The Lavell Lightning Round

Lavell usually comes in late. When he does, someone will say, “Lavell’s here,” and everyone else will turn in their seats to look.Then the table takes kind of a collective deep breath, because everyone knows the game is about to get much bigger.

At 5/10 no limit, Lavell often raises all of his starting hands to 75, effectively creating a third, bigger blind that’s seven times the big blind. This can be frustrating: you’ve spent all day building up a stack and you can easily lose it in one hand at the end of the night. But it’s also an opportunity to make far more than you could when the game is playing “normal.”

Lavell straddles and I have ace-jack suited in middle position. Several tight players limp in early position. I elect to over-limp with ace-jack of clubs. I could raise, but I don’t see a ton of value because these players won’t put in any money in early position without a legitimate hand. With Lavell in the game, they’ll limp their best starting hands — AA-QQ, AK — near 100% of the time, waiting for him to raise so they can put in a re-raise. I’d hate to be blown off a playable, suited hand pre-flop. By limping either I see a cheap flop, or if Lavell raises I get to see what everybody else does before acting. If one of the tight players re-raises I can comfortably fold my hand with only 20 invested.

Lavell raises to 75, as expected, and the other players call. At this point I feel confident I have the best hand. There’s no way they would just call with a premium hand and allow a five-way pot. Lavell can still have aces, but he can also have literally any other hand. I re-raise to 475. Lavell quickly calls, and the other players fold. There’s now about 1000 in the pot and we have about 1600 back.

The flop is ten-nine-eight with two clubs, a gin flop for me with an open-ender and the nut flush draw. Lavell checks. I could just go all-in, but I decide to bet very small to allow him to either shove with hands that do badly against me, or call once and fold the turn. I bet 350 and he calls.

Before the dealer can put out the turn card, Lavell announces, “I don’t have time for this. All in.” I’m pretty sure I have to call no matter what, but I wait to see the turn just in case. The four of clubs. Ahhhhhhhhh.

I call and immediately roll my cards. Lavell laughs, tosses his hand in the muck, and walks to the cage to re-buy.


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