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May 25, 2008

Am I a Poker Cliche?

by Luckbox

Lucky in love, unlucky in cards.

I've heard it quite a few times since I've found Lady Luck. Many a blogger have mentioned that my luckboxing abilities have likely diminished or disappeared since I've found love. I don't believe it, but my experience Saturday night didn't exactly assuage my fears.

Cliche #1: The Smoke-filled Poker Room

Okay, so it wasn't quite that bad. But as I entered Casino Aztar for the first time, I did have to push the smoke out of my way just so I could find the stairs to the lower level. That's where I found the poker room.

Well, actually, that's where I found a lot more slot machines, but tucked away in the corner, I eventually came upon what resembled a poker room. To be honest, it was quite a disappointment compared to the relative luxury provided by the Coushatta.

Of course, there were tables, dealers, players and chips, so I'm not sure what else I really needed. I saw they were dealing $1/$3 NL at two tables, so I got my name on the list. I also put my name ont he $2/$5 NL interest list. The woman charged with typing letters in a computer told me they would soon be opening a $1/$3 NL table. I figured i wouldn't have to wait long. (Foreshadowing...)

Cliche #2: The Local Rocks

After waiting around an hour, the new table finally opened. I grabbed the 7 seat and when we were all gathered, I counted at least three of them. Three old men with souvenir ball caps that were never in style. Each knew the dealers by name and shared an inside joke or two with the floor man.

For about the first hour, the rest of the table wasn't much more interesting than these three. Most of it was ABC poker, but I didn't have the cards to play much and I was too out of practice to start running any complicated plays. I stole where I could and took a few small pots with winners. That was it.

Cliche #3: The Calling Station

He had just sat down but it only took one hand to figure out what kind of player this guy would be.

The elderly woman to my right raises it up to $12 from early position. I look down at Big Slick (unsuited) and briefly consider a reraise. Instead, I merely call. The new guy to my left also calls as does a player on the other side of the table.

The flop comes K-8-4. I like it. No flush draw, a gutshot draw at best. It's checked to me and I lead out for $25, about half the pot. The new guy quickly calls and the other two players get out of the hand.

The turn hits the gutter, but doesn't open a flush draw. I bet $60 into a pot of just about $100. The new guy had only bought in for $200. Calling this will put him in for about half his buy-in.

He hemmed and hawed and hemmed and hawed. He counted his chips. He banged his fist against the table once or twice. And then he did exactly what calling stations do.

The river was a beautiful K. For a brief moment, I considered the new guy had only been putting on an act on the turn. Perhaps he had magically hit his gutshot straight draw with 57 and was trying to act as conflicted as possible as he made his call. It didn't take long for me to dismiss that thought.

I put him all in for his last $100. He almost immediately called but as he did so, said rather dejectedly, "Ace king?"

I nodded and flipped my cards.

"Damn," he said, "I thought you woulda reraised with that." He showed KJ. I was up to about $500.

Cliche #3: The Cold Deck

That was my high point. I spent the next couple of hours giving my profit away. Not in a single hand, but as a slow bleed.

It started with Cowboys. I raised it up to $12 UTG and got two callers. The elderly woman from before and her husband. I jokingly suggested they were teaming up on me. Apparently, the were in cahoots with the dealer, too, because the flop came down A-x-x.

The old bag checks and I toss out $20. The old man calls and the old bag raises to $50. I got all the information I needed. I throw my cards into the muck and so does her husband. The table goads her into showing AK. KK cracked by AK. That's about right.

A few hands later I waste a few bucks chasing an open-ender against a Croatian transplant donkey with a Longhorns cap and a solid Asian kid. The Asian kid hit his gutter on the turn and took a huge pot off the donkey and his two pair.

The end of the downfall was when I flopped a flush. Yep, from the big blind, I flopped a heart flush with 82. I coyly check and a pretty good player in the 9s bets $20. I smooth call, because I'm really tricky.

A 4 falls on the turn, pairing the board of A24. I check again, in the most cunning manner possible. My opponent bets $50 and I raise to $100.

"All in."

I'm not even sure I finished saying raise. That's how fast it happened. And then everything stopped. I had to play it all in my head. This guy hadn't made a play at anyone all night. Would he do it to me?

What could he be holding? It's possible he has the higher flush? I suppose, but two flushes aren't all that common. Of course, he could have boated on the turn. It's reasonable he would have limped with A4, 45, 44 or 55.

"I have outs," I declared, hoping to get a read. He wasn't giving me any, so I wasn't all that worried about saying, "Well, I suppose I should say, 'I have out.'" He still didn't give anything away.

At that point, a great piece of advice ran through my head, "Never go broke on an unraised pot." Frankly, I think this advice applies to tournaments, but since our chip stacks were about the same, I was going broke if I called and was wrong.

I folded. And he showed 96h.

I suppose the original Luckbox would have called and then hit the three of hearts. I wasn't sure if I still was the original Luckbox.

Cliche #4: The Suckout

This may suggest I'm on way back. It's from the $3/$6 limit tables and it was a $169 pot.

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