Live Game Notes…

My internet connection recently has been a royal flush pain in the ass recently, which explains my absence. In any event, I am back and have live poker play to talk about from the “monthly game.”

Early on, I did not have a favorable draw. To my immediate left sat the infamous Transylvanian Terror. He is one of perhaps three people that I need to make a significant adjustment to my game when he has position on me. Also present at the table was SuperDonk. SuperDonk actually called me on Sunday (usually I am calling the group to insure they are awake and moving in time for the live game). A new player to our “monthly game” series who we’ll refer to as “the bartender” was at my table. Eggs, the Blind Defender, “Mitch,” “T,” and “new guy” had a seat with me as well. Finally, the person we will refer to as “Monica Gellar-Bing” (MGB for short) sat to my immediate right.

The first two rounds featured many pots going to the flop six handed and slightly raised. The Transylvanian Terror would raise if he felt like playing and limpers were in front of him. It was hard for me to get into the multi-way pots un-raised, as I could count on him raising behind me. Thus, in the early rounds, my strategy was to raise my standards slightly regarding my starting hands. Last month, I had got into many pots early on that were not raised. This month, I wanted to do the same; however, I also wanted to be sure I was comfortable playing them to a slight raise if the Terror pushed in a given hand.

For these reasons, I did not have much of a presence early on in the tournament. In fact, I appeared to “wake up” when blinds moved to 4-8 and I was dealt QQ under the gun. I raised 5x blinds and this was the first hand I personally raised preflop. I had three callers, which were the Transylvanian Terror and The Blind Defender, who was apparently defending his button, and MGB, who was in the big blind. The Defender’s call suggested a pocket pair, two cards in the paint, or Axs, Kxs, and from a starting hand standpoint, he was the only person I was “worried about.” Four handed, the flop comes K-10-3. Knowing the Terror was most likely planning to throw out a pot sized continuation bet, and suspecting that if I bet out, the only callers will be those who have me beat. I believed the terror would call cleanly if he had me beat, however, if on a draw he would reraise me. The defender “could” make a play at me even if I had him beat, but would be unlikely to do so this early in the tournament. MGB could theoretically call me to the river with or without anything, so a continuation bet seemed the best route.

I bet out roughly 50% of the pot after MGB checks it to me. The terror folds, and the blind defender pushes all-in. MGB folds, I think for a second and fold, wishing to pick a better spot.

Blinds are now 5-10 and I am dealt pocket 8’s. The terror limps under the gun, which for some people would set off warning sirens (note: if I limp utg, run like hell!), two more limpers, in addition to MGB in the SB, and action is to me. I can either check this and see the flop 5 handed, or I can raise it up and try to cut down the opposition. I figure I can get four handed if I raise, so I put in a 3x blinds raise. As predicted, one person folds, Terror, Defender, MGB and I see the flop of K-3-8. I push out a small bet, roughly 30% of the pot, which the defender once again raises. The Transylvanian Terror folded prior to the Defender’s raise. MGB calls his raise cleanly, as do I. The turn card is a jack, which is suited to the eight on the previously rainbow flop. From a starting hand standpoint, I am only really “worried” about the draw on the board, specifically the Q-10, as any ace or nine plays to beat my set. Defender “could” have KJ, K10, or even AK, of which he would call me if I bet hard on the turn, appearing to buy the pot. Once again, I believe MGB would call if she hit the board up high at all. Thus, I push all-in, hoping for a taker. The defender tries to talk through it, gets nowhere with me and folds. MGB folds as well and I take the pot down uncontested.

Still at 5-10, action folds to MGB, who limps on the button. It should be noted that with the terror previously being active with his raising, and now my willingness to play ball has appeared to tighten the table up quite a bit. I peak down and see K-9 of clubs. I think for a moment and put in a 3x raise, wanting to isolate and/or steal. The terror folds his BB and MGB calls cleanly. She also seems frustrated with my raising behind her. The flop comes K-Q-9. In what I now believe was a bone-headed move, I tried to play on her frustrations and pushed all-in with my two pair. She makes a quick call without an ounce of thought and flips over Kq offsuit. She takes the pot down with the higher two pair, and takes out about ¾ of my stack to my disappointment. As stated, it “seemed” the right play at the moment, however, when we take into consideration that ¾ of my stack was at risk (I grossly underestimated her chip count), and how she’d be somewhat likely to call with top pair or AK or KJ, but would DEFINITELY call with hands I was a huge underdog to (J-10, KQ). In hindsight, I think I was -EV to push like that, though I would have probably lost just as many chips spread out to the river, as she would call, call, and call.

Now the Beer Guy is the short stack at the table, which coincides with the blinds going up to 10-20. I am in all-in or fold mode, which lasts for a while until I push all-in with A-K. Having me covered, and thinking I am on the steal, the Transylvanian Terror makes the call with A-7. He spikes a seven on the flop and leaves me dead in the water. I make my final stand with 4-6 suited, as blinds will hit me next and break me. Neither my four nor six play in the six handed, checked pot and I am sent to the rail.

“Mitch” and MGB would go on to the final table, where they ended up in a back and forth heads up battle. Eventually, they agree to a split, though the final hand gave “Mitch” the “title of Champion. I never really got it going. Mitch played some good poker, and MGB was catching like a madwoman the whole way through the tournament.

As always, the monthly game was a lot of fun and thanks goes out to both the host and the hostess (note: hostess had to work and thus did not play, unfortunately). Bar none, they put on the best game in the city and I always look forward to the game.

Tomorrow, we will be back on our regular posting schedule, so until then…