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It Dawns on Me

Somewhere in the middle of the .50/1 $100 max NLHE homegame, Dawn made this comment: "I'm glad Jordan won that hand. It's easier for me to take it from him." Dawn's plan seemed like a simple one. Let Jordan accumulate chips and then fleece him for all he has. Part one of her plan went very well. Part two, not so much...

I have been fighting a nasty cold these last couple of days, and work has been so busy that I've felt actually stressed out for the first time in months. (In fact, this post is my two-minute breather, to prepare for the rest of the day). So, when I realized it was time to meet SoxLover and wife and head to Dawn's homegame, I was actually on the fence. I had backed out of Dawn's games a handful of times and only attended once, so I felt somewhat obliged to go (not by Dawn, but by my own standards to which I hold myself). The game had changed from a $50 max to a $100 max, which concerned me a bit, but I decided to bite the bullet.

Before we entered Dawn's building in Brooklyn, Sox, SoxWife and I headed to a corner deli. I wasn't drinking, but I did pick out three $1 scratch off Lotto cards. I fanned them for my two chauffers. "Take one, for the ride." They both took their selections.

Scratch-offs are pretty normal for me. I don't get them more than maybe once every two or three months at most, but they make a fine impulse buy. In fact, one of wifey Kim and my traditions is to give her grandfather lotto cards as a birthday gift. If he's turning 80, we buy him $80 worth of cards ($1, $2, and even $5 and $10 amounts). One year, he ended up winning over $150. When he was done scratching, the dinner table was covered in the scratch-off shavings. But I digress.

To my delight, Sox and SoxWife were newbies to this absurd form of gambling. To their delight, Sox won $2 immediately. Ever the kind gentleman, he handed me back the $1 and kept the $1 profit. SoxWife took a bit longer, but sure enough, she picked a winner also, for another $2. She, too, redonated to me, keeping the $1 profit. I, on the other hand, lost....twice. I can't help but roll over a little bit of my psuedo-Sox-winnings.

So, basically, I didn't expect much. I was already down $2 before I entered Dawn's apartment. The players are a nice crew. As mentioned, Dawn, Sox and SoxWife were there. Alceste was there as well with his work underling, a friendly chap named Brian. Brad from Ship It Fish was there. He was clearly taking the game very seriously, and I heard that he played a lot of hands. What I saw pretty much confirmed the rumors. Whatever the case, I knew he wasn't just playing for the hell of it, so I kept him on my watch list. Mary was there as well. She's been friendly in the few occassions that we've met, and I regard her as a steady, tight player. That essentially rounded out our 8 person table. When the action got started we all had $100.

I was planning on playing fairly tight, since I respected so many of the players (and have a reputation as an action player). I got into my first hand in the BB with A9s. I limped, but Alceste, on my immediate left, raised the blinds to somewhere between 3 and 5. There were more than a few callers, so I called as well. The flop was 9-high. When it checked to me, I bet 20, which I think was about pot. Only Alceste calls, and my warning light started to blink. The next card was another 9, and the warning light stopped. I was now in extraction mode. I knew Alceste had a decent hand. I assumed he was on an overpair, like TT or JJ, but he may've been on an under pair to the 9s (probably in the pocket, but not a set), and thought I was just trying to bully with my flop bet in position. When he checked to me, I decided to look weak with another $20 bet. Keep in mind, that is a full 1/5 of our starting stacks, so it wasn't a weak bet, but it did appear weak since I bet the same amount on the flop. He called. The river was a blank undercard. I thought for a bit and bet $35 or $40. He called and I took down the hand.

Not too long later, I had KQs and when there were three limpers in the pot, I decided to bump it up to $5. They all called. The flop was T7x with two spades. I bet out $15, and Brian re-raised me $15 on top. The turn was a blank. I believe Brain led out with a bet, and I called. The river was another blank, perhaps a Jack, and Brian checked. He had been playing tight, so I figured that I could muscle him out of the hand. I bet $50, the largest bet of the night so far. Foolish me, he only had $29 behind, and he had to call. All my profit was gone when he showed that he had hit the Ten on the flop. I shipped it and sat dumbfounded.

