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Playing live in New Orleans

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  • Playing live in New Orleans

    This is long but there is some cool stuff in it if you have time to read.

    It is not often that I have the chance to play live so
    I jumped on the opportunity last Monday at the Harrah's New Orleans.

    This may seem like a drawn out description of a routine experience to some of you but for me everything was new.

    Props to PSO
    There were no tournies going on so I sat at a $1-2 NL holdem ring game. First off, if it were not for PSO there is no way I would have ever sat down. PSO has given me enough experience and confidence to know that I was not an underdog and that I can do well. I also found the introductory 'what to expect' PSO videos to be very helpful. I had just watched them the week before and I felt much more comfortable knowing about the expectations regarding tipping, etc.

    The buy-in
    First I bought in for $100 ($200 max). I thought about buying in for more but I decided I would wait until I saw what the other players were like before I risked more.

    The sit down
    There was a new table starting up so everyone was heading to an empty table. From playing at the PSO convention last year I shot for a middle seat at the table. Playing at the bookend of a table previously I had a really hard time keeping track of everything that was going on.

    Initial impresion
    So play got underway with a full table.
    Even though I sat in the middle I still had hard time keeping track of everything I wanted to see.
    I was also taken aback by the cards being flopped and in wrong direction. I am so used to playing online with the cards always layed out from left to right regardless of where you sit at the table. Seeing them go right to left bothered me the whole time.

    Loosy Goosy versus the Gambler
    It was readily apparent that there were 2 dominating players at the table. The most loose and aggressive player was 2 seats to my left which I did not like at all. So when I am on the button he will be the BB which is going to kill me. The first pot I tried to limp into after a string of limpers he raised something like $30.
    Another guy 3 seats to my right (i'm calling him gambler) was playing with Loosy. He seemed to pick up that the guy was the maniac type and trying to double up off of him. And he did.
    The loosy goosy guy had to rebuy but he kept going.
    The Gambler guy was now playing a lot of hands but seemed to tighten up after the flop.
    Loosy Goosy was creating and winning big pots mostly by getting lucky rivers. He got his money back since people were now playing loose with him because he was 'bluffling' and just 'getting lucky'. The Gambler seemed to be playing good. The only time I saw him really take a chance was with Loosy Goosy and he won that encounter.

    My Strategy
    At this point I decided to play very tight. I would just wait for the right spot and get my money in the pot. Mostly this is because loosy goosy would not have it any other way. He was in most hands and he'd either make you fold or risk alot of chips with him. This strategy worked for him but it is just not my nature to play that way. I've tried online at PSO and it doesn't work for me especially at a full table. Basically his full table ring game play is more like my heads-up tourney play.

    The TELL
    Thanks to Al Spath, I had been watching the Mike Caro tells videos recently and there were some of the tells all over the table. Loosy Goosy had an assorted pile of messy chips and of course I had my lined up all nice and neat. Gamblers chips were nicely arranged as well.
    But then I saw something I did not expect to see.
    The gambler was in a hand with loosy goosy and another player to his left. Gambler was in between Loosy Goosy and the other guy and he seemed to be trying to decide if he should call loosy's bet. He obviously was not worried about loosy but he was worried about the other guy.
    The Gambler looks over at the guy and he is just staring out into space just like in the Mike Caro video. I was thrilled! I'm thinking, I bet this guy has a monster!
    But to make things even better... The Gambler runs his hand down a big stack of his chips like he is going to pick them up and bet them while staring at the other guy. Gambler then motions like he is going to move them out to the pot but the other guy doesn't even look. He just kept staring off into the casino somewhere.
    This was so COOL!
    The Gambler then immediately folds and the other guy suddenly comes alive and pushes all-in to double up against loosy goosy with AA to loosy's top pair of 10s.

    Beware the Gambler
    Now I know that I can probably double up against loosy and to be very careful with the Gambler. He is likely as good or better than me.

