I keep the cellphone in the car. I hate the damn thing. For awhile, after the last one was stolen, I was swept away by all the features, even downloading "Rock Lobster" as the official Otis ringtone. Now the whole thing's passe. So I missed the Mark's call on Monday night. I would have missed the game, but Mrs. Blood called the house.
Monday night, I played for real stakes and I'm more confident than ever in my game.
I missed the house at first, God knows why. The Mark said turn at the "amber street light near a gas station," which is just as simple as the directions for building a home. Is that all? No problem!
Rick's house is on the side of a mountain, very close to the top. I drove up half in first gear. I found the address on a brick column, along a dark tree lined drive. Well down the path I saw the Jaguar first. The new Mercedes was in front of that. As Badblood would later say, our cars devalued the entire neighborhood. I kept waiting for a neighbor to hand me a rake and a plastic bag, but OH HIGH SOCIETY!...I'm here to scoop pots.
Rick's room is a married man's wet dream. Gone are the fantasies of nublie bikinis, replaced with rich leather couches, big flat-screen TVs tuned to the NFL, and the atmosphere of a Vegas card room. On one wall was a fully stocked bar, with the tube tuned to baseball. The San Diego "Super Chargers" were on the big screen on the other end. The table was Vegas chic and the chips were outstanding. Incuding BadBlood and I we had an 8 handed game, the others were obvious regulars at the game.
We had The Mark and his brother Rick, our host that evening.
Another set of brothers sat on opposite ends of the game.
And two coworkers, one of them with a full pack of cheap, cherry scented cigars traded limp..re-raises along with fraternal workplace humor.
I sat between The Mark and Blood. I just wanted to play MY game...not be intimidated by the stacks...or the buyin...or the blinds....this game was bigger than most.
These guys play dealer's choice with a $200 buy in. The blinds start at $2-$4, with stud games at $4-$8. When I got there they were in hold-em land, and I folded almost every hand. I did win one pot with a scare card bluff...position won me the hand when the others advertised their weakness. What suprised me most was the incredible amount of limping, almost every player saw almost every pot and a late position raise...sometimes $20-$30 would almost always get a hal-dozen callers.
Soon, the other games began, which with these folks means NL o8 almost every hand. In the first game I found A,K,2,9 and saw the flop for cheap. I flopped the nut low. With 2 other people in the hand, I bet the pot at first and both players called. The turn was a 9. Both players checked and I bet the pot again, one player called that too. The river was a brick and I pushed for another $140. My opponent, one of the jovial co-workers hemmed and hawed and then showed Rick his cards. I knew as soon as that happened, I was going to scoop this pot. He called, with the SECOND nut low and I took that mutha down.
Later, I dealt a hold-em hand and found two black Jacks. My omaha opponent raised it $20 and another player called. I re-raised it another $40.. and Omaha-man went all in...and additional $27. The middle player called, and because the re-re-raise wasn't a full bet...I couldn't raise again. I called and saw a flop
7, 5, 3 RAINBOW.
Middle player checked...and of course..I pushed. He thought for a bit and reluctantly threw away his A-Q. I was almost certain of AK but that was good enough for an accurate read. With the pot heads up, we flipped our cards. My Jacks were good pre-flop, but his set of 7s was a monster now. I lost on a flopped 2 outer.
The limping and calling almost never stopped, and it was tempting to get sucked in, but the game was better than I hoped. I finished the night with a pretty good win, NL O8, and I held A-2-4-4. I, again, caught a nut low with A-2-3-4-6.
THE *REAL* RESULT
I have to admit, I was nervous about the higher stakes. Badblood was anxious too. But what I found was a game I CAN beat if I play my best game. Instead of scaring me back to smaller stakes, I'm looking for bigger games. I'm ready to play for more money. That may change if I take a beating over the next few weeks, but right now, in live play, I'm moving up a bit.
And loving it..