Monday, January 19, 2015

Dad and Pete at Ocala once again

In the late afternoon we went up to Ocala for some poker.  We sat down at 4 PM and in about 5 hands Peter had lost over $100.  It looked like a grand beat up day.  The players were very good and he seemed off his game.
We played a while longer with no improvement, so I suggested we go have some supper at the Iron Skillet and then come back, hoping the table selection would change.
And that worked just fine. 
Most likely our going broke that table.  I could see some of the players scattered around the room when I got back, but it did not look like we would be playing short tables again. 
Peter and I got seats on different tables and then he was able to move to mine and again sit right next to me, on my right.  This works for us.  When he raises I know that he probably has high cards and I might call him with middle cards and so we have plenty of hands covered. 
He was back on his game, an aggressive game where he was often the guy betting.  So, he would get called, even by people with very poor hands in situations where I might have the best cards but no callers. 
That does not mean he plays everything.  There were long periods where we both just tossed hands and played our blinds, but in this 1-1 we can play more sorts of hands.
He was on the board for a possible $500 win twice, but each time he was beaten.
However, we had a grand run, playing until midnight when the last high hand was over.  He left up $87.  I was up $29.  So, it was a fine time.  For Peter, who rarely has even a few dollars in his pocket, to leave with over $200 from this week of fun is just a fine situation.
I rolled in at 1:30 and went immediately to sleep

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Dad and Pete in Ocala

After a tour of the Appleton Art museum, including a photo by the Lucky Lion, Peter and I went up to play poker at the 1-1 game in Ocala's Jai-Alai.
At first Peter got slammed pretty hard. $60 is the maximum rebuy and generally both of us replenished from our pocket to keep that $60 in front of us. At the lowest point of his game, Peter had just $60 of $200 left and was feeling like perhaps he should quit.
I encouraged him to stay. I had hit a high hand award of $200 on Aces full of Queens that held up (They award one every 30 minutes) and so I thought we had plenty to play with.
And then his game turned around. I could feel it.
Peter does not play casino poker, but only the game at Gregg's. Even his trips to Vegas years ago were before we played poker. He played blackjack then.
However, this game is not much different than the game we play at Gregg's, especially in the early afternoon except the stakes are higher. By evening the game evolves into a softer game, much like what Gregg's game used to be years back when we could count on a few bad players showing up and we were not as experienced ourselves.
 And, of course, Peter knows none of the players at Ocala.
He continued to grind back his lost dollars.
Then he had J-6 in the blind ( we play more blind hands here because there are two one dollar blinds and often no preflop raising) and the flop was 6=6=5.
The turn was the case 6, so Peter would get on the board for the high hand award if the river was not higher than his Jack. Here he made a mistake. He played to maximize the pot by checking to check raise when he should have pushed all his chips in and force all other players out so as not to see a river card.
He does not need pockets to win, but both his cards have to play as part of the best five cards.
But he was lucky. The river card was 5. He made a value bet and was not called. He was on the board. He had to sweat out the ten minutes left, but in the end he won the $200 high hand award for the 30 minute period.
I lost my high hand money back, quitting with just $12 to the good.  I played poorly.
Peter played well and left with $138 profit for the seven hours.
It was delightful to see him win. After a year of struggle and much more yet to face, here was a tough challenge met and conquered.
We hope to go back Saturday. That might be a different story. That day the high hand awards are $500, but the odds are less of winning because there are more players.
My timing was off or I might have done better. I hit quad 3's with pockets, and over half the time those quads would have won, but someone had hit a royal earlier in the half hour, so all I got was the pot.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Ocala Two

I went up for the 1000 high hand bonus, but I won't again.
I did not mind waiting in line, but what it got me was a seat with a bunch of regular and tight players so pots were very slim.  They are there just to play for the 1000.  They don't want action.  At $5 Ocala takes $1, at $10 they take $2 and the bonus rake.  There is no way to overcome that rake.  I watched a woman win hand after hand and then looked at her chip stack.  It was not impressive.

It took me a while to get to another table, but there I found some action so I'd get paid if I had good cards.
I lost anyway.

So, I felt beat up most of the day.

When the table got down to just 6 or 7 at 5 PM I was ready to go, but the high hands were paying out on much smaller hands, even some Aces full.  And there always seemed to be one lose player at the table, so I stayed.

