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playing poker and teaching science: Sitting no limit
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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?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Sitting no limit

I can grind out a tidy sum playing low limit Hold Em, Omaha 8/b, Stud, and Stud 8/b. I have won money over time playing sit-and-goes of the same games. To make GOOD money however, I know I have to play more no limit Hold Em. That’s where the fish are schooling because that’s what’s on television and if the fish knowledge base is televised poker, let the games begin!
I’ve played no limit in Las Vegas on about 5 occasions and I hope to play more this summer. Therefore I’ve decided to sit down at the no limit tables from time to time and try to hone my game and played for about 90 minutes last night with fair results, ending up about half my buy-in.

I did what you’re supposed to do, waiting for the blinds to come around, watching the action and was dealt A5 in the big blind and was able to limp along to the river after a 442 flop before I lost a few dollars to a donkey playing 24o when my ace hit on the river. It was money well spent however because this guy was going to give away most of his buy-in during the next hour.
Richard “Quiet Lion” Brodie’s blog lists what he calls the only information you really need to play internet Hold Em:

*Play good starting hands in position
*Bet your hand
*Never bluff

I had decided to play according to these suggestions and not make too many “plays,” but there was one I couldn’t resist. I limped in with 79s in an unraised pot in late position and saw a flop of 682 with two clubs, not my suit. I make a small bet, which was raised. I call with my open ended straight. The next card is the ace of clubs and after a small hesitation, my opponent checks.

What does he have? He had been playing solid poker, so I’m thinking he had two overcards. A good player wouldn’t raise with the second or third nut flush would he? I think the ace AND the three-flush scared him and so I made a half-pot bet, the type that looks like I WANT to be called.

He folded and I pat myself on the back.

Then the inevitable suck-out occurred. I limp with Q7s on the big blind and flop the second nut flush with AJ4, all diamonds. I got cute and checked and everyone folded to a bet from a middle position player. I’m not worried, he paired his ace and I’m going to make a few dollars. The flop is a blank and I bet out and get called. The river is another jack. I bet and get raised a small amount and I make the crying call because I’m not good enough to lay it down even though I know I’m beat with a full house.

What I have to ask myself is this: If she had pushed all-in, would I have called. I don’t think I would have so her small bet was a good one for value. Lesson learned.

I received AA twice during my 90 minutes of play and tried to play them differently. I know that you shouldn’t have to do that on line because not everyone is paying attention, but being able to shift gears and mix up your play is a necessary skill for live play so that’s what I’m training for.

The first AA I made a four times the big blind raise and got two callers. A harmless flop of 3,6,9 came with no suits so I checked and was bet into. I raised and was re-raised which put this short-stack player all-in. It was an easy call and I took down a nice pot. Looking at the hand history I saw he had QQ. Ouch.

The second AA I made a big raise after three limpers to 12 times the big blind thinking I would steal the blinds a limping money because I was due to have aces cracked and STILL got two callers. An ace came on the flop and it checked around. A second club fell on the turn and not wanting to get sucked out on I made a pot-sized bet and everyone folded. Woo hoo! Aces hold up again!

My 2x KK held up once and I got out cheap when I folded to the eventual AQ winner when AQQ flopped and someone bet and got called ahead of me so I’m feeling good.

The best hand of the night was an innocent J9s. I flopped the nuts when QT8 fell with two diamonds (not my suit). I make a half-pot bet and get two callers. The turn is a K. Would someone have called my bet with AJ? Maybe, but I don’t think so, so when it’s checked to me I make another half-pot bet. The first caller folded and number two went “into the tank.”

Poker terms are cool.

After a while he folded and I took down a nice pot. He said he had a flush draw with a jack so about 9 outs to win and a few less to tie. I tried to push out the draw and he was kind enough to lay it down. He was getting about three to one on the call and so had about the right odds, but he passed. Whew!

I got my one suck out when I flopped a set of 8’s and the turn gave my caller a straight that he was kind enough to slow play so I could catch the case 8 to make quads while he was betting into me.

Gotta love four of a kind!

Overall it was a good session despite the one suckout which, if I had avoided the call, would have left me with a nicer profit. The question remains: How do you lay down a monster when you know you got outdrawn on the river?? You tell me…


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