I find my way to the 1st 2/5 NLHE table and set down all my crap, I have some work to do first because I am only allowed to buy in for $200.00 here and I have three full racks. I go cash in all but $200.00 and start getting settled when the guy right behind me in another game taps me on the shoulder and says, “You have enough room or what? I say, “Sure I’m good thanks”. He looks at me and says “you’re hilarious STOP bumping into my chair!” I respond with, it’s not me buddy! He shoots back, “Well SOMEONE is pushing my chair!” I get up and point to my 2 unmolested stacks of red and no hand and say “I just got here 2 seconds ago, you want me to push you I will push you but I haven’t yet!” Oh?… and he turns around; I say, “jerk” and sit back down. Two minutes later he taps me again and says “Hey, sorry man” No problem, I just got out of prison and I don’t need any problems anyway. He was really polite to me the rest of the night, go figure.
I take a look around and who do I see in the number seven seat? It’s trip jacks from last night and he has about $500.00 something in front of him. He looks over and makes eye contact. I smile and he jumps out of his chair like he saw a ghost! He grabs an empty rack and announces to the whole table “I am sorry to win and leave but, I am NOT playing with Him!” he points right at me and continues with “I worked hard for this $300.00 and he will just take it from me, goodnight everyone”. Seat open on table 17! Now everyone is looking at me. What did you do to him? I am his monster under the bed. Every player wants to be feared; I have never had one actually run away before. Thanks kid you made my year.
Poker is a people game played with cards, not the other way around and that is truer in no limit than any other game. I like to keep that in mind at all times at the table, particularly when I am not in a hand. I like to talk and get to know the players at the table, plus I am here to have fun so why not visit? I will tell you why not, you talk too much to me and eventually will see into that place deep inside you and find that hidden thing you didn’t want me to see.
Meet Jim, he is a 24-year-old sitting to my left. After about 30 minutes of friendly play I have learned that he just graduated from college at Fresno State and now lives in a room he rents from a friend. Jim doesn’t have a job; he is just relaxing and having fun playing poker every day. Jim is a pro, not in the sense that he is THAT good, but he makes his sole income from playing poker (See: Grinder)
I know several guys that make their rent playing this 2/5 game; they buy in for $200.00 work up to about a rack and then cash out. Then, they wait the mandatory one-hour and buy back in for $200.00 thus protecting their winnings. Some of the guys I know do this a half a dozen times a night. I asked Jim, assuming this is what he was doing, “So how many times have you cashed in from this game today?” he misunderstood me and thought I was asking how many times did he reload today. The next little bit of information Jim shouldn’t have released was this: “This is still my original buy in from 2:00 this afternoon” it was 11:00 now; he had about $450.00 in front of him. I let it drop; nice job was all I said.
Here we are at 1:00 am and I have been having a whale of a time and have really made some nice gains. I have about a rack and a half or $750.00 plus or minus and a nice aggressive table image to go with it when this hand comes up. I am on the button with a 3&4 of clubs. Under the gun limps for $5.00 and that gets raised to $20.00, five others call. This could get fun. I call, Jim in the small blind raises $30.00 more and makes it $50.00 total. All six players involved call! I’m your huckleberry and I am certainly getting odds to call. (See: Dumb Moves) The flop comes down J47 with 2 clubs. Jim comes out with $50.00 and 2 players call, I make it 4 of us. The turn is a blank that is not a club and I need to find a way to slow this train down to see the river.
I turn to Jim and say, “be careful buddy I am on a monster draw”. I have been pretty vocal (I know, big surprise right?) he has seen me hang on and make a hand to bust out two players tonight so he knows I have to have something. He is unaffected by my ploy and bets out another $50.00. He should have made it much more, especially since I had position on him and TOLD him I was drawing at him. The other two players lose their nerve and it’s just me and the young pro. The river brings an 8 that isn’t a club and I turn to him and say in my most fatherly tone, “That’s your ass kid, you should have made a pot size bet on the turn, you let me draw out on you.”
The important thing to note here is that we had developed a poker table friendship and I have been complementing and congratulating his “great play” all night, we had become buddies. He said “really?” I responded with “save your money Jim”. Jim goes in the tank for about five minutes and says “if it was anyone else I wouldn’t believe it, but I have been watching you do it to guys all night, you have the 5 and the 6 don’t you?” I looked at him and smiled, my painting was complete and it looked like I had a buyer, “Do I look like the type of man that would play a 5&6 for $150.00?”
This really sucks, I check. I pulled back and brought out a stack of red and made it $100.00 to go. While Jim goes back in the tank here, let’s review. He is a tight young player renting a room from a buddy. He has been playing over ten hours now for a profit of around $250.00, plus he is very proud that he didn’t have to re- buy into this game even once. He already has $150.00 of that profit invested in the pot and the bet I just made erases any gain he has made for the whole night. He looks over at me for the 10th time, only this time he shakes his head and shows me his hand, pocket sevens! I don’t hesitate a second and again, like his old lost uncle I say, “You know where you are at, do what you need to do.” He tossed his hand in face up and said “Nice hand”. I tossed mine in right behind him and said “Good lay down”.
The table exploded “How do you lay down a set of sevens?” He said when you play as much as I do you know when you are beaten, plus I really don’t think he would lie to me.” Then he turned and looked at me. “You owe me one kid.” Yeah, I know. Thanks.
A people game played with cards…