Poker

For those of you who don't know me, my name is Greg. Keith invited me to post about my poker hands on his blog. Even though it's been five years since I've been at a table with Keith, we still e-mail each other notable hands from our sessions and sometimes analyze each other's play. Other times, we have to be a therapist as well. So I guess you can say that I am Keith's AnalRapist. Anywho, here is the unedited e-mail I sent Keith about a home game I played on Saturday afternoon. Note that the blinds were $0.25/$0.50. I sure hope that this doesn't make it out to any of the guys playing, I would hate for them to see my reasoning behind my plays! I hope you enjoy!

So yesterday I played with Dad's group of donkeys. There was a good crowd! We played 8 handed most of the time. Here is the lineup starting to my left:

Brian, Ray's son. He started drinking early and got progressively more drunk as the game went on. Once the moonshine came out, it was lights out for him. He was playing very aggressively and playing many hands. This of course lead to wild fluctuations in his stack. But was generally catching cards all night.

Ray - playing extremely passively and straightforward. Easy to beat.

Dave - played tight and passive. He bet and raised amounts that were far too small.

Dad - Was on fire for the first 30 minutes. Became passive after that. Complained of being card dead.

Rob - Plays too many hands. Plays them slow. Complained of being card dead. 

Jeff - Playing loose and aggressive. But most of this raises were min-raises. Started drinking and became more loose and aggressive.

Jack, Jeff's friend. - First time I ever played with him. He was solid. Got unlucky a couple times against Drunk Brian when Brian made loose calls and got there.

With the two drunks in there driving action, there were many big pots and chips flying in all directions! I was also permanent dealer. I was elated with this as I could get keep the game moving and eliminate people wasting time by not knowing the action. With all the action going around (and I was the one to count stacks for all-in bets and do all the normal dealer work) and all the hands I got into, its hard for me to recall all the details of all my notable hands. I'll do my best with the details I remember. But I was sipping on Basil Hayden's so there might be some places where I don't have all the info anymore.

I started off slow. Dad was on a streak and the drunks weren't drunk yet. I was getting garbage hands at first.  I barely played for the first half hour. Until I got A-Q of hearts in early position. I made it $2 to go. I got a couple callers (no surprise there, very few hands were won pre-flop) including dad in the blinds. At this point dad has been on a tear. Big pairs, flopping monsters, ect. The flop comes A-J-8. I was against 2-3 players on the flop, also very common even with raises. Dad leads with $5. It folds to me. I know he is rushing and the fact that he lead out means he has at least top pair. He might have A-K here. He doesn't three bet unless he has aces, kings, or maybe queens. His bet sizes tell me nothing because they are always consistent. They are way too small, but at least they are consistent. I put him on a range of top pair to a set. I call. 10 hits the turn. He bets again, around $10. I think a 10 is unlikely to have helped him unless he has A-10. I call. A queen hits the river. He checks. Its possible the Q gave him Broadway. I don't think he checked because he was scared. He could be looking to trap with the nuts or to get me to bluff at it. I just check. I don't know where I am at and my hand has plenty of showdown value. He shows A-J, and I scoop a decent sized pot. Getting three outtered and run down was a common theme for the whole table the whole night. I'm telling you it was wild!

Soon after that hand, I get A-K offsuit, so I raise to $2. I get a couple callers including Rob in the blinds. Flop comes A-8-3 rainbow. Rob fires right out for $2. I'm next to act. The fact that he is betting tells me he has a hand. But there are people left behind me. I don't want them seeing a cheap turn. I made it $7 to go. They fold and Rob calls. Turn is a four. Rob checks and I bet $15. At this point I have him on a weaker ace. He tends to get stubborn with top pair. He quickly calls. The river is another brick. He checks again and I bet around $20 hoping to get called. He calls quickly and shows A-8 for the dead man's hand. I had him for a weaker ace, just not one that paired the board!

After this I go on a stretch where I have just enough of a hand to cost me money. Nothing as bad as second place hands, just hands that I call a raise preflop and have to fold on the flop. Or hands where I have to call all the way only to fold on the river. The fact that I have 3 or 4 players under betting their hand makes this worse. They were giving me odds to chase my draws, but I wasn't hitting them. After this stretch I am down $20-$30.

But man, did things ever turn around after that! I go on one of the biggest rushes I have ever had in a home game! I flopped 4 sets (all with pocket pairs), top pair consistently, and started to hit my draws. I'll try to tell you about the biggest ones or the ones I remember most. Please note that by this point Jeff, and especially Brian were drinking moonshine and in full hyper-agro mode. They were gunning tor each other's money after some big pots earlier in the day.

