Tuesday, January 20, 2004


Someone take out a gun and shoot me.

You, know, it's a real shame that I actually enjoy playing live poker, because it is most definitely a -EV venture for me at the current level.

I was right about one thing, though. The players I was at the table with are gawd-awful. I mean, retchedly bad. We're talking so bad that the players in Party .50/1 look like a WSOP table in comparison.

Here's the table breakdown, as I remember it.. I didn't take notes at all, shame on me, so this is from memory.

Seat 1 was some older guy who actually exercised some form of hand selection.

Seat 2: Young guy who would chase too often, but was only quasi-loose. By this I mean, at least He'd have a suited face of some sort.

Seat 3: Another young gun. This guy had an empire of chips in front of him, but I rather suspect that most of it was his buyin, as he made no particular in-roads while I was there. That being said, other then me, this was the tightest guy in the game. If he was in, he had it.

Seat 4: Younger lady who (teehee) either never played live before (teehee) or put up a very good front (teehee). Seems to specialize in cold calling everything, though I did witness a few folds and raises as the night drug painfully on.

Seat 5: Crusty veteran. A "let's see the flop" kind of player. Plays any two cards typically to the turn. Will crumble to a raise on the turn if he missed.

Seat 6: Older gent. The Gamb000ler. This guy was never NOT in a hand. His hand selection consisted of anything s000ted, any face, and any connector, suited or not, separated by as much as 2 (ex. J8o).

Seat 7: Me

Seat 8: The revolving door. This seat changed players 4 times in 2 hours. No read on anyone as as soon as I'd start to figure him out, he'd leave.

Seat 9: WSOP fan. I'll give him credit though, no sunglasses. Exercised decent hand selection, and if he was in, he usually had something or a good draw.

Seat 10: Another WSOP fan, but this guy clearly came armed with Phil Hellmuth's book in mind. Auto-bet everything, auto-raised everything else. If you checked to him, he'd bet. If you bet into him, he'd call, unless he caught a piece, then he'd raise it up. Seemed to be the only guy at the table who's raises were respected (go figure).

Now that I've given you the table layout, I'm going to disappoint you with some figures. I played about 2 hours, and I got into exactly 5 pots. Yes, my friends, the card draught continued for this Intrepid Card Player. Here are some notables.

Got AA in the pocket early on. I, of course, raise the pot and, of course, get about 6 callers. Flop comes KKx with two hearts (I've got black aces). Great. I bet out, resigned to the fact that someone here HAS to have the set, and not surprisingly I'm called down by 5. We lose one guy. Weeee. Turn comes a Th. Three hearts. I shift into check/call mode and raiser-boy in seat 10 raises it up. Now I'm convinced that he's got the king and he slow-played me at the flop, but WTF, I'm not dropping aces and kings at this point. Remarkably, everyone folds to me (?!). I call it. River is unremarkable and I check. Raiser-boy checks (?!?!) and he turns over JTo. I flip the aces and rake a mediocre pot. The theme of scary boards were the norm today.

For the next 30 minutes or so I collected a series of crap hands like K6o, A4s etc. and put on a folding clinic. I was not even blessed with the Most Holy and Apostolic HAMMER, which, though it wouldn't have qualified for the Hammer Challenge, I would have played just to break up the monotony.

Then I get Big Slick in middle position. Now, when I sat down, it was explained to me that Big Slick was no good here, and judging by the random card selection by others, I believed it. But I had to find out for myself. Button is at seat 1. Seat 4 (teehee) calls, Seat 5 folds, Seat 6 calls without looking at his cards. I raise. Fold, fold, call. Button folds, small blind folds, BB calls, seat 4 (teehee) calls, Gamb0000ler looks at his cards, then calls.

Flop comes A73 rainbow. BB checks, seat 4 bets, Gamb00000ler calls, I raise. Phil Hellmuth wannabee folds, BB gets out (he's paying attention), teehee calls, Gamb00000ler calls.

Turn is a T, all suits represented. Seat 4 checks, Gamb000ler checks, I bet. Seat 4 calls, Gamb00000ler mucks.

River comes a 5. Teehee checks, I bet, she calls. I turn over Slick for the pair of aces, K kicker. She turns over...

