Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Not Enjoying A Win

Walter Abrams: You know, the best part of the best drug in the world isn't the high. It's the moment just before you take it. The dice are dancing on the table. Between now and the time they stop, that's the greatest high in the world.
"Two For The Money"

It has been a while since my last post, and life has been very busy. I spent some time in Melbourne catching up with family, and even managed to go after some fish of a different kind. We went deep sea fishing in Bass Straight (for my North American friends, that is the body of water between mainland Australia and the small island state of Tasmania.) Had a good day out, as they were biting pretty quickly and yours truly bagged the first catch of the day. I also bagged the last, which unfortunately was right through my finger. The little hook went in and came out the tip of my finer about 1cm apart. Surprisingly didn't hurt as much as it looked like it did, which is always a good thing.

It would have been nice to get down to the casino for some poker, but my brother works there so if we went he couldn't join us to play, so we gave it a miss. Instead we played heaps of euchre and 500 and it was great. These are games I tend to only play with family, especially Pop. We also spent plenty of time watching horse and greyhound racing, placing a few bets here and there to keep things interesting. The Distraction couldn't drink because Little Ed is still on board, so she was all for the gambling to keep her interested. She was all excited when a horse bearing her name got up and won, paying nearly $20 for the win and $5 for the place – until a protest was launched and it got moved to second instead. (Again for my North American friends, in Australia we only have "win" and "place" for racing when it comes to a single horse bet. Win is for 1 st, and place pays on 1st, 2nd or 3rd. If there are 7 runners or less, then there will be no money paid for third.). We had a good collect on some trifectas on the dogs the first night, reinvested it for the next and then still had some to go again for the third but never got to putting it on. Still, gave us something to cheer for when there was nothing else happening.

I did get the chance to play some poker when I returned home. We travelled into the city to a card room that runs SNG's and I had a good night. In the three games I played I came 2 nd, 2nd and 1st for a good profitable night. I did nothing fancy, maybe one bluff on the night and everything else was just picking my spots to play. Once I had chips, I was able to wait until others were knocked out or take the opportunity myself to do it when it was presented. Heads up was ok – even though I lost 2 out of 3. The first one I lost maybe 19 of the 20 hands, but I was beaten on every one. I did not have a picture card in my hand the entire time, so there was nothing I could do. Eventually I rivered a straight when my opponent flopped a full house and checked it all the way. That was fine, I was beaten but still happy with the result. In the second game, I lost on the first hand when King high was beaten by Ace high. I was well out chipped and that was good enough for me. Finally in the third I got up for a win, when top pair beat a flush draw after a fun (but slow) game. Glad I won, as there were some real beginners at this table and I would have been disappointed if I didn't at least make the money (only top 2 get paid).

Then on the next night, I had one of the most un-enjoyable nights of poker ever in a home game – and I even ended up in front! If was after one of the footy finals, and there were some new guys who don't play very often so the host decided to lower the buy ins for the night – which is fine, I can see why he would want to do that. But the problem was he didn't lower the blinds, so basically we're playing shortstacked from the get-go. If you raise pre-flop and then give a continuation bet, you are just about pot committed straight away. Naturally, this turned into an all-in fest and when there was more money on the table later in the night and everyone had a normal size stack finally, the all-in fest didn't halt because that was what everyone – especially the new players – were used to. The fact that one of them was winning with anything didn't help things either. I said to a few of the regulars that if I got pocket aces, I would go all-in pre-flop and flip them face up to see if anyone would call. About an hour later I did just that – and had 2 players really think hard before they folded. Incidentally, the last of them had pocket 4's and would have hit on the river.

But something good always comes out of this. On one particular pot, a newbie was betting all the way with one of the regulars and a hell of a nice bloke calling. When it got to the river, the new guy realised he or someone else had accidentally mucked his cards before he had a chance to show them. He said he had pocket jacks and flopped a set. The other player simply said it was a friendly game, if that's what he says he had then that's what he had, and let him take the pot. It's good to have those kind of people around you in a home game, and I don't mean to take advantage of. There are a few very honest individuals that I know through poker, and it is something that I would hope they would say about me – just like exposing the aces before, I said I would do it so I did. We have this understanding that to not follow through would be bad karma, and nobody wants that.

Not sure when or where the next game will be, but it was good to have a winning month in September after the horror that was August. I followed my worst month ever with my best, so you can not argue with that.

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