Poker Blog of a Young Poker Guru

Not old enough to be legal, but old enough to be a gambler. The musings of your average everyday high school poker player/student.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Beginning again...For a long time coming!

Well, you all might remember me from my original TWO posts, but this time I'm back for awhile, I promise. I suppose that last time I never got into posting because I can't play all the time like most people can play online, but I can still post about my weekly home games and how my poker skills progress throughout the week. I also hope to amuse people with rants and how immature high school/soon to be college life can be, so please stay tuned so you can get your laughs in for the day.

First of all, Iggy deserves mad props. He not only is the poker blogging pimp, but is also a good, all around person. He helps out the poker community immensely by finding obscure poker news and posting it on his site. He also helps out people, not by explaining what they should do with each hand in what position, but rather by explaining overall philosophy and strategy. I have only spoken to him several times, but everytime I do, I learn something new. The first time I talked to him I learned that Phil Helmuth's new book, Play Poker Like The Pro's should be thrown in the trash, and David Sklansky's book Theory of Poker is a must-buy, read, and re-read twenty times. I have also explained to him my strategies, and he has assessed them just through our talking and I have learned MANY things which have helped in improving my game. So, to Iggy, I thank you immensely and when I turn big, I won't forget you, as you have been my first real mentor on poker.

Possibly the biggest lesson I've learned from Iggy is the value of going "all-in." The first book I ever bought was Doyle Brunson's Super System, which I read rather religiously (at least the No Limit section) for a month or so. He always spoke about going all-in and hammering pots, but once I got into my home game I could never bring myself to say the words. He explained to me that this was very wrong, and that going all-in is one of the biggest threats we have that many amateurs don't realize they have. I have begun to implement this in my game, and it's made me a stronger player by far. When I have the nuts and am in the process of check-raising, I go all-in now. When I have a sub-par hand but pick up an excellent read on a player, I hammer the pot, putting them all-in and putting them on a decision. I usually pick up a lot of pots throughout the night, so if I face a failed all-in, I'm definitely still in the hunt.

At the moment, I have no job, and I rely on the weekly $60 or so income of the weekly poker game for gas money to see my girlfriend who lives 30 minutes away. I'm planning on getting a job soon though, because a) I have to pay for college, b) I have to pay for shit that goes wrong with my car and possibly insurance soon due to my decline in grades, c) I have to pay for my girlfriend...Enter rant: I don't mind paying for my girlfriend. Usually, when I get money I spend it on her. Sometimes I'm left looking for spare change, but it's one of those things that I really enjoy doing. I've never loved a woman so much before in my short life, and right now, after 17 months I'm not looking for anything new, nor will I be in the near future. Most of my friends don't understand how I can just spend what little money I have on her, but they don't understand that I really think I'm in love, as this is the first girl to ever show me love and affection and to be happy with what decisions I choose to make, whether they be ones she doesn't like, as long as I'm happy, she's happy. Which makes me playing poker very, very nice. End rant., d) I have to pay for poker.

There is a poker house in Columbus called Ohio Charity Gaming which hosts poker tournaments every weekend, plus limit games afterwards. The actual event is hosted by Louis Asmo, who you might recognize from his multiple WSOP money finishes or that he may be the man who was in trouble with the law regarding his false charity poker events run out of Cleveland, but regardless, it's poker, and I'm there. The tournaments are EXTREME crapshoots. You pay $20 entry, and get 40 chips. You can pay your $20 add-on/rebuy right then and there, and get 80 in chips, or you can just wait until you're knocked out and get a rebuy, but you only get one of the 2. The blinds are raised every 15 minutes, and tricks are impossible until the final table! You have to survive all-in and get hit in the face with the deck in order to win it, but the prize is nice for an hour and a half or actual game play. The last Sunday tournament I was at (with considerably less people) gave a $665 first prize to first place. After the tournament is over, they start hosting limit games, usually $2-$4 and $3-$6. I want to save money for these games, but I know that's a month's worth of work to have the bankroll to play there once and be able to survive a big downswing. Thus, I shall wait it out and play in my home games.

Speaking of home games, Poker Meetup is an awesome place to find home games in your city. There are 634 registered cities across the United States. I've already found 2 home games in Columbus that I've attended, so it's a pretty good site to find new people to play poker with.

