Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Ferrari Home Game: The Return of Ugarte

Another wild night at Ferrari's home game. Bad beats, huge swings, and monster bluffs dominated the night which featured Ugarte's return to the poker table. It was great to see him back-to-back nights and after last night's sweet win, I wondered if he'd have anything to grovel about today. Actually, I know he's going to write about the hand when he was betting into me and drawing dead when I held... pocket aces! With a loose vibe wafting through the air like grandma's freshly baked apple pie and with $700 on the table... it was anyone's to win.

The players:
Seat 1: Sam
Seat 2: Joel
Seat 3: Rick Blaine
Seat 4: Signor Ferrari
Seat 5: Ugarte
Seat 6: Om
Seat 7: Pauly
It started out sweet for Pauly. We played a round of hold'em and I dominated. I raised the pots with medium pairs and took down several pots after I hit big flops. When I chased... I caught. When I folded, it was the right move.

8:01pm EST... I'm was up $40 playing 2-4 hold'em in the first half hour. How is that possible? I bluffed a few times and I outflopped Ferrari on several instances. When he had great hands or hit his flops, I folded. When he had great starting hands, I seemed to out draw the guy. He looked frustrated. He played more hands than usual in order to try to crack my hands. I didn't blame him. If I was a baseball pitcher, I would have thrown a no-hitter... that's the best equivalent that I could come up with. I had amazing stuff. Every decision I made was perfect.

8:29pm EST... I was up over $70 and drew the evil eye from a frazzled Rick. He wanted to seriously kick my ass after I caught a card on the river in Omaha 8/b, to take down a sizeable pot. Rick held 2-3-4-5. And I had shit: 10-10-A-J... or something like that. The flop was: 2-5-K. And the turn: 5 and the river a: 10 to give me my set of 10s. Rick flopped the set and looked great for a low hand. On the turn he had a better set of 5s and an open ended straight draw. Yeah, I had no business being in that hand. Rick was fuming. If I wasn't such a nice guy, he probably would have tossed me out the window. Ferrari lives on the 19th floor. That would have hurt.

The Big Bluff

But the real story was my biggest bluff (possibly of all time) that put me up early. Joel called Five Card Stud Hi/Lo with a Replace. You can replace any of your cards after 5th street. An up card cost $1. A down card cost $2. Rick and Ferrari were battling for the high pot and I squared off with Om.

Pauly: x/7-8-10-A
Om: x/8-5-4-? (a high card I don't recall)

I was representing a better low than Om, especially after I paid to replace my 10 and I got a 5. Om replaced his high card and got a 7. Again, it appeared that I had the better low.

Pauly: x/7-8-5-A
Om: x/8-5-4-7

Rick folded to Ferrari. Alas, Ferrari had the position to bully the pot when the betting came to him. He was going to get half the pot for sure. Ferrari was first to act and he bet $5. Om called $5. I raised $5 more. Ferrari re-raised to $10. Om called $10 more and I re-raised $5! The betting was capped. Om wasn't going anywhere. The pot was well over $160. I had no business staying in and then I got lucky. Om folded. He sighed and said, "I believe you have a better low."

I let out a monster sigh of relief. I almost got an erection stacking up my chips because it was such an amazing bluff. There's nothing like the adrenaline rush that siezes your entire body after you bluffed at a huge pot in poker... and won. It felt like I snorted enough cocaine to kill three baby elephants. I felt like Kirk Gibson after he hit that walk-off homerun in the World Series, when he could barely walk. Man. That was one sweet move I put on Om.

My down card was an 8. I had a pair of 8s which is a horrible low hand.

Pauly: 8/7-8-5-A.

But it was good enough to win and I pulled of one the the biggest bluffs to date. Again, the only way for me to have won that pot was to bluff at it. Om could not believe his mis-read... but according to the information he saw, I represented the better hand. But for $5 more he could have won it all. That was a $88 pot for me. And I used up all my bluffing mojo for the night, probably for the rest of the month. Om thought about that hand all night. Next time, I know he's going to call me down so I better have the nuts.

9:33pm EST... Chip count: $242. I was up $142!! Ferrari called Anaconda, smirked and said, "Pauly's favorite game!" as he dealt out the cards. He was joking of course. I like Anaconda when I get good cards. Alas, we normally pass cards to our right, but this time it was going to the left. Om passed me the one card (of two cards) I needed for a straight flush. Nothing's better in Anaconda than having the Wheel nut-low or a straight flush because you know you are going to get paid off.

