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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.

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