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Facing the Lion

Since the minor issue at work last week, I took it upon myself to follow some friendly advice and review all of my cases this weekend. I arrived at the office before 11am today (Sunday), and finished at about 1:30. I was wearing my blue Superman t-shirt and cargo shorts with lots of pockets, listening to my iPod, with my backpack filled with my poker wallet and copper buddha card cap. As soon as I was done with work, I had a quick errand, and then I was off to NiceLook for their juicy $1/2 NL game.

First, I made a detour to Commerce Bank. If you don't have a Commerce by you, I'll fill you in why they are a great bank. Besides their very reasonable hours, every Commerce has one or two "Penny Arcades", machines that you can feed change in exchange for a ticket telling you the full amount. Bring it to a bank teller and they'll give you cash. Not a member of Commerce? Me neither! They'll take your change anyway, without charging any fee, as opposed to the Coinstar machines found in many supermarkets that take over 8% of your hard-earned coinage.

Wifey Kim and use a glass pitcher from my fraternity days as a bank. Whenever I get home, I dump out any change into the glass pitcher. When its full, I harvest it at Commerce. The result today was a whopping $189.12. Easy money! Its to the point where I generally am glad to get change back. I'll avoid using it as a means of building up the pitcher full of change. It's my own forced micro-savings. I figure we probably take down near $800 a year on change alone. Without the pitcher, it'd probably end up as loose change in a random drawer.

But enough of that. Back to the poker. I hopped on the yellow line and took it down to 34th Street and 6th Avenue, where I walked the several blocks to NiceLook. NiceLook was raided several weeks ago, but within about three weeks, rumor had spread that the room had re-opened with the same location and same staff. Makes you wonder. Whatever the case, I just hope it had the same juicy players.

When I arrived, a 2/5 NL game was going, and there was an interest list for 1/2. I'd never seen the room so empty, but I suppose it was still relatively early and I'm not certain that the word fully got around that NiceLook was operating again. Fortunately, when I arrived, the 1/2 table was called, and we started 5-handed. Yes, 5-handed.

For many of you, playing 5-handed in a poker room is just not ideal. In fact, I don't think it a stretch to suggest that most players prefer a full table. Not me! If a table is playing 11-handed, I'd rather not play at all. If it's 10-handed, I'll play, but I'd rather have less. If we are under 9, I'm itching to go. At 5, I was downright giddy, at least internally. On the outside, I was all business.

Within the first 20 minutes, it became clear who was running the show. The table consisted of dealer/floor person Joe in the 1s, a tall, thin Asian man in his early 30s wearing a red shirt in the 2s, a younger, rounder, shorter Asian in the 3s wearing a white t-shirt, me, and a Caucasian guy about my age to my immediate left. I was in the 7s, perfect for full table viewing.

In the early goings, I raised to $8 with some random suited Ace. I was re-raised by Joe to $35. I was happy to fold and he showed QQ. After that hand, the red-shirted Asian took over as table captain. He was constantly raising and betting people off of hands. He seemed intelligent, as opposed to a pure maniac, so I was somewhat cautious when it came to tangling with him.

Within the first 20 minutes, I am dealt two red Aces in the BB. The button and SB call. I bet out $15 and the button (red-shirted Asian) calls. The flop was J54. I bet out $20 and he called. The turn was another 4, and I bet out $40. He pushed all-in and I asked for a count. While I asked, the dealer was chatting with Joe, looking at a picture on Joe's Blackberry. "I hate to interrupt, but can I get a count?" I asked in a obviously annoyed way. The bet was $136 to me. I was unsure of what to do. I knew that the red-shirted Asian was loose, but did he possibly have a 4 for a turned trips or even two pair with the 4 for a full house? I wanted to fold, but I just couldn't do it. He was trying to run over the table, so his all-in bet just seemed like a way to get me off of a hand. I showed my cards while I worked out the situation, but got no read from my opponent. I eventually called and after the inconsequential river, the red-shirted Asian said, "I didn't think you were THAT strong," as he mucked his cards.

After the hand, the dealer tossed me the Blackberry. It was a picture of Joe smiling and giving the camera a thumbs-up right next to the big ass of the masseuse who was working on the back of the guy behind Joe. I laughed. Funny enough, especially since I won the pot.

I entertained the thought of walking. I wouldn't really walk right away, but if I had chipped up and took about $200 profit really quickly, why not lock it in and get the fuck out. It wasn't as though I was over-confident in my table. Joe is a wily player, and the aggressive red-shirted Asian was getting annoying. That was 50% of my competition. I decided to play a little more and leave the option to walk open.

After I busted the red-shirted Asian, he rebought and then started talking shit to me. He busted the guy on my left in a hand when the guy on my left assumed wrongly this time that the red-shirted Asian was making a play at a pot with crap cards. He actually had a full house. Whatever the case, when the guy to my left stood up to take a walk, the red-shirted Asian looked at me and said, "You are next." I was glad to play along. I busted out a John from Cincinnati line, "I got my eye on YOU." He said he was going to get his chips back from me. "If its going to be like the last time you came after me, I'm not too concerned." "Oh, we will see. There can only be one captain at this table." I responded, "Yeah, well, you can be the captain, I'll just be the banker." "Did you see what I did to the guy in the last hand?" "No, I was too busy stacking your chips."

