Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Poker Home Game - Micro-Stakes Murderer's Row

Yesterday I played in a 5-person home game at Matty's house. The stakes were low, the action was awesome.

The following suspects were there:

  • Matt - Matty is the host of the game. He's a closet poker degenerate but keeps the urge at bay by losing money slowly but surely at the game which reminds him he should be spending his time on more important things -- like watching the Sabres suck their way up and down the ice. Matt is a slightly loose aggressive pre passive post poker player. Matt buys in for $50.

  • Jay - Jay is a family guy these days. Has a couple rugrats and never makes it out to games due to time constraints. Jay is known in poker circles as a "maniac". Jay buys for $40.

  • Ryan - Ryan the pro is off on winter pogey at the moment -- seasonal job... yadda yadda. He used to spend all his free winter time at the casino rounding but currently wakes up at noon, hits the gym often and might in some circles be considered a "recreational alcoholic". Nice guy, loose-aggressive player, buys in for $40 and pours himself a double vodka, neat.

  • Toast - Yours truly. Poker-starved workaholic who can't make interesting blog posts (at least, so says the guy who considers his own intesting blog posts to include him beating a girl at squash -- really entertaining stuff Harry btw). I buy-in $50 and will rebuy to cover Matt at all times. Brought $250 to a $50 home game, you figure it out. Starved of poker much?

  • Steve - Steve's off his seasonal job too right now. First time i've played with him. Steve buys for $40 and seems to know what he's doing.

Off we go. Early on it's clear that this $0.25/$0.50 blind game is going to be crazy. Britney Spears is less crazy than this group and that's one crazy bitch.

Early on Jay gets himself crippled (he only brought one buy-in -- beginners mistake). He has to play short stacked poker until he randomly decides he has to push $12ish into $0.75 blinds pots consistantly. Jay goes busto after about an hour having never received his due-action.

So we're 4 handed. Usually when the home games get 4-handed Gary starts bitching then we stack him 3 times and he runs away, then Harry decides he is tired of playing poker and instead of cashing out calls off chips with any two cards. Those guys weren't there. Left are 4 total poker obsessed low-stakes players. This could be an interesting night.

Interesting Happenings That I Remember:

I call off a $12 river bet against Matt with 4th pair on a 8JJKx board. He had AJ. Hmm, poor read.

I double through Matt with 9To turning a straight against his AA.

I take Matt's remaining $20 or so with my QQ v his AK pre-flop action. He re-buys.

I call a $40 all-in flop push on a K high two spade board with K-6 against what appeared to be Steve in frustration of my constantly raising people (it looked like a bluff with a mid pocket pair to me). Took me like 3-5 mins to call only to be shown KJ with the flush draw. DOH. I'm back to my original buy-in or so.

I call in BB with JTs. Flop is 8 high, I check Matt bets I call. Turn is a blank I check Matt bets $8 I check-raise to $23 and he claims to want to push with Q high. I show the bluff.

I sniff out Matt's bluff but fold anyways, he shows the bluff.

I sniff out Ryan's bluff but fold anyways, he shows the bluff (i'm gun-shy for a bit after that K6 hand I think).

I almost double through fully with 34s on a 44T board vs. Steve -- he doesn't call the $40 river push into a $60 pot with JT (DOH).

I snap-call Matt's $15 flop push with AQ high on a 788 board -- he turns a straight with a J -- nice call tho Toasty! :)

Matt plays a great pre-flop hand vs. Steve. Matt opens to $2 on the button, Steve makes it $5. Matt makes it $15. Steve pushes, Matt tanks and calls his remaining $25ish off with 99 versus steve's 77. They hold up and it's a sick play overall.


The whole game was played on a level "above" that of the cards themselves. It was the first time I had played psychological game level poker at the home game and was the most aggressive game I have seen in a long time. I personally put myself in a lot of tight spots playing loose poker. Had the stakes meant more, I might not have made some of the heroic calls that happened - win or lose. Ryan wasn't happy with his play, Steve played well and Matt and I ended up slightly ahead.

In the end we had a fantastic night of poker regardless of the low stakes -- ended at 2AM baby. There was blood on the floor each hand and no letting go on pots easily -- it was beautiful. All I ever asked for the home game to be was competitive -- for people to care about the pots and their chips. Even though we aren't playing for a lot of money here, there was no lack of competition.

And so ends a beautiful night on micro-stakes murderer's row.

Did you read all that? Now Go Check Out Natalie Gulbis again as a reward.


Matt said...

Great post.

It was a really intense game, that's for sure. Lots of fun.

I felt like I played the best poker I possibly could, considering where I'm at with my game right now. I thought I changed up my style a bit but perhaps not...I still have to work on tells but I don't feel I was caught very often making a poor play and my reads were pretty much spot on, even if I didn't end up making calls.

Hopefully we can get another game going next week.

Harris said...

Finally something of substance to read. I'm in next week, even with my crappy-i don't care enough to think about the hand-loose play.

Well, I guess that is if I'm not going to ruin the game for you.

Toast said...

On the golf course and at the poker table, your weekly donations are always welcome, Harry.