Tuesday, March 14, 2006


The Poker Group has been holding weekly online tournaments for almost two months. (It's a bit strange, almost like telecommuting.) I had done nothing in these tournaments until Monday, when I won an $11 against eight other players. (Busted in the earlier $22).

I really needed that win. Not for the inconsequential $45, but for an invaluable boost to the poker psyche.

There's a marked difference between playing against Group members and the Rest of the World. At these limits, the quality of the World's play is spotty. Many in The Group are well-schooled and quite capable of purposefully engaging in trickery and other forms of deceit. It's difficult to win against these guys unless you are committed to mixing it up. You've got to play poker.

I showed a couple of bluffs Monday night, something I rarely do. But given the reads (weak-tight) some players in The Group have on me, I hoped it would pay to advertise. I befuddled Vinnie with a push after a harmless 6 fell at the river and showed him my busted draw. I later induced two folds (after a bet and a call) with a shove while holding J-10 on an 8-9-x board. Finally got some hands, played them well, and got heads-up with Theo, who had won the $22 earlier. While holding a slight lead, I turned a gutshot to beat his two pair and end it.

I realize it's easier to bluff people you know -- and who know you -- than against the low-limit universe of maniacs, calling stations, draw monkeys and other assorted shallow mouth breathers who barely know what's in their heads, much less what you're thinking or what they think you think they're thinking.

For example: I essentially busted out of the 7:45 p.m. $11 tonight to an idiot who called my K-Q all-in (First hand out of the break ... I've got a little over 1,000, have him covered by $60) with A-6 and caught his ace on the turn after my king flopped. Asswipe. Earlier he called down a nasty board with pocket 6s against my pocket nothings.

I then won a $6.50 Turbo SNG after building a big stack early with great cards. (Have won 4 of 5 of my last SNGs, counting The Group event.)

Not quite done with poker for the night, I took the next logical step in the Poker Progression. I poured a few fingers' worth of the 15-year-old Single Malt obtained on my birthday and sat down at a $2/4 limit 6-max table on Stars.

It occurs to me that I would have played higher on Party if they had had 6-max games at $2/4 and $3/6. Instead, the 6-max game jumped from $1/2 to $5/10 there and I never felt properly bankrolled (or eager) to make that leap. I've played enough $2/4 and $3/6 full-ring games at Party to know that's not where I want to be.

I might try this $2/4 for awhile and see if I can move up. I've only played 60 hands, so it's impossible to know what the overall skill level might be, but I'm hard-pressed to think that it will be much different than $1/2. We'll see.


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