The game is no-limit hold’em with a $1 and $2 blind structure with a $300 maximum buy-in and nine players. The nine players started the game five hours ago and all nine players are still at the table in their original seats. All nine players bought in for $300 at the start of the game. The players are regulars and all know each other fairly well having played against one another on many occasions. The casino takes a $3 dollar rake and drops a dollar for a jackpot that currently stands at $25,000 and requires aces full of tens be beaten by four of a kind.

The players:

Seat One: Anthony is currently on the button with a stack of approximately $260. Just made another re-buy about 20 minutes ago and now is in the game $900 and shows no signs of worry. A very pleasant and happy player; approximately late 50’s and possibly Italian seems to be a business or restaurant owner. Loose passive player, long term losing player in this (his regular) game.

Seat Two: Suzie is currently in the small blind with a stack of approximately $310. She is a very tight grey haired 70 year old woman with a cigarette burning in the ash tray. She plays very tight and very passively and often does not raise pre-flop with aces. She rarely bets anything but the nuts. She is just a little above even for the night.

Seat Three: Currently in the big blind is Action Jackson and is the life of the party. Currently in the game $1500 and has approximately $700 in front of him. He seems to be involved in almost every hand and raises pre-flop religiously. He is also the instigator of the live five blind straddle that occurs from time to time. Any two cards and a habitual bluffer makes him the total wildcard and impossible to read.

Seat Four: Brooke is a very solid winning player with about $500 in front of her. She is an early thirties married woman with no children and plays full time. She is married to a local doctor and would be considered a trophy wife by many. Always dressed immaculately she is really quite striking at the table. She plays a very tight aggressive game and uses her charm to take advantage of the weaker players and avoids confrontations with the stronger players.

Seat Five: Mike is a very young college student that seems to play more poker than any student really should. He is in the game $600 and has about $420 in front of him. He is drinking Corona’s with lime. When asked what his major is he says pre-law whatever that is. He is from the internet wave of players and is ultra aggressive. He claims to win thousands playing online poker. He is a very volatile player in the live games and the majority of his sessions are losing sessions. His winning sessions are often $1000 or more and he rarely cashes out with a small or modest win. He wears the Ed Hardy shirts that are so popular among his peers and drives a nice car. He seems to always have money on him and yet he has no job. He lives with his parents and that seems to be the only chink in the armor. In the year I have known him he has never mentioned a girlfriend.

Seat Six: The sixth seat finds our hero sitting on a stack of $620 and playing tight. Having bought in for the $300 and played solid slowly built the stack to over $600.

Seat Seven: Peter is an older gentleman with poor eyesight that should really be seated in the five-seat but somehow these things never seem to get worked out. He has about $50 in front of him and continues to leak away chips. A weak passive calling station he seems to be the only player at the table for which these stakes are meaningful. He is probably living on a fixed income and unfortunately donates too much to the poker game. He has an accent and a darker complexion but I am not sure where he is from. He looks to be eighty but it may be that he had a hard life.

Seat Eight: Tom is a late forties floor man from a nearby casino and he has about $500 in front of him. He understands the game and knows how to play. He just chooses to play poorly and makes far too many bad calls. He is a loose player and seems to enjoy the action. He is in the game $1500 by his own admission and $2100 by my own accounting and eye witness observation. He is out of cash and goes to the teller machine or the cage to find money each time he re-buys. He seems to be dead set on busting Action Jackson and the two of them are creating some lively action.

Seat Nine: Ryan is an early thirties or late twenties techno geek with too many gadgets and about $200 in front of him. He is constantly away from the table and missing blinds. He wears two watches on one arm and one on the other. He has a play station portable with him. He also has an IPod and three cell phones. He has two sets of head phones and has worn two different hats during this session depending on which headphones he is using. He is annoying and rarely plays a hand but when he does play he does it with quite a bit of flair and conversation.

The Dealer: Rochelle is a very good dealer with over ten years experience all at this casino. She is a very pretty lady with just a few extra pounds and always has meticulously manicured nails. She knows every player at the table by name and keeps the game moving along at brisk pace. She is a single mother and supports her two teen aged children with this dealing job. The children have the same father and he has been out of the picture since the time the second one was an infant. Rochelle had worked waiting tables at Denny’s and had met her first husband there when the kids were three and four. He was a poker player and brought her into the poker world at just twenty one years of age. He encouraged her to learn to deal and she made big money in those days. She was quite a looker. She supported her poker playing husband for five years before she finally put her foot down and divorced him. A few years back she had married a dealer at the casino and they were married for a little over a year and for whatever reason they divorced and continued to work together and by all appearances seem to be friends.

