Saturday, January 21, 2012

Only in a home game

A Poker Diary that's not so much about poker? Yeah, like that ever happens.

So I'm in the deep stack tournament at my routine home game last night. I catch Ace-King off-suit in late position, and I'm a little scared of running a coin flip with it, so I just call the min raise, rather than push. One of my regulars, a player who's one of our steadier and more dangerous guys, makes the call. The flop gives me an ace, no flush and no straight draws. I make a half the pot sized bet, and get my regular as the only caller. The turn is another seeming blank, so I raise the bet steadily, hoping to squeeze him out of the hand... and he shoves. For something like 95% of my stack.

Well, damn. Time to think this one out. I ask for a count, and determine the size of the hole I'm about to go down into. There's a lot in the pot already, and if I call and lose, I'd be down to a 5K stack that will leave me crippled, since the starting stacks are 20K. So the question really comes down to whether or not he also has an ace, and might have caught two pair, or if he's got trips... or air. Air is a possibility. A knockout would make me the chip leader at my table. Think, think, think...

And then my kids enter the room, to say good night and get a quick hug. And they are, of course, adorable in their pajamas, and cheerful and oblivious to the timing, and unphased by the 20-odd people in the room. I am not, of course, going to chastise them in public for coming down at this key moment; they are oblivious, and I want them to stay that way. So I return the hug, but tell them they've got to go... and since they are 6 and 11 and that way, they both need multiple hugs and want to perform in public. My table, of course, is laughing or expressing sympathy to me for the timing of the visit, and out of the corner of my eye, I see my opponent has pulled his hoodie tight and put his head down.


Laughing? No... Seems like... he's got a hand. And feels a tinge of consciousness over taking all of my chips with the move that will seem like a bluff. I don't like my ace now; I don't like it one bit.

I fold the hand face up, and he's kind enough to show me trip 2s, which means I was drawing stone cold dead, since an ace on the river that gives me trips would give him a boat. For 95% of my stack. And sure, I might have folded the hand anyway, but still.

Now, if I could just bring my kids, in pajamas, to the casino floor for key decision moments like this. (Ok, no. And by writing this, I've also blown their effectiveness for my next game. The things I do for my readers...)

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