The heavy rains had blown over, and the evening air was crisp and refreshing. I decided to visit the old Normandie Casino in Gardena, Calif. One of the students in my poker class at the Claude Pepper Sr. Citizen Center claimed it was a great place to play low/middle-limit hold'em.
Sizing Up My Opponents and Using the Hold'em Algorithm: Early in the game, I spotted one PokerShark at my table; and there was one really deceptive player. I was prepared. Whenever the PokerShark called, I knew he had a good starting hand; I called his raise only when I held an especially strong hand. Generally, it was better to discard marginal drawing hands against his raise. ( I suspect he had me sized up too, because he rarely played in hands that I had entered before him.) And I was cautious about betting into the deceptive player. Fortunately he was two seats to my right, so he usually declared before it was my turn. On one occasion, I used his raise to reraise and force out opponents yet to declare when I held pocket queens.
Religiously abiding by the tenets of my hold'em algorithm (I told you about that in my last column), and enjoying my share of mazel (good luck), I soon was well ahead. At that point, it was time for a leisurely dinner which I enjoyed while reading the latest issue of Poker Player. (First I read my own column; I admit that I enjoy my writings. Then I read Mike Caro's feature column. He always has good advice. The more I learn, the better I can play poker. And there are several other great writers with helpful advice.)
Back to the game after dinner, I sat out a few hands - carefully observing the play - until the blind got to me. The same players were still there. I was able to continue my winning ways; and my stacks of chips continued to grow. (My student was right on: This was a good place for me to play hold'em - at least tonight.) When I had almost tripled my buy-in, I decided it was time to take a brisk walk and enjoy the clear, refreshing night air. As I walked down Rosecranz Blvd., I reviewed the game and promised myself to start using my money management system when I returned to the game.
Using Money Management: There were two new players; and the deceptive player had left the game (probably went broke). Carefully. I neatly stacked my chips high, and moved one large stack to the right of the others - which I call my "assets." The lone stack to the right of my "assets" was to be my "play" money for the rest of the evening. I continued to have my fair share of mazel and, of course, used the hold'em algorithm. My stacks grew higher, as I added to my "assets" and restored my "play" money stack whenever I took a pot.
Then the cards turned cold for me - as is often the case. My "play" money stack shrunk and disappeared. When the blind reached me, I stacked my chips in racks and said to the dealer: "Deal me out." I got up from the table and wished my opponents a good evening and good luck. Time to go home. . .
It always feels so good to go home a winner. Savor the moment. . .
. . . So readers, what's YOUR opinion?
George "The Engineer" Epstein is the author of "The Greatest Book of Poker for Winners!" A retired engineer who received many industry and government awards and commendations, he continues to be active by consulting, editing an international technical newsletter, teaching an engineering course at UCLA, and serving as an officer in a professional engineering society. One engineering society has a scholarship in George's honor. In writing his poker book, he applied the lessons learned while working as an engineer to solve problems. He is currently writing his next book on The Four Rules for Success in Life and Living.