48 Hours

Last week I went to a new home game for the first time. I felt like I was in the scene from Goodfellas where Pauli slices garlic for tomato sauce with a razor blade: old guys drinking, cooking, and eating. After hanging out for about an hour we all go into a little room with just a poker table and chairs and start playing. Compared to the smoky, dreary casino, this really feels like what poker is supposed to be. Shooting the shit, having a whiskey, playing cards.

I immediately lose my first two buy-ins, but it’s only $300 at a time, at least at the beginning of the night, so I don’t really mind. Anyway if I lose the first night that should increase my chances of getting invited back. But I start to make a comeback and after a few hours I’m the big winner in the game, sitting with about $5000. It’s always bad form to “hit and run,” but especially since this is my first time at a home game, I can’t leave. More and more players drop out until we’re down to four. I’m hoping someone else will quit so I can go home and sleep, but no one does. We bump up the stakes and keep playing. At one point I get all-in with the best hand for just about all the money at the table, but I lose, then lose some more, and am back to nearly break even. I make another comeback and am up about $3000 when we finally quit at 9:00 a.m.

I’m planning on playing my regular 5/10 PLO game at the casino at noon, and at this point I’m not feeling tired, so I decide to just power through. I get a bagel and coffee at a nearby deli and hang out and read for awhile. I drive to the casino about an hour before the game starts and try to nap a little in my car. At this point I’m starting to get a distinct underwater feeling that I remember from staying up all night in school. I consider just going home and sleeping, but by now the game’s about to start and I don’t want to lose my spot on the list.

When I go in, alongside the usual 5/10 game, there’s a 5/10/20/75 game that’s been going all night with some of the biggest action players. I hesitate for a few minutes, but there’s really no choice. It’s too good of a spot. I jump into the bigger game and immediately lose $4000 in the first orbit. I’m thinking maybe this wasn’t such a good idea, but at least I’m feeling more awake. On my second buy-in I start to win a few pots. I set over set someone for $6000, then get all-in pre-flop four way with aces and hold up. Pretty soon the action players start dropping out and we’re just playing shorthanded with regulars. In contrast to the home game, this isn’t really a spot where I’m obligated to keep playing. In any case, I get the sense everyone is about ready to pack it in. I quit at 6:00 and go home and sleep until the next morning.

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