Monday, September 3, 2007

It's not all tournaments

Since attending the WPT Ca$h camp, my interest in straight cash games has increased, as has my interest in GSM's "High Stakes Poker." One reason I didn't like it much in the past was that GSN is too stupid to label the episodes correctly, so TiVo never reliably tapes only the first-run episodes. Which means I have to tape all of them, which means I get a lot of re-runs.

Anyhow, HSP does have its moments. Like last season when Jamie Gold said, "I guess I need to become a better player," and Gabe Kaplan (who was playing rather than commentating) replied, "maybe you should try tournaments" (this is funny because just a couple weeks prior Gold had won the biggest poker tournament of all time at the WSOP, picking up more than $12 million).

The first episode of the season started off with a bang with the players agreeing to pay $500 each to any player who wins a pot holding 72. Not a minute later, Phil Helmuth Jr bluffed Mike Matusow with 72o getting Mike to lay down pocket kings.

Anyway, what prompted me to make this blog post was a hand between Elie Elezra and Jennifer Harman. Elezra had 83h and Harman had KhJd. The hand started out as a family pot, but when the flop came AK5 of diamonds and Elezra bet out at it, only Harman called. The turn was the 7d. Elezra bluffed at it and Harman just called, which was curious. Harman in this spot would really want to know whether or not her jack-flush was good or if Elezra might have the Queen. The river was a blank (Jc) and Elezra shut down, but Harman thought it might be a check-raise, so she just checked. Elezra then announced, "I'm playing the board," which got a laugh from the whole table (in fact, his 8 was higher than the 5 on the board, so his hand is really AKJ87) and Harman's jack-flush was the winner.

In actual fact, though, having had time to think about it, I can't fault Harman too much. If she raised she might not have been able to easily differentiate between being beat or not if Elezra just called. If he had the Qd, he'd probably just call, and if he had, say, the 9d, he'd also probably just call. The only other likely outcome would have been Elezra folding anything but a flush, in which case she wouldn't have won any more than she actually did.

Meanwhile, while all this was going on, I spent 12 minutes playing 10¢/25¢ No-Limit and made $5. That's 20 big blinds in, oh, call it a quarter hour (to make the math easier), which is 5 BB/hr, so I feel good. :)

P.s. Paul Wasicka just limped under the gun with pocket aces, got seven callers, then folded them on the flop after the big blind led out! The flop gave one player a set and another a flush draw (which made it). Had he stayed in, he'd have had the 3rd best hand and likely gotten crushed. He was hoping to limp/re-raise before the flop, but when it didn't work out, he knew he was a huge dog in the hand (pocket pairs typically only have two outs to improve, which means they're trouble if they're behind).

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