A fellow came who told us he was very annoyed and it would all be about raising.  He sat to my left. 

I got 3-3 with a 3 on the flop.
I checked and he bet $15 and the next guy raised. He was betting his K-Q, pair of kings on the flop.

So I reraised.  Raiser to my right did not stay, but the K-Q called me.
It was a K on the river, so he thought he was golden and went all-in. 
After I beat him I left up $8 for the day.

I had bought in for $200 over time.  This is a large amount in a game where $60 is the maximum buy in.  I did not expect to break even.
I wish I felt happier.  I just was beat up over so long that I left with that feeling.

Also, I had been up a 3 AM so I was exhausted.  That did not help.
The driving was a bit tougher at that time of day, but it still is easy enough.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


Poker has not been winning me money lately.  and last night was no exception.  However, five hours of poker with a loss of $34 is tolerable.  I just did not get the cards.
I played fairly tight, but in a 1-1 game (unlike a 1-2) I don't have to look for only one hand an hour and expect to make a pile of money.  Since the stakes are $20-$60 and the players are playing for real within those limits, there will not usually be very large pots and often, even with the best cards, an opponent will be all in with very little.
The problem of losing $300 in one hand is eliminated in this game.
And actually I lost $20 playing 1-2 when I first arrived.  The 1-1 had not yet started up.
The 1-2 requires a buy in bankroll for $60 to $100.  I buy in for $60 and eliminate the bluff and chase factor.  I wait for good cards and push early.  Then I can't lose more than $60.  I play very few hands in the 1-2.

The 1-1 offers more action and protects me from losing a lot with second best.

For example, in the 1-1 last night I held 10-10 in a late position, and the flop came K-K-5
It was checked around.

The turn was a 10, giving me a full house, 10's full of kings.
A good player bet $5.  I put her on trip K's which she slow played.
I raised to $15.

She went all-in, but that meant my $15 and $3 more.

She held K-10 for the larger full house of kings full of 10's.

This is the sort of hand that in a larger stakes game would take an uncomfortable bankroll from me, but it is not a big deal in this 1-1.  Had she held just trip K's, I would have left last night just over even for the night.

Generally, since I was playing very tight, I rarely bet out.  Most of the time I could count on an opponent betting in to me.
Once I held A-Q on the button and raised to $3 preflop. 
Bob played just ahead of me. 
He bet $8 after the flop.
One guy was behind me.  The flop included a Q.  I raised to $16, a really large bet for this game.  The guy behind me folded, which was my intention. I figure head to head with Bob representing some queen and  I have a decent chance. 
But when it got to Bob, he thought a while, and he folded as well.
I suspect I had him beat, but his fold was based on my prior tight play and my preflop raise and perhaps on his attempt to steal the pot with second best hand. 
Getting respect for reraises is not always a good thing especially for me because I bluff so little.

I have played with Bob before and I find him formidable.  Here he is on NY Eve winning $2015 for quad 8's, the top hand of the hour for those playing at midnight.  I was not there.  this is the first poker I've played down here.

He is very easy going and friendly.  I like being at the table with him even if I don't like being in a hand with him.

The game attracted all sorts of people.  There were some really loose players.  One woman who held K-4 of diamonds, and just a pair of 4's and one other diamond called some pretty good sized bets to catch a runner-runner flush on the river taking down two players with trips.
 She won a good pot, but after a couple hours, she had gone through a couple hundred dollars and those winnings as well. She always showed her losing cards and sometimes they were way down the list of possibilities.  He rarely had a hand she did not like.  I would have bet into her, but I never had that chance.

If there were three or four of her at the table, it would have been an impossible game, but it was, in general, not as loose as 2-4, and there were no maniacs.  Rarely did anyone go all-in.  One loose caller is just great for my style of play.

However, there was very little conversation other than the cards.  In limit there is often conversation similar to what I might experience were I to go to a tavern and sit around a bar.  I like hearing the lives and stories of strangers.  This was not the game for that. 

