Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Hand That Made Me Love Poker

I have for the past few years, I have tried to spend most of my free time playing poker. It was never my first priority -- I still maintained a life but it became what I wanted to spend my time doing when I had some to spare.

When I started to play, I played strictly limit both live and online and a no-limit tournament online here or there. Limit made sense, the brilliant poker book Small Stakes Hold'em made it easy to win at and it was fun. I somehow got into the Degree Poker tournament (no-limit obviously) and did well, advancing to the semi-final tables and getting some attention for my play.

In that tournament, this hand happened. It changed me.

Middle of Day 2, I am the table chipleader in seat 1. Across from me in 4 is a quite good player who was clearly doing well for himself in cutting down the weaker players as well. I was not a good player or anything, just better than most just based on my growing knowledge of limit poker and I ran decently well. The guy in 4 was definately better than me but was splashing and had a solid stack.

I have Q7s in the blinds and see a free flop of 4-5-7 with seat 4 and another player. I lead hoping to take it down but am raised small by seat 4. I doubt he limped with a huge pair PF and so I decide to call his raise and re-evaluate the turn. Turn is a 3. At this point I figure he would stick me on a 6 so I check, he bets half-pot and I call planning to lead/bluff the river. River is a 6 putting a board straight up and I immediately lead for pot which had his stack covered. I tipped my baseball hat down, stared down at the table knowing he couldn't see me so even if I was giving it away he couldnt see it. He stared at me for a good 2-3 minutes before saying "good bet, I can't call" and folding.

What do I think of this play now? Well, i might play it differently, but the instinct was there to put the man to a test for all his chips when I thought he was weak. Pulling off my first big bluff turned me from mathematical limit poker to no-limit immediately. It also made me love the game like never before. In limit, bluffs aren't really doable in the low-limits where I play, but in NL, it works! I blame the last few years of poker insanity on that one hand.

Poker has padded my bank account a little, but more importantly taught me a few things about myself and my tendencies under pressure. In starting up my new company, I hope those things i have learned in poker will translate to action and success in my business. I also hope that I find a few hours here and there to play the game that's given me so much.

1 comment:

Harris said...

With every post you prove to be just a little more addicted.