Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Pub League Poker

In the past few years with the surge in popularity of poker there has been an ever increasing demand for places to play the game. Of course we can all go online and play 24 hours a day (not my favourite), we can head down to our local casinos (if you have one in your city or town) or what has evolved across Canada and some places in the U.S. is pub poker.

How this works is a company comes in to your local pub , provides the cards, poker chips, table covers and a host and charges the bar a fee for doing this. Players come in and must purchase at least one drink (doesn't have to be alcoholic) in order to play. Now of course a lot purchase more than one drink. The bars usually run these poker nights on the slower nights Monday to Thursday.It can be a tremendous boom to their bottom line on quiet nights. There is no other cost to the players and no entry fee is collected. The players play for points which are allocated according to your finish during the night. Each player is given 5000 chips to start and there is an add on of 1000 chips if you purchase food in the pub. The winning player gets 750 points, second 400 and it goes down from there. Everyone gets 20 points just for showing up. Generally on any given night you will see anywhere from 40-65 players.

The league I play in compiles the points during the season which runs around 15 weeks. At the end of the regular season these points determine your chip allocation at our final tournament which awards prizes. Some prizes in the past have been an entry into a WSOP event in Las Vegas or an entry into the local poker Championships plus other prizes. The league has around 300 or so active players.

The quality of play would be very similar to your average 1-2 NL game at your casino. A great way to improve your poker skills at really no cost other than what you drink or eat. I usually play 2-3 times a week at different locations.
I was reading Cardgirls blog and she mentioned her B.league poker and I wondered if she had somewhat the same format.

I find it has improved my game considerably and now when I go to my local casino or Las Vegas I feel confident in my ability to play well. I know that I may not always win (who does) but I know that if I make the right decisions more often than not I will log a winning session. I mean where would you rather play staring at a computer screen with computer generated cards or play with other people live. To me its a no brainer. The quality of the play is much higher than you see in the free games online. I know the young internet people who come out and play take a few weeks to adjust to the live game. It's so different.

So I played last night in the P. League poker. I had a young, loose aggressive guy (good player) to my left. I really prefer having passive people to my left. Great to steal blinds off of. I knew this player would have none of that. First hand I got deal AK. Raised it up. He called. I whiffed on the flop, thought about a continuation bet but checked and of course he bet and I folded. (yea he probably had nothing either). Anyways a few hands later I get pocket 6's in Early position. I bumped it up and he immediately re raised me. Everyone else folded and so did I. Good fold he had pocket queens.
A few hands later I got pocket 3's. I just limped in but he put in a big raise, got one caller (not me I folded). Turned out he had Kings this time. Not looking good.

Only other memorable hands of the night I got dealt J,10h. I limped in with 2 others. Flop was 678 rainbow. Everyone checked. Turn was a 10. I bet to see where I was at and both called. River was a nice 9 giving me a jack high straight. I bet and they both folded. Just an okay pot.
The only other hand of note was in the dealer position I got dealt 9,5. Everyone had folded to me so I just limped in. SB and BB both came along. Flop was 655. Great flop. I checked hoping someone caught something. No such luck. Turn was a 9 giving me the boat. Checked again and so did everyone else.. River was a 3 I think. Anyways I bet a small amount and of course they both folded. Figures.

The night came to and end when I was in the BB and getting really short stacked and and a early position player shoved all in with what I correctly thought was a low pocket pair. I had A5. Not a stunning hand but considering my chips and what was already in the pot with ante's etc. I called. He had pocket 4's. Two over cards for me but I couldn't catch and I was out. Still as always a fun night.

I was playing online yesterday in just a fun game and got dealt J10. I love this hand. Over the years I have won great pots with it in live action. Its also an easy hand to get away from and if you can get in cheap it can be very profitable. Anyways the flop came 10,10,10. Quads on the flop. I have had quads lots online over the years(way more than you should but that's a different rant). First time though that I got it on the flop. Turns out 2 other players had pocket pairs. One with 7's and the other had 8's. I just called all their bets to the river of course. That's the kind of hand you want in a money game especially with both of them having a full house on the flop too.

Game 3 tonight in the hockey playoffs. Canucks are in Chicago. It's going to be tough winning in their building. Caught a bit of the Pitsburgh, Washington game last night. What a great show by both teams. Both Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin got 3 goals each and showed why they are 2 of the premier players in the league today.

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