Enter discussion:I think sometimes my home game can get pretty frustrating. I play with a general group of around 5 to 6 players every weekend, and we introduce new players every 2 weeks or so. We've grown to a usual 9 people a night, with around a $100 pot at the end of the night. There have been few nights where I haven't finished with money in my pocket, and when I lost I stormed out of the room and went and layed down and sulked. I've learned to take my losses in stride, though, and am glad I have learned that lesson. However, now that I've stepped my game up a level against the fishies at my game, I'm consistently winning (splitting with one of my friends because we're usually the last 2). This is a very good game and a good source of income for an up and comer, but I'm not sure how healthy it is. I'm afraid relationships will be lost, bad blood will boil, and people will begin to quit playing poker due to losing so much. All at the same time, I'm a gambler, and more importantly, I'm a winner. I know that once I go to college I won't have a relationship with most of these people. I also know that I need the money, and if they thought they didn't have a chance to win, they wouldn't play. However, they still do play, and they still keep losing. There have been some times where I've put people on tilt and not felt bad. Is this healthy? Should I not be playing every weekend? Should I find a different home game? End discussion.

The home game I organize but don't host usually ends up being a fun night for all. I want to discuss how it works for us, so perhaps you can implement it into your home game and hopefully it works as well as ours does. It's played at one of our regulars house or his girlfriend's house (who also plays). There is enough room for as many people as we know are going to show up, with the maximum number we've ever had being 13. We have 2 poker tables and a 500 11.5 gram aluminum chip set, Vegas Style, and a 300 8 gram clay chip set, which makes enough chips for everyone to be happy with. We let everyone buy in for however much they like, providing it's a reasonable number. The most popular buy in amount is $15, but lately people have jumped up to $20, which suits me fine. People have bought in with as much as $2 before, and turned it into $30, so I say if they want to buy in for a little bit and turn it into a massive profit, that's more profit to them and shows skill in the game. That rarely happens though. People usually sit wherever they'd like, but if we are doing a tournament style game then I'll draw for seats. We usually play .25-.50 antes all night until the entire group (whoever's left in the game) decides to raise the antes. I usually play dealer the whole time (at the group's discretion), but sometimes we pass the deal. The biggest problem with our game has been the buy outs, but we believe we've solved the problem. Basically, it's not a casino. When you win a big pot at our home game, it's not fair to the rest of the people to just leave with all those chips and the money and leave the rest of the hard working high schoolers left out of the money. If somebody absolutely has to leave at a certain time, they designate when that time is, and when that time comes around, they can leave with whatever amount of money in chips that they have. If they win a big pot and sit on their chips until it's time to leave, then that's fine, but they can't just leave. This is to prevent people from "all of a sudden" having something to do. However, if they absolutely have to leave before designated a time, then they can only leave with double of what they bought in with, then the remaining chips are then distributed evenly among all the remaining players. This is a house rule and we always make sure the new players understand and agree to this rule. Just a couple of thoughts as to a home game style that you might enjoy.

I'll start posting details on my play and my home games tomorrow, but right now it's almost midnight and I have a 7:30 Astronomy class. I only have 15 days of school left (14 if you count senior skip day), so all is good at least in that respect. I start college on July 12, ugh.

At the moment, I'm listening to Hilary Duff - Come Clean.


At May 10, 2004 at 12:37 AM, Blogger LordGeznikor said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At May 10, 2004 at 1:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry! Didn't know what the icon did, should've known better. This is word for word what Lord G posted:

—If you're a winner at your home game, great. If it becomes a problem for any of the other players, they'll stop playing with you. So don't sweat the possibility that some people will be ticked, particularly since you're not relying on this game to provide your income forever.

—I'm not sure I like the buyout rule at your home game. If someone is being an asshole about leaving with big winnings, then stop inviting him. If he (thinks he) is such a good player that he's taking all of your money, he's only hurting himself by leaving early anyway.

—I'm the one who told you about those fraudulent charity games in Cleveland. I don't know that it was the fellow you say, just that it was somebody that just got busted running these fake charity games. I don't want to slander anybody who might be wholly innocent of what we're talking about.

—Good luck with the new blog!

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