Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Blackjack Mentality

Another trip to Kansas City in the books. This time I took a day off work so I could sleep a bit more before driving back. It's a good thing too because I left for Kansas City at noon, we started the home game around 6:00pm, got to the Casino at 1:00am and got back home around 7:00pm. That's a lot of driving and poker before sleeping for me. I started watching the Chiefs game at 7:30 but was dead asleep on KingLucky's couch by 8:30.

Playing in a Casino is definitely different than online, or even the home games. There's always some people at a table in a Casino that have what I call a "Blackjack Mentality" towards poker. In blackjack you get two cards, just like Texas Hold Em. You bet money every time in blackjack, don't you? Then you should in poker too, right? Take your two cards, pay your money, and see what you get. Maybe you hit two pair or a full house. That's like getting blackjack. Maybe you just hit one pair. That's like getting a 18. Or you hit nothing. That's a bust. Either way you play your hand, see what you get, and get ready to play another. You wouldn't fold a hand in blackjack would you? (I'm pretending there is no surrender, since I've never actually seen someone surrender in blackjack in a casino.) Hell, 74o is a GREAT hand in blackjack.

I don't mean to insult those people and say they are stupid and shouldn't be allowed in a poker room. They have every right to play poker as anyone anywhere (which is too few places, if you ask me.) And everyone has to start somewhere. Some people walk into a Casino and say to themselves "I am going to lose money today." And they are bound and determined to do it. They want to lose it at poker? If that's what they consider the most entertaining way to lose their money, more power to them.

The point to all this is that you have to adjust your game to these people. Don't assume that just because you raised, you got 38o out. Especially at low limit poker. I'm sure my $3 pre-flop raise has gotten a player who might have played the hand otherwise to fold, but I sure as hell can't remember it happening. I did raise with JJ on a kill pot once, and won the hand even though a King came out. In my fantasies I believe that a naked king folded so I could win that pot, but there was probably never a king to start with.

I have never EVER had someone fold to a check raise in the Casino. It has NEVER happened. And I always have it on a check raise. ALWAYS. You'd think that after playing with me for 4 hours, seeing me check raise and ALWAYS have the nuts or at least a monster, someone would say to themselves "This guy ONLY check raises when he has the nuts," and lay a hand down. But they always stay. Maybe it's pot odds. Maybe it's fear of being bluffed. But you can ABSOLUTELY count on these people to bet the river in hopes of the rest of the table folding to them, so check raises are EASY. I do them constantly, and still, never a fold. Even with rags. I just don't get it.

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