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The Basement Game

Sorry, folks. It seems like I experienced some technical difficulties last night, when this post initially posted without a title or an ending. Here is the post, in its entirety.

Okay. Remember when I told you that I wouldn't go back to any of the underground poker clubs anymore? Well, I lied.

I didn't mean to, I swear. But its different this time, I swear.

Oh, come on, don't give me that look. I won $160! Doesn't that count for something?!

Besides, it wasn't even my fault. My college bud Mao wanted to meet up for dinner, so I met him, J-Dub and Mao's cousin for some burritos at the best burrito place in the city, Baby Bo's. Mao and I got to talking. He got into poker after college (as did I, at least in its present incarnation), so we've barely ever played together. I played a tourney with him on LI twice. The first time was a homegame where I placed 2nd out of 14. The second time was another homegame, but had 22 players spread in three different rooms. I placed 4th, ITM. Always the bridesmaid, but at least I got paid.

Yeah, so I sorta bring up that I know a dealer at a club. And he sorta wanted to play. And we were sorta drinking, and one thing led to another, and well, it didn't mean anything, baby. It's just poker!

The new room is pretty sweet. I'm not sure what the nickname will be here, so let's go with the Basement Game. The place feels like someone's decked out basement. It sorta feels half-finished, with a small room in the front with a sweet flat screen TV and some couches. Theres a small room right in back with a table. Those two rooms are separated by some sort of temporary wall, if memory serves correct. There's another room to the right, where we played. It was also bisected by a sheet, or maybe that was a wall covering. The table fit comfortably, though, and that was all that mattered.

The Basement Game usually kicks off a 9:30. To bring people in earlier, they were offering a promotion. Start before 9pm, play for 4hrs, and get 20% of your initial buy-in back. Amazing, if it didn't require playing until after midnight. I'm a puss on weekdays, and besides, any tomfoolery usually happens after 11pm. I don't need to gamble that much.

Mao and I couldn't find the entrance until Pauly, a Wall Street Game regular, walked right past us, turned, and began to open a gate. I caught up with him and we entered the club.

Wendy came in next, followed by Matty Ebs. I had no idea Ebs would be there. It's a great pleasure to see him pop up randomly. Poker tends to do that. Within 20 minutes, there were 5 players, and we started shorthanded. Wendy dealt, Mao took the 2s, Ryan (the only guy I didn't know) took the 3s, Pauly took the 5s, then Matty Ebs in the 7s and me in the 9s.

Suddenly, I found myself at a de facto Wall Street Game, save for the one lone player I never previously met, Ryan. Ryan was a taller than average, skinny-ish Caucasian. At first, I thought he worked in the room, since he seemed so familiar with the place and staff. But when he sat down, I could see he was more of an action junkie player. We can smell our own.

The action started off well enough. In the first hand, I was dealt TT. I raised preflop to $10, got Ryan to call and maybe Matty Ebs, and then took down the AAT flop with a continuation bet. I considered just checking, but I wanted to build the pot and the other players gave me the feeling that they were willing to call me. Ebs knows me as loose and Ryan looked like he wanted to mix things up. After that, I just played smart, tighter poker. I worked my stack up to $85 or so profit, and actually felt happy. Since it was a shorthanded game and Mao didn't bring much cash, I bought in for $200, rather than the $300 max. I split that $200 into four $50 piles, and was glad when I had reached 5+ piles. As the evening progressed, Vivian joined in the 6s. She's another Wall Street player, but I had never met her before. A skinny kid with long blond hair and some chin scruff joined the game in the 1s. He claimed to be named Sunshine, which apparently was just a nickname, but if a dude asks me to call him Sunshine at a poker table, I'm going to enjoy it. I introduced myself as Moonbeam Rainbow. A black guy who was very quiet and analytical joined the table last, taking the 10s. We didn't speak one word to each other. I'm just glad I didn't get into any hands with him, since he seemed so serious.

My stack stalled at the $85 mark, but a rapid succession of crap cards and crappier situations, including a loosening up table, caused me to waste my profit and dwindle to a ndloss of negative $30. It was 10:30 when I announced to the table that I was leaving at 11pm. This serves two purposes. First, its an artificial way to ensure that I don't play all night. Some people have stop-losses; I have stop-times. After playing for a few hours, especially on a weeknight, I'd rather take my profit and call it a night, rather than slugging it out to the wee hours. The other benefit is to my sleep. When I get home from poker, I need an hour minimum of unwinding time before I can sleep. Usually, I need more. It's all about the poker adrenaline. I accept this and I plan around it.

The next half hour was pretty dull. Matty Ebs and I had prop bets on the flop, and even those stopped coming in. At 10:55, I realized I had three more hands in my orbit. I decided to play the 3 hands and walk. The first two hands were crap cards. The third was pocket 5s, under the gun. I limped for $2. At this point, I was down $30 exactly, but I had a feeling this last hand would work out. It limped around with probably 5 or 6 callers to the flop: A65. I don't think there were any flush draws. I considered betting (all I could think of is Fuel55 saying, 'bet the set'), but I opted to check, since I figured that someone had the Ace. It checked around to Ryan, who bet $10. A little while earlier, he was joking with Matty Ebs that he needed to win $500 even in order to walk. He was about $20 short. Ebs responded that Ryan was likely to hit $600 before $500. I thought nothing of it at the time.

Ebs called Ryan's $10 bet and when it got to me, I raised to $30. It folded to Ryan and he hemmed and hawed. He raised $20 on top. Ebs folded. I hollywooded, acting as though I was screwed. I made it clear during the flop action that it was my last hand, so I was hoping he would think that I was playing desperate. I finally reached for my chips and raised $50 on top. I was mildly concerned about 66, but Ryan had raised pretty aggressively with 77 earlier in the evening, so 66 became less of a concern. Similarly, I could see Ryan playing any Ace, including A5 and A6 for two pair. He might even think that he is good with a big Ace kicker. When he considered my bet, I told him to just make it easy on both of us and put me all-in. He chose to merely call, and I pushed all-in on the 8 turn. He called the $78. The river was a blank. He showed A6 to my 55...and then I stood up.

Everyone was really friendly during the game. Ebs and I were having a great time with our stupid prop bets. Wendy did a great job as dealer. We all sat around the table telling dirty jokes about midgets (sorry Ig).

All in all it was a great night. It felt less like an underground club akin to Fairview and more like someone's basement apartment. The guy running the show took my cell phone number and then told me to expect daily text messages. Daily? It sounds like a pain in the ass, but I'll put up with a lot for poker.

See, baby, so it wasn't that bad. Quiet, private, good action and better money. So don't be mad. Its different this time. Or so I hope.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:29 AM,


At 8:38 AM, Blogger KajaPoker said...

this is your strangest post to date. No title and no end? I love the room description though. Sounds really "underground".

At 10:56 AM, Blogger Rod said...

Someday I WILL have a basement game - having a new house and a clean basement it is screaming for poker.


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