Sunday, June 6, 2010

how to lose $100 in poker - a handy guide

Invited to a new cash game last night. I knew two players pretty well from my game, 2 others I had played with at least once before. I blasted through $100 and went home busto following the handy guide below.

1. Play in a new game, where you don't know half the players. Unavoidable many times, of course - you won't know anyone in most casino games. You might make some early mistakes trying to bluff the unbluffable.

2. Play games you're not good at. When I arrived, this table alternated orbits betweeen Holdem and Omaha. My Omaha-fu is weak, although I quickly learned that it was no worse than most of the rest of the table. Just folding some junk hands (where most players were limping every single hand) kept me out of some danger.

3. Get unlucky. The middle of the night featured a $40 tourney ($30 buy in $10 knockout) - fortunately for me, was Texas Holdem. Twice on the night, the same opponent called me with bottom pair on the flop and hit trips on the turn, while I held top pair. On the second hand, the bottom five on the board went runner-runner on the turn and river, giving me top full house, which was pretty much unfoldable vs. his eventual quads. This player also called a giant, tourney-committing raise with 88 and hit the 899 board vs. Aces. Needless to say, he and his luck won the tourney .

4. Play games you've never played before. The side game that built up while waiting for the tourney featured Omaha Hi-Lo, of which I had never played a single hand. Most players didn't play this game regularly either, so blinds were lowered to .25/.25 and the style became a passive, friendly, learning experience (at least preflop). I'm sure I made a zillion mistakes playing this game for an hour, but I scooped one decent pot and chopped a couple more and escaped this portion of the night unscathed.

5. Play ridiculous games. After the tourney, the cash game reformed on the main table, and featured alternating rounds of Omaha and the awful "Aussie Holdem" - where you get three cards and can use all three. Throw all of your board reading skills out the window for this one - you can be up against a full house without the board being paired (you can hold 556 with a board of A5679 and have a full house), or a flush with only two of a suit showing. Since every hand can flop a hidden monster, and since we were at the late hours of the game, this part of the night became the classic home game "no foldem" affair with 9 limpers to every flop, and plenty of preflop moaning if anyone had the audacity to raise the pot until the board cards were shown.

6. Hit nothing. I folded my way through about half the hands of the Aussie Holdem and focused on the Omaha. Sadly, my cards were not very good and I didn't hit a thing worth playing hard. I took a few stabs but didn't win a single pot after the tourney. I made a final stand with AcAh8c6h in the big blind - the whole table limped to me and I made it 10x the blind. Two people folded. I knew a JdTd3h board would be enough to keep the whole table in, but I pushed my last $14 in anyway on a hope and prayer. 2 more people folded, and the 4 people left went banging away hard into an eventual $150 pot. The winner had stayed on AKxx and hit his gutshot queen for the nut straight, and avoided what I'm guessing were the two pair and diamond draws to drag the monster pot that I initiated as my final act.

A frustrating evening, but a predictable result. Play unfamiliar games with unfamiliar foes and watch the money dribble away unless a little luck is on your side. On this night, it was not.


diverjoules said...

Wow a whole night of newness. Will you be going back?

The Poker Meister said...

I've played in a few homes games where the games are "dealer's choice." One of the games chosen was 5 card draw, where 1st and 2nd best hands split the pot. Oh dear... What a stupid game!

When I go to a new game, I definitely try to take my own car; that way I can leave if the game degens down to coin flipping or playing games I'm not comfortable with.

AW said...

Too bad... When I would play with friends a few years back we would always be trying new, "exciting" games, and it was pretty much a crapshoot most of the time.

I hope that there would at least be an enjoyable social atmosphere for you to continue playing. With this type of game, it can take years to reach the long-run and you won't even have much of an edge if you keep playing games like that Aussie junk.

Bottom line: was it at least fun?