Monday, October 11, 2004

Stepping up to 10-20.....bad idea

For the last couple of months I have been really curious about sitting down at a 10-20 hold'em game at Casino AZ. I almost did it during my last trip to Las Vegas but I played the no limit game instead. That was plenty of adrenaline so that satisfied the craving for a while.

Last week, my friend Chris D. told me he had played in the 10-20 game a couple of times and was telling me how well he had done. I have played with Chris and watched him play a couple of times and he is not all that good. So now my curiousity was piqued again.

On Friday I went to a happy hour for my boss who is leaving for Texas. Afterwards I was driving down the highway that passes right by the casino. My original plan was to hit the gym after the happy hour and then go home and play online. Of course the chance to play live and skip a workout was too much to resist.

I signed up at the 10-20 list and was surprised to find out that the take a rake intead of a time charge. I guess that is new. I didn't watch the rake too closely but it looked like it was only a max of 4 or 5 bucks. There was enough of a list that they created a new table and sat me down with the other new players. This was what they call a "must move" table which means that if a seat opens in the first table you must move from the table you are at to the main game.

I was understandably a little nervous as I bought in for 400. I won a hand early and was up around $80. The table was ok. There were a couple of guys that at least talked like they knew what they were doing. There was one guy of mexican descent that I had seen before at my table. He seemed to be chasing everything. My initial strategy was to wait for good cards and hopefully get in a hand with this guy. Before I could catch any decent cards I was moved to the main game.

The main game was a rock garden. Just about everyone played solid starting hands and the preflop bet was raised at least 1/2 the time so limping in for one bet with mediocre cards was really a bad idea. There was one man in the 9 seat of far eastern descent who was a little bit crazy but with a purpose. Every once in a while he would go on a raising spree to try and loosen up the table. At least half the time, he had the cards so it was hard to make a play on him.

After the first couple of hours I was down to my last 100. I nursed that stack for another 2 hours and even built it up to 250 after winning a decent pot. The main problem was that were not very many large pots so it was going to take a great run of cards to make it back to even.

This is about the time that I should have got up and left. I had proven to myself that the players are not that much better at that level. I had the adrenalin pumping a little. I had a loss I could live with at 150. Plus there was no way that I was good enough to outplay the others at the table unless I got really good cards. At least these thoughts crossed my mind before I conveniently ignored them.

My last hand was the one that laid the big hurt on me. My image, like everyone elses at the table was tight and I was looking for an opportunity to win a pot with a check raise. It just seemed like the table would really respect that move and lay down their hands. Well we had a kill pot and the stakes are now 15-30. I get dealt King Hearts - Jack Diamonds under the gun. I limp and for once there are about 5 other players in the pot. The flop is something like 8-7-2 all diamonds. I decide to lead out just in case I can win it right there. I get like 4 callers. The next card is another low diamond so now I have the flush. I check. Sure enough it's bet a couple of turns later and the guy on my right calls, then I pop it for a raise ($60). The initial better folds and the last guy on my right goes into the tank and thinks about it for a while. He reluctantly calls.

Two players left and the river is a rag. I bet really hoping he'll fold. He calls and turns over King - Jack same as me, except his King is a diamond and he wins the biggest pot we had seen in 4 hours. He then admitted that he was really worried that I had the Ace. It almost worked. I picked up my remaining $30 and left.

So lets review again the lessons I need to learn.

1. Play within your limits which currently is 3-6 with my current balance in the gambling account.

2. If you can't spot the sucker at the table in the first 30 minutes, you are the sucker.

1 comment:

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