Thursday, April 20, 2006

Target Practice

You’ve all seen them.  They stand out from the crowd like a sore thumb.  Some internal poker-based radar picks up their particular behavior and you begin to track their every move.  The sights are set, the plans are laid, and it’s just a matter of playing the waiting game until they fall into your trap.

They’re the people that you KNOW will double you up.


G-Rob and I again ventured out into the dark realms of the underground G-Vegas poker scene last night.  As the summer months approach, people instinctively get busier and putting together a sustainable home game becomes more difficult.  Not impossible, just more difficult.

And so it’s at times like these when it’s just easier to make the drive to a game with a dedicated dealer and a guaranteed player base.  The free food, free beer and dealing services make the rake tolerable.  The player base makes the game profitable.


When I sat down at the table, the guy to my left had the largest stack.  He was a fresh face, completely new to me.  I had to give his stack some respect even without a read on how he built it.

Depending on your playing style, sitting down at a table of unknowns can mean different things.  If you’re an aggressive player, more often than not, you’ll make the players at the table adjust to you.  If your style is more selective, it may take some time to get a read on people before you know how best to play against them.  The latter is more descriptive of my style.

But it didn’t take long at all to realize that the guy to my left was my primary target.  After a couple of orbits, it became painfully obvious how he built his stack.  I’m sorry CJ, but you don’t hold a candle to this guy.


The target loved him some draws.  Of any kind.  Inside straight draw?  I saw him call off over $200 chasing one with KJo on an ATxx board.  He missed.  I saw him call of his entire stack on another inside straight draw.  He hit.  His swings were wild and the whole night, I stayed out of his way.  Until the time I didn’t.


It wasn’t necessarily a really bad beat and I don’t even really care that much that I lost the hand.  Suffice to say, I got all of the target’s money into the pot as a 3:1 favorite after the flop and lost.  No big deal, just a small measure of disappointment at the lost opportunity.  I figured there would be more.

I was wrong.


The final hand my target played was a 4-way all-in on a flop of K53 with two hearts.  The pot was well over $900, 4 ½ buy-in’s worth.  It was pretty sick.  Player A had a set of 3’s, player B had KQo (what was he thinking?) and player C had a set of 5’s.  What did the target have?  What two cards were worth nearly $300 to him on this particular hand?  Pocket Kings?  No way, what were you thinking?  Ax of hearts?  Get out of town; that would almost be reasonable.  Two random hearts?  That makes more sense, but that wasn’t it either.


Yeah that’s right.


You may be recall from the above paragraph that I said that this was his final hand.  You may be thinking he lost the hand, went bust and left.  You are quite wrong.

He hit a 6 of hearts on the turn and avoided all the re-draws the other players had and raked in a $900+ pot.

Then he left.

He cashed out and left the game after pulling in the biggest pot I’d seen played there in the three sessions I’ve been to the game.  And he fell off my radar.  The guy that was going to double me up took my expected value and left the game.

That was my bad beat.

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