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Home Game 2 Yrs on, and Burswood Casino

Our regular home game in Perth has been running for two years this month. As a micro stakes game, with 10c/20c blinds, it gives people the opportunity to play a deep stack cash game for less than a single buy in at a casino (my typical buy in is $50, and most buy in for somewhere between $20 and $50). The game is made up of a wide range of players and styles, averaging something like 1/3 aggressive 'online' styles, 1/3 tight passive/aggressive and 1/3 wtfk's what hand or bet will be played next. Which pretty much always makes for a fun night.

I think everyone who has been a regular over the two years has seen their game improve. I know I certainly have, I have seen some styles and play from some whom I consider very good players that I have adopted into my own game, and I have learned something from just about every player there at some point.

For some time I have maintained the view that anyone able to hold their own at the home game, will be a winning player at the casino - at least at the $1/2 and $2/3 level. And that indeed does seem to be the case, as a number of the home game players have reported. Several in fact have made their first forays to the casino as a direct result of the 'practice' they have had, and have come out ahead.

Just 'by accident' the other day I revisited the Burswood Casino poker room - to cut a boring story short - car was in for a service, casino on other side of Gt Eastern H/Way from car service, walked to casino while waiting for car.

Saturday morning at 11am, one table open, the players were about a 50/50 mix of old/retired guys (and one woman) and younger 'fly in/fly out' guys from the mines/rigs with cash to burn. The older players all seemed to know each other, and the casino staff, and were obviously regulars. From what I gathered, they were mainly there to go in the tournament later in the day, and were playing the $2/3 table to pass the time.

I have previously rated Burswood as the worst poker room in Australia. I think it has gotten a little better, but what I didn't include in my evaluation what just how soft the low stakes game is there.

In casino poker rooms I have played on over the last 4-5 years, very often I have not been the 'best' player at the table. Sometimes I would even go as far to say I am the dead money (though not very often), or a combination of being not the best plus a cold deck make it seem that way. So I am used to not getting too mixed up with the hyper aggressive 10,000 hand per day multi-table online players and the pro's slumming it until the high stakes tables open, and just waiting for a solid hand that will take out the low hanging fruit.

Yet, here I was on a Saturday morning at what seemed to me to be a table of me, and nine fish. It's not that the older players were bad, rather, just tight and fairly passive. If they hit their ace they would bet, if they got called they would check it down. They would call raises with a draw, push on the river if they had the nuts, and fold just about anything else. So easy to read it was almost unbelievable.

Then there were the younger players. Or cash cows as I liked to call them. Not quite as easy to read, due to a fair amount of, nonsensical, randomness, but making huge, huge errors on just about every hand they were in. This one example is a perfect illustration:

There is a raise UTG from YG1 (young guy 1) to $15 (because it shows you are a real 'playa' if you bet big, right?), the bet is called by YG2 from mid position. I am in the cutoff with AJ suited, and I noticed that the button is ready to fold his cards, the SB has wandered off for a smoke, only leaving the BB unknown. I think about raising, briefly, but could well be dominated, so I call to see what the flop will bring. BB folds.

Which obliges and comes J 4 8, two spades, giving me a nice nut flush draw.

YG1 now bets $50 into the $50 pot, leaving, for some strange reason, only $35 or so in his stack. YG2 then proudly announces 'I put you all in', seeming to forget I am still in the hand (and have him well covered). The dealer has a bit of trouble deciding if that should be a raise or not, then settles on asking for YG2 to make a min raise to $100.

I am not at all happy about this. I like my hand, but that action, says two pair or trips to me, or would say that in normal circumstances against reasonable players. But top/top and a nut draw, what else can I do but call?

The turn is a blank. YG2 checks. Hmm. I am ahead?

The river is another blank-ish card, six of diamonds I think. Could make an unlikely straight I guess, but no one seems fussed to see it.

Now YG2 bets. There is $335 in the pot, YG2 has about $150 left. If he pushed all in, I would really have something to think about. So he bets $50. A value bet? Really? I don't think so, and even if it was, I am getting 7 1/2 to 1 and the pot is just too big.

I make, sort of, a crying call. I am not 100% confident, because of the strange way the hand has played out so far.

YG1 just mucks his hand before seeing anyone else's. I show my hand first, politely not wanting to slow roll anyone. YG2 shows K J. So there you go.

A little later I get an SMS to say my car is ready, and I cash out for over $900.

Lucky, right?

I went back a week later, very similar, cashed out for $600, after 2 hours 'work'.

This week though, my luck changed, and the best I could manage for a 2 hour session was a paltry $550.

I must say, I am starting to warm to the Burswood poker room.


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