10:04pm EST... I foolishly tried to bluff at two Anaconda hands. I lost $100 and was only up $45. Ugarte had a better full boat but he was going to see it down to the last bet. I tired to bully Sam out of another pot, bluffing a straight flush, but everyone at the table knew I didn't have it. My rush was over. My fifteen minutes (actually 2.5 hours worth) of acting fame was done with. I felt like a washed up actor begrudgingly looking for work doing infomercials. After I lost a few hands in Omaha and Stud hi/lo, I lost the early chip lead.

10:30pm EST... Ugarte walked into a monster hand from yours truly. I was the little blind and got A-A. I brought it in for a raise. Ugarte called. The flop: As-5h-2h. I bet and Ugarte raised. Hmmm. He was not on the button, but next to it. He's a tight player and I didn't make him for 3-4. Would he be betting the flush draw?

I blurted out, "What do you got? Pocket rockets?"

Ugarte didn't flinch. What did he have? An ace probably with a medium kicker? Maybe two pair? I re-raised. He played back at me and we capped the betting. I forgot what the turn was. But on the river a 4 fell. I checked, he bet and I raised. Ugarte called my check raise because he feared that I had the 3 from the little blind. Alas, I flipped over my A-A and my set of aces beat his A-2. He was drawing deat and didn't even know it.

Check out Ugarte's Poker Grovel for a version of the hand. (Editor's note: At press time, he didn't blog anything, but I'm sure it will be up by the time you are reading this... but there will be a post up by Tuesday night)

12:31am EST... I was up $37. Not too shabby. Coach was a no-show and Joel and Sam bailed. Five of us stayed.
Seat 1: Rick
Seat 2: Ferrari
Seat 3: Ugarte
Seat 4: Om
Seat 5: Pauly
We played a round of 2-4 Stud. I had two unreal starting hands that got cracked. They weren't the best, but they were good enough that I saw cards all the way down to seventh street.

Pauly: 8-8/8. Yes. Thanks to Felicia, I knew I had rolled up 8s. I was betting $5 and Rick called and went head's up with me. By fifth street he looked like this: x-x/K-?-K. Did he have trips? He was betting like he had them but you never know with Rick. I was hoping to pair up one of my other cards to get a fullboat. Nothing happened and I lost to his set of Kings. He got some of the money back he lost earlier in the night to me.

The next hand... Pauly: 4-4/9-9. OK I had 4 outs to get my full house on fourth street. And I lost to Ferrari's higher two pair.

1:19am EST... I was down over $30. The stud game killed me. I called a round of hold'em and again I dominated. I caught flops, raised like a maniac pre-flop and won $40 in less then twenty minutes.

The hand of the night...
Pauly (BB) As-8s
Rick (UTG) K-K
Ferrari A-7o
Ugarte Q-Q
Ferrari folded to Rick's pre-flop re-raise. Ugarte raised it up, I called and Rick re-raised prompting Ferrari to bail out.

The flop: A-9-7

I had top pair but was worried about the kicker problem. I check-raised Rick & Ugarte. Rick bailed and Ugarte called. I bet out on the turn. On the river: 8. I caught my two pair. If Ferrari stayed in, I would have river'd him. Alas, Ugarte shows me his pocket ladies and Rick dug into the muck to show his K-K and Ferrari found his A-7. It could have been an interesting hand if Ferrari stayed in.

Final Tally:
Ugarte +102
Pauly +9
Sam -11
Rick -18.25
Ferrari -27.25
Joel -26
Om -28.50
Final Thoughts

I played loose and like shit at times, but played flawless at other times. I'm sure I've developed the table image at Ferrari's that I'm a maniac and I could have anything at any time. I won hands with A-A (I got them twice and only once did they pay off) and won hands with shit. I can handle huge swings over the night, but if I get a chip lead early, I play more hands than I should.

I avoided the pitfalls of wild card games. My Omaha game improved. I tightened up (thanks to a brief chat with Ugarte at Coach's game on Sunday and reading his blogs about Omaha games... I think he might be the premier Omaha blogger out there) and I didn't lose any money playing Omaha. I got my ass handed to me bluffing at two big pots in Anaconda. That cost me $100. Oh well. I'll take a $9 win anyway... I was pleased with my Texas hold'em play. Next time, I have to play tighter. With so much money going back and forth... I need to be more patient.

Ugarte was the big winner for the night (only two of us left up) and he seemed like he had a lot of fun. Last night was the third time we played together (the first time he played half a session) and I realized that Ugarte is one funny dude. All the guys at Rick's Cafe have a great sense of humor, so it makes the games slightly more enjoyable when everyone's having a good time. Next week is an off week for the game. Maybe I'll get Haley to host one. We'll see...

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