There’s no place like home…

Posted by in Poker

When I first started playing poker, it was at Poker Stars with play chips. Like a lot of people who had just heard about this whole “online poker thing”, I picked Poker Stars because Moneymaker had just won the WSOP, and of course they were the ones who got him there. I played there for months, hours (I mean hours) a day, and then I think noticed that a lot of the pros at the 2004 WSOP were promoting this new site called Ultimate Bet. So I checked it out, and it was purty – fancy crisp graphics, a better interface – I was hooked. Really, it doesn’t take much to impress me from a marketing standpoint. I have long been known as an advertising whore. I will jump ship in a heartbeat. Does it come in blue? I’m there. Some new fancy bell or whistle that I may not really need per se, but is still just really cool? On it. Bottom line – you package it up nice and pretty, and I’ll be there with my checkbook. Or my father’s gold card. Whichever.

In this case, by jumping ship I left a whole lot of people behind. My crew was at Stars! That was home! John came with, but the others just wouldn’t, saying that the atmosphere was different (and they’re right, it’s a different crowd). So I flitted back and forth, but clearly prefered UB, and quickly took “the plunge”.

Motivated by bonus dollars I received when John made his deposit, I decided it was time to for me to venture into the whole “playing for money thing” and made my own deposit at UB, and well…it’s been home ever since. And like any home, we’ve been up and we’ve been down. We’ve seen record highs and had just pennies to our name. But despite attempts by others to get me to venture elsewhere, like the stubborn loyal little creature I am, I (mostly) refused. I did try Party once, but that was a two-day bustout. My returns there are soley for blogger table donations.

I did try one upstart poker site, and found it quite juicy at first. Then busted out by playing at limits too high for my roll there. I think I still have bonus dollars to clear there…

And then of course, there’s Full Tilt. I could blame all of you for being there. Like I needed another site to play at? Again, I was perfectly happy at my home. Hell, the only reason Stars ever saw money from me was because of the blogger tournies! I’m so dead money in that tourney anyway. But also, I do support my friends, even if is in some small insignificant way. (I am loyal, to a fault many times). Plus, that is a mighty nice bonus there…(although, I will never never doubt you again Seth. Not that I really doubted you, I just thought “How much worse can it be than UB, really?” OMG).

I wasn’t kidding when I said the place was fishy. It is. And that’s why it kills me when I have to say that I have lost so much money since I started playing there. It makes me ill. ILL. There will be no sharing of numbers. Just don’t expect to find me at a .10/.25 table anytime soon, OK? At this rate, I’m afraid I may not even clear my first $10 in bonus before I bust out.

My own fault. I was actually doing OK today until I just really didn’t think he had that straight. Played that one horribly. Rebuy!! Ugh…so now I’ve given the guy on my left a nice big stack to use to be a chip bully. I probably did have the best hand a few hands later with my AKs, but when the re-raise was to put me all in, all I could hear was the words of Sir – “Do not go all in with top pair…”, so I folded. Bah.

Being cold-decked and just in general feeling unwelcome at FT, I decide to two-table it and open up UB, since I haven’t been there in days.

Well welcome home baby! 2nd hand out I get 3s in the SB, flop comes 7c Kc Ac – we all check. Turn brings the 3c…well OK, I’ll bet the pot. Everyone folds. Sweet…

I get 9s in the BB, raise it to $1.25, and get 2 callers. Flop comes 4h Tc Th. I bet $4, everyone folds. Next hand, I think “Y’all aren’t gonna believe this…(good)” and get Aces in the SB. It’s raised before it gets to me, I re-raise to $4.80, get one all-in, and another caller. Flop comes 3s 3h Kh. I bet $12.20, putting the other caller all-in for his last $9.55. Turn is 6d, river is Jd. I was up against 5s and AsKd, so I win a net $15 pot.

And at this point I think – “well thank God UB still loves me”. A few hands later I have 6s and call a (cheap) all-in off a flop of Qs Qc Jd. Turn is Jc, river is (wait for it……) 6d. I’d feel bad, but he had Ad 8h.

Well. I know where I’m wanted.

But I also know that it’s not some tinfoil hat conspiracy. There’s something more to it, something akin to home field advantage in the AFC playoffs. I go back and I look at the hands I just wrote about…I could have been burned on those Aces, badly. Did it stop me from betting the hell out of them? No, of course not. But why? Same thing with the 6s. Sure it was cheap to call the all-in off the flop (about a dollar), but just because I had the money to do it doesn’t mean that I should have. It’s not like I had some amazing read on my opponent there…I’d been two-tabling.

So what is it about those plush red seats and that Aruba beach background that inspires that…confidence? Or rewards dumb luck? Instinct that comes from being in a situation you’ve been in time and time again? (And by this I mean, it’s not just cards being dealt, it’s those cards, it’s sitting in that seat, etc). I honestly don’t know what it is. What I do know is that to be a real poker player you have to be able to play in more than just your comfort zone, and right now I’m failing miserably at that.

Now where did I put those damn ruby slippers?