Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I'm dying on the "River"

Texas Hold 'Em. A poker game you either love or hate. Right now for me it's both. I love seeing the Flop and the Turn but when it comes to the River card I just want to scream.

I played in a tournament game last night on Xbox Live. I folded the first couple of hands until those "all in" fools get knocked out with their tiny 7 - 2 off suited cards. Who are they kidding anyway? Once the table gets down to 4 or 5 players I'll turn the heat on and see who I can force to play a hand they wouldn't otherwise play.

I'm not much of the "all in" type. When someone does that I've found they usually don't have squat but are trying to bluff you out and steal the blinds. At $4 and $5 blinds why would you do that? If you happen to call them (and have the chips to cover them) they're just hoping to get lucky on the Flop. It's pretty easy to beat those types but I'll let someone else knock them out. I only play the hands I know I can win with. That is until I see the River card.

Last night in head to head action I could have knocked the other guy out and won the tournament. I was forcing him into playing hands that any sane person would . . . and should . . . have folded a long time ago. He usually folded at the River. But one time he decided to play his hand through. I had him completely beat with the Flop. The Turn card helped him slightly but I was still the overwhelming favorite to win. There were only 2 numbers that would beat me. A total of 8 cards out of 52 that he could pull out a win if it was played. And guess what? The River card was played . . . and he won. He doubled up, but I was still the chips leader. For once he got lucky.

A couple of hands later (and a lot more chips on my side) he was down to needing a very limited River card to win the hand. This time all he needed was a 7. Any 7 would do. So that would be 4 possible cards out of 52. I wanted to beat this guy from the moment the game started. He was trash talking before we even figured out who would get the dealer's button to start the game. Imagine his surprise when he would find out he lost to a girl? I couldn't wait for the River card.

I had a smile on my face. I was feeling confident and a little cocky. Waiting for that moment when I'd turn my mike on and say "good game". Then the River card was played. A 7. Once is being lucky. Twice a coincidence. Would there be a third time?

I was a little bit mad at how things were turning out. The guy was still talking trash. My mike was still muted. And I was folding good hands because I was too steamed to play. After a little while I thought I was ready to play a few hands and give this guy the loss that I felt he deserved. I bet aggressively but conservatively and before I knew it the chips were split 50-50 (he had a slight $20 lead). What had gone wrong? I'm a better player than this but I guess those 2 big losses were really effecting me.

I struggled to get myself under control when the next hand came up. It was good. A pair of Kings. I slow played him to an "all in" bet after the Flop. There was a King in the flop so I was sitting on 3 of a kind. He had a possible straight. All he needed was a 3. I was a little nervous that lightening would strike for the third time but I liked my odds holding a set of Kings. The Turn card was played. It was a King. I was sitting on four of a kind. I knew I had won this hand. I flipped open my mike, ready to say those two little words when the I took another look at the board.

Yes, he was working on a straight but if he got the 3 of diamonds he would have a straight flush. I had about half a second to rack my brain trying to remember if a straight flush beat a four of a kind when the River card was played. You guessed it. It was the 3 of diamonds. I remember him laughing a lot and that awful message that says you placed 2nd in the tournament. Yes, I won some money but I lost? To this guy? A guy I should have knocked out on two other occasions. I picked my jaw off the floor, muttered a "good game" into the mic and shut the game down.

I love playing Texas Hold 'Em I just don't like losing on the River.

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