Wait for it.....

64o for the rivered gutshot.

Salt to the wounds, when she turns over her cards, she says "did I win? (teehee, teehee)". My eyes roll to the back of my skull and I go into mental convusions for a few minutes as I digest just how badly I got sucked out on. I really should have just got up and left right there, but now, it took my ass 2 hours to drive to this place, and 2 hours to wait for a seat. I'm also thinking that, these guys are so incredibly bad all I need are some decent cards and I can start punishing them mercilously.

No hands ever came. For the next hour and a half, my only win came when I caught AJs in late position and it held up when the board showed J high and Phil Hellmuth-boy turned over... I'm not sure... It was, however, a solid miss by the turn, so I couldn't understand why he was still in, but no matter, it helped.

Total take for the day, -$40.

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups. The implied collusion at this table was incredible. 3 to 4 people at the showdown were the norm, and the shit they turned over would make Gus Hanson sick to his stomach! In any event, I did learn more this time around...

First, 25BB is NOT a big enough buyin to play comfortably at this kind of table. The variance is incredible, and you need to have a stack to survive the suckouts and miracle draws. Expect to toss a lot of your hands at the flop or turn. If you don't connect solidly on the flop or end up with a solid drawing hand, it's time to bail on that hand. Anyway, I think that, with only $100 in front of me, I was playing a little too conservative, and I was hesitant to start pounding if I thought I had the best of it (which, granted, wasn't often this day). I'm thinking I should have come in with at least 50BB. This gives me the cushion to absorb some beats and still be able to play without worrying about being down to the felt.

Second, I need to shut up at the table. I talk too much, meaning I say something other then "raise", "call" or "fold". I got a little "chatty" when I got sucked out on. I didn't say anything nasty about the suckout, but I could not refrain from mentioning how unbelievable some of these hands were that I was seeing being shown down. The trouble was, the cards certainly weren't speaking for me, and I was getting a little edgy because of the next point.

Third. Don't bring anyone along who isn't also going to be playing poker. The wife insisted she be included in this little field trip, so I laid some dough on her to go play some blackjack. I, however, was stupid enough not to call ahead to put myself on the list. I therefore got to stand around for 2 hours waiting for a seat. On a Monday. WTF? Last time I was here, we played most of the night short-handed.. Clearly word is out about Ho-Chunk's poker room. Anyway, she had played 2 hours of Blackjack by the time I got called for my seat, and she has a short attention span, so she was already about done when I sat down. She was a good sport for the first hour or so (I even got a nice shoulder rub out of it, which I suggested she start pimping out to others in the room for a nominal fee!). Then she wandered off to "make her money back" at BJ. She had the impeccable timing of wandering back in a few minutes after I got sucked out by Seat 4 (teehee), looked over my shoulder at my dwindling chip stack (at this point a tick over $50), and proceeds to start a conversation with me about how I need to win that back because we need that money in the account to cover checks she wrote. I try to discreetly tell her that that money is ALREADY in the account (having been transferred from Party) and that I never gamble with the bill paying money. I'm pretty sure by this time though my already dwindling table image is now completely tanked by the wife playing the "you're gambling the rent money" tack. This conversation, of course, did nothing to help alleviate the red mist I was already seeing through due to being sucked out by Seat 4 (teehee... Did I win?). A few minutes later I hit the AJs winner and managed to redeem myself a little, so I was able to restrain myself from committing a homicide right then and there. I was able to convince her though that talking money at the table is a universally Bad Thing(tm), and that any talk about money as it relates to personal things and also talk about how much I suck is verbotten at the table. Not that I ever intend to take her with me again when I go play poker, and if I do, she's going to play poker too.

Come to think of it, I probably should have sat her down in my seat. I may well have made money then, as her admittedly looser style of play would have fit nicely into the table texture!

I do enjoy playing the live games, but I don't like the losing streak I've been on with them. I'm thinking I may well not play at the Ho-Chunk anymore, at least until I'm ready for 5-10 (the next limit they deal there). At 2 hours drive, it's almost an overnight affair anyway, and if I'm going to do that, I might as well go to Las Vegas or L.A. for a couple of days.


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