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Reasons to be Thankful

November 22, 2009

It’s been awhile since I’ve put in a real cash game session and, given that I’m heading out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday, I decided to get my fix on Saturday night. As usual, I dragged myself down to the Venetian and plopped my fat ass into a $1-$2 game. I’m glad I did.

My table was an interesting mix, featuring a friendly British couple in the 1 and 2 seats, an older Turkish or Greek man on my right in the 4 seat, a South African born economics professor on my left in the 6 seat, an older Asian rock in the 7 seat, an aggressive/tilty Asian kid in the 8 seat and random players filtering through the 9 and 10 seats. The Asian kid was attempting to play table captain by taking the Hellmuthian approach to the table. He gloated when he won and sulked when he got beat. In between, he tried to needle his opponents or talk them into giving up free information about their hands. I didn’t particularly dislike him, but I did take a certain joy in taking his money.

In one pair of back-to-back hands, the British guy pushed the kid off of pocket Queens with a well-timed re-raise on a King high board. When the Brit said he was only holding pocket Jacks, the kid started getting tilty and immediately raised UTG on the next hand. I picked up A-J of clubs on the button and made the call, catching top pair and a back-door flush draw. The kid bet $25 and the older Greek/Turk flat called before the action got to me. I raised to $75 and the kid called, while the Greek/Turk folded. The turn brought a 10 and the kid checked to me. I bet $120 and the kid quickly folded, claiming that he again held Queens. He grudgingly believed me when I told him they were no good, but without ever actually seeing my cards, he continued to simmer for at least another hour after the back-to-back beats.

Meanwhile, the Greek/Turk on my right was the table’s ATM. He started with $100, which he quickly lost, and reloaded again for $100 more. He was basically playing any two cards and calling down light with middle or bottom pair for most of the night, meaning that he lost many more hands than he won. Occasionally, he’d catch a set or two pair and scoop up a decent size pot but, in general, he was very loose/passive and easy to push off of hands. By my count, he was into the game for somewhere between $700 and $1,000 before I broke him for the final time of the night. On the hand in question, I was holding Ac-Js on the button and was the fourth player to call a $12 preflop raise.

The flop came Jack-high with three clubs and the 10 seat bet $15. The British woman folded and the Greek/Turk flat called before I raised to $40. The 10 seat called and the Greek/Turk moved all in for his last $27. The turn brought the Ah and the 10 seat checked the action. I bet $110 and got the call. When the 9c fell on the river, the 10 seat moved in for his last 50 and I happily called, turning over the nuts. The 10 seat slammed his black kings on the table in disgust while the Greek/Turk just walked away from the table muttering to himself.

Those hands, coupled with a few other nice pots throughout the night (like getting paid off after flopping the nut house) helped me book a very profitable $820 win over six hours of play. I can certainly think of worse ways to spend a Saturday night.

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