Pokers, We Hosts It

Last night’s poker session at my house went really well! Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun, and things went really smoothly! Well, a couple of people were a little late in arriving, but we still got in over 6 hours of poker – which means I was up until after 2:30!

Our roster consisted of me, Andrew, Adam, James, Daniel, Lynne, Subrata, and Bex, who are mostly people from work. Subrata’s wife Susan and Andrew’s girlfriend Lindsay both showed up, Susan to play games (mainly dominoes) with Debbi, and Lindsay to say hi on her way home after her day.

Needless to say, the kitties were very put out, but all of them eventually got used to things as people stopped arriving and settled down, so they could keep an eye on us. By the end of the night all of the cats were settling down and falling asleep despite the people and the noise. Andrew was a little disappointed that the cats didn’t really want to be held by him, but maybe we’ll see if he wants to sit for them on one of our vacation – that will probably help them warm up a lot.

As usual we played no limit hold ’em, nickel-dime blinds, with $20 or $10 buy-ins. The story for most of the evening was Adam’s impressive run, as he was sitting on about $80 after the first hour or two, mainly at the expense of Daniel and James. He was hitting his hands a lot of the time, and bluffing people off the rest of the time (and then showing his hand to drive people nuts).

I mostly managed to avoid the carnage, because I kept folding hands and then hitting improbable flops or rivers long after I’d folded. For instance, folding 9-To preflop in the face of two raises, and seeing that I’d have flopped the nut straight. Or folding a pair on the flop when overcards came and someone bet, then watching everyone check the hand down when I would have rivered my set. Sheesh. Frustrating, but I think I’m getting better perspective about folding weak hands in bad situations even if it ends up that I should have stayed in – usually, it’s better than I fold. It’s taken a long time for me to get to this point, and overall it saves me money.

Subrata’s heart didn’t seem to be in poker; as he put it, he didn’t get many good hands, and he felt he didn’t play well when he did. That’s the way it goes, and obviously if you’re not into the game, poker is a game to not play. I actually busted him on his second buy-in when he called my preflop raise with my pocket Queens, and pushed all-in on a King-high flop. I thought for a moment, called, and he showed pocket 7s, and I took the pot. (James was extremely surprised that neither of us had a King.)

Subrata, Daniel and Lynne all left the game around 10:30 (Subrata went to join the dominoes game, Daniel and Lynne called it a night), and Bex showed up a little before they left, leaving us with a 5-person game. 5 people is about the smallest game I really enjoy playing; below that the game borders on the random, with lots of autofolded hands preflop or on the flop. (James and Andrew both have said they enjoy fewer people, since everyone can play more hands. I guess I see their point, but I guess I prefer the more standard sort of game.)

Sometime after 11 I went on a run of very good luck. The most memorable hand in this run went like this:

  1. Under the gun I look at pocket 9s, and raise to 40 cents. James folds, and Bex calls.
  2. Adam raises to $1.50. Andrew folds.
  3. I call. Bex gives me a mock-grumpy look – I think she wanted to play Adam heads-up – but calls. The pot is $4.60.
  4. The flop is 7-8-9 of clubs, giving me top set. Adam checks.
  5. I think: Someone could have a flush or a straight, but I think that’s unlikely. More likely is that someone has an overpair, two overcards, and/or a flush or straight draw. For instance, I could easily see one of them holding A-T, A-J, J-J, or two high cards with a club. I think I have the best hand, I want to push out any draws, and I would be happy to win the pot right now, so I bet $5.00.
  6. Bex makes another mock-grumpy sound, and folds.
  7. Adam thinks for a little while, then goes all-in. He has me covered, so he’s effectively betting about $12.00 into a $9.60 pot.
  8. I think again. I doubt Adam has J-T, T-6 or 6-5 (made straights) since he wouldn’t reraise preflopwith most of those hands (he might reraise with 6-5 just to be perverse, but probably not with a middling hand like J-T). He might have a flopped flush, but that seems improbable. I just envision many more ways that I can be ahead than behind, and I still have 7 outs to a full house or better, so I call.
  9. Adam shows pocket Queens – with no clubs – and doesn’t hit his 2-outer and I take the pot.

I soon won another large pot from Andrew, where I had top pair with K-Q in the hole. I’m not quite sure what he was betting at me with, but since he mucked at the showdown I didn’t find out. I infer he was bluffing, and I’d suspected he was either bluffing or had a set. That was kind of weird.

After my run was over (I also won some other decent pots in that span), Andrew went on an amazing run, managing to bust Adam by the end of the evening – quite a feat given his huge stack earlier in the night. Andrew and I were the big winners for the evening, which made me feel good since I think this was my first winning night with this group.

The night was additionally fun because Subrata and Lynne haven’t been regular members of our poker crowd, which meant they added some styles of play which we weren’t used to. Lynne is a relative novice to poker (or so she said), but she ended up winning a few dollars, so it worked out for her.

Vast quantities of beer and candy and potato chips were consumed by the group (mostly beer), and we had a bit of confusion when we lost a $20 bill from the kitty, until we found it having fallen under the table. But mostly the night was all about the poker, and everyone had a lot of fun. So I hope I can host poker sessions a little more often in the future. It’s nice to have people over to my house once in a while.