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Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Suits

Remember your suits. It always makes me laugh when the flop or turn pairs with suits and everyone looks down at their cards to see if they have one. They only players that don’t look made a flush or know their two cards are the opposite color. Look for a bet from them to give away their hand. If you‘ve read some of my past post you know I don’t talk much, but I do enjoy a good joke or discussing hands. Also, but usually not well received, I will give tips. There was a gentleman seated directly to my left and we were engaged in a conversation regarding poker strategy and I mentioned the remembering suit thing and he dismisses its importance. Several hands later he’s in a hand and 2 hearts flop. Of course he looks back at his hand. I lean over and whisper in his ear, “I guess you don’t have the flush”. He looked at me and said WOW.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Just like magic.

Reading hands is not as hard as it seems. If, and this is important, the players are predicable. Loose players, maniacs and drunks are impossible. Why, because they are unpredictable. When players do the same thing every time, they may as well play with their cards face up. I feel I’m a pretty good hand reader and usually keep it to myself, but something I can’t help myself and have to speak up just to show everyone how smart I am. J Two (predicable) players were heads up. 

A 10 2 rainbow

P1 bets with confidence. P2 calls with confidence.


P1 freezes then checks. P2 fires out a bet and P1 calls


P1 checks and without hesitation P2 bets and P1 calls. 

I point to P1 and say A10 and then point to P2 and say AQ. 

Just like magic!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thinking Ahead

Thinking ahead is an important concept in limit poker. Calling a bet post flop is easy for $2, but calling a turn bet of $4, you have to think about the river bet also. If you’re on a draw and the pot is large enough, it’s not so hard. But let’s say you have A10 on a board of K 10 7 2 and your facing a bet. Before you call you have to think about if you’re going to call a river bet, if you miss. The odds will probably dictate that you should, so it’s really going to cost you $8 and not $4. Calling and then folding the river will cost you money. So, if putting in $8 doesn’t make sense, it’s best to just give up the hand.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Alcohol and poker

Normally my trips consist of me getting up early and driving 4 hours alone.  About 25% of the time (or 1 to 4 odds :) ) my cousin will come along. These trips tend to be, shall we say, more on the entertainment side. I try and not mix alcohol and the tables, but I am not always successful. I still remember the time I was in a huge 4-way pot and was one of the pushers. When the betting was complete, I proudly turned over the nut flush and announce, A of spades and the 10 of, awwww. Wait! Where’s my 10 of spades? This is a club. 

Ok, I told you that story to tell you the next two. My cousin’s strategy is slightly different. He’s a good player but tends to favor the entertainment valve and promotes a cocktail or two at the table rather focus on winning. His strategy is simple and I have to agree, if playing poker is this fun, just think how much fun it would be with a buzz! He could be winning all the chips at the table, but if it’s not fun, what’s the point. 

I recall two hands in particular where my cousin was really pushing the ‘buzz would be more fun’ to its limits. First, let me tell you that there is always plenty of collusion at the table. Husband and wife, friends and even cousins. This comes in form of soft playing. In fact, it’s not usual to hear a player say, “I check my pair (translation: I call a truce if you do)”. So, if my cousin and I are heads up, we’ll just check it down. A completely normal maneuver.   

Hand one he’s under the gun, looks at his cards and glances over at me. Huh? Something’s up, but what?  He raises and makes it four. It folds to me one off the button. I look at my cards and have KQs.  I call. Normally I fold this hand to a raiser because they probably have QQ or KK. Maybe AK. But, I know my cousin is having LOTS of fun and 'what was that look about'. The button, SB and BB fold. Ok, just the two of us, we’ll check it down and see who has the best hand. 

As Ah 7h

My cousin bets? What? That’s weird! I know he’s having fun, so I want to make sure he’s fully aware of the situation.  I ask the dealer if it’s just the two of us. He responses with a nod and verbal yes. My cousin never looks up. He just staring at the flop and trying not to move. I call. 


My cousin bets. I assume he knows we’re heads up, so I can only put him on AA. I’m thinking that was cool of my cousin to warn me he had a monster with the earlier glance, but now he needs my help. He has 4 of a kind and needs a qualifying pot size for the bonus.  Sure, I’ll call and I’ll even call his river bet even though the minimum was already reached after the turn bet. He turns over his QQ and hopes no one has an Ace. He looks at me and I say, I thought you had Aces. Then he says, I thought you did! As hard as I tried, I couldn’t convince him that he burn me. 

On a following trip he was sitting on my right and again found himself under the gun and raised. I called with AKo. It folded all the way around. Twice I tell him it’s just you and me. 

Kd 7S 3d

He bets and shoots me a look. WTF! Homey don’t play this game twice and I raise. He can’t believe it and keeps saying what an asshole I am for raising him. We check it down and I can’t convince him he bet first. He finally says, “Oh, you’re just an asshole anyway”. Now, he may have a point.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Limit your mistakes

Damm it’s hard to make money playing $2/$4 limit. After every increment of $10 in the pot, 20% is taken out. 10% for the house and 10% for the bonus pool. Let’s say I’m heads up and I win a $20 pot. Here’s the math.
$20 - $4(20%) - $1(dealer tip) - $10(my original bets) = $5 profit. 

If I make a mistake and lose one of those pots, I have to win 3 others to show a profit. So, if you sit down at a $2/$4 limit game, you’d better be better then everyone and limit your mistakes.

Monster Pot

Just returned from a trip and fortunately due to 1 huge hand I was able to avert my first lost in over a year. I took a lot of bad beats and had 2nd best many times but a J4h saved me. I was in the BB and everyone limped to the button and he made it $4. I came along as well as everyone else. 

Pot: $40 

Qh 7h 3h

I checked, one of the limpers bets and the button makes it $4 again. Not wanting to chase anyone, I just call.  Two players dropped. 

Pot: $40 + $32 = $82


I felt I had the best hand, but when everyone checked to the button I knew I was good. Just didn’t want to see another heart or a paired board. The button makes it $4 and I don’t think anyone with anything is going anywhere so I make it $8. Two people dropped.

Pot: $82 + $48 = $130


I bet $4 and get 3 callers including the button.

Pot. $130 + $16 = $146

I turn over my made flush and the button shows QQ. Without a bonus or splashed pot, I think this is probably the largest pot I ever won playing $2/$4 limit.