I made it to and through 40. Steve graciously took and posted a gazillion photos up to flickr, including this
one at right. If you missed it, I’m sorry, stick around until I’m 70.
Incidentally, if this party looks like a lot of fun, I suggest you hire Johanna Walsh, our friend and party planner and owner of Twirl Management. She’s a real pro who understands the basic logistics of catering, liquor estimation, entertainment, music, and furniture. She also understands the more subtle elements like, "How do we keep this particular area of the party from being a dead spot?" and "How do we ensure that people spend time here where the blackjack tables are?"
Our party was a wild success and no effort on our part due to her expertise. Please hire her.
As I write this, my poker buddy Katie is visiting me from the East Coast and I left her at 5pm at my local card room, the Garden City Casino. We’d been playing $6/$12 limit hold’em since 1pm when I took the afternoon off to hang with her. I left at 5 to pick up Moishe from school. At 7:30pm I got a text message from her saying she was up almost over $700. I think she’s running a $500 profit or so.
What we found amazing was that at 1pm in the afternoon they had 4 full tables of $6/$12. What’s more, they were feeding two tables of $8/$16 with a half kill (which means it’s a $12/$24 game sometimes). People busted out of the $8/$16 game frequently and our game continued to get drained of mostly the best players at the table who went to the other table. Every time a good player left the table Katie and I looked at each other and smiled. It ran about two to one bad players to good, so our odds of getting a bad player were 33%.
That’s not to say it’s easy to make money off bad players. Bad players catch cards and unbelievable hands, and really force you to read your opponents carefully. The real trick is in combining their body language plus your ability to read the board to figure out exactly what they have. It’s not easy, as they can often be overplaying something like two pair when there’s a flush on the board. But if you can get good at that, you can play weaker hands and depend on your reads to pull you through.
The players at the $6/$12 were of medium talent, but there were some truly awful ones that basically meant that you would make about 30%-40% more on each pot you won because they would stay in with an awful hand. Chip runners were constantly coming to our table to refill their stacks, and after $500 or so, they would leave. Katie and I also noticed a phenomenon I hadn’t ever seen so clearly: a good player with solid poker skills who was not in control of his game. He consistently played weak hands or called down a bettor to the river, thinking his weak hand was good.
He knew the game well, but his judgement was way off. I don’t know if that’s because he’d seen his opponents play so badly that he had adjusted too much, or if he just lost focus, but either way he was playing bad.
I played pretty well and ended up about $40 or so. I never really dipped far below my starting stack, and took a series of bad luck hands that dropped me from about $450 down to $300 before it was time to leave. The best, probably, was when my queens got called to the river by an Ace that had paired it’s kicker (Ace-Three, mind you). When the Ace came and my opponent bet into me I thought hard and then folded my Queens face up. He showed his ace and swept the pot. I loved that fold. I had the very best hand until the last card, and then, when the power shifted, I got the hell out and saved myself $12. I’m confident most other players at that table (except Katie) couldn’t have made that fold.
I’m taking one more afternoon off tomorrow which is Katie’s last day here. I’m working early in the morning to catch the East Coasters.