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But What About the Children?!?!?!

Last night, I made my way over to Brooklyn (thankfully, just one subway stop into Brooklyn) to play some 1/2 NLHE for charity. The game was arranged by Pervy Pauly of the Wall Street Game, also known as Ham Hands Pauly (or Paul-in-the-Hamily), due to Pauly's ability to hide his hole cards beneath his behemoth-sized hands.

The game in and of itself was fun, helped in large part by the easy-going group, a mix of Wall Street regulars like Darko and Wendy, familiar faces like Bacini Mary, and a couple of other people I had played poker with in the past at the WSG.

The game had a half-hour time charge of $5. For those uninitiated, a time charge takes the place of rake in a lot of underground rooms and in some of the legal poker rooms around the country. Instead of taking money from each pot, every thirty or sixty minutes the players pay time to the house. The obvious problem, from a player's standpoint, is that, as with any rake, your win rate has to exceed the rake to make a profit. It's just another hurdle to jump. Normally, in a home game, I would refuse rake unless I'm getting a lot for my money (free food and drink). For Pauly and charity, though, it was an absolute pleasure.

Still, I could've gone without losing my $200 buy-in.

The game started out well enough. I was able to take down some considerable pots early without a showdown. I did, however, talk myself out of a good pot when I started jabbering away to Michael when we were heads-up in a hand. I held AA and wanted some action, so when I bet big on the 234, two diamond flop and he hesitated, I thought I could possibly talk him into calling. As soon as I started, though, I could see that he gave up. I made the stupid error of letting him ask me a question: Do you have a pair? I could've lied, but as I've said here before, most people have a natural inclination to answer truthfully when faced with a direct question. So, I admitted that I had a pair, hoping to look like I was bullshitting. I don't know if he saw through it or if the bet was just too much for him to call with A4 (the hand he claimed to have), but when he folded, I basically dodged other questions, while implying that I had 77.

Still, I was up probably $100 or so after a while. Sadly, it wasn't meant to be. In one hand, I faced Dave, a player who I thought was reserved, but turned out to be rather looser than I first expected. In the particular hand, I called a raise from him with 9Td preflop. By then, I had seen him make plays with crap cards and I figured if he did have a hand, a drawing hand like 9Td could be very profitable if it hit. The flop came down Ten high and I decieded to call his bet. The turn was a blank, but I chose to just call his bet again. I wasn't sure if he had a higher pocket pair or if he had jack squat, and I figured that as long as he was making the bets, I didn't have to. He checked the Ace river, so I checked as well. He showed A2d and announced, "I sucked out on you." I mucked and said, "Yes you did. Nice hand."

For what its worth, I kept my frustration to myself. Truth be told, it wasn't that bad, and it was a friendly group, so I could make my snarky comments to ease the burn a bit. My favorite of the night was when David quipped after playing bad cards, "It's not me playing, it's the Scotch." I chimed in, "Then quit drinking, because the Scotch is much better at poker than you are." Laughs all around, which is always my goal. I joke about the tension to defuse it.

Admittedly, one of my bigger problems was playing speculative hands to raises, particularly after I was sporting a nice stack. I eventually gave most of my profit away on bluffs and bad calls, eventually down to about $100, when I doubled up against Max, a guy on my immediate right who was having a hard trouble gaining traction at the table. The hand played itself. I held KQh, called his preflop raise with a few other players, flopped top two, and let him bet into me until he was committed to call my river all-in, where I hit another King for the nut full house. He called and showed KJs, and I was back to healthy.

That is, I was back to even for a bit, but I once again continued my shitty calls and ill-timed bluffs, one against Darko when he turned three Aces along with his King kicker. No chance I was betting him out of the pot. Nice pot, Darko.

My final hand, though, was a doozy. I had 109$ left and Dave raised from early position to $12. I had seen him raising with speculative hands, so I wanted to try my first preflop re-raise. Max called the $12 raise and when the action got to me, I looked down to see 2h7d, the Hammer. I figured now was as good as ever and raised to $34, basically leaving myself three green $25 chips behind. I planned on pushing the flop if all went well. Dave called, Max folded and we saw an all heart flop, T74. When Dave checked, I decided to make my play, pushing all-in. To my amazement, he called and we agreed to table our hands. I showed the hammer, he showed KK. Lemon! At least he didn't have a heart, so my heart flush draw was still good. Two cards later, though, and all was lost. The pot was pushed his way and I tucked my tail between my legs and left.

It was probably not even 10pm at that point, but once again I felt that urge to leave the poker. I don't want to call it boredom. It isn't boredom. It's something else. I think largely, it was the feeling that my image was shot, the game was going to be called at 11, and I didn't think I had it in me to win back enough of my stack within the time limit. Losing begets losing, and I've tried my best lately to walk away when I am down, lest I make matters worse.

I paid an extra $10 to the charity for the hour I would miss. It was the least I could do for the host and the dedicated dealer, who was actually the inspiration behind the charity game. For the record, the charity was Juvenile Diabetes, and the dealer was not a juvenile, just someone who had become active in the charity. Next week, I hope we can have a game for Adult Diabetes and we can play poker against a bunch of kids. At least I'll have a chance of winning...if not in poker, than in a fist fight after the game.

Poker is also up for tonight. I'll be heading to the Wall Street Game for some .50/1 NLHE at around 9pm. Before that is a satellite tourney at the WSG. Jamie has set up a satellite system to get into a one-table tournament for a $2000 WSOP seat and travel expenses. The only problem for me is that I cannot commit to a $2k event, particularly since it has to be a 2k event, and not just any event under 2k. The 1.5k events are generally more plentiful and easier to schedule. Regardless, I commend Jamie for yet another creative home game idea, and I'm more than happy to take chips from the post-tourney players, still reeling from being busted.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:25 AM,

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