Article written back in November 2005:
My original intent in going to the charity poker tournament was to play in the side games they have after the first hour and people started getting knocked out. However, since Ben and I both made the final 6 I never had time to sit down and try my hand at some live ring games. Ben and I went back the following night so we could play exclusively in the ring games. I was looking to play some $2/$4, but I knew $1/$2 NL was a much more popular game, and that was the first one available.
We sat down at the table 6-handed and I bought in for $80. The maximum was $100. I never made a profit on a hand, but I split for two pots with AK vs AK and A10 vs A10. In the A10 I was freerolling with the nut flush draw but failed to spike a heart. After about 20 minutes of play I was down to $50 and not having fun, these guys were too crazy. The raises were always $12 preflop and often one of the maniacs would just go all-in for $55 or more.
It wasn’t a good place to actually try and play poker so I was excited when a new table opened up. I asked if they would play limit and they finally decided on Pot Limit. I looked at the table and noticed 5 women and 1 man. Nothing against women poker players (2 of the women were actually pretty good), but I knew they would not be nearly as aggressive as the table I was at, so I gladly switched over.
The funny thing about this game was that no one really knew how to play pot limit correctly, and I wasn’t going to correct them. For example, if someone bets $3 into a $6 pot and you want to raise the pot, you would raise ($9 pot + $3 call) $12, or $15 to go. The dealer and players thought that if you wanted to ‘raise the pot’ in this situation you would make it $9 to go, the total of the pot. I was fine with this thought process as it kept their bets from ever being too big.
I rebought for $50 more and sat down at the table with $100. I was down to $80 for awhile before I started to loosen up. My first hand was 4[spades]4[hearts] and the flop came out 10[diamonds]9[diamonds]4[diamonds]. I bet out the pot and got two callers. A 9[clubs] on the turn made me feel much better about my hand and I bet out $12. One caller. The river brought a K[hearts] and I bet out $20 and she called and showed J[diamonds]J[hearts]. Wahoo! Had she reraised preflop I might’ve laid the hand down, but oh well.
Things stalled for a bit until we got short handed (5 players) and then I started to crank things up. I was betting away and taking pots on the turn against all players. I had good reads on every player and knew one guy to bet out small with mid pair and call most anything on the flop but to fold to a decent bet on the river without top pair or better.
Another guy was very tight and of the two women to my left, one was a tight aggressive player while the other was loose aggressive. I laid down pocket 10s to the tight aggressive player when she call raised me from under the gun, and she showed K[hearts]K[spades], so I was feeling pretty good about my table.
One hand that I remember in particular was against a timid player to my right. He was getting beat pretty harshly and couldn’t keep up with the betting. Everytime he bet he’d bet the pot because he never wanted anyone else in the hand. 3-handed I raised from the button with A[diamonds]3[diamonds] and he moaned and called (The last 3 times he limped I had raised). The flop came out 2[hearts]4[spades]9[diamonds] and it checked to him. He thought for so long and was getting ready to bet when he saw me playing with $12 in chips. I had the intention to continuation bet until I saw him looking so eager to bet.
He checked to me maybe hoping to check raise and I quickly said “Checks good” The turn brought out the money card: 5[diamonds] and I hit my wheel. This time he bet out the pot, $12, nice! I cold called and everyone else folded. The river brought out the K[hearts] and he thought and checked to me. I gave him a confused look and said “hmm … $22 dollars.??? and threw in four red $5 chips and two white $1 chips and he looked right at me and said “I call” He hadn’t thrown any chips in, I guess he thought he was good and I was going to muck. I made sure he said call and said “I got the wheel on the turn.??? and he showed Q[diamonds]9[clubs] and looked visibly sick for not betting the flop.
All in all it was a lot of fun to prove to myself I could make it against opponents I’d never met before in a live game. It’s much different than my online play as feel and reads becoming much more apparent than the robotic play of limit holdem online. I left the table with $207 at the end of the night, $107 profit for Pot limit – $30 Loss at the NL table made for a decent $77 profit for 3 hours of play.
Looking forward to playing in more of these games as the year goes on, good luck!