Most players talked about what they had held and what they had done with it.  Most showed cards if they won a hand even when they did not have to. 
There were times when the talk and joking got very loud and funny, but it was always about the cards and not about life.  I was quiet if you can believe it.
I made one interesting mistake in etiquette.  I took a guy's last dollar.  It is common to leave a player with one dollar because then s/he can buy in for any amount.  A busted player has to rebuy for a full $20.
No one used a card protector except one other player and me.  One fellow with great cards had his hand mucked and his bet returned when a discarded player's card fell on top of his hand.   He was annoyed, but he did not rant.  He just walked away for a while.  It surprised him that he was not going to get to play his cards. 
And when he came back, he still left his cards for the most part unprotected.
The dealer recommended he put chips on his cards.  I find that a bit confusing.  They often have to be used to play the game and then the cards are unprotected again. 

There was a good bit of joking and fun with the game.  I did like that part.  It was not all taciturn old guys, and the mood was not somber.  I find a table of poker faced grumps oppressive.  If 2-4 is like playing at a bar with strangers, 1-2 is often like being at a wake where no one has any stories left, and they are all contemplating their own deaths.  At some 1-2 games I am sometimes sure that some have died right there at the table, except they do move the cards and tap the table once in a while.  They are like the alligators here in winter in the midst of winter brumation. You watch them and watch them and watch them and just when you think they are manikins, one blinks an eye or inches up a claw.

This 1-1 is more like this:


And sometimes like this:

There is no bad beat, but there are these half hour bonus pays for the highest hand in the room.  On the wall is a clock that shows to the second where we are in each half hour round and the hand that is currently the high hand.  While generally good quads or straight flushes were needed to win there were some payouts of $500 for Aces full. 
Each day there is some such bonus, but the amounts change.  Saturday is the best.  And if I get there early in the morning, at 10AM on Saturday, they play for $1000 for an hour.
That fits my own sleeping patterns. 
Most other days the poker room does not open until noon.

I love the bonus hand system because unlike the bad beat, someone in the room is going to get paid each half hour.  I got on once with 10's full but knew I would be bumped off.  Still, it is fun to see my name up on the board for a while and have some hope for luck against the odds.
Also, the bonus hands are talked about just like the bad beat is talked about in other casinos.
I get so bored with hearing players talking about the bad beat, asking the dealer to deal the bad beat,  wishing for the bad beat, observing that we are due to get the bad beat...and on into infinity.  It is the same think over and over and over, like Catholics with a rosary of unlimited beads and the same prayer over and over.
But talk about the bonus hands does not have the same oppression and near misses come often.  The woman next to me had four to the straight flush four times in an hour.  Any one of those hit would have won the $500. I can get an excited  sense of the near miss much better.

The bonus high hand possibility means people play more cards than they might otherwise play.  I won a hand with a 7-10 of hearts in late position because after the flop, I needed just the 9 of hearts to win the $500.  My opponent was in the same situation.  She needed my 7.  I ended up with the higher flush.

The structure of the game also means we play more hands.  Often the dollar blind is enough to see the flop, or perhaps there is a button straddle that takes the game to $2.  This hurts no limit players who are frustrated that people will chase hands and beat their high pairs, but I am used to that sort of game from the 2-4, and I like not having to be quite so patient.

Generally, I am going to limp and play my blinds until the flop about half the time.  I best like playing poker after the flop.

Also, the blinds are equal.  So the small blind does not have to automatically add money to see the flop.

Everything in this game arranges itself to give the player more action than most no limit games with less bluffing.  At the same time, there is some bluffing in the game, more than in 2-4.

No free beverage is served except during certain times when there is free coffee.  I forgot that so I payed $1.75 for coffee.  This is a place to carry a thermos in the car and take a food break.
Paying for that coffee won me a hand. 
I had A-2 and was confused that I had to pay for what I thought would be a free coffee.  I barely paid attention and checked until the river.  The turn was a 2 and the river an A so I was thinking two pair and I bet $10.  I failed to remember that the flop held 4-4 so my two pair was diminished and any other Ace would beat me.  All folded.
I think they thought I had slow played trip 4's.
There was not much money in the pot, but certainly I stole enough money to pay for the coffee with that poor bet.

I just did not eat yesterday and that was great for my blood sugar.  I struggle here at the house with a refrigerator full of good food.  Everything seems tipping me into bad numbers lately.  Even a morning bike ride did not help yesterday and just a bit of supper drove up my morning numbers when I woke up today from the 96 that poker without food  gave me yesterday. 
Just as in Vegas, poker at Ocalafor me  is some poker and ironically some health spa. 

Well, hope you Bobby Court guys are taking all the new money from SOS.