I have Jc-9c in the big blind. Rob limps in the cutoff, Jeff makes it $1.50 on the button. I call out of the big as does Rob. Flop comes Q-10-8 with two hearts! Wheeee! I decide to lead out here for two reasons, I want to extract the more I can while I can. Jeff is sure to raise me if he has anything and maybe even if he doesn't. Rob figures to call my bet, so I can trap him for a few bucks.Also, there are about 20 cards I don't want to see on the turn. My hand is not going to improve from here. I lead for $3. Rob calls (no surprise) and Jeff makes a min raise to $6.

My goal now is to either end it here or at least get my money in good. As I stated, there are too many cards I don't want to see here. I make it $25 to go. Rob quickly folds and Jeff tanks briefly before following suit. 

I get 4-4 in middle position and I call a raise from Jeff in early position. Most of the table calls including Rob in the big blind. Flop comes K-4-3 rainbow. Rob leads right out for $3. Jeff folds.I decide to call to try to lure in other callers behind. I feel like I can afford a "free" card here. If anyone behind me had an open ended draw, they were not folding to my raise anyway. No luck, its heads up to the flop. An 8 comes down. Rob leads out again. He makes it $5 to go. Now I drop the hammer. I make it $15. I make it a smaller raise so I don't lose my customer. I am in full extraction mode here. He thinks for a few seconds then calls. I am 99% sure he has a K. A queen comes next and to my great surprise, he fires out for $15. At this point I would have made a side bet for a lot of money that he has K-Q. I feel like a sniper with a target in his cross hairs. I know I am going to raise. I have about $50 left in my stack right now. Rob appears to have a similar sized stack. I sit there for maybe a minute before pushing all in. I figure with top two, he is calling. He asks for a count and it is $36 more. Now he starts tanking. He picks up his cards and shows them to my dad. Usually a sure sign they are folding. He sets them back and keeps tanking. Now I am not sure he has K-Q, but its still my best guess. I mean top pair with no kicker has to be a sure lay down here, right? Well, after a couple minutes he finally calls. I show him the bad news and he shows K-6. I am stunned, but happy to rake a massive pot. After paying me, Rob has a single 25 cent chip left! He re-buys and keeps on losing!

Later, I have 2-2 on the button and call a raise in a multi way pot. Flop comes A-5-2 with two clubs. Dave bets first. A smallish bet of $4. It folds to me. Firstly, Dave has a short stack and my goal here is to get it all. Second, I know he doesn't have clubs because he bet. He would never bet into a raiser (even a drunk who raises all the time) with a draw. Last night Dave was playing very straightforward. It was a great way to beat the two drunks, but he never changed his approach when they folded. I just call. I have him on an ace. I know I am a 97% favorite here. I'm also fairly confident that he would have checked a set of fives to the drunk raiser(s). The turn brings another 5. He bets $8. With that second five, I am a thousand percent sure he has an ace. Again, I just call. Full extract mode here! The river bricks off. He bets again. $10 this time, which is more than half his remaining stack. I immediately raise him all in. After seeing how short he was, he calls and I show him the boat. He is stunned that I had a boat. He said that he was very sure he had the best hand. 

Later, Rob goes broke again (no surprise there) and leaves. Jack leaves as well. Now I am sitting between the two drunks and I employ the "Tom Dwan Defense" (TDD) of making a pair and holding on. At first it does not go well. I limped along on the button with Q-J and Brian raised from the small. He has been raising with any ace especially from the blinds. Most of us call. The flop comes Q-10-7. He bets, I call. Right now he could have anything. He has been raising light, very light by this point. He could have K-8 suited, he could have aces. He has also drank half a quart of moonshine on top of all the beer and rye he had earlier. I figure there is no point trying to put him on a hand or follow his "logic". Turn is a J. Again he bets and I call. River is another J. Yet again, he bets and I call. He shows A-A and takes it down. I know TDD is the best option with him and just to stick to it. 

It pays off soon after that. The next time I was on the button I have A-9 off. I call a small raise and Brian, makes it $4 to go from the small blind. Someone else calls as do I. This raise means nothing to me. Flop comes 9-7-7. I got back into TDD. He bets and I am the only caller. Turn is an 8. He bets and I call. River is a 10. Again, he bets and I call. He shows Ac-4c and I turn over my A-9 and scoop the pot. I win a couple smaller pots from Brian with the TDD. He mows down the rest of the sober players. Jeff and Brian continue to play huge pots. Pushing money back and forth. 

All told I walked out up $155! My best night in a cash home game! Brian's combination of catching cards and blind drunk aggression earned him about $100. After almost 7 hours of playing and dealing I was mentally wiped. I skipped going to HH, which will now have to be called Hollywood Hollywood as Harrah's got bought out. But I am thinking about going up there tomorrow night. Hopefully I can get keep the winning streak going!