When I walked into The Oaks Club last night I found an open seat at the $15/$30 limit hold'em game and another at the "200 Max" game. After some hemming and hawing, I decided to sit down at the latter.
The 200 Max is technically not no limit because the maximum bet you can make is $200, but it plays effectively the same as no limit since a few $200 bets and raises will put just about any stack all in in short order. The blinds are $2/$4 and the maximum initial buy in is $400.
I bought in for $300 and had a very unusual hand come up almost right away. I got dealt QQ in middle position and after two players just called $4 I made it $25 to go. Everyone folded around to the first caller who immediately went all in for about $150 total. This felt like a small or medium pair to me. Every now and then someone will limp in with AA and then reraise, but even though I'd never played with this guy, I was almost positive that was not what was happening. When his money went in, I snap called him.
The board came down 2 3 4 5 6 meaning unless he had a 7 we'd both play the straight on the board and split the pot. Ugh! I rolled over my pocket queens and my opponent showed the player next to him 88 and then threw his cards in face down!
What's supposed to happen when someone throws their hand away - even if they're supposed to get half the pot no matter what they have - the dealer is supposed to take their hand, put it in the muck with the rest of the dead cards, and push the pot to the player who turned their hand face up. After a count of two that's exactly what happened. Just after the dealer had killed his hand, someone said something and the player who had mucked his hand sat back down expecting to get half the pot. But the rules are pretty clear on this and there was minimal protest after the rule was explained by the dealer.
Sometimes in this situation the winning player will say something like "Clearly you didn't see the straight, but you were entitled to half the pot - let's just split it and move on." Of course this is a lose translation - usually it's more like "You not see straight? Sheeeeeiiiiit. OK give him half pot. Sheeeeeeittt. God damn it." (God damn it is like a verbal period for many poker players). I considered this for about one second, but I'm not giving away $150+ to be a nice guy. If you're going to play you need to know the rules.
I had a couple of bluffs work out and I had $600 in front of me when the next big hand came up. Before the flop the player just after the big blind put in $8 before the cards came out to "Kill it," meaning instead of $4 to call pre flop it would now be $8 to go and the player who put in the $8 could raise if the action got back to him and no one had raised yet (think of it as putting in a super big blind). This is a stupid thing to do because you have to put in money before you've seen your cards, but it effectively doubles the stakes for that one hand.
On the hand in question, 7 of us put in $8 before the flop, I had 87 of hearts, and the flop came down T 7 2 with two hearts, giving me middle pair with a flush draw. It was checked to me and I bet $45. I had kind of a mediocre hand at the moment, but there were 14 cards that could come on the turn to make me a very strong hand and I might win the $51 ($5 comes out of every pot for the rake) in the pot without getting called.
One player behind me called the $45 and then the small blind check raised to $155. At this point I was almost positive I was behind, but there was no chance of me folding giving the strength of my draw. My first instinct was to hit it with a max raise, but I took my time, thought for about 10 seconds and considered just calling. At the end of that 10 seconds I decided "Fuck calling, I'm going to take this down right here" and I made it $355 to go.
In my mind I had won the pot as soon as I put my money in. I new this was a good spot to apply pressure and my read of the situation was that I was going to take it down without a fight. But after about 30 seconds my opponent counted out another $200 from his stack and pushed it into the pot. He'd also started with a little over $600 and we each had maybe $175 left in front of us. The turn paired the ten and my opponent checked it to me.
At this point as a matter of reflex I moved all in. I suppose I could have checked and tried to save that $175 if I didn't make my flush. In fact I easily could have been drawing dead at that point. But the years of training myself to think "you're never going to win if you play like a pussy" kicked in. If you added up the amount of time it took for the dealer to put our the turn card, my opponent to check and my chips making their way into the pot it was 2 or 3 seconds total. After another 2 or 3 seconds my opponent slammed his cards down on the table and they flipped over showing 72! He'd flopped two pair and hand his hand totally killed by the turn.
After winning that pot I had over $1,000 in front of me. Two hands later I raised to $25 with KK, got 4 callers, and stacked a guy with AQ for about $150 when the flop came down Q 2 3.
I had a cold stretch of about 90 minutes where I didn't make any real hands and lost a bluff or two, but I made up for it with another big pot. I raised with to $15 with 99, got called by the big blind and the flop came down J 9 8 with two diamonds. BINGO! She checked, I bet $25 and she raised it to $50. Double Bingo! I wasn't going to mess around on a board with so many draws so I made it $150 and she went all in for $350. Now I was worried that I might be up against QT, but never in a million years would I fold middle set heads up in a cash game. I called, the turn and river were both cards below 6 and my opponent showed J8! Sweet!
I played a few more rounds, but when I took my chips to the cage I had $1,356 for a profit of $1,056. I think my next session will have to be another visit to this exact same game.