Friday, October 05, 2007

Cash out

I returned to the J.C. $1/2 game after working late again Thursday. (Okay, a little insight. Work involved attending the opening game of the Indians-Yankees divisional series. I'm flying out in the morning for the NY portion of the program. Suffice it to say I have a fairly cool job.)

There were two fairly full tables running when I arrived around 11 p.m. There were only a couple of people I knew at the table where I sat down. Matt, the guy who beat me heads-up in the WSOCP, was to my immediate left.

While my previous $1/2 forays have been relative gambles where I've more or less decided to "take a shot" while realizing I'd be the fish at the table, I felt I was returning a little better educated and slightly more comfortable with the uber-aggressive nature of the J.C. $1/2 game. Preflop raises of $7 are viewed as trifles. It takes $12 or $15 to get anyone's attention preflop.

UTG my first hand, I weakishly limped with pocket 8s. Matt put $12 on top and it folded around to me. I made a standard set-mining call. The flop arrived with two face cards. I checked, Matt bet and I folded. Standard stuff.

I proceeded to fold every hand over the next two or three orbits. It was easy to do. My cards were garbage and weren't worth limping in with knowing that they wouldn't stand up to the inevitable raise. I'm guessing it gave me a nittish table image, but I didn't mind. Tournament poker has taught me to be patient. At action tables like J.C.'s, I could afford to bide my time knowing that when I finally made a hand, there would be a good chance that someone would do the betting for me.

I eventually did hit some hands and I did get paid, including an ace-high four-flush on the river and turning a wheel after raising preflop from the button with A-4. The same guy paid me off both times. Not much later, I raised to $10 preflop with pocket 10s, got called by the aforementioned victim and had to fire two bullets ($20 then $50) at a K-J-x flop and an innocuous turn card to push him off the hand.

I think the guy had a jack, but that's an educated guess. The $50 turn bet was apparently convincing enough because he didn't take long to fold. Considering my upper limit in NL cash online is .25/.50, firing that second bullet took some newfound gumption. I'm not capable yet of firing a third.

Up maybe $125, Charlie arrived and sat down at our table. Charlie is mentioned in one of the posts below. He the most aggressive, creative and successful $1/$2 player around. These limits are pretty small potatoes for him. He mentioned that he's been playing in a no-max buy-in game somewhere in town. He shows no reluctance at rebuying. The $200 is insignificant to his roll and he knows, more often than not, he'll be leaving J.C.'s with a tidy profit.

I can't help but pay attention to how Charlie plays. (It would be stupid and reckless not to.) What impresses me is how much "small ball" he plays, controlling pot sizes and absconding with pots when no one else seems to want them. Yet, like all good players, he knows how to fold. As much action as he gives and creates, he does a great job of minimizing how many chips he will commit to a speculative hand or pure bluff. His table image alone gives me a great advantage.

A couple hands after Charlie arrived, I was dealt Ah-Kh while UTG. I bet $10 again. There might have been one caller until it got to Charlie, who called from the small blind. The flop came 10-high with two hears. I checked, a weak play, but I wanted to see what Charlie and the other guy would do. The other guy also checked and Charlie bet $12. I called and the other player folded.

The turn was a black ace. Charlie bet $15 and I quickly made it $45. Charlie glanced at me and didn't hesitate to put another $60 on top. I knew I was behind, yet I only considered my options for a 10 or 20 seconds before confidently announcing that I was all-in. (I had him covered.) Charlie went into the tank, announcing that he had two pair.

"I'm thinking you have big slick," he said, thinking aloud. While attempting to portray a calm veneer, my psychic interior was in a roil. I could stand a call, but obviously hoped for a fold. I'd brought only one buy-in with me and it would have to last. He shook his head and mucked. I showed him my suited slick. Although I didn't ask for it, the dealer rabbit hunted. The river would not have helped me.

Charlie's table personna is happy-go-lucky, but he showed a flash of annoyance and bemoaned the fact that he failed to stick with his initial read. He said he thought I might have had a better two pair.

I've replayed this hand several times trying to figure out if I had outplayed him or just got lucky. It's probably equal measures of both. He hasn't played with me all that much and may not have had a read. I hope that uncertainty persists the next time I'm seated at a table with him.