Poker Mania : Do You Have The Nuts?

Poker, and the ever growing army of poker dorks, are everywhere

Posted by Chuckmonster

Have you got the nuts to play poker?

Out came the cards. 9h 3d. FOLD. Next hand 7c 2s. FOLD. Next hand Jh 10d. CALL. Three other people in the pot and I'm way out of position. User "tom5458" raises on the button to $200 pre-flop - is he trying to steal the blinds and antes? Does he have pocket paint or bullets? Blinds fold, I fold, the two others behind me call. This cycle goes on for a while - me calling with marginal junk hands then getting raised out either pre- or post- flop. My $1500 in chips has dropped to about $1100, i'm not worried... but either i've got to tighten up my play or out maneuver the other players and win some pots. Next hand Kd Kh. Call - i'm slow playing because I'm a chickenshit. 5 way action on the pot now, no raises. Flop comes Kc 10s 3h... i've flopped trip K's and there is no flush draw on the board. River comes 8d, check check check check around the board until the big blind raises it one level. I call, two others fold - three way action. I know that i've got everyone beat - i've got top trips with no possibility of a flush, full house or straight on the board. River comes 2h. BET. I figure I might as well take a stab at the pot - I coulda gone the 'check-raise' route but I want to get the power here. The board goes call fold call. Cards flipped and i'm the winner of stack of virtual chips. I won my first pot. Granted, i had the nuts from the get go - the cards fell in obvious pattern. The next 10 minutes didn't go as well... I began to play a little too loose, calling some less-than-marginal hands. The nice thing about is they tell you how many players are left in the tournament, what the average and max chip counts are and what place you are currently in. I was in 179th place, with 197 players left. Needless to say, as my stack dwindled I had to make some dire moves, eventually going all in on QQ vs an AJ who knocked me out when he spiked an Ace on the river. I was out... 40 minutes.

Have you got the nuts to play poker?I got up from the computer completely drained. I wandered around aimlessly for a while then plopped on the bed, exhausted and a little dejected. Why? I'm not sure... I knew going into this that I had zero chance of coming in the money, still I'm an optimist - and I don't like getting beat. Eventually, I gathered myself up and headed back to the computer to see what was happening with the tournament I was in - but instead I enrolled in another $5 buy-in tournament, this one worked out worse than the first. A bunch of bad loose calls on my end and a two tough beats on the river later I found myself beaten again. This time only lasting a whopping 10 minutes. $11 poorer, broken and beaten, I decided to pack it in for the night and head to bed. I still managed to review a few pages of David Sklansky's "Theory of Poker" before shutting off the lights and fading away. Tomorrow was another day and these first day lessons would hopefully propel me to a greater degree of success. As I laid in bed, awash in darkness I could still hear the computer generated sounds of cards thwacking, chips clacking and a flurry of "Raise" "Fold" "Call" thought balloons fading in and out of my slowly unfolding dreamscape.

The next evening, I prepared myself... full meal, plenty of rest, lots of fluids, big honkin Venti Starbucks and a few other essential materials that would put me in the right frame of puzzling poker ponderances. I saddled up to the computer, logged into, found another $5 tournament and joined the fray. "Play tight" I thought to myself... trying to keep myself from calling with the 15 straight hands of absolute crap I got. The table I ended up at turned into a full on shooting gallery, tons and tons of all-in races with almost losers sucking out to double up their stacks and some winners building their stack up to monstrous height. Still I managed to get blinded down to a dangerous level as the stacks grew and the price to play incrementally raised. More than once my X Y off suit junk hand flopped two pair and eventually a full boat on the turn or river, too bad I folded them. I decided to make a play at some pots with marginal suited connectors, getting raised off the pot as the odds of my hitting that 3 outer on the turn or river decreased and the possibility of over cards and flushes increased. I slowly collapsed to nothingness, a mere footnote in the tournament... but now just dust and $5 lighter. "Play the player, not the cards" is one of those statements that is bandied about in the pokersphere. Easier said than done, particularly when you aren't sitting 4 feet from your opponent. Playing in person is such a rich experience, you get to see the smiles, the smirks, the bulging neck veins, the perspiration, the silly sunglasses and the Oscar-winning bluffs. Here, there are no (or very few) tells. One tell being the amount of time it takes a player to act, another being hand history. Is this player aggressive? Do they call everything in the hopes of hitting? When they do raise or call down to the wire does a re-raise scare them off the pot? What kinds of hands do they win with? Can you deduce a pattern for what they'll keep based on what they show at the end of a hand? These are a lot of questions, and multiply them all by 9 - one set of inquiries for each player at the table.

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