Thursday, September 20, 2012

Screwed by The Grump, Saved by The Very Josie

No, this is not a revelation of secret goings-on from my last Las Vegas trip. Rather. it is a quick report of what happened in my poker home game Tuesday night.

I had already made it in the money (top three got paid) and was one of two short stacks in the tournament. The other player had a huge, but not insurmountable, stack. The other short stack tried to broker a chop, but I was not interested since I was confident that I could win the tournament. The chip leader won most of his chips by being aggressive and frequently sucking out on the river. I thought that if I got at least a decent hand I could double up and be in excellent position to win.

I was rewarded on the very next hand when I was dealt 9-9. The chip leader acted first and pushed out a raise. The other shorty folded and I, of course, insta-shoved. The chip leader called and tabled ... 4-2os! Yikes -- I couldn't believe that he was willing to double me up with that. Mind you, I had been playing smart poker and never showed a hand that was marginal or a bluff. I was, however, leery of the power of The Grump.

The flop was 2-rag-2 ... Needless to say, I was not a happy camper.

However, I got my chance for revenge in the cash game that followed the tournament. I had not gotten any decent cards for several orbits, but then looked down to see J-10 sooted (spades) -- The Very Josie! Now, J-10 spades in a pretty little hand and I had a really good feeling about it and raised. The villain was the dealer and raised. I called and it was heads up. I then did something I like to do on occasion -- I checked in the dark. The flop came rag-Jack-10. Bingo! The villain raised and I pushed all in. He called. We decided to run it twice. He flipped over Q-Q. The turn and river were blank on both runs and I doubled up.

And everything was right in the poker world -- at least for that moment ...


Blogger Shrike said...

Checking in the dark is probably the most retarded play in poker. (Sorry, I just can't do a proper Waffles-esque rant)


2:43 PM  
Blogger Josie said...

Nice going but I have questions!

1. Why check in the dark?
2. Why run it twice when you had top 2?


2:55 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

Checking in the dark: I use it sparingly when I am first to act in a hand and suspect that I am up against a big hand. I am hoping for a good flop and hope to crush the opponent. The dark check gives him no idea of what I have. If the hand doesn't hit -- meh -- I only lost a little. If the hand hits (like it did in this case), the opportunity to win huge is there. In this particular case, it worked like a charm.

@PL -- You are alive? Still supporting the Canookies? Too bad you and I won't get to see any hockey for some time, me thinks ...

@VJ -- In my home game the people involved in a hand that is all in decide whether to run it once, twice, or three times. It is generally a friendly game, which is why I went with twice, knowing that it was highly unlikely that I was behind.

But finally -- my theory has always been that making unconventional plays sparingly not only makes poker fun but also is important in making your opponents have no idea what you are doing. Playing ABC poker is fine if you are grinding in a tourist room in Las Vegas, but screwing with your opponents' minds oftentimes gets you the big stack. If you talk with my home game players, Alireza would tell you that I bluff all the time and rarely have the goods. Azi would tell you that when I raise you should get out of the hand. Others tell me they have a hard time figuring out what I have. This is exactly what I want.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

I don't see any problem with checking in the dark. You are going to check anyway, no matter what comes, and let the villain bet. You can then either call, raise or fold, exactly what you would do anyway.

9:30 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

Frankly, MOJO, I guess I should not be surprised that some people are not able to appreciate the value of sometimes doing the unorthodox.

I am reminded of watching my father-in-law fish. He was the best bass fisherman I ever knew. If we were fishing and nothing seemed to work, he would dig into his tackle box and pull out the ugliest looking lure. The next thing you knew, he landed a fish. Maybe he used that lure once a year, but he knew the right time to use it. At worst, if it didn't work, little was lost.

9:49 PM  
Blogger sevencard2003 said...

so whose the one saying checking in the dark is a bad idea?

incidently when i open a lot of blogs i always read yours first. not because its the one most entertaining, not at all. but because i want the sound shut off and urs is the only one making sound.

6:11 AM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

Pirate Lawyer and about 4/5 of the poker world don't seem to like the play. But like I have mentioned -- I believe it is just something in your bag of tricks that you pull out when the time is right.

Man -- nobody likes the exploding fireworks. I could go back to a boring silent banner, but ... nah!

8:19 AM  
Blogger Josie said...

"...not because it's the most entertaining, not at all. "

I Love it when Tony comments ....and I always seem to agree with his comments.

4:42 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

Ooh -- a slam from Josie? Frankly, I am surprised you have held back. I appreciate having roughly 1000 miles between us. Saves me from getting hit!

5:16 PM  
Blogger David Westbay said...

Lightning, I am with you on using the unconventional plays once in a while. Being too predictable, especially in a game where everyone knows everyone else, can get you in trouble. Knowing the right time to deploy the unexpected play is the trick, and that is where knowing your opponents is most important.

3:54 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

You know, you actually brought up something I've been wondering about for a long time....why anyone ever "checks in the dark." I've actually thought about doing my own post about it.

Whenever I see it, I always wonder what the point is. I think you gave a fairly good explanation. But to me, it just seems like you're reducing the number of moves and plays in your arsenal by one, and why do that?

And usually, whenever I see a player do that once, I see him do it over and over again, so it takes away any element of surprise.

I suppose if used very sparingly it could have some value.

12:09 PM  

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