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Live Poker World Tour Continues

It seems like my decision to play more live poker is paying off in dividends, literally. I made my triumphant return to Dave Roose's homegame, where the tournament formats have a very fast blind structure and the hazy room makes the players move very slowly. I've often mentioned how I think adaptability is a crucial trait for a poker player, and these games are the epitome of that concept.

Last night's game last about 2 hours with a cast of eight players. There were the usual players, like Roose, Robbie and Randy Hole, Peter, and new regulars (for me at least) Eric & Heather. Big Mark was also there, and I hadn't played with him in months, if not years.

The night started off with the usual wait. As players strolled it, Mark taught me a couple of poker variations of the home game wild-card variety. I was semi-familiar with Black Mariah, but his version was called 1-3-5, double spit or something like that, with the word Mariah thrown in somewhere. Granted, these types of games have no place in a real casino, but for donking away with friends, I can see the appeal. In our case, we merely played a few hands for the hell of it, and happily tossed the mock-game altogether once the players were ready.

The tournament starts with 2000 in chips, and blinds of 25/50. This, alone, is nothing out of the ordinary, and seems to be the preffered chip count to underground casinos and legitimate casinos with low buy-in tournaments. I believe the blinds went up every 12 minutes or so, though, so that accounted for the fast structure. Still, we were well into the game before we had our first casualty, Robbie Hole, if I'm not mistaken.

For most of the game, I was folding. More accuratley, for the first level and a half, I did some suspect limping, but mostly because I think it makes sense to see lots of flops while the blinds were still low. With blinds escalating, I tried to stick to my Rule of 10 (if I have less than 10x the BB, I either push or fold). Overall, it was working well. I was able to push some people off of hands, including one hand when Roose limped with QQ in late position after a few limpers (a mistake admitted by Roose immediately after the hand. I was in the SB with 74o and about 1100 left with blinds of at least 100/200. Randy, in the SB, raised to 350, after the 557 flop. I hoped to just take the hand right away, and Randy is relatively loose, so I pushed for my complete 1200. Everyone folded to Roose who thought a while before folding his QQ. Randy also folded...the hammer. We rabbit hunted anyway. By the river, Randy and I would've chopped. The turn and river were Aces, so we'd have AA775. Neither pathetic kicker would play.

I chipped up with selective aggression, usually avoiding seeing even a flop. I knocked out Eric after he lost a brutal big hand to chipleader Roose. I ended up calling Eric's push with A6o. He had JJ, but the turned Ace was enough, and I felt bad...for about .5 seconds. Eric has an interesting move, when he pushes preflop with suited connectors, or even on the flop when he misses the board if it checks to him. Hence, my call wasn't atrocious, especially considering his small stack. Still, I hope to take advantage of my knowledge at future games.

Peter was on my left, and I've taken it upon myself to give him tips here and there. He reads this site every once in a while, and I encouraged him to read You Decide #44 and the post after it. If he's reading this post, I'll add this little nugget for him: When you and I were in the blinds late in the game and we saw the 66x flop, you immediately looked at your chips. So, when you bet, I knew you had it. So, Pete, when you see a great flop, do your best NOT to look at your chips right away. It's a blatant tell that most seasoned players know about thanks to Mike Caro's Book of Poker Tells. As it turned out, I was right, too. He had trip sixes.

Eventually, it got down to Petey, Heather, Roose and I. Petey made some errors, folding a pocket pair to preflop pressure when he was very shortstacked. He eventually went out on the bubble. Heather took 3rd and got her money back. Roose and I were ready to go heads-up, but then he offered a chop. 1st got 100 and 2nd got 40, so we agreed on a 80/60 chop, with him getting the 80. He had me outchipped 2:1, so I think it was the right move. But as he drove me to the train, we both agreed that it would've been fun to play heads-up.

This was my third trip to Roose's homegame in the last few months, and I've chopped 1st and 2nd each time. It's all about playing the game according to the blind structures and the players. At Roose's game, you need to play tight and aggressive, until the blinds get high, and then you just need to play aggressive and in position. I survived mostly from stealing blinds with preflop all-ins with hands like J8d and K4h. Try the same move in a blogger tournament, and you won't even see the final 2 tables.

Thanks again to Roose. I'm glad I've been playing more live. Next stop is SIF's 2nd homegame.

Interesting note before I go. This week marked the return of the New Jersey continuing legal education classes, a scam set up by NJ to make money. Unlike the first year classes, there is no homework, and therefore little impetus to pay attention. I spent most of the time listening to my iPod in the back row of the stadium-like classroom. As I looked to my right, one guy was on his cell phone, playing poker. I joked that if I had planned better, I would've brought cards and we could've had a pick-up game. I also ran into an acquaintance from my Ireland trip during lawschool. John was older then most of the rest, a smart, good-natured guy. When I saw him, I first couldn't remember his name, but once it came back to me, I walked over and said hi. He was sitting a row in front of me in class, and during a particularly slow part, he handed me his card. Written on the back, it asked, "If you play poker, would you be interested in playing?" I passed him my card, "Abso-fucking-lutely." After the class he told me that they usually play stud and draw games. Odd, I thought. But I'm in if he emails me. After all, I'm not a hold'em player, I'm a poker player.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 1:38 AM,


At 4:59 PM, Blogger jjok said...

no mention of LOST?

what the hell?

At 8:51 PM, Blogger TwoDiamondPhillips said...

I TiVod it. Dont tell me.? Jack Dies? I knew it.

At 9:23 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

Yeah, I should probably mention Lost, but there wasn't much exciting me about this last episode. We've confirmed the fact that there is an outside world and the Others have access to it, but otherwise we have nothing. Still, it was a great episode, and now we know that Sun is a bit more manipulative then we all thought. But whatever! Let's get back to the original cast of survivors and their island getaway.

Oh, and Two Diamond Phillips is the best name ever.


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