Oh dear! My poker career is hardly off to a flying start! And considering the fact that my goal is to enter a high-stakes poker game, I am a little worried, to say the least.
I had been told that the the pub just down the road has a regular poker tournament on a Saturday evening, so after further investigation, frantically spent most of the afternoon reading Pat Walsh’s “How To Win The World Series Of Poker….(Or Not!)”, in an effort to get up to speed with the intricacies of Texas Hold ‘Em.
I headed down to the pub and enrolled for the competition, and made sure the organisers knew it was my first time there. At 6pm promptly five tables of eight people sat down, and I took my place at table 2, with $2,000 of chips in front of me. Thankfully it wasn’t real money, and my only cash investment had been in my pint of beer. I was still excited.
The (obviously experienced) guy to my right picked up the pack of cards, and dealt one to each of us, and my king meant I was the first dealer – in at the deep end. I dealt the cards, and my two hole cards were the Ace and Jack of Hearts. Not a bad start, and I thought I might be in with the chance of an early winning hand, thereby asserting my authority and expertise with my fellow players.
The first round of betting was small, and on the flop (the next three cards dealt into the centre, which all players share) two more hearts came up, and a flush looked quite possible. A couple of players dropped out, and three of us stayed in.
The next card up was the Ten of Hearts, making a pair of tens on the table, but I had already made my flush, and was feeling very confident. Two of us stayed in the betting, which escalated quickly, and Matt, the young guy opposite me confidently went “all in” – his full $2,000 into the pot. What could he possibly have? Three tens at best, I reckoned. I followed him “all in”, feeling a little guilty to put him out at this early stage.
The final card was an eight, which didn’t appear to help either of us, and Matt flipped his cards over. I hardly glanced at them, and flipped mine, confident I was off to a flying start. Someone else read Matt’s cards – “Two pairs, tens and eights!”
“Eights?” I thought to myself, before someone else pointed out that he had a full house, three tens and a pair of eights! The last card, the “river” had given him his full house, and he had beaten me. I was stunned and dismayed. I had him beaten all the way until the final card, and realised as a couple of other players comiserated with me, that my game was over within the first two minutes!
I received an extra $1,000 in sympathy chips, due to spending some money at the bar, and stayed in the game, but played cautiously, just so I could study what was going on.
I managed keep playing for a while by winning a reasonable pot just before we took the first break, and afterwards just managed to stay afloat for a while longer by being very cautious.
I was dealt a pair of sevens, and thought this might be my chance to get back in the game, but was beaten again “all in” by a pair of aces in the hole.
My night was over, and even after hanging around to watch a few more hands, and share some sob stories with my fellow losers, I was back home before 8pm, less than two hours after sitting down to play.
I used to play quite a bit of cards in my older years at school, and on into my college years, and thought I wasn’t too bad. But that is all a long time ago now, and tonight made me realise that I have a lot of work to do if I want to be even slightly competitive, and that there really is so much more to the game than I ever appreciated. It was a fascinating and fun evening though, and I am keen to learn more.
There are a couple of tournaments in different pubs this week, and once again, with some spare time on my hands this week, I might see if I can fit in a few games online for some practice – anyone for a few hands of online poker?
This week I will be trying to get online to get a little bit of practice.
I will be playing free games of Texas Hold ‘Em (I need the cheap practice, I reckon!)