Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Poker Diaries: Eldest In My Blind

Hello, Gentlemen
So in the home game, as I think I've mentioned before, I've been getting the Eldest in the action. She's very interested in poker, likes the game, and my group of regulars are all outstanding folks, many of them parents themselves. It's not like I'm putting her in a room of bad people. They are patient with her slow deals and decisions, match her level of PG trash talk, and in general, make her want to play more. It gives me something more in common with her, pushes the importance of math, and perhaps most importantly, gives her an important opportunity to deal with, well, defeat and disappointment. I'm not interested in raising a kid who can only enjoy games where she wins; life is not like that. (Besides, our kids should be better than us, right?)

Through the luck of the draw, she hasn't been at my table... until last night. And the luck wound up putting her on my right.

Hoo boy.

Like most new players, the eldest is still finding her way, and now, that means she plays tentatively, without much in the way of pre-flop raises. She also doesn't have the experience for accurate reads, or have the big math down. She's patient, though, and can take some pots with any kind of a raise on a power board, because folks are only putting her on premium cards. I think she's better than some of the foks in the room, and will get better... but at a table filled with guys who have played for decades, it's a simple matter of time, assuming the deck doesn't hit her right between the eyes, before she's going to the rail.

Which means that when she makes the min raise under the gun in front of me, I'm more than ready to throw away a lot of hands... but not, um, pocket kings.


I make it a 4X raise to her audible groan (yes, she's not exactly hiding the emotions yet), because, well, you don't really want to see a big multi-way pot with a big pair. I get one caller about halfway through the table, the blinds fold, and the eldest calls for three to the flop. We get three undercards, two to a flush, no straight, and the eldest checks. I overbet the pot and get two folds; a more or less simple and easy resolution where my c-bet isn't a c-bluff. I'm raking the pot, thankful that things have ended the way that they have...

But also left with a decision. Show?

Well, she's got to learn, right? And I don't need hurt feelings on my right, since it's not like there will be No Future Consequences from taking her chips. I also can't show just to her, not as the host of a game where I'm always hoping to encourage repeat visits. Show one, show all. Live with the advertisement that I played A-B-C poker. This time. So I flip them over, get the "Oh!" reaction I was expecting, and give her a hug in an hour, when she loses the last of her chips on a good position / bad timing moment.

And feel more than a little pride, really, when she gives another hug to the regular that took the last of her chips, and leaves without rancor. But with more than a little disappointment, too.

The Poker Gods also smile at my offering, in that my last three tournament starts in the home game, with the eldest in the field for all, have gone 2-1-2 in finishes. I've had worse evenings as a parent, and have managed to keep turning a profit despite the double buy-ins...

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