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Offsuit is ป๊อกเด้ง ไฮโล Cool!

OK, maybe 8-3 offsuit isn’t exactly “cool,” but I think after you read my column, you’ll understand what I mean. In my younger days of playing $10-$20 hold’em in Toronto, I learned a lot about how important it is to keep a game fun and fresh, as opposed to stuffy, boring, and tight. The players “we wanted” in the game just wouldn’t have much interest in that.

The regulars in our little game all understood this, and we all did what we could to keep the game fun and full of action. I used to play at a place called Fundtime Games, which was a charity casino that moved around from place to place every three days, be it to a restaurant, community center, banquet hall, or wherever. Well, it was usually open only six days a week, so sometimes I’d have to play at one of the other charity casinos to get my 40 hours in for the week. Going to the other charity casinos was never anything I looked forward to, because the rake was higher and the regulars were “nitty” (you’ll learn more about that later).

But, of course, I had to get my hours in. I’d go to one of the other ป๊อกเด้ง ไฮโล casinos and I’d see the same thing over and over again – the same train of thought from the regulars, and usually the same style of play. The biggest problem I had with these games was that the regulars were anti-action!! It boggled my mind that it bothered them when people played badly. I thought, why in the world would that upset you?

I finally figured it out – it was ego. The regulars themselves were embarrassed by making bad plays, and in turn, they embarrassed the contributors to the game. Eventually, it became an unpleasant place to play poker for the contributors, so they’d come have fun with the boys and me at Fundtime.

It made me sick to my stomach when I’d hear, “You play A-J offsuit under the gun? Oh, my God, you call two bets with K-J offsuit? Good luck, buddy.” Little did these regulars realize that they were forcing the bad players to play better for fear of embarrassment. That’s exactly the opposite of what they should have been doing. Instead, they should have been promoting three-betting with 8-3 offsuit!

The truth is, though, a lot of them just wanted to prove so badly that they knew how to play good ป๊อกเด้ง ไฮโล poker. My favorites were the other young “hotshots” who had just read a book or something. Someone would raise under the gun, and they would flash A-Q to everyone at our table, and the other table, for that matter. Then they’d go on and on, saying, “You can’t call a raise with that hand, no way – not when it comes from under the gun!” Congratulations, moron, you’ve just tightened up the entire table; nice going.

What the hotshot did was start a one-upmanship contest. Now, the other regulars had to show him up. So, the next thing you knew, someone was showing two jacks and throwing them in the muck because it was three bets to him. “Oh, I can’t call three bets with jacks. He must have at least queens, and probably aces.” Congratulations, genius, now the live ones won’t call three bets with jacks, especially if you’ll chew them out if they happen to win when they have to turn them over.

To be honest, I think that lots of times they were trying to impress me. I had more experience than they had and they’d heard I was a good player. Of course, that “good player” stuff didn’t last long.

After I’d won my third pot with 8-3 offsuit, I told everyone at the table that I’d give them $50 if they could win a pot with the same hand. I had a few reasons for doing this. First, I thought it’d be fun (and it was). Second, I didn’t really care about the $50. Third, I knew it was going to make the game better. Besides, how often do you think someone is actually going to win with the 8-3? Most of those nits wouldn’t dare play a hand like that, because they knew the extra $50 wasn’t enough to make the hand playable. The live ones didn’t know that, though, so we had our own little game, while the nits seldom entered a pot. Boy, was there energy in the air all of a sudden. People were laughing, playing badly, and having fun, just the way I liked it!

The nits were outraged! “This is silly, I can’t win if you guys play like that!” What? Didn’t you get to the chapter on playing with maniacs, hotshot? Why should I care if they thought the game was too loose? I had other customers on my mind whom I was more interested in.

So, anyway, it was nearing 8 p.m. (quitting time for me), and I was booking an $800 win, which wasn’t bad. The live ones lost, for the most part, but they still had a great time. I knew my job was done when I heard, “Hey, man, where do you play?” I’d respond, “You think this game was crazy, you should see the games at Fundtime; they make me look like a rock.”

So, you see, there was method to my madness. I’d use that day to recruit live ones to come to Fundtime. I’d give them my phone number, tell them I’d put them on the waiting list, or do whatever it took to get them there. If it was a promise for a free lunch, I’m sure that I could fade that, too.

If the nits had a change of heart and were now looking for an action game, we gave them a rude awakening over at Fundtime. Nobody would play a hand for an hour; that’s about as long as it took to get rid of them. Then it was back to a rammin’, jammin’ game for our new customers.

If those nits were smart, they would have learned that in order to keep the live ones entertained, sometimes they’d have to sacrifice a little short-term profit to optimize the long-term profit. Luckily, I played with a pretty sharp group of regulars at Fundtime who truly understood this concept. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

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