"Monthly Game" thoughts...

As mentioned before, Sunday was the "monthly poker game" on the home front for the Beer Man. My table draw was neither favorable nor really unfavorable at first thought. I had a solid player to my right "That guy" was to my left, the hyper-aggressive "chip slinger" was across from me, and a few others, one of which was a relatively new poker player. Things could have been better regarding the seating arrangement at my table, (Read: "That guy" on my right), but I wasn't disappointed with my seat.

Early on, "That guy" and the "chip slinger" engaged in quite the pissing contest, both of them up and down on their stacks. Usually, the slinger and I go back and forth, making for compelling spectating. The slinger's stack ended up shortened up by tool boy (that guy). For the fourth hand in a row, Chip Slinger, raises up on my blind. I look at the hole cards and see the dreaded KJ (suited). Those of you who have followed me knows this hand haunts me quite a bit. I reraise, doubling his bet, knowing he can only either call or push all-in. He reraises to all in, flipping over pocket nines to my KJ. Flop delivers the Jack, river comes another Jack. Chip slinger is on the rail.

About ten hands later, I get pocket nines and raise up 4x blinds. I get a short stacked call. Flop presents Jack 8 blank. She checks, I bet out, she moves allin. I call, with pot odds of about 4:1. She flips over the evil KJo and hits a K on the turn, giving her two pair to my pocket pair. Well played by her. She moved out of short stack status, and took a small chunk from my stack.

Few hands later, I have QQ in the SB. By this time, a player has been moved to replace "Chip Slinger." He missed the game two months ago (the last time we played together), so it was reasonable to assume that I needed time to reclassify him. I believed him to be a tight player and not very aggressive, but could not recall for certain. He limps under the gun. Playing with Sharky in a sit n go or two, I know this move "could" be a danger sign (read AA, AK, strong starting hand). I bank that in my knowledge base, but also keep myself open to the possibility that he might not raise preflop very often and thus has a standard starting hand.

Table folds to me, and I raise up 6 times the blinds, hoping to get heads up with him and knock "that guy" out. Tool boy incorrectly calls cleanly, as does UTG correctly. I think back before the flop and recall several discussions with "That guy" about the hands I play or raise with based on situations and recalled exactly the conversation I had with him regarding exactly this situation. I told him a limp utg could signal strength and my hand selection in order for me to play outside of the BB (which includes the SB) would have to be superior, citing the hands I would be comfortable reraising with would be AA, AK, KK, QQ for certain, and with "position" I'd reraise with JJ-99, and maybe AQs, AJs, 88-66.

Flop comes A-J-2. I check, once again recalling the conversation where I had suggested a trap when first to act is the correct play in this situation (I'm trying to represent a monster to "That guy" given all of our poker discussions). He 2x's min bets. UTG calls cleanly. I need to make a move here. I think that UTG is second pair at best, but most likely, he is holding something in the 10-10 to 2-2 range. If he has an ace, its unlikely he calls cleanly there. While I don't know his playing style, he surely knows mine. He would fold here to my raise if its strong enough. I push out about 75% of my stack, which gives "That guy" odds of about 3:2 to call, once again hoping our conversations on both this situation and pot odds rings a bell in his head. He comes over the top of me, putting me allin. UTG folds, later revealing he had 7-7. I make the call on the all-in. I flip over my QQ, and "that guy" flips over of all things A-3 offsuit. Turn and river are irrelivant, I'm sent to the rail and tilting something fierce.

In this situation, to make this play (per the conversations he and I had recently on poker - which as I've said before, I am trying to coach "that guy" into becoming more of a poker player and less of a tool (read: donk). The hands that I'd have made this play in the SB with (horrible position post flop, not really stacked to bluff) are either dominating preflop (AA, AK), or just behind (KK, QQ). So, if we go solely on our talk, 50% of the universe, if I am true to my word, which I generally am, have him dominated, 50% do not. Laying 3:2 odds to him, in my biased opinion, he cannot make this call, yet he does. Even if my standards are "relaxed" any Axo combo, yes even A2s, beats him, so add in 10 Axs hands. Even add any Axo hands. In the interest of fairness, let's add all pocket pairs as well to the universe of hands. JJ and 22 are ahead of him, with 8 remaining pp's behind him. So, by my count after the fact, about 24 hands I "might" play are ahead, 10 hands behind. Do you make this call correctly preflop and/or post flop knowing this, risking about half your stack when given 3:2 odds AFTER I raise 6x blinds? Needless to say, I was/am pissed.

An hour or so later, he's eliminated from the tourney, finishing out of "the money," and I give the man hug to the playa that ousted his donk ass. He ended up winning the tourney handily. Second game, I finished well off the bubble as well. Once again, donk boy played incorrectly and was rewarded early, however, my prayer to the Poker Gods were answered, as he finished on the bubble. I hate to see donks rewarded when I've been burned. Especially "That guy." Correction, let me further qualify that. Donks need to be rewarded from time to time, this keeps my bankroll flowing. They need a bone from time to time to keep them coming back for more. This is a guy who claims to have the desire to better learn the game. He is constantly picking my brain about "correct play" and how to handle different situations. He acts like he wants to get better and evolve, yet his actions shows he could care less about anything other than wasting my time. He's still my friend and all, but as for poker strategy, the information desk is closed to him. He's capable of learning, he just chooses no to. Nuff said there...

Sharky has a great post in his blog today regarding live play. Check it out. Additionally, hit up the tourney calendar for CheckRayz. Shark also has some upcoming tourneys. Specifically, check out his blackjack tourneys this weekend. I've yet to play blackjack online, but I am rather certain I will be hitting the tables with him and the army this weekend. Also, stay tuned for commentary on the Steelers-Hawks matchup, and how CheckRayz - Shark Poker Tour are invloved.