At this point, I was getting a tad annoyed. I was far from tilting, but I also didn't want to give up the upper hand. "Listen, man, I'm just sitting here politely, but if you want to make this personal, then thats on you." He paused. "Do you know why lions and tigers don't fight in the wild?" I kid you not. That's what he said. "No, why?" "Because no matter who wins, when a lion and tiger fight, they both get seriously injured." "Then keep out of my way, tiger." "Oh no, I'm the king of the jungle." "Just as long as you keep out of my way, you can be whatever you want. I'm still going to maul you if you come after me."

At this point, we were both having fun with it. We went back to the action and I lost some of my early winnings, folding to re-raises. On one such occasion, the raise came from the Red Lion (i.e., red shirted Asian). I didn't want to fold my AQo, but I failed to connect with the low flop and I refused to give away any of my chips on a vendetta. Folding sucked, though.

The table filled up to around 8 players, with the guy on my left returning. He was grumbling about the Red Lion, and I was just happy to be playing well. I noticed that the rest of the table was playing very tight, aside from Joe and Red Lion, so whenever Red Lion went for a stroll (this happened about 4 times), I would ramp up my aggression against the weak players. I straddled also at one point, but there were so many preflop callers and my cards were so weak (48o) that I checked my option and folded on the flop.

I kept some of the aggression up and eventually straddled when everyone was sitting (Red Lion included). I believe I won the hand before that with a preflop raise. By the time it got to me, there were 5 callers for the Straddle, and I raised $25 on top. I think I had K5s. My cards didn't matter though. If none of them were willing to raise the straddle, they were invariably weak. The $25 bet was enough to scare them off, probably coupled with the fact that I merely checked the last time I straddled.

In the very next hand, I was dealt JJ. I was definitely on an aggro run, so when the action got to me in the BB, I raised $15 on top. I didn't want a lot of players seeing the flop. I got two callers, including the Asian with the white t-shirt who was largely quiet for the day. The flop was K88. I checked, the other guy checked, and the Quiet Asian bet out $20. I flat called and the other player folded. The turn was a blank. I checked and he checked. The river was another blank. I checked, and he put out $45 before going to his stack for another $5. I called string bet and the bet was reduced back to $45. I was slightly concerned that he had the King or even the Eight, but after his checked turn, I was less sure that I was beat. I opted to call and waited for him to show. He tabled 96o, for a complete stone cold bluff. The pot was pushed my way. I think my aggression for the preceding hands set this up. This is why it is crucial to keep up with your table image and act accordingly.

At about 3, the hot dealer with huge cans sat down. I love playing when she deals, because thanks to my sunglasses, I can stare at her puppies for a full 30 minutes. I'm not even a breast guy, but this chick has some of the nicest cans I've ever seen. Of course, I rarely win money when she's dealing because my reads are limited to how deep her breath is...and she's not even in the action.

I had enough of poker even though I had only played 90 minutes or so. It felt odd leaving so early, especially when I had no other obligations, but I decided that it would be best to lock in my win. That alone builds a great amount of confidence. I was happy with my $275 profit, almost doubling up my buy-in, and I didn't feel the urge to play so I racked up. The chick dealer asked for time ($5 per half hour) and I decided to play my one free hand and leave. I was in the SB when I was dealt 95o, a perfect throwaway hand. There was a bunch of limpers when it got to me, so I called and we saw an all club flop of 763. I checked, as did the rest of the table. The turn was an 8, giving me a 9-high straight. I was confident that no one had the flush based on the action on the flop. I bet out $10 and only the guy on my left called. The river was an offsuit 2, and I bet $20. He made a crying call and showed Q8 for top pair. I took down the pot and packed it up to leave.

$275 profit. Its not huge, but it feels great. I am above my yearly goal and I'm contemplating the next step. Whatever the case, I've been winning consistently lately and I hope it keeps coming.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 4:15 PM,


At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice win

At 8:24 PM, Blogger MHG said...

well done. I got two nights of live poker in Friday and last night, I'm going to miss living in casino-town Tahoe!

Julius_Goat and I are playing our second of two games. I won the first one, so regardless of the outcome in our second game, I believe I've locked up 2nd place in the chess tourney.

At 12:37 AM, Blogger Schaubs said...

Nice post, GL and keep it going.

At 8:57 AM, Blogger Gydyon said...

nice win.

why call a string bet there?

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

Gyd, I wasn't sure if I was ahead. What he did was a string bet, so I called it on him so I could call him for cheaper. I didn't want him tossing even more on after the additional $5. That said, I was thinking about it, and the fact that he did not protest is a sign that he was afraid I would call. There was probably a lot of info there that I picked up by calling the string bet. I remember after calling it, I felt more confident that a call was correct. Its one of those Blink moments, where I probably picked up subconsciously on his reaction. If I could do it again, I'd call the string bet AND watch his reaction like a hawk.

At 2:48 PM, Blogger CarmenSinCity said...

Nice play!!!!! I'm also wondering why I've never seen a Commerce bank around here. I like the change machine. I have a huge change glass container thing that I fill up too. I usually go to coinstar though.

At 2:58 PM, Blogger StB said...

Ok, you can stare at those nice cans for 30 minutes but you cannot somehow take a picture of them for us?

Do the old "I just got this phone and- bzzzt- oh, that must have been the camera" trick already.


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