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.


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