Thursday, March 30, 2006

Live on K Street

Last night I was invited to a "home" game, an end of month poker game put on at the office of an acquaintance (here on in: the A) of mine. I had never played in this game before, though I had played at the A's apartment before. The A works for a large consulting firm in Sales and Marketing, where big bucks are made when goals are hit and surpassed. Given these parameters I expected an interesting game.

Initially I was under the impression that it was a NL cash game. While talking with the A before we kicked off he explained that it was actually a tournament with unlimited rebuys. OK... well, I would have been happier with the cash game, but whatever. As the chips were passed around the the tournament option was quickly quashed by one of the senior people at the table. So cash game it was. $20 buy-in with $0.50/$1.00 blinds. Yes, you read that correctly.

The table was filled with a mix of Sales and Marketing types from different divisions in the company, a couple of assistants just out of College, and me. The play of various people ranged from the very aggressive (people who knew a bit, but not that much) to the extremely tight-weak (people who knew a little more perhaps - this included the A, who had the whole table calling out "fold" each time the action was to him... and yes he would almost always be folding) to the action-junkies (people who knew almost nothing).

With the insane blinds there was plenty of action, especially early. The first hand resulted in one of the senior guys (very aggressive) getting stacked when he pushed on a complete bluff but was called down. He immediately bought back in, and 90 minutes or so later had run that up to $140... but ended up in the hole for the evening. To my immediate right was one of the young assistants. He seemed to have a clue, but got violated twice when holding pocket 10s - on a table where people might not respect your raises those hands are trouble. After being stacked twice he departed, his place filled by CC, a guy I would duel with a couple of times.

After watching the early (insane) action I decided that my best plan of action was to play big cards strongly pre-flop, get out if the flop was bad, but not to be afraid to push if I was heads up. I was also prepared to get into big pots with drawing hands.

In the first couple of orbits I got dealt pocket Jacks twice - both times I was able to get heads up to the flop and get it all in with one overcard on the board. Both times the Jacks stood up (with my opponents showing complete trash), and I was off.

The second assistant (Little P) seemed to know (mostly) what he was doing, but was clearly playing with any two cards and trying to push people off hands. I can not recall him ever showing down a hand that wasn't something like 5-2o. Little P picked up early that I seemed to know what I was doing, and I was actually able to push him off a pot when we were heads up by making a scary bet on the river. Respect is nice.

I really only played one hand badly, and of course it was a big one. I got into a pot pre-flop holding pocket 3s. Flop came down 3d-2s-Jd. Cha-ching! I decided to slow play it, and we went to the turn 3-handed. Turn is the 4 of diamonds. Fuck. CC (guy to my right) bets out $10. The pot is getting pretty large now. I have him covered by $35 or so. I think for a long time... I can't see him having a made flush, but I am afraid he has a big diamond, maybe with a pair on the board. I eventually push all-in. The table gasped, and CC was NOT happy. As he didn't insta-call, I started to feel very good about my hand. After plenty of deliberation CC flipped over his cards... "I call."

He had A-5 of clubs. The wheel.

As I showed my set, everyone went bananas - apparently everyone and his dog put me on a flush draw. I still had outs, but unfortunately none of them came, and a large portion of my stack was gone.

The other big hand I lost was not really a loss per se - the guy on my immediate left (an English bloke) was extremely tight-weak, hadn't played many hands, but still had his starting stack. I was UTG + 1. CC came in with a raise to $4. I look down and see The Hilton Sisters. I make it $10 to go. English guy agonises, and pushes all in. One other guy, J, (who had no idea what he was doing) calls for about half his stack. Blinds fold, CC folds, I push all-in. J calls off the rest of his stack.

I have no idea what J had - the hand was that bad. English guy had Big Slick. I was actually arranging the side pot and completely missed the dealing of the flop - but there was an Ace on it. Curses. I pick up the side pot, which put me about where I was before the hand, so it could have been worse.

As the night wore on we had people leave, and people join, but eventually the table dwindled from 9 to 6 to 5. I normally hate short-handed, but I started to catch cards, to get people to pay me off, and to get a little lucky.

My two biggest wins of the entire night actually came with K-x s00ted when I was able to call with position and hit my flush. The first time was when the table was full. The second was when we were short-handed, which let me recoup my previous losses to CC and more. CC was betting out the entire way, with myself and Little P calling behind. The flop was something like 7d-4d-10c. The turn was the Jack of spades. CC bet out $6, I called, and Little P went all in. I cursed, as this may have given CC the opportunity to come over the top to isolate, which would have given me a tough decision to make. Fortunately for me he just called, as did I. The river came a beautiful diamond. CC knew the jig was up, and no more money came my way. The hands? CC: A-7. Little P: J-7. Me: K-3 s00ted. Cha-ching!

We finally rolled out of there at 1:30am. To rate the evening, let me use the ever popular "Bonus or Bummer" scale (and by "ever popular" I mean "I just made it up"):

- Meeting the A at a bar and having two pints of Guinness paid for by his company: BONUS
- Bringing a six-pack to the game, but 3 of the beers disappearing: BUMMER
- The game amazingly not seeming to feature any complete douchebags: BONUS
- Not eating until 1:45am: BUMMER
- At 1:45am getting a chicken gyro from the venerable D.C. Cafe: BONUS
- Getting stiffed almost $20 at the end because there wasn't enough cash: BUMMER-
- Turning $20 into $160: BONUS+++

Using this scientific scale, we can see that the "BONUS" votes clearly win out. I am not sure if this game will be around again, as the A is moving into a new division, but I wouldn't mind dropping in again. I might have to bring more than a six-pack though...


  • Nice. Gotta remember the bonus or bummer scale. And I promise, I'll give you all the credit. Nice finish. It's always kinda scary to go to a home game where you don't know most of the players. Glad to see that the douchebags weren't there.

    By Blogger iamhoff, at 12:45 PM  

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