Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Button nuts

After last Saturday's play, bankroll up to $50 (from my $15 buy in), it was time to leave the 10¢/20¢ tables and head for higher stakes. The level this week: $1/$2.

The players at the $1/$2 aren't any better, except that they don't go in with the hands that drive you insane when you lose, like 3d 6h. Realistically, it makes the $1/$2 table easier, because there's more of an opportunity to put someone on a hand. You'll still see guys with big bankrolls going in with Tc 6c in middle position ("but it's soooooted!"), but you'll won't see bizarre straight draws being hit nearly as often.

On Sunday I turned my $50 into $60, and last night turned my $60 into $90, mostly by just playing the good starting hands.

Tonight, though... Lemme tell ya.

I knew things were going to be interesting when I sat down to the right of the button, posted my $1, got dealt 8h 5c, and saw the flop for free: Qs, 8c, 4d. The hand checks around, and As comes on the turn. Again, the hand checks around. The river is 3h. It checks around, and I win $6.70 with my pair of eights. Wha??

A few hands later, in middle position, I get dealt Td Qs. A marginal hand, and one I probably shouldn't have played, but I tossed $1 at it. Seven players, including the blinds. The flop is Jc Qc 7s. I got me top pair. Checks to me, I bet a buck, get four folds and two callers (small blind and UTG).

Turn is 9d. Checks to me, and I bet $2. SB and UTG call. The river is Qh. Checks to me, I bet $2, SB folds, UTG calls. My set beats his two pair, JJQQ9. $19 win (+$13 net).

It gets better. Four hands later, I'm dealt Jc Kh on the button. Eight players in, one folds, and the flop comes Td 3c Qs. A double open-ended straight draw. It checks around to me, so I make a $1 position bet. The blinds and UTG fold, the next four players call. The turn is 9d. Quick: what's the nuts?

It's my hand: Jx Kx. The only thing I've got to worry about on the river is something pairing up to give someone a full house or a quad, or a diamond to give them a flush.

Names will help at this point to keep the action straight. In order of play are ConMan13, EastCoast, MiloAlsa, Squid7, and me.

ConMan13 checks, and EastCost bets $2. Milo and Squid call. I raise to $4. ConMan13 check-raises to $6, which isn't a surprise -- he'd been doing that a lot. EastCoast caps it at $8 (4 bets), Milo folds, and the rest of us call.

The river is Ah. I probably couldn't have asked for a better card. This gives me the top nut straight, and will make anyone with an ace feel that their hand is even stronger.

The other three players check to me, and I bet $2. ConMan13 check raises (big surprise.) to $4, EastCoast folds, Squid calls, I raise to $6, ConMan13 caps it at $8, Squid calls, I call.

Community cards: Td 3c Qs 9d Ah
Squid's cards: 3s 9h (two pair) what was he doing playing this?!
ConMan13's cards: Qd Qc (set)
My cards: Jc Kh (straight), for a $70 win (+$52 net)

I play 13 more hands, dropping $5 on blinds and failing to hit a set of 4's on the flop. It's a good night.

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