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Sunday · June 06 2004

In the first hand of Hold'em last night, I found myself “all in” for the $10 buy-in. The first hand. I wanted to start slow and see who likes to raise and who likes to check since I was new to the group. I dealt the first hand and peeked at a pair of fours: not a power hand, but worth seeing the flop at the low, low price of a quarter.

K-K-4…Fours full of kings for the home team.

Mike from Montreal, on the corner to my left wearing big aviator shades, looked eager to see chips fly and raised a dollar. Chris called, everyone else folded, and I re-raised a dollar. I don't remember the fourth card, but seeing it wasn't a K or a 4, it didn't matter to me. Mike raised two dollars; Chris and I called his bet. Maybe I should have played aggressively and re-raised, but we had just sat down; I was still peeling the foil off the neck of my Modelo Especial.

After another inconsequential low card on the river, Mike flashes a Canadian smile and goes all-in. Chris plays gracious host, follows in with the rest of his stack, and the table is buzzing because somebody is going out on hand one. I may be beat by either one of them holding a better full house (a K and a card to match the board would do it: 3Ks and a lower pair), but I'm not folding my boat. “I'm in.”

Mike turns over A-K and Chris has K-10. No aces or tens joined the K-K-4 on board, and that means I'm up $20 in 5 minutes. My hands shake while I rake the huge pot and I take a big gulp of beer. So much for taking it slow and making friends. Chris had to rebuy as host of the party and Mike was shy from there out.

After that, Pete burned two of Stacy's solid hands by drawing into flushes on the last card. This was her first poker game and she learned the same lesson twice in a row: bet aggressively when you have top hand early. If you let the other guy draw cards cheaply, you're paying for him to beat you.

I could sense her competitive streak coming out all night and I thought she might be catching the bug despite the tough breaks. As we drove home down Lincoln Ave, I told her: Poker could be your game, hon. You are a sharp, quick thinker, watch everything, and could con any man to go “all in” with that ingenuous smile.

What you had to say:
June 07 2004

wowee. Whether it's you or Mcmanus- I still don't know what the hell's going on....

June 07 2004

I was just trying to be a good host and subsidize everyone's enjoyment . . . really. It took me until 4 a.m., but I did wind up in the black for the night, even with my ill-conceived foray into "high stakes" betting.

June 07 2004

Chris, you were an outstanding host. Unfortunately, I think Mark ended up doing the larger part of subsidizing the fun. Thanks again for good food and games.

I enjoy the small stakes. If I were playing for $50 or $100 a hand, I don't think I could move. I can't imagine how people play with hundreds of thousands of $ in the pot. My hands shake no matter the stakes. I played alot of Magic the Gathering at tournament levels and I had a hard time staying calm when I was winning, which admittedly, wasn't all that often. Those games weren't even for cash.

June 09 2004

Where did the momentum come from for hold 'em? 10 years ago, it's in the backrooms in Vegas...and then we get the once a year excitement for the world poker tour. And then Rounders. Now: it's celebrity poker this, world poker tour that, and more neighborhood games on 3rd and 4th street than you can call.

Great description of the first hand for you and way to take advantage early on. I remember when you first brought in poker to the NW Suburban crew a few years ago. Matt loves the game now and is constantly playing online.

Nothing like going all in mano y mano and taking 'em down.

June 09 2004

I'm not sure when the tipping point came for Hold'em poker. I do know that I'm happy about it. You can get together with people for a game and play nothing but Hold'em all night. Don't have to play the silly games like Chase the Ace, and Low Spade in the Hole, etc.

Only thing better than mano y mano is mano y mano y mano!

© 2004 Jason Keglovitz