June 1, 2008

1st Poker Evening

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Yesterday was the first poker game I organised at my place. I have been playing poker for a little over a month now, mainly free online games. I felt it was time to try playing against people. Although I was hoping it would be more of a social event than a full-blooded competition. For many years I was put off playing poker due to the “fresh victims” attitude many experienced players had towards people new to the game. It didn’t seem like the learning experience would be much fun. I hoped we would avoid that and think we succeeded.

I sounded out a few friends and invited them around for an afternoon and evening of tournament style play. In the end there were six of us playing – Ann, Ian, Ury, Christian, Cristina, and me. A good number considering the space. Ian and Ury said they had played before, but everyone else claimed to be a beginner. We played two £5 buy-in tournaments with the blinds doubling every half-hour and rebuys allowed for the first hour (although no one used them). I don’t remember many of the hands, but will attempt a short description of the evening.

In the first game Christian went out first, almost right on the hour mark, then Ury went, quickly followed by myself. However, Ury was lucky not to be the first out on a few occasions. Ann’s patented “fold-raise” tactic put out an unlucky Cristina and bewildered the other players. On three hands when Ann was the big blind she “folded” before being reminded checking was free. Then post flop she would raise or call against Cristina’s all-in. All three times she won with river or turn cards. The Cristina event was the last appearance of the “fold-raise”, perhaps due to the laughter and friendly taunts that ensued. Still, we all left the night with a new poker trick in our arsenal, though I personally wouldn’t have the audacity to attempt it! Ann assures us it was just “ditzy play”, but who knows? Ann ended up beating Ian heads-up as he lost 5 showdowns in a row as the rising blinds forced one or both all-in pre-flop.

In the second game Ian was out first – although this was just after a call from his girlfriend inquiring as to his whereabouts. He left soon after. Then Ury and I went out. At this point the game settled down with three roughly equal stacks and few big raises. As the blinds rose Ann tried a few bluffs and got burnt by calls. With a single big blind left she went all-in a couple of times without looking at her cards, busting out Christian in the process. Ann and Cristina went heads-up for the win. Again the rising blinds forced pre-flop all-in play and again, despite starting the heads-up as the small stack, Ann was the lucky winner.

Afterwards Ann described her winning tactics as “staying sober and bamboozling them with ditzy play”. Future opponents beware!

Things I learnt from the evening:

  • Watch out for people staying sober!
  • Poker games go longer than expected.
  • Having the blinds rise so high that the game finishes with people being forced to go all-in pre-flop every hand is not a satisfying end. However, I can’t see a way of forcing an end otherwise.
  • Don’t bluff people who always call.
  • I won’t remember specific hands later – I should take notes if they are noteworthy.
  • It is fun to play (as long as there is not too much at risk – at least at my level). I will definitely organise another.

If any of the players remember any other good hands other than the ones I mentioned, feel free to add them in the comments.


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