Home Game

07 Jul 2004

Home game last night at er’s house. All coworkers / former coworkers were playing and everyone knew each other pretty well, which I think made for a more friendly, loose game. Past home games have always featured at least one or two friends of friends that no one knows, and it seems to tighten everyone up a bit.

The table shaped up thusly:

1s - fhwrdh - your humble narrator
2s - wy     - he has been hosting lately in his downtown loft.
              one of the more aggressive players in the game.
3s - ic     - co-host, er's wife and the only one i hadn't
              met/played with before. very new to poker.
4s - lkim   - regular in the home games and commerce pal.
              also aggressive.
5s - er     - host and one of the better players in the game.
6s - es     - regular - and improving new player.
7s - cb     - new to the game, first time in our home game.

We played our usual sit-n-go rules, $20 dollar buy-in, 2nd place wins $20, winner takes rest. Every one starts with the same deep chip stack, single blind is starts at 5. This gives everyone a chance to relax early and just play, not too worried about stack size. Usually, we double the blind every couple of orbits until it starts to get late and we realize that no one has busted out. Then we start raising it every orbit in an effort to speed things up. Probably not a perfect system, but everyone seems satisfied with it.

Given the deep stacks and low blinds early, I took the opportunity to limp with some marginal hands (J9s, Q9s, KTo) when I had position, as the game was pretty passive pre-flop. I don’t remember hitting any flops with these marginal hands and it was easy to get away from them when faced with a flop bet.

ic was the first out, as she lost much of her stack calling strong post-flop bets with marginal hands. Next was cb who, despite being a newbie, showed some good instincts and was careful with his chips. He lasted longer than a first-timer might be expected to last.

This got us down to the 5 “regulars”. For the next hour, it seemed that everyone got a turn winning a big hand and taking over the chip lead. Finally, lkim busted out on a semi-bluff into a low board, giving es a very big lead.

I had tightened up and and was pleased with my aggressiveness in the hands I did play. I’ve been paying much more attention to the size of bets I place. I’ve been working on betting enough to make the odds incorrect for my opponents to draw on my made hand. I really been trying to focus on this. I noticed last night that most of the other players would lead out after the flop with a blind-sized bet into a pot of 3-7 blinds. In the past, I was guilty of this also. This made calling with flush and straight draws easy. If I had the made hand and was protecting against draws, I’d bet the size of the pot, or close to it, giving them only 3:1 and making it incorrect (or less correct) for draws to keep playing. Of course, i’m almost 100% sure that no one in this game is doing this calculation besides me, so i can’t expect them to recognize that i’ve made it incorrect to call. And sure enough, I was called with drawing hands on many occassions after making these bets.

Additionally, there are a couple of great side effects from this change. First, I appear much more aggressive. since I am already tighter than most everyone at the table, I feel like I am playing the tight/aggressive style that everyone talks about. Second, I am putting my less experienced opponents to the test more often. In the cases where they may have a made, but vulnerable hand, I can get them to lay it down. This happened last night when I pushed a player off his pocket jacks with my pocket queens on the flop. When the third jack fell on the turn, he was steaming.

We had two amazing showdowns involving improbable outs hitting on the river, the last of which cost me the win. The first was a pocket pair of 3s that es pushed in with when we were down to three handed. er had made hit his ace on the flop, but es hit his two-outer for a set on the river to stay alive.

Eventually, it came down to er and me for the win. I had the chip lead, but the blind was getting high enough (t1500) that it was going to quickly turn into a crapshoot. A few hands in, er cut into my lead a bit, but I still had him out-chipped. on the decisive hand, I was dealt pocket jacks and raised. er called and the flop came KJx. er lead out and I pushed in with my set. He turned over AT, no flush draw. I felt like I’d played it perfectly and got my money in with the best hand. lkim dealt the last two cards quickly, as if a formality. everyone stopped paying attention to the cards and started consoling er and congratulation me. Only lkim and I noticed the cards. Of course, you know what happened: Q on the turn and the T on the river for the runner runner straight. I was down to the felt, all in on the next hand with J2 and it was over.

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Franklin Henderson