Giant Lions and Coffee

Little by little I have been sequestering myself to grind poker online more out of necessity than by choice. As a result, I find myself trying out different sites that I have not ever played on. It’s interesting because the different number of sites that you can access can be misleading. For example, I learned from a player at the tables that one of the sites I play on, technically does not allow players from Nevada. For some reason they fail to block players from this state, so I guess it’s a game of chicken until they notice me.

I still go out to play live poker. Mostly when friends have come to visit and want to get together to play poker. A friend I met back in 2019 when I started to play full time came to Las Vegas for the first time since the pandemic started. He is from Spain. We have kept in contact via email this entire time. We met up the other night to say hi and have a drink, during which we agreed to meet up the following Sunday for some poker. This happened to fall on the same day that the FIFA World Cup started. When Sunday rolled around, I was late because I had stayed home to watch the game.

When I arrived at South Point, the morning tournament had already started, and I did not want to late reg for it. I put my name on the cash game list for $1/$2 and waited for a seat. While I waited, I messaged my friend to see what table he was playing at. I thought I could see him from the front of the room. But I didn’t want to walk through the tournament area as the floor at South Point will sometimes give you a slap on the wrist for being in the tournament area when you are not a participant. Soon my name was called, and I was assigned to table 28. I found my way back there and took my seat.

I recognized a couple players at the table from earlier this year when I spent some time grinding tournaments at South Point. Most of the table was older than me or right around my age. Soon I learned that this was a social table! Everyone was talking about something. A retired dentist began telling us how he had started a blog so that his friend could keep up with his adventures when he moved to Vegas. A couple of European sounding guys started talking about the first World Cup match. There were a couple of other guys that began sharing their experiences in the southern states of America during the 60’s. Of course, there was also a lot of talk of the NFL and bets that had been placed on the games.

For those of you that are not aware; South Point always has many different promotions running. I stopped trying to keep track of them. Personally, I don’t think promotions add too much to the quality of a poker game, but they can be fun to win. This day was no different, it was fun to hit! I had no idea that they were giving out money every time one of the teams from the featured game scored. So, when the retired dentist nudged me and told me I had just won $200, you can imagine why I was confused. I had folded my hand and was not paying attention to the game as I responded to a message on my phone. Minutes after I won the giveaway, our table was selected again and someone else won $200. Naturally, the table started buzzing as we all discussed the prospective of winning.

Eventually the discussion at the table turned to finance. We talked about jobs, investing, and owning a business. One of the guys began talking about how the best thing you could do is own your own business and invest in yourself. He had a lot to say on this topic, but we all listened politely as he shared his wisdom with us all. He then shared how he was starting a new business venture in coffee. Hawaiian Kona coffee, the best that Hawaii has to offer because of how it is grown. I consider myself a bit of a coffee connoisseur, and I have had Kona coffee before but had not been impressed. So, when he began talking about it, I was a bit skeptical but willing to try it. Hopeful that the roast he was going to be bringing to Las Vegas would be better than the ones I had tried before.

I reached into my pocket for one of my blog cards and as I handed it to him, I said, “My email address is on there. Shoot me an email when you open for business, I am interested in trying your coffee.” He accepted my card and informed me that I he had one of my cards already. He said that I sucked out on him in a tournament and busted him and as he walked away, I handed him a blog card. Now, I admit that I don’t really recall this, but I am little doubtful that this happened the way he described it. To me, this doesn’t sound like something I would do. But he says he has my card and I believe that, so maybe it is what happened. What was more curious was the hand that he referred to. I play so much poker that I don’t tend to remember the hands that I don’t take notes on. Even though I knew he was just teasing me, it kind of sounded like he held a grudge. As a poker player I don’t want to remember a hand because of the result. I want to remember a hand because there is something to learn from it.

I learned many things during that session, it was an expensive lesson, but I still learned something. I observed the betting sizes players made with certain hands, I observed when continuation bets were made, and I observed missed opportunities. One hand that I did take some notes on was a hand that I attempted to bluff. I had AsJh under the gun and opened for $6. It folds around to our coffee friend. He 3-bets to $15. The action folds back around to me and I am left with a decision to make. Do I 4-bet him, call, or just fold? I settle on a call, but I can tell you right now that there is some merit to making that 4-bet. The flop is a board of 7cJs8c and I check. He makes a continuation bet of $35. A bet laying me 2 to 1 on a call, I think about raising but call instead. The turn card is a 4s, this card doesn’t really bring any significant changes to the board. The backdoor spade flush draw is one step closer but that is it. He shouldn’t have many two pairs but can have some sets. I check with the intention of raising and trying to steal the pot. I end up jamming on him after he makes another bet and after some thought he reluctantly calls. The river is a 9 and he asks if I have a ten before showing that I lose to pocket Queens. Why do I remember this hand? It’s not because of what he did or didn’t have, it’s because of the way I played it.

If you are the type of player that wants to improve, then remember hands for the lessons that they can teach you. Look for the spots that you can improve on and share with your friends. They might offer some insight that you could use to further your knowledge of the game. I am not sure if I could have ever gotten him to fold his hand but that doesn’t change the fact that I have dissected my play. I learned why I should have made a 4-bet preflop or that check raising him on the flop would have made a better bluff on the turn. All I know is that there is a lot for me to learn about myself, my game, and the way I think about poker from this hand. Oh, one more thing I just remembered about. If the guy with the pocket Queens is reading this, I look forward to trying some of your Kona coffee as promised.

Bizzy’s Gains 2022: -$3780.14

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