Sunday, June 13, 2010

Introducing Kory to 2-250 Spread Limit

Last Thursday after work, I convinced Kory to come over to the $1-$2 blind, max bet $250 table at Casino Arizona. Kory has usually played the 3-6 or 4-8 limit tables and done fairly well. He's had some bad experiences in Las Vegas at the 1-2 No Limit tables so he was apprehensive.

I felt bad when he lost his $80 stack on Thursday after check raising all in on a J-8-X board. The donkey called his raise with Q-9 for the inside straight draw and an over card. He hit the straight and Kory went home a loser.

Apparently Kory went back Friday night and had more atrocious luck. Kory has the same personality trait as me, in that if he loses, he becomes more determined to figure the game out and try and come back with a win.

So for our outing on Saturday night, he had called me earlier in the day and said he was ready to try again.

I arrived at the casino a little after 7:00 PM and was sat right away. To my left was an old war vet in a wheel chair with only one leg. To his left was another man in his 50's or 60's with a tattoo on his arm proclaiming that he was the Arizona Gold Gloves Boxing Champion 5 different times.

I was a few spots away from the Big Blind when I sat down, so I took a hand right away. I squeezed out KQ offsuit and put in a $10 raise. The Golden Gloves guy called and then a woman in the Small Blind, reraised me to $22. Now reraises in this game are rare, especially from a woman who I did not initially make out to be a regular player. Since it was so cheap, I decided to call the $12 and the player behind me called as well.

The flop was K-7-6 with two diamonds. The woman checked. So now I think maybe she has QQ and I can take the pot away. I bet $40. Golden Gloves guy raises me to $80 and the woman folds. This is why I hate getting a good hand early in a session. I have no idea how this guy plays and whether he's capable of making a move or if he has K-J and thinks it's the nuts. I decide that I don't want to put my whole $200 in the pot, so I fold. Down $80 in the first 5 minutes.

About 10 minutes later, I get the rest of my $120 in the middle with the second nut straight. There was 4 to a straight on the board and I didn't think the nut straight was out there since they would have had to call a big bet on the flop with a gut shot. Much to my chagrin, there were two other players who called my bet and they both had the same straight.

Kory finally was moved to my table just in time for the biggest cash game bluff I have pulled off in quite a while. A young man with a wool beanie and mirrored sun glasses had sat down not long after I had arrived. He looked like someone who might take the game seriously but not play too well. He was in early position and raised to $7. It was folded to me on the button and I called with the 6-7 of diamonds.

The flop was 2-3-5 with one diamond. The young guy led out for $10 and I called. I figured the flop looks pretty innocent and he could be betting with anything. Plus I have a gutshot and backdoor flush draw, so maybe I can win a big pot.

The turn was a black 6. Now I have top pair with a crappy kicker. My opponent checks. I bet $40 to try and take the pot away. The kid did not look happy when I called the flop, and he really looked like he struggled to find the call on the turn. I could have played conservative and try to get to show down if he had Ace-King but I don't know in the long run if one way is better than the other.

The river paired the 3. He checks again, and now I put the remainder of my chips in the middle which was $110. Once he struggled with the call on the turn and checked the river, I was pretty sure he had a small pocket pair like 77,88,99. The board was pretty scary since there was a possible straight, full house, or even just an over pair to his in my range. He looked pretty sick to his stomach when I made the bet. He never really tried to get a read on me, he just kept looking at the board and his hand for about 3 minutes.

Kory asked me if there was a time limit to making a decision. I said, "I could call the clock, but I think it's pretty rude". The dealer then to my dismay said, "You're on the clock" to the other player. I told the dealer that I didn't want the clock called, but she started telling the other player that he had taken 3 minutes and it was time to make a decision. I think the dealer was a little impatient because another dealer was behind her ready to push her out of her down. Anyways, he finally called with his pocket 8's and I lost my first buy in.

Kory was shocked that I didn't have a full house. The rest of the table was pretty stunned as well. I told my opponent "good call" and reached in my money clip for another $200. Surprisingly I was not too upset about losing the hand. I was happy with myself for making a good read on his cards and following my instinct. I was truly playing the man and not the cards. I definitely think my bluff was a positive Expected Value move, it just didn't work this one time.

In the mean time, I was starting to get a read on the rest of the table and realizing that if I hit a decent hand, I could probably take all of them down because they tended to over value, medium strength hands.

I went on a decent run and built my $200 back up to around $370 when I got the hand of the night. A quiet man with a baseball cap and an ipod raised to $15 in early position. I had not seen him raise a pot yet, and he seemed to be very tight. It was folded to me on the button and I looked down at QQ. Normally I would reraise, but I genuinely thought he might have AA or KK so I just called. The one legged vet called as well in the small blind.

The flop was a beautiful K-Q-8 with two diamonds. I had the Queen of diamonds. The tight player bet $30. I raised to $100 hoping to charge the guy on my left if he had some kind of draw. Plus if the first player has AA, he's probably coming along. Well the vet on my left called and the tight player folded.

The turn was a 9 of hearts. I bet $250 which only left me with about $40 left. He called again quickly. Now I'm worried that he got there with J-T or something silly. The river was a low card. I checked and he checked. He said, "I have Kings". As I rolled over my set of Queens I asked, "Do you have one in your hand or two?" He quickly flashed the K-T and I won a monster pot.

The vet was pissed. Apparently he had lost a good bit of money yesterday and was very proud of himself that he had won most of it back Saturday evening, until I took it all away from him. What a horrible call he made!

Getting back to Kory, he had been nursing his small stack for over an hour. Unfortunately I took some of his money on a couple of unlucky hands for him. The first one we both flopped a flush, but mine was higher. Another hand, I hit a third Jack on the river when he and another guy had both paired their Ace on the flop.

At one point I was up over $400. Then I lost a pot to another woman when she turned a straight against my JJ with a 6-7. I got away from it on the river when she raised. I was thinking about packing it in and that pretty much convinced me it was time to go.

As I was racking up my chips, I saw Kory finally get paid off when he flopped a set of Aces and the other player had turned a set of 6's. That got him back up over $120 in his stack.

I left a $312 winner and started driving home. About 15 minutes into my drive, Kory called to tell me that he had made a heroic comeback and had turned his little stack into $400 in 10 minutes. Then the table grumbled when he racked up and left even for the night. Congrats to Kory. He says he wants to keep playing the bigger game, so I hope he keeps running well.

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