Well folks our story begins and where do you think we find our wayward warrior tonight? Yes, I know it sounds strange but there I was in the number three seat in the 2/5 no limit game at the Bellagio poker room. I will set the stage a little by reminding all but the most constant reader that this is a no limit hold’em game however, you are only allowed to buy in for $200.00 and no more, if you bust down below $100.00 you can re-buy for another $200.00. There are normally 4 or 5 tables going all but the last being “must move” to the main game. The important thing to note here is that as players move through the sub games they are building up chips, so the stacks at the last or “Main Game” are normally massive. This format is used to insure that at any given time of the night there is one full game being feed buy the other games.
As I said I was in seat number three of the 1st game or rather five tables away from the main action and had just bought in for my $200.00 starting I had some work to do. My normal strategy in the game is to play very loose and aggressive similar to the tact I would take at a final table of a tournament or sit and go that only paid 1st. you MUST acquire chips to be effective later. The main difference here is that I can reload at anytime, so with out the fear of death I allow my aggression to peak in the early going. I want to push the table around for a couple of reasons, the first of which is to connect some very powerful starters or fill suited connectors getting all of my money in with two or three players and triple up. This will give me enough bullets to start playing my normal aggressive style and allow me to put the slightly larger stacks at this early table to some tough decisions. The second thing this does is establish a very loose and wild table image, particularly if I get busted when I don’t fill and the other players see me go broke playing rags. They are getting out their fishing tackle even if I am successful and win they are likely to want to break the “lucky tourist” and I get some really nice calls later when I am playing my solid A game and all the sudden I have the goods this time.
The fact that I am a little loud and like to crack some jokes at the table helps my image, I often try to pick out a player at the table and assign a nick name, from then on that is their name and I use it A LOT, especially AFTER they tell me their real name. I spotted my straight man right away, a skinny balding man, welcome to the game “Barney”. “Nice hand Barney”, “Nice bet Barney”… WHY do you keep calling me BARNEY!? Oh come on! No one has ever told you that you look just like Don Knotts? You know Barney Fife? No? Wow! The table roars with laughter, everyone except Barney, I may not look like Brad Pitt but, who the hell is this guy? I will get a big call from him later when he “shows” me. I will have the stone nuts when he does but that’s life in Mayberry RFD.
Back to the game at hand. I make a couple of pretty strong moves with some pretty marginal holdings and end up with a pretty strong hold on the table. I have worked myself up to around $350.00 with out any real confrontations. I still need to make a big score to get healthy and settle in for the night. $350.00 is nice, but I am more than happy to risk it all for a possible $900.00 stack (See Plan: A). I am on the button and 26 people limp for $5.00. I look 3 & 4 of clubs I should call here and see how it flops. This could be good, yea RIGHT. Make it look like $20.00! The small blind folds the big blind raises to $40.00! Hey this is my show buddy, two callers and here I am, I call $20.00 because hey, I am getting odds now right? I always say that right before I do something really dumb. We get a flop that looks like J,5,7 with 2 clubs. Not Bad, flush draw and an outside straight draw, I am sure I own the straight because who else would be dumb enough to be playing cards that small in a double raised pot? I don’t get to think very long about what I am going to do here because the big blind counts out the rest of his chips and says “I am all-in!” Well of course you are! Fold, fold, ok Mark, NOW what? I go in the tank and finally decide that I am going to call junior and I know just what I am going to say. Last year in the World Series a buddy of mine went in with AQ and none other than Daniel Negreanu called him with a suited 3 and 4 and named his hand before he went in, “I really hope you have something like an Ace and Queen.” How cool is that! Jason didn’t think it was that cool when Danny caught a four on the turn and it was off to the free Binions buffet for him. Now I try to act like “player of the year” and I look at the kid and say the same thing. I call.
Well, as you can imagine, it didn’t work for me the same way it didn’t for Negreanu. The kid didn’t show me an Ace and a Queen; he flipped over JJ for a set. I said what I always say, “looks like you are in big trouble kid” and showed him my disaster. The Gods were happy a club on the turn and the red faced kid was out of the poker room before the river hit, the board could have paired you know. Oh well. I had my stack and was off to war