I sat shellshocked for a bit, damning myself, but decided, after mentally sitting out a few hands, to get back into the game. I held 27o and decided to raise to $10. I got one caller...Dawn. The flop was K66 and Dawn was first to act. She mucked immediately. Dawn, Dawn, Dawn. Never voluntarily fold when there is no bet to you. Truth be told, I would've bet anyway, but you just made it so easy.

A little while later (truthfully, the order and timing might be off), I had Jc2c in early position. I was really enjoying suited cards, so I limped. There were a couple of more limpers, including Dawn, and SoxWife suddenly popped it up to $5. This told me that she probably had good cards. She had been relatively quiet and SoxWife has good hand selection. She also thinks that I'm a maniac. So I called, hoping to hit it or quit it. Of course, Dawn called too.

The flop was J2x, all diamonds. I had two-pair, but they didn't do much for me. SoxWife bet $10, and I decided to raise to $20. Dawn called, as did SoxWife.

The next card was a Jack, and I suddenly had a well-hidden fullhouse. SoxWife bet $50 and I pondered for a moment. There is a rule of thumb about getting the other player all-in before they miss their draw or before the scare card comes. With that in mind, I saw that SoxWife had probably $60-100 more in front of her. All I knew was that I had her well covered (okay, now I'm sure my order of hands is off). I said, "All-in." Dawn folded, and SoxWife called. She flipped up AA. The river was a Jack. I hit quads. Booya! Up some decent money.

Another fine hand saw me with T8s. I believe I limped in early position agian, and Mary in one of the blinds bumped it up to $3 or so. I called. The flop was a non-threatening combination of lower cards with two spades. I believe that Mary raised something like $7-12, which was about pot, and I was the only caller. The turn brought the flush. I don't remember what happened here. I think she bet and I raised a small amount. Maybe she bet and I flat called. Whatever the case, the river was a King, and she bet out. I raised back and she went all-in. I called and announced the flush. She had rivered 2-pair. Another one rebuys.

I had an exceptional hand against Brad from ShipItFish. He and I weren't in many hands together up until this point, and I held 55 in EP when I decided to raise to $3. He and SoxLover called. The flop was 743, with two spades. I bet out 8.50, which was slightly less than pot. Brad raised to $20 total, and Sox folded. I thought for a bit. $11.50 wasn't much, considering my stack, but if I called, I'd have no information about his holdings. I tried to work through the possibilities and the two greatest were TPTK (A7) or a spade flush draw. It took me a while to decide, but I ultimately raised him $40 on top. If he was going to call, he'd be pushing all-in too, for an addition $60 or more. I knew I could fold to that re-raise with confidence that he had me beat. He took a long time, but finally folded 99 face-up. I showed my 5s and raked in my pot. Brad reasoned that I had not re-raised anyone yet, preferring to fold or call. He was pleased that he got me to show, but I was just as pleased to see what he folded. And onto the next hand...

This is probably my largest money-maker of the night. I held AKd, and I was playing the role of too loose card rack. I decided to pop it up preflop, as per usual. This time, I think I bet $5. Brian and Dawn called. The flop was Kxx with two diamonds. I had TPTK with the nut flush draw. I had to bet. $15, about the pot. Brian considered and then raised to $30. Out of nowhere, Dawn says all-in. She had about $69 total. I matched her bet, and then Brian went all-in. He was a tighter player, and I was concerned, but I knew I could at least outdraw him with the flush and there was already so much money in the pot. I called. I was nervous as fuck, and Alceste and Brain went about separating his stack in preparation of the side pots. Fuck that. "Can we just run the cards? I don't mean to be a jerk, but if I win, we don't need to count anything out." The turn was a blank. The river was a diamond. I took it down. Brian had AA. Dawn had an inside flush draw. I had a pile of chips.

