Sunday, November 25, 2007

greg's Home Game

I had mostly bad cards, but I waited them out and won enough to stay happy. One hand was particularly pleasing because I slow played four 6's until Gregg bet to put me all in on the river.

"Do you have the flush" he asked.
"No" I answered in a voice that disguised how good my cards were.

And even before Gregg had finished matching my chips in the pot, he decided he had won and started to reach for the pot.

"You better continue to match that pile," I warned. "You aren't taking any of this pot." And I flipped over the quads.

I had another nice hand with trip 6's and an ace against Bruce and bet that well enough so he went all in. He had two pair.

Peter lost a lot of close calls that cost him money. Bill got very annoyed that after he built a huge pile of chips over time with good play, he got caught by Gregg with so many lucky river draws.

As much fun as this game can be, it can also be very frustrating.

Frustrations included managing chips and the issue of banking this NL game. It is much different from a limit game. There is lots to do and think about and plenty that can be confused. Each hand is a challenge to monitor.

In limit any player can cash in chips or buy chips and it has no effect on the game. Only the banker needs to worry about selling and buying correctly, so as not to be stuck at the end.
In No Limit the size of a player's chip pile dramatically changes the nature of the game, so it is important that chip piles are clear and not confused.

Also in limit, the stakes stay the same throughout the afternoon. In NL, as the game progresses, money builds into some huge possible pots. So any errors make a huge difference.

One advantage Foxwoods and Vegas have over home games is that there is a fellow paid to pay attention to all the details and the players can relax and just pay attention to the cards, tells, betting patterns, etc. So while the competition may be tougher ( although I think Gregg is as hard a player to beat as anyone I ever played poker with) watching the game for every detail is unnecessary.

A lot of the players I read on line are mad about the coming tables where computers take over the job of the dealers, but I think it will reduce the need to monitor for error there too. On those new automated tables you can see the pot size and it is impossible to bet out of turn or check by mistake. Chips can't slip to the floor. Hands cannot be misread. Chips do not need to be collected in the middle, and side pots do not need to be humanly computed.

There are currently 12 tables like that at Mohegan Sun, and they are watching how those games are received while they build their new poker room. However, unlike the 5% rake tables I played on at Four Winds Michigan, the rake was still 10% at Mohegan Sun. You only saved the dealer tip.

Also Gregg's new chips did not work as well as we hoped. They seemed especially slippery. As play wore on I could see them wearing a bit, so perhaps with more play, they will be more manageable. Still, I felt a bit bad to have picked chips that perhaps weren't as practical as they might have been.

In the end Gregg won more than I did and that puts him ahead in our little side competition and leaves him as the reigning Poker King as I go off to Vegas and Florida

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