The Game Begins:
Rochelle puts the last riffle on the cards and gives them a cut as she glances at Action Jackson who has been badgering Brooke to make it a live five. Just before she puts the cards in the air Brooke tells Action Jackson to give her the five bucks and she will. Action Jackson throws the red bird in front of Brooke and declares live five. Rochelle pauses and looks at Brooke who pushes the chip back toward Action Jackson and nods her head no. The cards are distributed to the players with machine like efficiency and accuracy.

Mike whips two white chips off the top of his stack and flings them to the felt. Action Jackson screams it is five to go and Rochelle quickly puts him in his place and reiterates it is two dollars to go. Mike has gathered his two chips up and replaced them with a single red chip. An awkward and yet rather bold gesture as Rochelle has raised her voice already.

Our hero looks down at his hole cards and finds that he has been dealt pocket jacks. He makes a raise to $10 and announces it for everyone’s benefit hoping it will end the entire “live five” discussion.

Peter somehow manages to put $2 out as a call and Rochelle holds the action and tells Peter that it is $10 to call. Peter tries to take his $2 back and Rochelle alerts him that the $2 must stay in the pot. Peter then decides to go all-in. A total shit storm breaks out at what was already a very loud table. The floor man is called over and the raise is allowed to stand against Rochelle’s better judgment and she does little to hide her dissatisfaction with the ruling. The floor man deciding that because he put in only $2 and it was less than half of what he needed to call $10 it did not constitute action and therefore he still had the right to raise. As Peter is putting himself all-in he manages to steal $4 off the top of his stack to pay for a drink he had already ordered. We finally agree it is $46.

Tom does not disappoint and calls $46 dollars cold after a short deliberation. Tom cuts the checks like the professional that he is and instantly there are two stacks of four red chips capped by a single red and white chip in the middle of the two columns.

We spend an interminable amount of time waiting for Ryan to act on his hand. After at least a full minute Ryan removes an ear bud from his ear and asks who the action is on. After being informed that we were waiting for him he laughed and acknowledged that he forgot he had cards.

Anthony puts $46 in announcing call as he fumbled to figure out how to make it forty six dollars. He put two red chips together and placed them on the felt repeating the procedure three additional times to make $40. This was followed by his counting white chips one at a time to six. To make it that much better he then shoved them all together and pushed them toward the center of the table.

Suzie starts to whine as if it is her god given right and as long as it is her turn we should be forced to listen to it. She takes a big drag on the cigarette and blows smoke for a long time before beginning her rant. She wanted to play this hand. She will fold but not before she has said her peace. As Suzie continues to ramble Action Jackson announces all-in. Suzie is personally offended and needs the world to know that it is still her turn. She uses terms like rude and uncalled for to describe Action Jackson and does her best to provoke her neighbor. Action pushes his chips forward as Suzie continues to screech like an injured bird. Suzie takes and pushes Action’s chips back toward him and topples the neatly stacked columns. Action knocks over one of Suzie’s columns and the floor man is back for a second visit on the same hand. Suzie digs in and waits as long as possible before folding the hand and asked for at least a handful of different rulings from the floor. Action had in fact gone all-in and the bet would stand when it was his turn.

Brooke now announces that the $5 chip in front of her is not hers and she has not acted yet. Rochelle explains that we all thought it was a call. The floor decides it was a call and action was now to Brooke. After a brief discussion on the ownership of the single five dollar chip it was credited to Brooke. Brooke went all-in calling Action Jackson.

Mike quickly folded his hand.

The next decision is left to you. Write down how you think the hand should be played and explain your thoughts and in a week I will award the best suggestion with $25 and go over my reasoning.



One Response to “Decisions”

  1. duke Says:

    Well, as a self proclaimed level two player this is a tough decision. The aggressive side says you have a monster starting hand and you go for it. However, that being said there is the rational side that says look before you leap. Based on the fact that Peter went all in is not the problem. He is a weak player and the $46 wouldn’t do much to hurt my stack. I look to Tom next as he is the one that will be acting after me. He likes the action so I would assume that this call for all his chips will be a no-brainer for him. Anthony is a passive player that calls too many hands so I put him on some small suited connectors like 9-10 or 8-9. So the only two unknowns in my opinion are Action and Brooke. Now with Actions ups and downs and “all over the place” style he is the X Factor. Brooke, being a solid player, is a legit threat. However, since she calls Actions “all-in” instantly I put her on Q’s or better or at worst A-Q suited. Action, I put on a total bluff or at best A-weak kicker. The other players mentioned earlier have small pairs or high connectors, with the possibility of two suited cards looking for a flush. Now, since I am certain that at least two of the players have an ace in their hand and there are sure to be over cards I would have to reluctantly let the hand go. I am only in $10 and since I have grinded out the slow and steady win, I say patience is the best bet. I know that is not the “cool, sexy” drama filled TV highlight decision but it is my style. If the bet were even half the amount I would be in for sure.

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