Those constituted all of my significant hands. When we left, I was up $545. Sure, I was lucky. But I also was able to maximize my big hands, and play with cunning.

Next up is the Bash this weekend. I have a bad cold which will make drinking miserable, but I'm a trooper damnit! Until then, make mine Poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:29 PM,


At 2:35 PM, Blogger Pokerwolf said...

Note to self: Get some Purell tonight.

If you get me sick, you'll owe me five bucks.

At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicely done!

Can't understand why the girl called you with her aces, though. Sounds like this is the first and only time you declared yourself to be all-in.

With a paired board containing three of one suit on the flop, she's only beating a bluff here. Even a maniac won't just shove in a cash game on that board with air. Meh. Maybe she thought she had a read? She had enough left behind to make an easy fold, though.

My favorite hand there is obviously re-popping with 55 and a gutshot and getting the overpair to muck. Solid, aggressive play. Too many people are afraid to three-bet without the nuts.

At 4:05 PM, Blogger SoxLover said...

That's no girl, that's my wife.

I think she certainly had enough to fold. But you have to put this in context that you don't have. The game was exceptionally aggressive for 100NL, she had been pushed off a few hands in the past, and she had AA. I don't think it's as easy a fold as you make it out to be--the jack on the turn probably made her feel better rather than worse about her hand.

Also, as you can read, it was not at all the first time he'd put himself all in (or rather, put his opponent all in)--he did it with napkins trying to push Brian off his hand without success, and had also showed his aggression when betting pot with a A9 tptk.

At 4:22 PM, Blogger Unknown said...


At 5:08 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

You played aggressively and got lucky - the best combination in poker.
Well done.

At 5:15 PM, Blogger TripJax said...

Damn fine job, J.

Make mine the Bash!

At 6:10 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

I don't think that SoxWife can be judged to harshly for not folding. I was portraying an overly aggressive image, and that hand was played to take advantage of that. Plus, she had the Ad for the nut flush draw, so even if she thought I had the Jack (and not a full house), then she had redraws. That combined with my loose aggressive antics meant that it was a very difficult hand to fold.

At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If she thinks you have the Jack, it's a poor decision to call off your last $100 or so looking to make a flush with just one card coming.

I forgot about the KQ hand, but there's a big difference between that hand and this one. You were just calling in Hand 1. You've raised twice in this hand, including when the board paired.

Sorry, but I'm not going all in looking to make a flush on a paired board when I've been raised twice.

It's a fold, even at an aggressive table.

At 9:45 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

Tom, you aren't wrong. Clearly, if the cards were faceup, it was a fold. All I'm saying is that for the entire time that we were playing (not just the KQs hand), I was very aggressive. That's all. Plus, SoxWife and I have played against each other before, and she knows I'm capable of making strong plays with less than strong cards. But, yes, of course a fold there is optimal.

At 11:09 AM, Blogger Alceste said...

On our hand, you bet out on all three streets (no checking on my end given my position). Last bet was only $25 or so (the only explanation I possibly had for calling). Weird thing was, when you bet out pot on the flop, I was almost positive you had TPTK and chose not to raise with the overpair. The turn and the river bets were both good (smallish) sizes on your part - I felt strangely compelled to call despite being mostly sure you had trips (two of several questionable decisions on my part throughout the evening - on the bright side, I was only down slightly over a single buy-in).

The game had changed from a $50 max to a $100 max, which concerned me a bit, but I decided to bite the bullet.

So, if you didn't want to raise the buy-in, the Soxfamily didn't want to raise it, and I didn't want to raise it, I wonder who the people were in the "people have spoken" e-mail.

In any event, well-played evening on your part.

At 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It wasn't me who asked to raise the buy-in so I think that narrows it down to Dawn and SIF.

And yes, definitely a well-played evening for you.


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