I spent a few days in Las Vegas and was able to play some poker in between meeting with friends and clients. The poker included a session at Bellagio playing in their $2 - $5 blinds no-limit game with my good friend Adam.
I need to set the stage for this story. We've all seen instances of lusus exiliter parvus. I managed to avoid that condition-common tilt-when I was all in before the flop with pocket queens and lost to pocket jacks. It's poker, and bad beats will occur. That's the attitude you need to have to avoid this condition.
My friend Brian called me yesterday complaining about his bad luck. He had been playing some super-satellites at his local cardroom, trying to win an entry into the cardroom's big tournament in a couple of weeks. Based on the prize pool, five players would receive tournament entries; the sixth place finisher would receive just $100.
Some days you shouldn't play poker. Last Friday I stopped at my local cardroom for some poker and lunch. I quickly got a seat in a $200 buy-in, $3-$5 blinds, no-limit game. In my first big blind I looked down at 9s-9f. A middle position player raised to $15. His left-hand opponent called, as did the button. I called too, and there was about $60 in the pot.
My good friend Brad called me about a business matter but our talk quickly turned to poker. "I was playing in a $1-$2 blind no-limit game," Brad began. "I worked my stack up from $150 to about $250 when I was dealt Ac-Kd under-the-gun. I made the standard raise to $10. The game had been tight and I expected only one or two callers, but six players called me, including both binds.
"The flop came Jc-10c-8h giving me the inside straight draw. The small blind bet $30, and the big blind moved all-in for $42. I folded, of course. Two other players called the $42, and the small blind did, too.
A few days ago I watched my friend Brian play a very short no-limit session. He bought in for the maximum in a brand new nine-handed game with $5-$5 blinds and a $300 to $500 buy-in range. On the fourth hand Brian was dealt 8c-8s on the button.
My good friend Scott called me this morning to relate his latest horror story from playing $1-$2 no-limit hold 'em. He was at an action table (his words), when he looked down at Kc-Kh. Scott had $225 in his stack, about average for the table. Scott elected to try for a limp re-raise, so he called. Four others called, the small blind called, the big blind checked, so seven players saw the flop.
Individuals' motivations for playing poker vary. Some play to earn a living, some for enjoyment, and others play to fuel their competitive juices. Understanding the reasons why your opponents are at the table is vital in getting the best of it.
A few weeks ago in Las Vegas I witnessed a player who I believe was trying to lose. Not an individual like Mrs. Goldman, who tries to win but is hopelessly lost at a poker table, rather someone who thinks he wants to win but whose actions are the diametric opposite.
I was in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago, and to my surprise my good friend Nick showed up. Over an early dinner at the Venetian's Asia Noodle restaurant we discussed a couple of interesting hands he played.
I was in a $1 - $2 blinds no-limit hold 'em game last week, and folded under-the-gun, when I watched six players see an un-raised flop of 10 spade 8 heart 8 spade. The big blind, Mrs. Goldman, bet $10, with four other players calling. The turn was the 3 diamond. Mrs. Goldman bet $20, and just Mick, the cutoff, and Aaron, on the button, called. The river was the 3 of clubs. Mrs. Goldman bet $100, and both opponents folded.
Over Memorial Day weekend I attended a tax seminar in Las Vegas. Once the seminar was over, I got a chance to play some poker. The results were decidedly mixed, with both big wins and big losses. But no matter what the result, it always felt like that I was just being pulled into whatever result I ended up with.