Back In the Saddle Again
Well, I have done it again. I have blogged and blogged and then disappeared. There was some drama with my wife’s job, and some drama with us moving and a change in situation as far as our baby; I am taking care of her while the wife works. It has taken me some time to re-re-re-re-adjust and I have finally come back to poker. More on that in a future post. I want to write about poker, starting now.
While I have come back to playing on-line, what has really gotten going is a recent trip I took. The main purpose of my trip was my high school reunion, but I managed to squeeze in a trip to Foxwoods during this last weekend. We took a long weekend and I made it there on Monday.
Not having planned ahead, I was expecting that it might be a bit quiet on Monday. As luck would have it, there was a major tournament series starting. I made it there at 10:30am and was seated in a new 2-5nl game immediately. This was the second table.
Before I discuss the game itself, I will make a few quick comments about the venue. This was the first time I had been there in three years and things have changed a bit. The customer service used to suck; now it is acceptable or better. While it is hard to judge from one session, the last time I was there, it sucked so hard that I noticed in one session. Also of note is the change in the game structures. It used to be that they would take time for all NL games. That is no longer the case. In the game I played it was rake, and I have to assume it was also rake in the 1/2nl game. I view this as a huge improvement for lower level no limit games. Finally, I think the room is bigger still. It is hard to judge the level of action given the tournament, but I was not disappointed.
On to the game: It was all male, for the entire time, which I found the odd. It was the same way at almost all of the NL games. That was very strange to me. All of the players were dead serious for the first hour or two. No laughing or joking or anything like that. I could tell which players were the regulars without much effort. I felt really good about that; it has been almost as long since I played live as it has been since I last blogged. Even though the game was serious and filled with regulars, there were enough bad players to feed the game and I was able to play real poker against some of the better players.
This is so very different and very refreshing as compared to on-line play. I have been doing a lot of that seriously this last month on Full Tilt, and for fun on Bodog. You need thousands of hands of history on an opponent to get a good read on him/her. If you are observant, you only need a few minutes to size up your opponent live. I think I am good at that because I have a lot of experience, but I think most players can replace the huge amount of PT data with something more intuitive and psychological for live play. It is necessary; I saw more on-line hands in March alone than I will likely see in several years of live play!
I played for 4.5 hours and was involved in two big hands and few minor hands. Twice I got all of my chips in when I was way ahead. There was no question in my mind that my hands would hold up, and they did. There was not one hand where I was forced to gamble. It could not have gone much better. The first big hand was just my flopped set of tens vs. villain’s flopped TPTK. I think a really skilled player may have been able to get away from that one, but I am not sure.
The second one, I am fairly sure that my opponent was a skilled player and he did not get away from his hand. Here is how it went: I raised to $30 with 67d in EP. This is a very unusual play for me and anyone who had been paying attention would put me on something bigger….much bigger. I got one caller immediately behind me. The player that called me I judged to be really solid. With $63 in the pot, we saw the flop heads-up. I was really fortunate to have flopped the flush. The board came Ad Td 3d. I lead out for $55 and he snap-called me. The turn was a blank. With $173 in the pot, I fire again for $125 and he snap calls me again. The river comes Jc. With $413 in the pot, I jam for his last $175. He snap calls me and immediately shows his hand. He has KdQs; He rivered the Broadway when he was looking for the nut flush. With the Ad on the board and the Kd in his hand, I don’t think he could possibly put me on a flush, though I was worried that I might be wrong about him and he had the flush. Not that time. I take down a $763 pot.
I am not the kind to take a victory lap, but an orbit later it was time for my hourly break. I walked around to examine the rest of the action. Again there was a tournament in town, but the action seemed really good even so. This was around 2:30pm. At that time, there were more than ten 1/2nl games, six 2/5nl games, and two 5/10nl games. There were several very deep spots in the 5/10nl games, but some that were not so deep. I would have taken a shot if I had had more time. They were also spreading 1/2PLO, 4/8 O/8, a few very high dollar stud games and there was even an interest list for 8/16 HORSE.
So, it was great action, I had a great session, cashed out for an $858 win, and liked the place more than ever. Given how much I had hated Foxwoods, this was a big change.
I will be back in a few days to talk about what I have been playing on-line, where I want to go with poker from here, my plans for the WSOP and more. I will try really hard to not disappear yet again, but I can make no promises. Thanks for reading.