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playing poker and teaching science: When I HAVE to win
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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle school science teacher, wrestling coach, poker player, scuba diver, aikido black belt, amateur writer, and student of life. I also try to give back a little by volunteering for a month or so each summer at a children's home in Belmopan, Belize, Central America.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

When I HAVE to win

I would like to increase my bankroll by $400 or more before June in order to pay for my Vegas trip. What game should I play if I absolutely HAVE to win money? I’ve been pondering this question.

On advice from Felicia, I’ve been dabbling in 5-card stud with my Royal Vegas free money. There is definitely money to be made here, but the games are often short handed so after I anti away for a while waiting for a starting pair or AK, the pots I win are not very large so the +EV is slow developing.

I’ve been reading T.J. Cloutier’s book on Omaha and Omaha hi/lo and decided to take a stab at the $.20/$.40 pot limit Omaha 8 game on Royal Vegas. Again, I’m playing with found money so what have I got to lose?

Don’t answer that.

At first glace you’d think that a game with blinds under 50 cents would be a very low limit game, but when I sat down the average pot was more than $15, pretty high considering the fact that $40 was the most you could bring to the table.

I decided to play very conservatively, but we all know how long that lasts, right? I always like to start with a plan but poker is a game that is constantly changing WHILE the game is going on. Plans are good, but they have to be flexible in order to adapt to changing players and situations or else you can end up tight/passive and become an ATM for the other players a the table.

I’m on the button with AJª25. Not a bad starting hand IF I am able to limp in. I am three to a wheel for the low and have a nut flush draw but the 5 worries me because if my low gets counterfeited, I’m not looking at the nut low any longer. There is no raising, so I limp in for $.40 and five players see a flop of K104 (rainbow) which gets checked around. The turn is a queen, giving me Broadway, the nut straight with no low possible but there are now four clubs on board.

I was going to play conservatively, but when the big blind bets $1 and two others call, I am facing a decision. If I just call here I am giving everyone with two clubs a chance to draw for free. Is all about making decisions. So I decide, “Bet the pot.”
T.J. says to make the drawers pay for those draws. Therefore, I raise to a little over $6 and everyone drops out except for one caller. River, 8§. Crap. There is a possible flush on board. The caller checks and I am faced with another decision. I can check or bet. If I make any bet and he check-raises, I am pretty sure I am beat. If I bet and he can’t beat me, he’ll fold anyway. He is unlikely to call any bet if that last card missed him so he was either calling with a flush draw, with which he can now beat me, or two pair and I hold the winning hand.

Check.

I win a $16 pot with an ace high straight. I assume he was either holding two pair or he is a complete fish. Either way I won.

I’m going to keep playing pot limit and see how it goes. After all, what do I have to lose?

Thanks for reading.

1 Comments:

Blogger Kim said...

Glad to see you're still playing. We play in at least 3 tourneys a month, some big-some small. Also going to be in Vegas in June. I haven't been able to play online much, as it's been mid-terms and writing term papers, so I always love reading about your games!

1:50 PM  

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