The Art of the Cards

Philosophical musings on poker and life

  1. 2009-04-10 22:30:06

    Racer Ring

    The other day, my friend Ben invited me to a home game with some of his friends. I knew a couple of them and they were all good guys, so I figured what the hell. A 10-dollar No Limit tournament with some new friends seemed like a good time on a random Wednesday night.

    Going in, I knew nothing of the poker habits of any of these guys. What I did know is that they are all competitors. In fact, they are all racers of the highest caliber. At the table we had multi-time national champions in rallycross, autocross and even stage rally. The woman who co-hosted the event and didn't even play poker had multiple autocross championships herself and all she did was make us food and make sure we had cold drinks. One of the players, Bradley, even co-drove for Rhys Millen when Rhys was a rally driver. Needless to say, the competition level was high, yet everyone kept cool heads about the game. Now, of course, driving ability has nothing to do with ability at cards. If that was the case, I'd have run from this game like it was run by Charles Manson. As it turned out, we were all there to have a good time. What a relief.

    The payout was $50, $28, $10, $2(!?) with the blinds starting small but increasing fairly rapidly. The competitive nature of my opponents led me to believe that they would be bluffing more than normal. My normal tight, aggressive style was the plan. Within the first couple revolutions I got into a pretty big hand. Still knowing little of my opponents' tendencies (other than lots of limpers), I limped into a 7-way pot with from the button thinking I could steal some on the flop. I'm sure the right play in situations like those is to raise, but I can never bring myself to do it (Happens to me all the time: on the button, lots of limpers, I look down at rags. I feel like I should raise, but rarely do) Anyway, down comes the flop: . Checks around. I put in something like 1/3 the pot and get one caller. Turn comes: . Dude bets into me. Did he actually hit that? Is he sandbagging Dolly Parton!? Inexplicably I just call. River: . He bets into me again. Hard. He's got the 8. Again, I just call. Maybe I was trying to be nice since I just got there and I couldn't possibly take a guy's stack so quickly. Maybe I actually thought he had and was fixing to take me down. My memory of things like that is awful. Either way, I just called again. He says, "I've got the boat... with the 8." I look at my cards, turn them over and say, "I, too, am a boater." The table goes bananas. It would be one in a long line of one-liners that had everyone behind me for the rest of the night. Had I only been thinking quicker, I could have had, "You're gonna need a bigger boat." Who knows when I'll get another chance at that. Probably only in Omaha.

    Play continues slowly from there. Ben gets knocked out in a flush over flush situation where he turned his and his opponent rivered. I lose a bit when the short stack goes all in on an ace-high board against my . Of course he has the . What I lose quickly, I build back slowly. I do manage to score pocket aces one time, raise pre-flop and get re-raised all in by , he doesn't catch and I'm sitting pretty. It's about this time when I'm informed that this game is timed. As in, at 10:00, it's all over and payout is figured by chip stack. Well that changes things. With four people left and me on the third stack, it's not looking like I'm going to profit. The short stack gives his chips to the leader and we start playing 'fold your blinds to Graham's raise' for a second. Finally, on the last hand, the second stack wakes up with something, calls my pre-flop raise and we see a flop. I look down at . The board shows . My opponent bets, I raise and he ends up all in. I figure I'm beat, but he turns over . My hand holds and I'm rewarded with $28. Kudos to Bradley for going for that first place money on the last hand. I don't know if I'd have done the same, but I definitely showed some big balls.

    Feel free to comment and criticize and until next time, may the malevolent poker gods become confused on the way to your table.

    Posted by Graham at 2009-04-10 22:30:06

Comments on “Racer Ring”

    • avatar for Nick L
    • I like "Well I am the boat captain!!!" anyway nice post congrads on the finish. I will be in touch with you if you would like to play in a serious of tournaments, that Iam working on trying to come up with you will be in the loop about it.

    • avatar for Jason M
    • I'd like to see that happen, especially if it involves spending some serious time in the FC!

    • avatar for Graham
    • J, I wish I could say I thought about the bet that much. I'm no genius. That bet amount would have been too high, I think, in retrospect. I just wanted to get called and I guess I got the best case scenario. Who knows what will happen next week when I know it's timed from the start.

      As for playing more cards, I'm working on that. This summer my goal is to do some reading and maybe roll up my steak and head to... well... Full Tilt or Cake, but definitely not Vegas unless it's to talk to those two big gamers we all know. Maybe I can make a part time job out of this.

    • avatar for Jason M
    • Nice post, dog. Me likes. Nice boat. Hardy har har ;)

      Definitely props to Bradley for going for the whole thing. I think I'd fold into second with those nines, or certainly not bet the flop unless I had an overpair/set (assuming I was still in 2nd if I folded on the flop). Did you make your preflop raise just enough to secure second if he folded? That would be genius. Or not. I don't know. It's a threshold, anyway.

      You should play more cardsssss. See you at the WSOP!