Sunday, July 10, 2005

Running Hot at the Club

Since my old club shut down, I've been adapting to my new club. The place is in many, many ways a massive improvement from Playstation. The decor is an unbelievable step up: hardwood floors, exposed brick walls, brand new tables, plasma TVs. The service is a quantum leap better, partially because they are hungry for players but also because they have been selective with staff. There are definitely familiar faces in this crew, but pretty much the cream of the crop--dealers are friendly and more importantly, super efficient. The floor (when he irons his shirt), is a classy guy (who reads this page). The owners are great and personable and about as interested in keeping players happy as I've seen. The bouncer is, well, he is extremely effective--and damn good looking (in case he also reads this page).

The only things that had been missing has been heavy action and a big night for yours truly.

Heavy action I am still waiting for, as the biggest night so far they've had was four tables running a few Thursdays ago, and that included one table of bloggers plus friends that has been written up before. Other than that it has been one or two tables, even on Saturday nights. This simply cannot last as the club is just too good relative to other clubs not to win out.

Last night, however, addressed the second of the club's critical deficiencies. My cards warmed up a bit, not so much big pairs (though I had cowboys a few times) as nice flops and turns. Also, I'm thinking I just plain play better on Saturdays as opposed to my standard Friday nights. Not coming from work, I am less stressed and more rested. I loosen up a bit an feel than I am more attuned the the texture of flops and what others' bets mean.

Of course it also helps when the following happens: 8 way action, 600 behind me with 2 limpers to 4th position, a newly arrived older gentleman who I am informed by the player on my right is a very solid, aggressive player--I think perhaps a pro. Solid, with about 425 behind him, raises it up to 10, for that table a large sweetener rather than a fold-em bet. Looking down at the cards next to my dealer button, I see 65, each of hearts. Nice hand to play if I think I'm going get the rest of the table to call, and I think I'm going to get the rest of the table to call. I play and they oblige, including the blinds.

Flop comes Q 4 7 rainbow, one heart. Action checks around to Solid, who makes it 25. Now this is an interesting bet. With 60 in the pot, this is a little small for a continuation bet. Moreover, I am assuming this is not a weak player. I think he liked the flop and wants action. Well, the up and down was pretty good for me, better than two hearts as it's harder to see and less likely to be 2nd best if it fills up (and, when coupled with the backdoor, it's about as likely to hit as a pure flush draw). I note that this illustrates the dark side of the sweetener from Solid's perspective--the range of hands I can have calling from the button here is pretty wide.

I call and to my short-term chagrin end up heads up with Solid. Said chagrin disappears when turn comes a 3 in the fourth suit, giving me ye olde nuts.

Solid comes out with a 75 dollar bet. Alright, what does he have? AK? It fit the pattern until the turn bet, but at that point he's got to know he's not pushing me off a queen, a card he has to think it likely I have at this point, so I don't think so. AQ? Much more likely, if he had been playing it like a drawing hand. AA, KK or QQ? Dangerously small pre-flop bet for those hands, but I was operating under the assumption that he was a tricky player so I couldn't put him off them. JJ or TT? Consistent with the pre-flop and the flop bets, but he would have to have been unsually persistent to push that at this point. How about KQ suited or off? That fits the pattern quite well. So that leaves me with likely hands of AA-QQ, AQ or KQ. I suppose Q-rag suited for two pair is a possible hand here as well. (74 suited? This way lies madness.)

All of those hands except QQ and Q-paired would have been drawing dead at this point, but also would have been quite difficult to fold, and of course all of them were behind. I wasn't about to give him a cheap river, so I raised it up to 175 straight. He thought, and he called.

River was a 4, not a card I wanted to see as it paired the board. My nuts were mortal once again, as QQ or Q4 (or 74!) would have had me killed. He checked to me and here's my reasoning in putting him all in. QQ is really unlikely given his small preflop bet, if he was playing Q-rag, Q4 is really a stretch and at some point I have to place some faith it the justice of the universe, plus why in the hell would he not bet these hands here rather than risk me checking back? If he's playing AQ, KQ, AA, or KK, he thinks that the 4 may have just counterfeited my flopped two pair. He may not like it, but if I go all in, he has a call of 215 to win a a pot of 460, and I think he has to do it with any of those hands. If I make a smaller bet, he's only going to pop me with QQ or Q4, and I'll have to call those anyway so I might as well get the chips in now.

He called, I flipped, he mucked, I stacked.

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