As has been established in previous entries in this blog, I play a lot of poker. My poker play provides an additional income for my family as I only work 4 days a week at my "real job". It also is fun for me otherwise I would struggle mightily to continue playing regularly, and a lack of enjoyment would likely effect my ability to make money at the task. Juggling my real job, my family life, and my recently started hockey season means that my poker sessions are restricted to a couple times a week. My opportunities to play come on the slower days of the week in terms of poker action, so I often find myself struggling to make the best of it. This past Sunday afternoon I sat down at the table, the 1 table as Prince George struggles to support the one poker room that we have. As I was filling the one open seat I had no choice but to sit to the right of the loosest guy on the table (okay, him and I were probably tied for 1st). A quick glance around the table and I could see at least 4 guys who are beyond tight another 2 tight aggressive players and 2 unknowns. I proceeded to win one pot early to bring my stack to $300ish then things went awry.
I started playing too many pots, all of them against my loose friend on my left. I was out of position repeatedly, and he kept using his place behind me to dominate. I was down to $120 after one particularly bad play, and I was in a silent steam. A seat opened soon, and though it was only 2 more to the right, it was better then where I was. I moved, and slowly calmed down. I lost a few more, but before long another seat was open, and I was now 4 seats to loose guy's left. By now I had found that the only other loose player was beside the other guy on the left, so I was now in great position on both. When I say the others were rocks, I am not exaggerating. One player saw 1, yes 1 flop in the 5 hours I played. He did not make a pre flop raise at all, and even folded his small blind for 1 dollar on about 7 occasions. Another man did 3 crosswords while he played 4 hands in 4 hours. So, I continued to raise and raise and raise. I managed to trap the second loose guy a few times. He limped everything if he didn't raise so I would toss in $15 and isolate him, or him and his neighbour. Twice, with big aces I flopped an ace and checked. Both times I got action later on when loose man made a hand. I over bet the river in one pot after checking my ace twice, and got him to pay off with second pair. I still hadn't beat my nemesis, but I was back to even at $325ish. That's when I hit it big.
My original loose friend (we are friends, he is a nice guy) and I had been teasing each other back and forth about playing every hand. There is a running joke at the casino that I can't let a late position spot go without a raise. In this pot my friend had straddled and I was on the button (a few players were away from the table). I looked down at a 10 4 of hearts. Going into acting mode, I took a deep breath picked up 4 reds ($20) then stopped. This got a laugh from buddy, and I proceeded to call the $5 announcing that my hand really was awful and I had worked hard to stop myself. No raise and we see the flop of Q74 2 spades. My friend bets $15 into a $30 pot, folds from the rocks and I call on the button telling the table that my hand had "slightly improved, but that's the only hint I'm giving." Of course this story is beyond obvious. The glorious 4 comes on the turn. I call $25. Blank on the river and my friend check calls my $45 before seeing my trips. It felt really good to finally catch a hand against him and even better to win some of the money due to table talk. See, I do reasonably well at the 1/2 NL table but for the most part I rely on reads, instincts and play making. If I am in a pot, especially if I have made a big bet, I go silent. I stare straight down at the community cards, or a spot on the wall. I do this whether I am bluffing, holding the nuts or otherwise. I occasionally break this habit, but I try to be consistent. I haven't master the art of table talk, and am jealous of guys who have the ability to manipulate players with their words. Perhaps that will be my next endeavor in improvement. Until then I can enjoy my little moment and the $200ish profit I squeezed out of the game on a sleepy Sunday afternoon.