Friday, November 03, 2006

Inquiring Minds

Inquiring minds, inquiring minds…..

The policy at the Spring Hotel states that 80% of the jackpot is given to the player and 20% is reserved for seeding the next one.  When I walked into the game on Wednesday, the dry erase board on the refrigerator said “1803.”  As there were two tables running, that number was slightly outdated.  When all was said and done, I received 1498 play money chips.  I tipped the Steel Lady fan $50 and kept the rest in play.  Because I could.


One side item.  When I won the jackpot, I have to say that I was incredibly pumped.  Otis did not lie in the comments below the previous post.  But the thing that really made the event for me was my three friends high-fiving me in a genuine display of congratulatory enthusiasm for my win.  We’re all poker players, to be sure.  But even more than that, we’re all good friends first and foremost.  There was no jealousy or envy, just genuine smiles and cheering on my behalf.  It’s hard to describe, but that memory will surely stay with me more than any other.  I wish I had a can of Bud Light handy so I could say in quite an unmanly tone….”Sniff…I love you guys!”


When things finally calmed down, I still had work to do.  Crispin, after having been dealt such a cruel blow to his chip stack, took things incredibly well.  He complimented me for two things.  First, he was actually glad I didn’t slow play him.  He’s seen cases where jackpot winners have given the remaining players in the hand a break by not betting because they were happy with just the jackpot.  I confided that I thought my push was my way of letting him off easy, because I figured he’d fold.  But still, a poker player’s code of ethics dictates winning as much as you can, and Crispin could appreciate that.  He also commented about keeping all of the jackpot money in play.  I told him that it would be silly not to.  Why not take full advantage of a big stack?

Deep down, in my poker brain, I still said to myself “Hey, you’re still down.  If it weren’t for the jackpot, you’d still be down about $300.”  So, it became my mission to use the jackpot stash to build my way back to being profitable.


And build it I did.  When you have $1800 in front, and most everyone else is hovering around $200-400, you have quite a hammer.  You can put people to the test if you’re good at reading people.  G-Rob is a master at this.  He will take risks early to build a stack then use it to crush the table.  The success of that strategy all hinges on being able to build that stack and lately it’s been hit or miss for him.  But still, that’s his forte and I like to think that I’ve learned a small bit of that strategy simply from watching him work his magic this past summer.

One thing you do have to look out for are players who have your stack targeted for doubling up.  That’s how I usually operate when I’m the small stack.  The big stacks become the prey.  Sadly, at the Spring Hotel, few people even consider this at all.  Otis, however, knew all about this and was waiting for me to get just a bit too big for my britches.  Gladly, I knew he knew, and after he check-raised me when I had air, I was forced to stay out of pots with him.  But that’s Otis, as you all know.

Still, because the table was still populated with enough of the “other” types of players, I was able to bully a few people out of pots and build my stack even further.  It takes money to make money, as they say.  The beauty of the massive stack is that nobody can put pressure on you.  Their fold equity against you is diminished; that is, if you’re the type of player who doesn’t nurse a profit.  I like to think that I don’t.  In fact, I’m perhaps one of the greediest bastards at the table that you’ll ever meet.  I don’t show it on the outside, but I am constantly looking for opportunities to take all the money available.  It’s a constant balance between bludgeoning others with a big stack and being wary enough to know when others are setting you up.  It’s a completely different brand of poker.  I don’t often get the chance to play with stacks like that, but every now and then it takes things to a whole other level.

So much so, that whenever I have a huge stack to work with, I try to memorize the mindset I’m in.  The total confidence that the stack gives you should be something I can call upon when I’m losing and forced to play a different style of poker.  It’s an amazing contrast between the two levels of confidence that I feel at the table.  I am of the opinion that the confidence factor should be constant and not simply determined by your current session’s profit level.  In reality, mine isn’t and I’d like to eventually get to where it is.

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