Poker again at the Commerce tonight on the $100 No Limit table. I ended the night + $200.
I had several hundred dollars in chips in front of me toward the end, making me the Big Stack at the table. It’s good to be the Big Stack. It’s fun. First, because you’ve built this big stack up by taking money away from the other players, which is about %1000 percent better than having them take yours. Secondly, because in No Limit chips are like bullets, and the more ammo you have the better. So you can flop middle pair with no kicker and bet out big to scare everyone else into folding. Or you can slow play absolute crap, calling other players’ raises on the flop and the river and then come over the top at them on the river with a bet big enough to put them all-in and watch them fold because they’re not quite sure where you are and they aren’t quite willing to risk it all on the chance that you’re not bluffing — and you are bluffing, because you can afford to lose if they get brave and call you. But mostly being the Big Stack is fun because you’re the big dog at the table and what you do influences everything everyone else at the table does — everyone’s watching to see what you’re going to do. They’re afraid to bet because you might raise them, or they won’t play if you’re in the hand, or they fold to your small raise, etc…. They fear you, which is always good for the ego.
Best hand of the night:
The player to my right was a young kid who was very sharp, very on top of the game, and very eager for you to know it. He was jabbering all night, predicting (usually correctly) what everyone’s hand was, telling me why he played each hand the way he did, telling the (really incredibly stupid) dealer how to read the winning hands, etc. He was aggressive and confident and really a pretty good poker player. Also, kind of annoying. Also, the chip leader — until I sat down at the table.
Me and Mr. Poker ended up in a hand together. I had AQ offsuit and the flop came 10-Queen-4. There was two to a flush on the board and I had no piece of that. What I had right then was top pair with a top kicker.
One of the players bets out $20, one other player calls, and then Mr. Poker raises in front of me to $60. I think about it for a minute. I think if someone had a set they would have bet it harder, and I don’t think Mr. Poker has one — I think he’s just being aggressive and I have him on a Queen, maybe on a flush draw. I think my top pair is good right now, but that won’t last long if I let the other players stay in to pair a King or catch a flush. I need to bet big to get everybody else out and take down the pot. And so I totally overplayed the hand: I went all-in with $150. I wanted to make damn sure that people folded or that I’d get paid off big if they called me and missed.
The other two players couldn’t fold fast enough. But Mr. Poker… Mr. Poker couldn’t believe I had come over the top at him like that. He intimidated me with his poker savvy by predicting my hand: “What have you got, Ace-Queen? You have Ace-Queen, huh?” I agreed that I did indeed have Ace-Queen.
He shuffled his chips and stared at the cards and muttered about how maybe I had a flush draw or I could be bluffing or I could have flopped a set or did I have Ace-Queen? And I agreed again that, yes, I had Ace-Queen. And he asked if his Queen-Jack was good and I told him that, no, it wasn’t, but he should feel free to call with it if he didn’t believe me. And he shuffled and muttered some more and then finally he showboated.
He said, “This is how a real poker player does it,” and he turned up Queen-Jack and mucked it. So I turned up my Ace-Queen and told him “Good lay-down.”
For some reason, that infuriated him. He got really flustered, kept insisting “I knew what you had, you didn’t have to show!” and I kept saying “I just wanted you to know you were right!” and he got very agitated. Man, did that get to him.
And that’s why that was the best hand of the night: it got to him. For some reason, that one hand totally took him out of his game and he just fell apart and started hemorrhaging chips after that — mostly to me. Before long, he was busted out and I was the Big Stack.
That was fun.