Emory Game Resurrected
Just before I departed Atlanta for Santiago, Chile, I made a big score the last time I ever attended the Thursday night Emory game. I forced a friend of mine out of a big pot by pushing with pocket Queens to beat a lesser hand (I later learned my friend had a straight but was scared of the flush). Then on my very last hand, I hit it big with some suited connectors.
A few months later, I heard that the Emory game had died out, for whatever reason.
But now, it's back, baby!
It's now hosted by new people, but many of the faces at the game are the same. There's a strong contingent of clueless college kids, as well as a few crazy rounders who like to pretend that they're playing solid poker. My favorite one is a guy that Daniel dubbed "Random Hand," because he plays just about any two cards.
I love this game because it's loose, and the personalities make it a good time. There's lots of table talk and plenty of university students who like to think they know what they're doing -- until I bust them, at least. The game is $2/$3 no limit with a $300 max buyin.
Tonight I got lucky and was dealt plenty of good cards. I had pocket Kings three times, and they took down medium-size pots every time.
Another medium pot was won when I flopped two pair with KJ. In retrospect, I believe I played the hand too passively against Random Hand. He kept betting and I kept calling. I figured this was a decent strategy against his likely longshot draw or weak top pair. As long as he kept betting away, I would make money. Unfortunately, he checked and folded the river. I think I should have raised him on the flop, but then again, he may have simply folded at that point. Maybe I won the maximum on the hand. Who knows how Random Hand may choose to play?
There were a few other great hands through the night. The most memorable was when one guy was drawing dead except to a runner-runner straight. He made his perfect cards on the turn and the river to take down a huge pot.
I feel OK about my play. I was much more upbeat this session than I was last week, which I believe helps encourage action and generates a positive table image. I found myself wondering if I was getting too much respect at the table, but then again, I did get callers any time they had any pair or any draw. The only times they folded was when it was pretty damn clear I had them beat. I showed down winners repeatedly. A couple of bluffing opportunities were successful for small pots. I also feel like my reading skills are pretty good.
On the downside, I worry when I give off tells that I can't control. I guess I need more routine live-game practice to avoid the shaky hand tell, which almost always indicates a strong hand. I know it's elementary, and I feel like a tool for giving off that tell. I'll just have to work on it. In the meantime, I'll have to keep scaring people with my false tells.
At one point, the action was on Random Hand. He reached for some chips and was about to bet. But then he looked in my eyes, and I allowed myself a very small smile at the right corner of my lips. He checked. I bet. He folded.
"I know what that smile means," Random Hand said. "I've been seeing it all night."
That's right, Random Hand. You know me.