Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Lost in the Funhouse

'Lost in the Funhouse' by John Barth (1968)Once upon a time there was a story that began once upon a time there was a story that began once upon a time.

I remain on my self-imposed “poker sabbatical” for the most part, although I did for hop on Stars for awhile the other day to play a short session of limit hold’em. Has been months since I’d played LHE (or anything other than pot-limit Omaha, really), and since I’d recently withdrawn most of my cabbage I chose a full ring $0.50/$1.00 game. After several months of wild swings and $100-plus pots, I realize I could probably stand some tamer times at the tables.

Of course, even if the pots are small, the play can still be batty.

Had a hand early on where I was in the cutoff and picked up KdKs. A new player, Ambrose, had just come to the table and took the seat to my left, and had chosen to post the big blind. The table folded to Ambrose who raised, I three-bet, the big blind cold-called the $1.50, and Ambrose called as well. The flop came Td3s2h. The big blind checked, Ambrose bet, I raised, the big blind folded, and Ambrose called.

The turn was the 2d, pairing the board. This time Ambrose checked, I bet, and he just called. The river was the 3c, pairing the board a second time. Ambrose checked, and I hesitated before betting the buck. He check-raised me (ack), I called, and he turned over 3h6c.

That preflop raise was cheeky, although I’ll sometimes do that if the table folds to me after I’ve posted the big blind from middle/late position, too (regardless of cards). Oh, well. Losing to three-outers always stinks, but it was just a $12.25 pot. Can surely live with that.

Meanwhile, I was seeing some pretty strange play from certain players. One dude in particular, Peter, sitting to Ambrose’s right, seemed to be playing way too many hands. Then came this bizarre hand, where Peter ended up pitted against Uncle Karl. (Names have been changed here, as always.) You RSS readers, definitely click on through -- it’s worth it:

Maybe Peter thought he was on UltimateBet, where he perhaps still would have a chance at the pot after calling that river bet even though all five community cards bested his lousy trey-deuce?

Peter’s unflagging optimism would serve him well, though, and soon he would build back up to $20 or so. That was about the time a hand came in which I picked up 5d4d in late position. I called after watching most of the table limped in, including Peter. Flop came all diamonds. Table folded to me, and it looked like Peter was the only one interested in sticking around. And he was excited, too! Perfect.

The turn and river brought no more diamonds -- and lots more bets. By the end of the hand, Peter and I would each ultimately put about seven big bets in the middle, after which he turned over AdQd. D’oh! That pot ended up pushing $20, I think.

Suddenly had this weird feeling I’d wandered down this road before. Many times. The funhouse of micro stakes limit hold’em. There was a story that began once upon a time there was a story that began once upon a time there was a story.

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