Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dead Money Betting

Part of a continuing series of Poker Tales...

So last night, my enabler and I headed over to Parx, the emerging poker room in Bensalem, PA, to continue the festivities. Unlike the last time we went there, the wait was down to something like 45 minutes, and the downstairs restaurant (bad food, and lots of it) was open. But once we got seated at a table, it was the same-old, same-old... get no cards, play tight, and then on the few times I do make a move, get called down by guys who play every hand and still have premium cards, or bet even when they read that they are behind, because they didn't come to fold. Or lose to me, seemingly.

It's the kind of game that you should be able to make money at, and friends of mine are doing very well indeed at it... my enabler has cashed both times that we've gone, and two other guys from my home game are claiming hourly returns from the place that rival a nice consulting gig. Meanwhile, I'm dropping something like a hundred an hour in two short nights of play there, and wondering if I should ever play poker again, or if I'm just wrong for the room. It's been that bad.

In last night's bloodbath, I had three pocker pairs in three hours -- 3s, 6s and Queens -- and A-K off-suit twice. Of these five playable hands, no flop improved four of them, and the fifth -- Quesns in the big blind against six $2 limpers, none of whom chose to play against my $15 re-raise, which had been pretty much standard at the table -- didn't see a flop. Had I played every hand that was dealt to me, a flop would have improved me no more than a half-dozen times -- each time when I threw away really marginal plays in the face of a strong pre-flop raise. Limp and catch cards? Not an option. It stops getting fun fast. I used to think I was decent at poker; now I just think I'm either a card rack or a fish.

One of the things that I do is keep track of wins and losses at different venues, since I've played at a dozen different places in the past two years. The swings are dramatic, but none of them have been as bad as Parx. Maybe I'm just going on the wrong nights -- weekends where any bet, regardless of how tight you are playing -- or just need to improve my reading skills a ton, since I seem to be running into made hands left and right. Because right now, the only way I seem to be able to win a hand is to go all-in blind. And in another two weeks, I've got the final event of the year at my home game, where I've got to outlast my two best regular players in a tournament to take down the biggest pot of my life. I'm not exactly filled with confidence about my chances.

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