things: (1) natural variance, and (2) playing too many hands.

It's all too easy for a losing player to blame variance, and I will immediately admit that variance was not the only reason for my losses, but it played its part. Once I got a handle on the way players were playing (could you believe that I started out too cautious!?), I then suffered a string of suckouts. Two pair lost to a lower two pair when the river in O8 brought their full house (two outs, naturally). Players hit their 2-card set playing pocket Kings in O8 after I flop yet again another top two pair. Players hit their 8-card straight after calling the flop with nothing but pocket jacks, turning the straight draw (which gave me the lesser straight) and rivering the four card out for thier miracle straight.

But, really, that's the nature of the game, particularly at the WSG. It's a limit game played, in this case, by no limit players, in a friendly environment, so people are more willing to draw to hands or play weaker hands, thereby sucking out.

I don't blame those people either, because if you are a seasoned O8 player, you probably already know what I did wrong. The answer is Two Pair. I was playing most hands, at least to the flop, once I got a handle on the fact that a lot of the players were doing the same. I was hoping to flop big and get paid, but invariably, I was only flopping strong but vulnerable hands. As a result, I played those strong but vulnerable hands to the river, even when the river was a doom card (with the action in play and the odd hand ranges, it was probably still worth calling the river bet). I had adjusted my game to play more hands with the thought that I would get paid off if/when I hit, but the proper strategy, in hindsight, was to tighten up and make my money in few pots with monster hands.

Frankly, I didn't get any monster hands, but at least I would have potentially saved some money by playing less hands.

Poker is all a work in progress, though, so I try not to cry into my breakfast sandwich. Instead, I hope to absorb the lesson inherent in my loss and move forward. No live poker is on the horizon, but I'll squeeze it in somewhere.

I had my favorite line of the night last night, and I hope it shows up on one of Dawn's blogs. We were discussing a player who was banned from the WSG for being a prick and accusing peope of cheating. The first time he was invited, he made a big fuss over our prop bets. We were betting on ranks to come out on the flop. For example, someone chose a 3, so if a 3 flopped out, the other players would pay him/her $1 (or $2 if it were the middle card on the flop). The dickhead of a player said that it was wrong for us to call out "3 on the flop!" because, as he explained it, if he had pocket 3s, announcing the flopped 3 might let everyone know that he hit his set (I kid you not). When he became a fussy baby over it and wouldn't budge, even in the face of the "floor staff" (host Jamie) I told him that he knew where the door was, and that he could leave at any time. Yeah, I'm a tough guy.

So, while chatting about the dickhead, the issue of a physical confrontation came up. I replied:

"I had a lot of pent up aggression. But I do most of my fighting with my mouth.........I'm a biter." Get it! Ah, screw you. It was funny at the game.

Eventually, I was down to about $15 or less in chips, while still firmly entrenched in a round of O8. I had enough and wifey Kim was waiting for me at home so I announced to the table that I was blind raising and trying to get all-in. I blind raised, got several callers, and then saw a three low-card flop. I put out my blind bet and then checked my cards. 2727, the Omahammer! I had already hit a low hand, but I had to assume that someone had A2 or even 25 or whatever other combos had my 27 beat on the 8-high board. Still, I had enough to so I kept on raising until three players saw the river and reached showdown. I don't remember what the high was, but believe me when I say that I was SHOCKED that no one had a better low. Just crazy.

I still was anxious to just "wrap it up" and since I only won 1/2 of the last pot, my stack was still around the $30 mark or less. KJ, meanwhile, was also on life support, so we agreed in front of everyone to just keep on raising until we were both all-in, blind. Literally, as the cards were dealt, KJ and I were the only two players standing up, already anticipating our action and the fact that we would both be leaving after we busted on this hand. And we were not even sitting next to each other, so it wasn't some sort of conspiratorial thing. We were discussing everything across the freaking table. Amazingly, though, KJ and I apparently have the same super powers as my older brother and I. My older bro, Keith, and I have the ability to talk out in the open without anyone hearing us. I think it has to do with my psychic abilities to create a sound-barrier wall through telekenisis, but Keith just insists that everyone knows I talk out of my ass so no one listens anymore. As KJ and I kept raising, the three other players in the pot kept calling, apparently oblivious to the fact that we were both flying blind. The flop came down KKx, and KJ and I checked our cards, even though we were going to raise and keep raising regardless. I looked down to KQxx. By the time we were all-in, the turn and river had made a possible low, KJ was all-in in the main pot, I had a tiny side pot, and a third side pot developed. And at KQ for three of a kind Kings, QX kicker held! KJ showed a weaker King, and everyone else mucked. What they were doing in that hand without at least a King (if not better) and no low, I have no idea.

We played another round of Stud8, in which I won a few pots. I have to give a lot of credit to Wendy in one hand, when she got Jamie and I to fold our superior hands to her Ace-high. Showing her hand was a nice touch. RESPECT!

When I left, I was happy that I somewhat recovered. I was terribly annoyed though, a reoccurring problem in my poker world. I need to refind that even keel.

As difficult as this was, I also came to another realization. Part of the problem with the WSG (for me) is the quality of the players. Even amongst the looser limit action, the quality of player is probably better than in a random casino. So, at least I can take some solace in knowing that it simply isn't the easiest game to beat.

That, and I really need to get to a casino.

* * *

Here's a 'quick' WSOP Prop Bet update, which I will probably have daily from here on out.

- I lead the Most Cash Won bet, thanks to Johnny Chan's 13th place finish in Event #8, the $10k Mixed Game Championship, good for $27,072. Fuel is on the board with $8,103 from Sorel Mizzi (68th place, Event 5, $1000 rebuy).

Ingoal- Ingoal leads the Most Cash Won bet thanks to Daniel Negreanu ($16,496, 22nd place, Event 5, $1000 rebuy).

UWannaBet - UWanna leds our Most FT/Bracelets bet thanks to Michael Binger (Final Table, Event 5, $1000 rebuy). He's ahead by $3.

Allen Cunningham is still in Event 10, $2,500 OE event, with 2/3 of the field gone. Greg Raymer is in it too, but needs to win the thing to give Ingoal any headway in our most-bracelets competition.

Wish me luck.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:35 AM,


At 12:42 PM, Anonymous Chuck said...

Figured I would make it two days in a row with a comment on your blog... since you are talking about my game and I don't have my own blog... I am playing far less than I used to but still play live O8 (of the 15/30 or 20/40 variety) about once a week (maybe a little less than that in the past couple of months)...

You wrote it as I was thinking it: Flopping two pair in O8 is a very scary hand -- even top two pair -- and should never be looked at as "flopping big" unless the other two cards give you a lot of additional potential. Two pair is particularly vulnerably when playing with loose players that see so much potential in all those combinations of cards in there hand. I will rarely bet two pair from early position (although I will sometimes check-raise it if I can isolate against a player that could have bet in LP with nothing).

Anyway, last night's game started shorthanded and we played the classic O8/A-5Triple Draw rotation for the first hour and change. Lots of fun. I have been running good for the last few months -- other than one ill-advised 36 hours in AC, I have not lost more than $200 in a single session (which at stakes of 15/30 or 20/40 is pretty nice).

Good luck.


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