Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Poker? Yes, occasionally

Since my last post about six months ago, I have, in fact, played some poker. Most of it has been in the free bar leagues, but some has been for real money.

I have done OK in the bar league, earning a few points here and there, but mainly I play those tournaments for the fun of it and to keep my tourney skills from getting rusty.

The cash games I have played have been at Winstar Casino in OK. I had two terrible sessions in a row up there in January, losing 1.5 buy-ins in two days playing $1/$2 NLHE. I played too loose and didn't fold at least one hand where I felt like, and should have known, I was way behind. I decided to take a break after that, and didn't play again until April. On that trip I thought I would stick to $4/$8 Limit HE to keep from losing too much at once. I still lost half my buy-in due to cold decks and draws that didn't hit. But, I felt like I was playing reasonably well and making good decisions.

When my wife said that a friend of hers wanted to take the shuttle bus up to Winstar again last week and invited us to join her, I figured I was ready to take another crack at it. I went for the $1/$2 NLHE game again, and played tighter this time around, only taking shots in position or with a good read on my opponents. I lucked out on one hand, where I flopped two pair and filled up on the turn. The turn card also gave my opponent trips. The chips all got in, and I felted him.

An earlier hand with the same opponent gave me pause and cost me some money. He raised in late position to $22 (in a $1/$2 game, remember), everyone else folded, and I found QQ in the big blind. I thought about re-raising but decided to just call and see what the flop brought before committing any more chips.

The flop was 9-8-X rainbow, so I had a big overpair. I bet $30, and he called. Since he didn't seem scared of the flop or my bet, I put him on a big hand such as AA, KK or a set. The turn was another baby card. I checked and he bet something like $50 or $60. Although I suppose he could have had JJ or TT or even AK/AQ, I didn't like the fact that he snap-called my flop bet, so I folded. I imagine that some will say I chickened out, especially by not re-raising preflop. I almost certainly would have re-raised then if the first bet had been in the range of $8 to $10. But my opponent seemed a little too comfortable with his hand for me to chase him down with queens.

Thanks to the full house hand, and not speculating with marginal hands, I finished with a $90 profit. I am still in the red for 2013, but I feel like I made mostly better decisions this time around than I did at the beginning of the year. I expect that I will be back up at Winstar again soon, trying to play my best game and to continue to improve as well.

Now that summer has pretty much arrived, I am hoping to hear something before long about the 2013 WPBT Winter Classic. I know that April is not organizing this year, and that I am not taking that on myself either (since I'm not even sure that I will be able to go). But I hope that someone will pick up the baton and put something together, so that I can participate if everything works out. It will be great to see my fellow bloggers again.