I Am Not Here to Gamble

On the recent Reno trip I sat down to play some $1-2 blind no-limit hold’em on Friday night. I was tired and it was late when I finally got a seat in the game. I decided to play small and take away the bluff from my opponents. I bought in for a $100 instead of my normal $300. This table was very active and there were a great number of all-in bluffs in the time I was watching the game.

In the first 15 minutes after sitting down I flopped a set of fours and got it crammed by a wheel. I was able to get away from the hand but I lost $30 on the hand. My stack withered away until I was down to $50.

A really active player was making it a live five dollar straddle every time he was in the straddle position. Not only that, he was often raising on his option and picking up the limpers $5 bets. He put in his customary straddle and just as the cards were dealt I said, “I don’t think I can call. All in or nothing.” A couple players had limped and I looked down to pocket aces and sent my chips all-in. The straddle called me and my aces held up against Q8.

The very next hand I picked up aces again and I raised to $20 and everyone folded allowing me to pick up about $12. The active player in the big blind really wanted to call with K2. I over bet the pot because I did not want everyone to call and I was sure $12 would have brought everyone. The game was that loose.

Shortly thereafter was another wonderful example of loose action small blind no-limit hold’em. I flopped a set of eights on a board of J 8 7 with two diamonds. I bet $10 into a pot of $10 and was raised to $25. Three players called and I called $15 more. The turn was a ten and I checked and the raiser on my left bet $40 and two players called so I called. The king of diamonds was the river card and I checked followed by the player on my left and the first caller moved all-in and was called by the next player. I folded my hand. The nut flush beat the queen high flush at show down. My stack was humbled.

I was dealt pocket tens and it was $10 to go. With my stack at $60, I folded the tens pre-flop. Of course a ten came on the flop and would have been top set. I was laughing about folding tens and one of the players asked, “Aren’t you here to gamble?” I replied, “No, I’m not here to gamble; just came to play poker”.

I doubled up with pocket kings when a pot had been raised and re-raised pre-flop before the action came to me. I moved all-in for $52 and was called by AT. I was back just above my $100 buy-in.

My luck continued to run sour for the fourth hour of the session. I was on the button and was dealt pocket deuces. I saw a $2 flop with six players in the hand. The flop came J 5 2 rainbow and the small blind bet $10 and the action player in middle position made it $25. I called $25 cold with the set of deuces. The small blind re-raised the bet to $100 and the action player went all-in for $650. I mucked the deuces and saved my $80. I thought about going all-in here and might have if my stack were just a little smaller.

The small blind immediately goes into the tank and he will have to call his remaining $532. The small blind announces he has pocket fives and the only hand he can’t beat is pocket jacks. The hand took a very long time and finally the small blind made the call and doubled up when his set of fives held up against KJ.

I was about to have my luck change. I picked up pocket jacks and raised to $12 from early position and one of the loose players called and we saw the flop heads up. The flop was 8 5 3 with two diamonds. I bet $15 and was raised to $30 and I moved all-in for $52 more. I was called after a short time. My jacks held up against A5 and I doubled up.

The last hand of the night for me was pocket eights and I flopped bottom set on a board of A J 8. A good player bet $10 and I raised it to $25 to lose all the stragglers. The good player spent some time and made the call. The turn card was a 4 and he checked to me and I bet $40 and he instantly called. The river card was T and he moved all-in. I had just $58 left and could see no way to get away from the hand so I called. The good player showed AK and I took down the pot.

I played for about five hours and played very tight. I never bluffed a single hand and I didn’t make a single bad call. I won every showdown I was involved in. I won $130 for the night and headed to bed at four in the morning. I was very risk adverse and lowered my variance as much as possible. Reno has decent games but they are not as soft as the games in California or even Las Vegas for that matter.

I was not there to gamble. I was sitting at the table going through the motions of playing poker but I was really taking no risks whatsoever and yet that was fine on this particular night.

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