Sunday, August 30, 2009

Home Game

Poker Pro MJ Bernstein's Blog

Last week I was invited to a home game in a nearby suburb of Chicago. The players who rotate in this game are a group of working professionals from downtown. Although the stakes are midlevel, the atmosphere is light with most everyone just looking for a way to kick back in the evening.

I was told the game was going to begin at 8:00 so I planned to get there around 7:30. After arriving, I was greeted by our host, Ron, and then introduced to some of the other players. These days it's always interesting to hang out with people after 5 during the week. Despite losing their ties, everyone is still in uniform and recounting the days' speed bumps and victories. Those kinds of things always made me nauseous and it's definitely a life I could never go back to. Sorry if I'm offending anyone here but it's just not for me. Anyway, I met some very nice people and, after 10 minutes or so, we decided to start the game early and work more people in as they arrived.

Although there was no cap on the buy-in, everyone was coming in for 1-2K. I usually like to be at the top of the buy-in range so I bought in for 2K. A new deck of cards was tossed over to me which, after a quick but thorough inspection (or so I thought), I unwrapped and began to shuffle. I high-carded for the button -which I won- and began to deal. A player in early position immediately comes in for a raise and everyone, myself included, calls. The flop comes out JJA with two diamonds. The original player leads out and everyone folds except the BB. The turn is the 10 of clubs. The original better checks and the BB makes a pot size bet. The original raiser then check-raises 2.5x and the BB just calls. The river is a 10 of diamonds. The original raiser immediately goes all in and the BB snap calls. Any guesses as to what their cards were? The original better turns over AA for a flopped full house. The snap caller then loudly proclaims "holy $hit" as he turns over KQ of diamonds for a Royal Flush. At this point, the only thought in my head was why the hell can't this happen in a casino?! With the original bettor and the rest of the table stunned, the other player rakes in the chips while talking a mile a minute about how lucky he was. An unbelievable opening hand, right?!

After all the commotion subsided, the next hand was dealt. I look down and find two red Aces. It was already raised to me so I re-raise and saw a flop with two callers. The flop comes out JJ10. The first position player bets out and is called. I call as well. The turn is another beautiful Ace. This time the first player checks and the second player bets. I pop it a healthy amount and both players call. The river is another Ace. Life is good, eh? You will never guess what happened next. The first player moves all-in, the second player calls and I obviously can't get my chips in fast enough. I decide to open first and show the bad news to everyone. The first player begins to shake his head and starts yelling as he turns over JJ for flopped quads. Of course, nothing could have prepared us for what the other player turned over. He begins to laugh as he turns over AJ?! Another player immediately grabs the deck from the dealer and starts to peal cards.The next 10 cards off the top were Aces, Kings and Queens!

Obviously the next logical question after that was WHAT IN THE HELL IS GOING ON?! The next voice I hear is Ron's: "Steve, you dip$hit, you bought the wrong deck of cards!". It turns out we were playing with a pinochle deck which has no small cards whatsoever. None of us, especially me, bothered to look at the carton, not to mention turned over the deck. Talk about not playing with a 'full deck'. I felt way embarrassed and I'm sure I wasn't the only one.

Needless to say, everyone's money was returned and we broke out a new deck. The rest of the night was pretty normal and I had a good time. I managed a decent profit and got home sometime around 2.

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