The Wonder of It All

Came up to Foxwoods on Friday evening and sweated Chris in the satellite for the World Poker Finals main event. He won a seat after several harrowing hours (harrowing for me, anyway!). I also go to take in the three-handed final table action of the $5000 NLHE event. The action went very late and we ended up getting breakfast and then going to bed around 5AM, so no poker that night. It’s been a long time since I ate breakfast before going to bed. It really took me back to the days of writing my thesis, when I spent more time at Denny’s than the library! Ah, procrastination.

Went to the poker room yesterday and discovered that the lists were absurdly long. I ended up in the 5/10 game with a full kill – which is such an action fest that it’s basically a 10/20 game where once in a while you can see a flop for half price. This game was AMAZING. I have a theory that the lowest limit games in a casino are actually tougher than the next few up, because all the old guys and all the young guys who sort of know how to play but are afraid to risk a lot of money play in the 2/4 and 4/8 games. (They were actually spreading 2/4 last night, and the wait list was 300 people long with at least 8 full tables going!) Once you reach this 5/10 game, you get the overly cocky young guys who think they know how to play and are too proud to play in the smallest game offered, and that is a very good thing.

Having recently read Annie Duke’s book (not such a great poker book, but an interesting story), I was unusually attuned to my role as the only woman at the table. The best anecdote I can offer is the following:

Kill pot. Folds to me, and I’ve already posted the kill. I raise to $20 with QTo. My friend on my left calls. Both blinds call. Flop: J 9 x rainbow. I bet $10, guy on my left calls, blinds fold. Turn is a blank. I bet $20, he calls. River another blank. I bet my busted draw, he shakes his head and calls, I show my QT, he shows…T8??? I was getting this kinds of calls all night. The same guy would also tell me his hand if I asked him. (You might argue that this is not allowed, but if you saw the other shit the dealers were allowing – such as letting people call bets with one dollar bills (?!?) – you wouldn’t find this so outrageous.)

Most of the guys in this game were real gents, and I had no problems with anyone which is a first for me since there is usually some prick who chooses to antagonize me all night because he thinks it will rattle me. Just one douchebag comment for the evening, and it wasn’t even directed at me! Chris was playing in the 200/400 OE game, which was the biggest game in the room at the time. This guy from my table who liked to make straights on the river when I held trips picks up from the game and goes to cash out. No one misses him. He comes back a few minutes later and the following exchange ensues:

Douchebag: So I saw your boyfriend over there playing 200/400.

Me: [shuffles chips] Yup. That’s what they’re playing. [to table] I raise.

Douchebag: Well, it’s not like it’s 1000/2000 so I guess he’s not such a big shot
after all, huh.

Me: [scoops pot] Yeah, you’re right, 200/400 is a really small game. I don’t
think he even knows how to play, he’s just messing around. Bye! [to
table] Straddle.

This case illustrates many absurd misconceptions that I had to struggle not to correct during the course of the evening. People would go over and watch the big game, come back to the table and say things like, “Johnny Chan is over there playing 1000/2000 no limit!” When Johnny Chan was not even in the room and they were not spreading 1000/2000 no limit. They guy they saw was Tommy Wang and he was playing 200/400 OE.

It was truly amazing to me that there were wait lists of 50 or more people for games like 10/25 NLHE. That is a fricking big game, and there were just not that many people in the room who had any business being in that game. Yowzah.

Overall I was happy with my play, but will focus on a few things to work on next session. First, I find that when I’m up hundreds of dollars in a crazy kill game, I play more hands than I should. Fortunately for my bankroll, I usually play them correctly post flop (read: muck them). I probably gave back between $50 and $100 in loose pre-flop calls, but in my defense, how am I supposed to fold when I’m getting at least 7 to 1 on my money every hand??

I also have to work on my river play. Several times I bet with what I suspected was no longer the best time (two pair and trips are cases I remember specifically) only to get raised and lose another big bet. A couple of times, I had what I knew was the best hand and missed a bet because the hand was multi-way and I was hoping others behind me would overcall if I just called the river bet. I need to raise here more often, I think.

All in all a very enjoyable trip. I took a shot at a bigger game, drew a great table, grew my bankroll, and got some more confidence in my own game.

Now let’s hope Chris makes the final table of the main event so I can come back up next weekend and cheer him on! (read: play this soft 5/10 game again!)

4 replies on “The Wonder of It All”

Err, how much did you sit down with?

PS. I wonder if it is accepting my email address as a webpage.

I sat with $500, because I was watching the game for a while before I sat and it was pretty wild. You could probably sit with $300 and be fine, but I play a pretty aggressive game so I like to have a lot of chips at my disposal. Several people were buying in for $100 and rebuying every hour or so.

Whenever people do the whole boyfriend comment to me, I feel like socking them.

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