Back to the Felt

Until this week I had played poker once since my son was born almost a year ago. That was in my “regular” home game. This week I decided I needed a mental break so I headed to the poker room at the dog track. I should write a separate post about what poker does for my mind; it’s one of the most relaxing things I can think of. But that’s not what this is about. Just a couple of hands…

I was pretty card dead for the first couple of hours and folded a lot. In fact, the guy next to me referred to me as “the tightest player at the table”… probably time to open it up a little bit. I dragged a couple of decent pots without a showdown and was up to about $275 (from my $200 buy-in) when “George” sat down. I have no idea what his name was, but he reminded me of the guy that used play 3/6 limit at Harrah’s in St. Louis and always knocked his chips on some little totem he had with him before he tossed them in and then made some sort of physical-tick motion with both hands. Anyway… he bought in for $100 and was playing every hand pre-flop. 

I’m in the BB. One limper and then folded to George in late position and he makes it $7 to go. Small blind calls and I call with

figuring to get a call behind and hopefully not a squeeze (unlikely at this table). And that's just what happened.


(Pot $28)

SB checks. I check. Old guy in early position checks. George bets $10. SB folds. I call. Old guy folds. Heads up. 


(Pot $48)

I check. George checks. 



I check. George moves in quickly for $55. This was about the third time he’d moved all in since sitting down, always on the river and so far no one had called. I thought for a few seconds and couldn’t make any sense out of his play so I called. He shows

... and re-buys.

A little later I’m on the button. Splashy guy in middle position raises to $7. George calls. I call with

Both blinds fold.

Three players take a flop (Pot $24)



Initial raiser bets $10. George makes it $25. I call. Initial raiser folds.


(Pot $84)

George checks. I bet $45. He calls.


(Pot $174)

Without hesitation George moves all-in for $165. I’ve got about $250 in my stack now and I hate that bet. It feels just like his previous shoves. Like he has no plan at all and just wants to apply pressure. But then I end up leveling myself… I figure he knows I’m the guy that called him down the last time he did that so he’s less likely to do it again to me and he’s probably sitting there with the naked Ace of spades.

I fold.

In hindsight I think it was the wrong play. I just feel like he would have bet less if he thought he was betting for value. I leveled myself into thinking he was playing the game on a level that he had showed no capacity for so I laid down the second nuts like a dumbass. But I’ve still got a healthy stack.

And the last interesting hand…. 

I’m in the BB with

A guy that was fairly new to the table and hadn’t really been splashing around raised to $10 from early position. George calls (did I mention he played every hand?). I called $8 more and a guy who had limped UTG calls.

4 Players to the flop (Pot $41)


I check. UTG guy bets $10. New guy calls. George makes it $30. I call. UTG guy folds. New guy calls.


(Pot $131)

I check. New guy checks. George bets $45. I call. New guy calls.


(Pot $266) 

I don’t know what I was hoping for because now I’ve hit my hand and I don’t feel great about it. I decided to lead for $45 to try to control the action. That didn’t work… new guy makes it $100. George folds. I tank…

His story adds up. Super tight. Overcalling on a textured board with big action. Then the raise on the river when my hand gets there. It’s never a bluff, right? Ever? Ugh. I stack the other $55 and push it in. He shows

Ouch! Terrible play by me here even if I overlook the loose pre-flop call. My gut was sure I was beat on the river and I stuck more money in anyway.

I stuck around for a couple more hours and ground out some small pots and left up $60 winners so it wasn’t a bad night. Just feel like I should have trusted my reads more.