Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Sometimes, You Should Play for Reasons Other Than Making Money

Lots of good stuff going on in the blogging world right now I find very interesting. You can talk all day long about what makes a poker blog a good one, just don’t personally rail on someone else. There is too much serious stuff going on the World right now to get bent over words, words, words. Everybody’s getting along. Thick skin is in place. It’s cool big guy. Don’t cause any trouble or I’m driving over to your place and bringing Blood to arm-wrestle you into submission while I drink Knob Creek and laugh. Then, we can sit around and play some cards like the rich people do.

Going to the home game tonight. It’s my regular game that I’ve been a part of for two years now. Definitely NOT big money, it is a chance to talk derisively of each other’s manhood, commiserate over the toils of the day, and spend a few hours away from whatever grind has us down. I would encourage everyone to cultivate the “friendly” home game for purely social purposes. Some of our guys would be stretching to move up from the low-limits we play and I have no thought we should ever try. Making money is for Wednesday through Monday. Tuesday night is just for fun. You need help getting started? Well, here you go.

--Get one or two people you know well who play to commit to hosting one night a month. Let them get one or two more commitments apiece to fill out the initial table. Don’t make one person absorb all the duties as it gets tiring to be the one working every time you play. We rotate every week between five spots. Do not invite your five closest friends to be the regulars. Seek out a group in which you do not know everyone as well. Make friends with your friend’s friends. Use cards to expand your social network which will, in turn, make your life richer. When I worked at the college radio station, one of our mantras was to play music that didn’t consist just of “four white guys playing guitar.” That should be your goal for the social game. What’s the use playing with the same guys you work with every day? Of course, in our group a few of the guys do work together, but a lot of that happened due to the game and the relationships built up there.

--Set your night in stone. We play Tuesday. Can’t make it this week? No problem. The chair will be waiting for you when you get back. Don’t make it an adventure in scheduling. That’s too much work. Pick your night and stick with it. Don’t let one person change the plans of the group. There will be other nights of poker. When someone can’t make it, let the host for the night invite an alternate. Our alternate list has grown to seven or eight that have stepped in over the last six months. We have had one player move and a couple sit out for a few months for various reasons so a few of the alternates have moved into regular spots. Much as I did when I joined the group, these guys have expressed such thankfulness for the invite to our game. It amazing the realization that comes knowing that our little, friendly game has such a high desirability factor when it comes to participants.

--Make the stakes clear. We play two hours of dealer’s choice with a $20 buy-in, $1 max bet, three raise max (with no “match the bet or prior raise” limitation), and buy chips from other’s stacks at the table. At 9:00, we sell to each other until we all have $20 again and play a regular, NLHE tourney (with standard raise requirements) with the top two getting paid and the top three accumulating points for our quarterly, special tournament. It’s almost impossible to get hurt in this game to the tune of much more than $40. You can win $100 on a good night, $150 on a great night, and break even over the course of a quarter without too much effort. This is not a game to make money. If someone wants to play for bigger stakes, we set up another night for that. If someone doesn’t have the cash for the Tuesday night game, we front them for it if. It’s easy to do when you know you are going to see the guy again next week and its for only $20-40.

--Have fun with your play. I am so damn serious when I sit down to play cards, I often wonder if I am having any fun. I am sure I don’t look as though I am to others. When I realized I was playing for $20 with a sour look on my face, I decided to loosen up and play differently. I use the Tuesday night game to try new things. I play hands blind (sometimes announced, sometimes not). I quote CJ about defending bluffs with suck outs. I introduced the hammer. I randomly grab chips and bet with no though to pot odds. Now, I am trying to win every time I sit down, but just trying to do it in a different way in the hopes I can improve my game by incorporating different elements in a setting I can’t get hurt too bad if my crazy plays don’t work. This has definitely given me the confidence to play differently in ”real” games with the comfort level of past action to guide me.

There you go. Get it started and keep it up. You spend too much time in front of the computer and too much time trying to separate me from my money. Go out and win $20 from your friends and impress them with you inexhaustible knowledge of all things poker. It’ll help keep you sane.

Next: The first attempt at THE BIG GAME-(gulp . . .)


Joe Speaker said...

Um, do we get to drink beer, too?

Drizztdj said...

I take my friend's $5 SnGs WAY too seriously, thus invoking the "Drizz must have two Cap'n Cokes before playing" rule.

I tend to be more fun to be around after that.

BigPirate said...

We do a "social hour" before every Tuesday night game. As everyone gets off work, we drag down to the Village Idiot in Five Points and eat $1 slices and drink pitchers. On the way to the game, we usually stop and get the home gamers drink of choice, the tallboy.

So, yes. We get to drink beer.

I learend my lesson about drink stronger than beer after I won the first of oour quarterly challenges. I used some of the winnings of a bottle of 18yo Glenfiddich for the table. Two of the guys still don't remember that night.

I remember the days of treating those $5 events as life-altering. I'd go craqzy if I still did that.

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