Yesterday was the second Poker evening I have organised. This time the turnout was a little smaller: me, Ann, Amanda and Ury. Like last time we played two Texas Hold’em tournaments, but the structure was a little different. As Amanda was a complete beginner we decided to split into pairs for heads-up tournaments for the first game. A decision with which I was happy as this is what I mainly play during my occasional forays online. Ury and I played each other, while Ann and Amanda went over the basics. The second game was all four of us. Below are the games as I remember them.
In the first game, I had the best of the early exchanges and built a decent lead. Then came a hand where I had K5o; as the small blind I 3-bet and Ury called. The flop came K54o, Ury made a small bet, I went all-in and Ury called. I was confident when he turned over K9, but when the 9 came on the river I went from a bit ahead to way behind. I brought myself back to par over the next 4 hands, with 3 all-in semi-bluffs (ace high or a Q-high flush draw after the flop). Ury called me on one, my A3 caught trip 3s. The game went on as Ury slowly lost ground with poor initial hands until forced in by the rising blinds on 10-8s (he said that was the best starting hand he had since my run of semi-bluffs), but beaten by my A2o with a pair of 2s. In all we played an hour and a half with only 4 showdowns.
The main game started in a similar manner to the heads-up games; big bets winning the pot without showdowns. At this point I seemed to get a reputation as a bluffer judging by the table banter. So to answer Ury’s question after pushing him off a pot with an all spade 9,10,J flop - I had Q7, and open-ended straight draw with an overcard, not a complete bluff. Ann was then so sure I was bluffing when there was a possible straight on the board, she went all-in against me with the comment “I know what you are pretending to have.” Ann then became the first rebuy in our home games. The action came quickly after that. Ann busted Ury and he bought in again right on the time limit. Amanda lost a couple of big hands and was forced to go all-in. Ury and I joined the pot, which I started betting big after the flop with an overcard, open-ended straight and flush draw. Ury “ummed and ahhed”, complaining that we should do just enough to bust Amanda, but finally called. Sensing weakness, I continued to bet big and Ury agonised over the call. Then I went all-in and Ury took an age to call, but finally won with two-pair against my pair of kings. I was crippled with barely a big blind, and I was the big blind! Without looking at my cards I went all-in 4 times in a row. Then it was just Ann and Ury to finish. They seemed to get a little bored and soon were all-in. Ury won on the better starting hand.
Again this was a lot of fun. I thought the small group may be a problem, but it worked out very well. Also, changing the format of the games is something worth trying again.