Tuesday, January 27th, 2009...18:58

Full Boats

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Registration for the Sunday 12am, 50 person maximum, $70 No-Limit Texas Hold-em at Caesars opened 2 hours prior to the start. As luck would have it, I attempted to sign up for it at 10:05pm (thinking it might fill up and giving my wife and I time to eat dinner beforehand) but it hadn’t been entered into the system yet; therefore I decided to put my name on the $1-$3 No-Limit Texas Hold-em waiting list. This turned out well as I won $257 (not including the $14 I gave to the dealers) in less than 90 minutes. I doubt I would have won that much in the tournament, certainly not without playing for several hours.

There were nine players at the table, and I decided to play fairly tight. As a result I sat though lots of unplayable hands during the first 30 minutes. During this time I noticed a few things:

  1. There was almost always at least one raise before the flop.
  2. When betting pre-flop, $10 seemed to mean, “I want to play my cards”, $15 was, “I’m pretty sure I have a winner here”, and $20+ was, “You better watch out OR I’m bluffing”.
  3. Playing a hand through the river usually meant putting in $20-$40 total.
  4. About half of the players seemed to be “gambling” and the other half seemed to be “playing”.

During the first 60 minutes I only played four hands to the river, winning two of them; however, my $120 was now $75. I had told my wife I wouldn’t play past midnight, so I figured I should tighten up even more and just wait for one hand I could try and double up on. It came right away as the next hand I received was AQ offsuit.

I was in fifth position and there was already a raise to $10 and a call in front of me, so the pot stood at $24. Had they been suited, I might have been tempted to raise, but I figured I could call and if I didn’t hit on the flop, I could still fold and have some ammunition for one more hand. Two people called behind me, one was the big blind, so the pot was $51. The flop came AA6 rainbow. I couldn’t have asked for much better. There were only 2 hands that could beat me at this point, AK and 66.

Again there was a $10 bet and call in front of me, I just called again, no one behind me folded. The pot was now $101. The turn was a K. Same betting, now the pot was $151. The river was a Q. I had the best possible hand other than someone holding AK or 66, a full boat of aces and queens. Same bets in front of me, so I went all in for my remaining $45. The two people behind me folded, the first bettor called and the other folded. I showed my cards and he slammed down his cards in disgust. He had KK. That means pre-flop I was a 72/28 underdog, post-flop ahead 93/7, post-turn behind 84/16. I got lucky, though it’s hard to imagine it playing out any other way. The only point he possibly could have gotten me to fold was pre-flop, by betting big enough to make me think he had QQ, KK or AA.

After that hand, I was sitting pretty with $251. I managed to win another big hand, somewhat ironically with KK (I bet $20 pre-flop) and called it quits a little before midnight after watching the blinds go around twice without getting any playable cards.

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