Friday, January 14, 2005

The Little Games

[Bob notices the little boy on the tricycle staring at him for the second day in a row]
Bob Parr: What are YOU waiting for?
Little Boy on Tricycle: I don't know. Something amazing, I guess.
Bob Parr: Me too, kid
"The Incredibles"

I had one of the best SNG games ever last night, I just had to write about it. Sure, I won 20 cents doing it, but it showed me how much I have learned in the last 6 months and was one of the most fulfilling victories I've had in that time. All for 20 cents profit. Funny that.

Anyway, it was at Poker Pages again in a 10 person SNG. I had the big blind for the first hand. On a tangent, the seating is random in these but I don't really mind getting the big blind first up. I mean, the cards are random anyway right? So off we go, and one guy wins the first three hands, 2 of them at showdown, and he's talking it up in the chat box. Nothing major, just the odd "nh", "gg", "thought you had me there hey?", like I said nothing major. But he walked to chat every single hand. Obviously he got some nice cards very early, but he also got the maximum out of them and busted two people in those hands. He would raise pre-flop to isolate and then induce the opponent to push with TPTK on the turn to his made flush or to two pair. It was well done, and I decided to attach some notes on his screen name. I did not play a single hand for 1 1/2 orbits until I was dealt AQo. In early position the other player (I don't know if it was a he or she, but lets just call them "Spin") raises it again, and I went for the pre-action click on "raise pot". I believe raising the pot was a good move, but I wanted it to be the instant raise variety to show that I didn't even have to think about it. I don't know what other people think about players when they do the auto check or fold or raise, but I always take notice of it at least. Anyway, it gets folded around to me, I raise the pot, and then folded back to him. He thinks about it and then chats "nice bet" and folds out. It was a nice little pot and my tight image certainly helped.

Players busted left right and center, and only once by me. With AT, and with Spin already mucked, I just limped with 3 others. The flop was Ten high, and I checked to see if anybody else was interested. One player minimum raised, the rest folded so I called. Calling here - was that the right decision? I'm not sure. The turn was another Ten, and again I checked. He went for a bigger raise, and I was over the top all-in. The player called and showed a smaller pocket pair and got no help on the turn.

As it goes on, I am able to raise pre-flop and get Spin to fold another 3 times. Other than that, I fold, fold, fold, and hardly see any flops. Spin is playing well, and hardly anybody gets the chance to limp.

We are down to three, in the money, and Spin is at $7500, the other guy and I are nearly even at $3500 each or there abouts. We float around for a bit and after a few wins I let Spin knock out the third place to put us heads up and dead even.

We go back and forth for a while. He raises from the small blind, I go back over the top and he folds. This worked a few times, and he only called me once. I had A8 and hit a ace on the flop. We ended up all in and he was holding A6. The board ended up pairing and with over cards so we split the pot - but it was worth the information.

We split another pot later when I limped in with 86, and hit one of each on a 862 rainbow flop. I min-raised and Spin went all in over the top. Beautiful - I call and flip over my 86o only to see his 86o. Oh well, what can you do?

After about 30 hands heads up, I did have him crippled at under $1500, but his auto all-ins pulled off 3 in a row and we were back to even, and then he had me out chipped 2-1 when the deck ran cold. A few all-ins that were folded to and some kind scary flops put me back into the lead, $8K to $7K.

Finally, I get a premium hand. KK, and in the small blind. I call, and watch in joy as Spin raises. I re-raise for 1/2 my stack. Spin thinks, and then pushes. Well, what else can I do? I push and he shows KJo. As they should, the dominate hand holds true, and I take home the bounty. I congratulated him, and it was returned, then the computer was shut down.

I was fortunate, because if Spin was any less of a player, I might have faired a lot worse. I was fully aware what my table image was, and how each bet I made was perceived. When I made pot sized raises pre-flop, my show of strength was respected. I made the same bet the same way a few times and got to show my hand to prove it was worth the bet I made, and it was noticed. Many people take the "Play the players" approach, and I think that extends to yourself (see children, I could have said "that extends to playing with yourself", but that's much too low brow for me. I'm mature now). I couldn't even tell you who else was at this table, as I was focused on only Spin and myself. It was a nice little game that took about 45-50 minutes for only 20 cents profit, but it was great poker and great fun.

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