Saturday, November 17, 2007

And then a juicy cash game comes along to make everything better

This Friday night saw me walk away the big winner at one of the occasional cash games held out of the FCPC. (Well, in actual fact it was relocated at the last minute , due to a double-booking of the club's regular room, to the nice alternate venue of a player's home.) It was a deepstack format with everyone buying in for $200 with .50/$1 blinds. So everyone had a 200 BB stack to begin with.

It was a big relief to play intelligently with proper focus, after my recent dire experiences at the virtual felt which had caused some lapses in my concentration and leaks to develop in my cash game play. I religiously folded ace-rag despite the plethora of ace-high flops that were coming down and lost the minimum when I got outflopped (two such flops cracking my queens and tens). I won my first big pot when I saw a flop multiway on the button with 2h3h for a raise out of the big blind. The flop came down ace-high with one of my suit and I was prepared to fold to any bet but for some reason it got checked to me, so I took the free card. The turn was the beautiful 4h giving me a big draw, so I happily called a $15 bet from the BB closing the action, which was called by one intervening player. My flush came in and I was able to value bet for $45 which got called by top two pair.

About an hour later I was sitting with about $320 and I got dealt black aces in the small blind. I raised it up to 7.50; Bill in the BB made it $16 to go. George in middle position flat called the raise; I took some time and re-raised to $40. They both called. At this point George was relatively short-stacked with maybe $100 behind and Bill had maybe $200; I had them both covered.

At this point I'm aware that I'm facing a sticky situation but I'm pretty sure I'm committed to play this to the felt. Sure enough the flop comes down a relatively scary Ts9s8d. I jam the flop and *both* of them call. Bill flips over JJ (no spades) and George the 57s, as I recall. Sure enough the 8s comes down on the turn and I have been outdrawn by George -- but am winning the side pot with Bill -- but I have quite a few outs to the nut flush, full house or the rare quad aces. (I need to run this through PokerStove!)

The river comes down a fabulous 8c and I end up scooping a huge pot with a full house, eights over aces.

Bill and George say their goodbyes at that point and we play for another hour or so eight-handed, and I'm able to win a few more nice pots here and there (one in particular where I turned a ten-high flush with a straight flush redraw and called a big river bet from a rivered straight) and I am able to cash out with nearly $800 for a nice score. I did leave some money on the table a couple of times where I missed a river value bet, or a re-raise in the case of the flush versus the straight, but making those river bets would have been taking the high variance road and I was satisfied with getting to showdown with those pot sizes.

Gotta love live poker. I'd like to say I was able to outplay my opponents and really steal some pots I wasn't entitled to, but I made the vast majority of my money with hands that played themselves. Still, I was able to make good reads, fold a lot of trouble hands preflop, and make some proper calldowns and sniff out some bluffs when players like this donkey bet his busted 7-high draw against my improved AK (TPTK).

Hopefully this gets me in a better frame of mind for the rest of the BBTwo series of tournaments with a renewed sense of confidence. I'm definitely going to try to token my way into the Big Game on Sunday.

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