    Fold and fold we go
    So I continue folding which was mostly easy getting crappy cards and loosy betting enough to make my decisions easy.
    I picked up AJ UTG once. I was getting antsy to play a hand but loosy was 2 to the left of me so I layed them down. Sure enough loosy does his now classic raise and actually had AK that hand. I was relieved.

    The HAND
    I finally got my hand.
    I was on the button with 99.

    There was a raise to $10 from early position with a string of callers. I had to think about what to do here. I decided I would play the hand but not sure whether to call or raise pre-flop. Loosy was in the BB and there was no telling what he would do. I had seen other players limping with big pairs (AA KK) in response to loosy so I did not think it was wise to raise.
    I decided to call and see if I got a good flop.
    Loosy just called from the BB.

    The Flop
    The flop came 2 9 10 rainbow and I was thrilled!
    Loosy shoots out $20 bet and Gambler and another guy calls.
    I decided to raise. I raised $30 more. I wanted to see if I could build the pot and maybe knock out at str8 draw.
    Loosy folded! lol
    But then the Gambler and the other guy called. Before calling the Gambler asked me how many chips I had left.
    He said - what you got left there $30?
    I looked down at my chips and counted. He was right and I was pot committed. I hadn't really thought about it because in my mind I was already pot committed when the 9 hit on the flop. I wondered if this was an active attempt to get a tell from me.

    The Turn
    The turn comes 7.
    So now the board is 2 9 10 7. Still rainbow so now all I am weak against a str8 or set of 10s. But I am not too worried. If I was up against 10s I would have known by now I thought. Besides I am pot committed at this point.
    Gambler and the other guy both check to me.
    I shrug my shoulders and push my last $30 into the pot. To help my 'acting job' imagined that the other guy has a set of 10s but I am just pushing because I am pot committed.
    The Gambler takes a moment to explain to me that the pot is just too big for him to not call for $30. I'm thinking, oh crap he has a str8 draw and I can't push him off of it (maybe I should have bought in for $200!). The other guy calls too.

    The River
    The river comes another 7. I already all-in and can't help but throw out a big smile when my boat fills up.
    The Gambler instantly noticed, points to me and declares to the table "You have a full house! Nice Hand sir!".
    The Gambler and other guy check down the river.
    Gambler had QJ (open ended str8) and the other guy had A10 (top pair/top kicker)

    Gambler's inquisition
    Needless to say I was so thrilled to be stacking my triple up.
    The Gambler again went out of his way to explain to me about how he had to call because of the pot size and the only having to pay $30 more. I wondered if he was trying to coax information out of me. He was obviously referring to pot odds, etc but he was not using the terms. I decided just to reply 'yeah - it was a big pot' just to keep him guessing. I knew by watching him that he was very experienced but I did not want him to know that I was on to him or that I understood the concepts he was discussing.

    The rest of the game
    So I went back to my folding. I picked up 88 in the cut-off a little while later but a bad flop had me folding.
    I went until the next dealer change and decided to take my money and run. I reflected back that after the whole time I only played 3 hands. There was so much action at the table that I never got a chance to just play BB vs SB, etc.

    Overall I was thrilled to win some money and have a great time doing it! I bought my wife and mother in law some Beignets and took my wife out to dinner.
    I found out about the Big WSOP Tourney happening there in early December and thinking I might go back and use some of my SP's to play.

  • #2
    Great story Glen. I have always been impressed with your online play and am glad you have taken it with you to a live game. Your story highlights some of the most significant things any player, new or old, must do in a live game to prosper. For example, maintain the patience of Job. The very nature of live play tends to make many people play way too many hands. There is often an overriding sense that "I am here to play cards and folding hands is not playing cards." Most human beings are social creatures and desire to actively participate in social activities. That means playing hands they shouldn't and calling bets they shouldn't simply because it allows them to feel that they are more a part of the game. The second thing you demonstrated is the necessity of using basic observations to size up your opponents. The way you should play any hand is often absolutely dependent upon who you are playing it against. Forget that and it will cost you.

    You managed to put your knowledge and skill to work. Great job. Take a short trip two hours north sometime and we can play at my home poker room. Let me know if you are interested, neighbor.




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