Sunday, November 23, 2008

Four observations from $5 limit poker

I went up to Black Hawk with two of my best friends and home game players Saturday for some $5 limit poker. It might be the last time I play it.
Colorado voters approved a law that changes the betting limits from $5 per bet to $100 per bet. That will completely change the game, as you might expect, and I doubt I'll ever play it when there's other options.

• As you might expect, $5 poker can be extremely frustrating, as it's almost unusual when your hand actually holds up. You feel like a child tip-toeing through Serbia when you play A-A, as that hand rarely holds. A $5 limit just isn't enough of a threat to drive players out, and many are there to have fun, not play real poker, so they'll play anything, and you'll see crazy, crazy things. I can't tell you how many times I saw small pocket pairs carried to the river through a board of overcards and raises, only for the donkey to hit his miracle set/full house on the river.
Still, the game can be profitable. If your hands DO hold, you can drag huge pots. Last night I dragged huge pots with pocket pairs such as K-K twice. My queens were the only hand to get cracked, by a set of 9s, and that was only once.

• Poker is filled with douchebags, and as much as I love live poker, I hate spending more time with these people than I do with my kids, even if it's for only one day. Just one example was a guy, wearing white cowboy boots and a Miami Vice beard, who would flash his neighbor his cards before folding, and the tablemates, after a while, told him to show everyone else his hand. He refused. The floor was called for the fifth time in an hour to that table - apparently he'd already gotten into it a few times - and the floor told him to show. The floor, rightly, said show one, show all was a universal rule in poker. The guy argued with him for at least 10 minutes about it. If I was the floor, I would have kicked him out. Another guy wore an eye patch and bitched ruthlessly when people drew out on him. I called him Blackbeard.
But it's also filled with interesting people. I met a black guy at the table who was calling everything, I mean everything, and getting miracle card after miracle card. He took a lot of shit at the table, but the thing was, whenever someone took a huge pot off him, he was a gentleman about it and always said nice hand.
He later told me he was in Colorado to bury his mother and for therapy - his daughter in college was killed in, I think, an auto crash recently. l later shared my pizza with him. He won maybe 40 pots that night but left $200 down.

• I was down probably $50 and almost ready to leave when I was dealt Q-Q. I raised, and four called. This was not unusual despite my tight image. The board came all low cards, rainbow, so I bet when my opponents checked, and two called until the young kid who was loose but a decent player raised me. He had pulled this all night,so I gave him a look and re-popped him. I didn't see him having K-K or A-A because he didn't re-raise me, and I didn't think he had a set, but I had to find out. He sighed and called. He check called me to the river and mucked, and that pot put me up $30 for the night after 11 hours of donkey poker. I'll take it.

• Poker is a lot more fun with friends, even if you have to take each other's money occasionally. I didn't even mind when they did. I'd rather lose to them than the douchebags.

No comments: