Sometimes, the False Creek Poker Club truly does live up to its claim as the breeding ground of bad poker players. Unfortunately, I think that it encourages bad habits in me that I need to fight against to improve my overall play. Nevertheless, last night's cash game there, which was as crazy and loose as you'll see anywhere, was an exercise in discipline and patience that ended well for me. And I always have a fun time playing there because it's a great group of guys who are all fun to be around. One crucial factor that dictated my style of play was my decision to sit to the immediate left of the wildest and most aggressive player at the table, which meant that I was going to see relatively few flops, and with only premium hands -- his nickname isn't Crazy D for nothing!
Here are some notes I took on four notable hands that I played during the session. This was a ten-handed .50/1 cash game, but one where $11 open-raises preflop were the norm.
Hand #1: Crazy D puts on the straddle to $2. My initial $100 buyin has shrunk to about $75, but I look down at pocket deuces and decide to call, with the intention of calling a raise by the straddle. Sure enough, Crazy D does put in a raise to $15 or so and I call, which leaves us headsup to see a flop of AK3. I read my opponent for absolutely nothing, so I call his bets on every street as the board picks up an 8 and another 3. Sure enough, my opponent winces when I call the $25 river bet and announces Jack-high. He mucks when I flip over my deuces and start stacking the chips and mumbles a few times "I can't believe you made that call." I double up to nearly $140.
Hand #2: After folding for what seems like two hours (Crazy D was in full force!) I see a flop with AJ (I'd finally gotten a chance to raise preflop). The flop comes down KT7 with two hearts, so I have a gutterball plus backdoor nut flush draw. Peter, the player to my left, raises my flop bet to $25. I pause and trash talk him for a few moments, claiming that I have the best hand. Inwardly I'm just posing and deciding if the implied odds are there to take one off, and I decide they are, as I can fully double up if I draw out on him. Sure enough, the turn is a lovely Q, and I now have the nut Broadway straight. I lead out for $25, Peter obliges by shoving all-in, and sees with dismay that his two pair (kings and tens) is drawing thin. My hand holds up and I double up to nearly $250 in chips.
Hand #3: This hand set a record as the largest pot in FCPC cash game history, I believe. Unlike most of the table, I attempted to raise only to a modest $3 or $4 with my good hands as the initial preflop raiser, so this is what I did from early position with ATs in hearts. Sure enough I got several callers, then was raised to $10 by the very erratic Brad G, who has been known to dramatically overplay hands. Crazy D called the two raises cold in the BB. I ponder for a minute and decide to play this fast and 3-bet to $25. Although there is one intervening call by the big stacked Eman, Brad fires away with an all-in raise for another $132! Crazy D, who really could be playing any two cards, calls! I sit back in disbelief and run some numbers in my head. I really do not want to fold as it's a huge pot with a lot of dead money in it already. My AT hand can make straights and flushs and it's distinctly possible that both of my cards are live. I hem and haw and calculate that if I call, I'll still have my intial $100 stake. That, plus the fact that I'm nearly getting 4:1 on my money without the specter of future betting, leads me to make the gambling call. Emmanuel ponders for a bit behind me and folds an AQ of spades behind me.
Total pot size was nearly $500.
So what did my opponents have? Brad jammed with AJo, which sadly has me outkicked by one. Crazy D called with 96o (!). The board came down KJx, the turn blanked, but the river was a magical Q giving me some gutter love and I took down my biggest live cash pot in quite some time.
(Note that if Brad hadn't played this so aggressively preflop, he would have taken down a nice pot with a strong flop bet. I can't call off my stack on the flop with only two cards to come hoping for a queen to come.)
For the rest of the night with my monster stack I was actually able to see more flops and play more of my usual style after busting out Crazy D one more time when he jammed preflop with his last $50 in chips and I re-raised to isolate with KK. A lot of patience, 3 hours of folding, and some tight and aggressive play let me pick my spots and book a very profitable session up $500.
The one thing that detracts from my enjoyment of these positive results is the fact that I lucked into it. I really had no business overplaying my AT hand in that massive re-raised hand, even if I was against two wild players who were making the same mistake.