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playing poker and teaching science: Trip report – St. Louis riverboat
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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle school science teacher, wrestling coach, poker player, scuba diver, aikido black belt, amateur writer, and student of life. In the past I have tried to give back a little by volunteering at a children's home in Belmopan, Belize, Central America. I also love Frosted Flakes. I have taken a year sabbatical from my teaching position in order to sail the Caribbean. Does that sound crazy to you?

Monday, March 21, 2005

Trip report – St. Louis riverboat

I spent three days in St. Louis for the NCAA Division I wrestling nationals and the President Casino, a riverboat, was only a 15 minute walk from my hotel. I played in this room one time last year and remembered it as being a little worn looking, but fairly well managed. This year was about the same with the exception of the fact that the poker room is now non-smoking and they have free food and soft drinks for the poker players.

They have a $4/$8 hold em game with $1 and $2 blinds, but the betting is a spread limit and you cam bet up to $4 on the flop and up to $8 on the turn and river. Personally I like this structure because it gives you more to look for in the way of betting patterns. For example, one older Asian player would always bet top pair, small kicker large, but bet a monster smaller to keep more people in. This was great information to have.

I was seated almost immediately at the feeder table, played two hands and then offered to move when the room manager ask for someone to move. I won a few small pots playing solid poker and outkicking top pair twice when I was dealt two ducks in the hole. I limped in for $2 and the player to my left raised to $6, as he had done several times. He did this a lot with any suited cards and this turned out to be the same play.

The flop brought another deuce for trip ducks, but it also brought two spades. This isn’t a great flop because at this table, anyone with two spades or the ace will be chasing to the river. I played it aggressively though and bet the maximum getting two callers. The turn paired the board 5 giving me a full house. I again bet the maximum and get one caller, the original raiser (O.R.) on my left. The board is now a raggedy Q255 (two spades) and I can’t imagine what he raised and called with, except AQ.

The river is a blank and O.R. BETS THE MAXIMUM into me. With this board there is nothing a good player would have raised with except AQ and with me betting he should have been suspicious of something. There should not be a raising hand that could beat me, so I raised. He called and showed a third 5 and I raked in a pot of almost $80, 10 big bets.

He had raised with J5 suited.

This is the danger of playing suited cards when you are not drawing to the nuts. Jack 5 suited should never have played outside of the big blind, but by playing (and raising) and then calling with middle pair he got locked into a hand he should have never played and it cost him $34 in one hand that he was behind in the entire way.

I do appreciate him betting into my full house however. Along with trip 9’s being called to the river and some patience in the slow periods, I ended up $102 after two hours of play.

The next day I learned the value of moving from the feeder table while losing $45. I will always move to a stable table from now on.

The next post will be about playing 7-card stud.

Thanks for reading.


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11:48 AM  

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