Big Fish, Little Fish

Wednesday, January 19th, 2005, 2:47 pm

A most enjoyable night at the tables the other night. Didn’t plan on playing, but after I did my good deed for the night (went grocery shopping for my wife) I thought I deserved a little treat. Especially as she had me buy like 15 different vegetables and going thru the self-check line takes forever when you have to look up each veggie on the screen and weigh it and look the next one up…

Actually, I could write a whole post about the new self-checkout lines at grocery stores. But not today. So I decide to play a $10 SNG (being a moron I’ve been playing the $5 ones, meaning I’ve been paying 20% juice instead of 10%, but I’ve finally seen the light). My computer can’t load the NL tables fast enough so I’ve been playing pot-limit, which is fine by me, though the games take longer. Right off the bat a guy gets knocked out when he slow plays trips to the river and gets caught by a straight. A few hands later I do the same thing, guy flops trip queens, makes tiny bets to keep everyone around, and I hit my open-ended straight. We end up re-raising our way to all-in and I double up. A few hands later I hit a set, check-raise three players and get one guy to push all-in, and I add another T800 to my stack. It’s been so long since I’ve had a big stack in a SNG that I almost don’t know what to do.

But only almost. We quickly get down to 4, meaning next guy out don’t get paid. And these guys totally turtle on me. It was DELICIOUS. I raise, they fold. I bet on the flop, they fold. I think the game went on for 75 hands, and I won 47% of them. Plus two of the guys were Steeler fans and we kept up a happy chat during the game. When we finally got down to three I had T7000 and they other two each had around T500…with the blinds at 200-400. I had an ace each of the last two hands and busted them back-to-back. Fifty bucks in my account and I felt like King Poker. Fold and tremble before my mighty…might.

But I know the danger of hubris, so I decided a humbling experience might be in order. So I sought out and found the blogger table–but this time, I intended to actually sit down and play. I went in with the attitude that if I lost my $25 buy-in, so be it–but I was going to play tight, tight, tight. I mean, I’m folding queens if there’s a raise ahead of me, as of course there always is at this table of madness. This is not a game for the weak of heart. Or the fragile of liver.

I was sitting on the edge of my chair, my focus laserlike. I just wanted to play a few orbits, maybe see a flop or two, and keep my losses around $5. So about 3 hands in I’m dealt KK in early position. I raise, and of course everyone immediately tosses their hands away, knowing I’m neither drunk nor skilled and must therefore have a monster. Only Otis refuses to respect mah authoritah and calls me. OK, I want a call, right? Right. Except that every time I watch the blogger table he’s taking down pot after pot, and right now he’s sitting on over a hundred bucks. The flop comes queen high, and I make a big bet, determined not to let him outplay me. He folds, I cancel “brown alert”, and show down my cowboys. See, I’m setting up a table image here, I’m letting everyone think that I’m tight-weak. The fact that I AM tight-weak is besides the point, at least in my own mind. This will pay off for me later on.

Of course Otis pulls out the needle and he knows exactly where to stick me. He casually tosses out the name Isabelle Mercier, whom he’s seen in three-dimensions compared to my two, and I’m green with envy and weak-kneed to boot. So when I get dealt aces in the big blind and he makes a position raise, I come over the top for seven bucks. Perhaps I should have limped and tried to trap him, but I think it’s more likely that in the end I’d be the trappee and not the trapper, and maybe he’ll think that my re-raise is me antler-rattling in response to his taunts. He calls, and when the flop comes king-high I go flat-out loco and push all-in. Great bet, that, either he’s gonna fold or he’s gonna call me with the better hand. The fact that he folds is good in that I don’t lose my whole stack, but had I played with a bit more style, a bit more panache, I might have won a bigger pot. Isabelle, I think, would not have been impressed with that play, and I hung my head in shame.

That was about it for me, I didn’t get a decent hand the rest of the way. Well, I got hands that play in the fishy preserves I usually frolic in, but as I mentioned at the time, you don’t see a lot of “limp-check-check” at this table. Those sooted connectors everyone loves to play? Forget it, unless you want to call a $7 re-raise out of position.

If you’re trying to decide if you should sit down at a particular table, I think this is a good rule of thumb: If you dread the idea of getting a big starting hand, including aces, you probably should get up and walk away. I will definitely play at the blogger table again, when I think my game is a bit more up to speed. And I have a large supply of Tums. But for now I will stock up on malt vinegar and keep on fishing, and sharpen my teeth before I try swimming with the sharks.

Permanent link to this post.

2 Responses to “Big Fish, Little Fish”

  1. Human Head Says:

    Nice post, Gene. It’s always good to read about the villains getting slain by the good guy 🙂

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Bloggers suck.

    Otis in particular!

Leave a Reply