Friday, March 23, 2007

Tales of the Poker Table, Vol 1

So it's the Wednesday night poker game, and the standard crew of knuckleheads are around the table: DB on my right, then Smitty, Marcella, the Mayor, and Toots to my left, rounding out the table.

I've adopted a new table persona, after DB confirmed for me that my biggest liability at the table was my mug - despite all I could do, I telegraphed the strength of my hand in a way that those who were sharp enough to read could do so. So in response I started doing what Chris Ferguson does: he caps his cards, places his hands up to his face just so and waits a 5-beat, every single time. So I adopted that mannerism, and it helped. Because DB has just been flat out kicking my sad ass for the last month, and it had to stop.

Now, these people are among the best friends I have, so I'm not going to go into a detailed description of their poker skills here. Suffice it to say, though, that collectively their skills run the gamut between pedestrian and damned good. And my friends might have other opinions - guys, you're free to air them here - but I think that generally, it's been a two-person race for table captain, and those two people are DB and me. I hope the others at the table will forgive me for making so bold a claim.

So anyway, it became clear that DB picked up a monster tell on me and was using it with complete faith, so any monkey business I tried would be punished brutally. So this past Wednesday, I debuted "the stance." Aside from a few early glitches - for example, going into "the stance" before looking at "my cards" - the general consensus was that a few big holes in my game were plugged. In fact I came down to heads up with Toots for all the marbles at the end of the night.

I looked down once and to my great joy found pocket Kings. Woo-hoo!! A little care and this little party ends right here and right now. The blinds were 500-1000, I was on the button, and raised to 3000 to go - only twice the big blind but I desperately wanted Toots in the hand.

It worked like a charm - Toots looked down with trepidation, but reluctantly called.

The flop came 8d, 3h, Jc, or something like that. Fabulous - not a sniff of an ace, just a few straight draws and no flush draw. Toots bet out a couple of grand. I waited my 5 beat and pushed all in, and I heard those magical words: "I call." My trap worked perfectly. I flipped over my Kings and saw the look of dismay on Toots's face and a raggedy 8h 5c hole. This was almost too easy. My kings against a pair of 8's. I was 75-20 to win (about 4% to tie). I was counting my money.

The turn came a blank - I think it was a deuce. Nice. 88-11 to win. But of course you know the punchline: the poker gods had other plans for me this night. A third 8 on the river dashes my hopes and makes an unlikely winner of Toots.

The uber-punchline is this: Toots' real name is Vicki, and she's my goddamn wife. I've stopped calling her "toots" and now call her "eight-five."

Well, there's always next week.


  1. D.B. sounding off here. This past Wednesday had the usual crowd, Smitty, Marcela, the Mayor, me and Gear Bear (our hero). If I get stuck with the name D.B. then the Crafty Southpaw shall be known as Gear Bear. I am too much of a lady to tell you what D.B. stands for.....well maybe I'm not, but we'll leave it at that. Anyway, back to the game. We played 4 tourneys. For two of the tourneys it was down to me and Smitty and since we're married and the money goes into the same pot, we decided to split first and second to have time for more poker. So basically we won 2 and Gear Bear won 2 - I played good poker, while Gear Bear (and Smitty) chose to be ulta aggressive with mediocre hands. So really Gear Bear is lucky I folded the best hand as much as I did. At one point I raised the blinds with pocket 8's - he re-raises with a crappy k-9 off, and I ended up folding my pair. Of course I had to rabbit hunt - and guess what? Good lay down for me - he would've won....aggressive bastard. I usually don't even play a k-9 off. Now mind you after 3 games Gear Bear had only won 1 game, and I talked him into one more - don't usually have time for 4 games, but thank God Gary's stance came out alot less often than last week. Don't get me wrong - the stance isn't anything to be afraid of, it just takes so friggin long - last week he did it after (and sometimes before) he looked at EVERY hand - good and bad - talk about a waste of time. Anway, back to game 4. First hand I have is A-5. Flop is 2-3-5 - nice, top pair with Ace kicker I bet big - Gear Bear re-raises (big surprise)with a 3-6......I thought about going all in, but just called. Turn is a 4 - now I have the low straight - I go all in and he calls with a friggin 6 - he's got the high straight - and I was out on the first hand. I personally think that kind of aggressive betting with middle pair (sometimes less than that) will get you in trouble in the long run, especially if you're playing against a D.B. Just wait till next week.

  2. What DB left out (and by the way: you may think you know what D.B. stands for, but you don't) was the fact that she herself is mindlessly aggressive-- she raises every pot, especially those when I'm a blind -- and never fails to bet the flop, irrespective of what she has. You either knuckle under to that kind of "strength" or you stick it right in her ear. So that's what I do. And it works, unless she blunders her way to a real hand.

    In short, she is, to use a poker term, a doody-head.