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CHAD BLACKBURN REMEMBERS

Chad ‘I had’ Blackburn was an old friend of Frank’s, who currently works in real estate in Madison(Chad still players a lot of poker too), recalled four interesting hands from the past. The following hand had come up in the $2-$3 pot-limit Hold’em poker game at Nora’s Bar (Later the game was shifted to Crossroads Bar) in about 1992 when Cahad had recently started playing poker on the Madison circuit. Chad remembered that Frank came in at 10:00 p.m.and blasted (raised and reraised) every hand calling before flop, and then he had bet the pot size on every flop!

Frank usually came in at 10:00 p.m., mainly because he wanted to hand out and spend more time with his wife and son; also, the game began at 4:00 p.m. and there were a lot of chips on the table view by that time. Frank felt ‘blasted’ sounded correct. By then frank had been accustomed to huge buy-in poker tournaments and that game had been relatively tiny compared to the $400-$800 games.

At that time, Frank’s theory had been picked up after years of trial and error, which was to play superfast with nothing (winning many pots on the bluff), and then bust a person when he did finally have a big hand. As the following story illustrates, it often worked well for Frank, although it had been a very volatile way to play pot-limit Hold’em poker. Amidst all the blasting, Chad had called $80 pre-flop with a pair of threes, and the flop came down Queen, eight and two.

Chad opted to check-raise Frank his last $360 on the flop, as Frank had previously bet a lot of money with nothing. The turn brought a three, which had put a big smile on Chad ’s face until Frank showed him a pair of pocket Queens. The second and third stories involved them playing ‘monkey poker’ (playing hands in the dark in pot-limit Hold’em poker game) while Chad had dealt the game.

Chad had remembered Frank betting and raising hands without ever looking at them until the flop (at that point, sometimes Frank looked at his hand, and sometimes he didn’t, and yet he always bet). There had been a lot of action between Dewey Weum (a tough table presence) and Frank in one hand. Frank had bet out $120 without looking at his hand, when the flop had come four, five and seven, then Dewey had called the $120 and raised Frank $360, upon which Frank had seen a six, and he knew he had at least an open ended straight draw the next card that Frank looked at after he moved all-in, turned out to be a three. Frank had played in the dark and flopped a straight with 6-3 off suit!

When frank had busted Dewey with that hand, he had commented, how could one beat a guy who played like a monkey? The term ‘monkey poker’ was born this way. Four hands after Dewey had rebought for $1,000, Frank had roughly $250 in the pot before he had even looked at one card, a King, and saw a board of King and a pair of eights. Everyone had been watching Frank and knew he’d only looked at one card, and when he had raised Dewey’s $100 bet on the flop, Dewey had a pair of nines and he chose to move all-in.

Frank might have folded, but his other card had been a King, for a pair of Kings, and a board of a King and a pair of eights! A hand Frank had played against a local player, Tommy Hun, had been Chad ’s final recollection. Chad had borrowed $50 from Big Al Emerson, and he had been down to his final thirteen when he had called an extra $1 in the small blind with a ten and three.

The flop had come an Ace, a ten and a three, and Chad had moved all-in, only to see that Tommy had flopped the top two: Aces and tens. However, the last card had been a three, and Chad had run that money up to $1,800 for the night. Chad had needed to be ‘comped’ a free meal at Denny’s by Wayne Wolf, right before the poker game had started.

The subsequent night, Chad had been dining at a four star Madison restaurant, the Blue Marlin, and drinking Dom Perignon with his meal. Chad was buying! In effect, that little $13 had finally turned into $10,000 due to a miracle last-card three.

‘THE GREAT J.P.’ SINGS ON

During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, Frank had been a young, on the rise poker player in Madison, a $5-$5 blind pot-limit hold’em poker game was a big game in the state of Wisconsin. The buy-in had been only $200, but by the end of the night all the players would have several thousands of dollars in front of them. In the game, most players would put on the ‘live blind’ (‘live blinds’ were put on without looking at one’s hands; each one was double the last) for $10 and almost everyone would also put on the $20 live blind too.

Frank had fond memories of the players as well as the game. It had been the sort of game, where, one night, they had all moved-in $200 each on the first hand! They had the $10, $20, $40 and $80 live blinds on! The next thing they knew, everyone had been all-in!

The array of players had made that game great fun: the regulars had included Dewey Weum, Big Al Emerson, Freddy Wakine (a tough player who had owned a huge bar and restaurant in La Crosse), Tom ‘Bomber’ Anderson (one more tough player who had owned bars and restaurants in Wisconsin Dells), Gary Miller (a tough poker player), J.P. ‘The great J.P. Havenor ( he had owned a bar and finance company and had been the biggest winner  in that game), Matt Cooney (yet another tough player and businessman), Lauren Persons (one more tough player and businessman), and several other part time players (like Bill ‘Porky’ Dearth, Al ‘Triple A’ Anderson, Bob Servan, and ‘Bowser’) and Frank.

That had been a tough crew to play against, and Frank was certain they had helped him whet his pot-limit and no-limit poker skills. The stacks of chips had been huge late one night when the following hand had occurred. J.P. had had the $10 live blind on; Lauren had had the $20 live blind on. Bob Servan had been at the opening position with a pair of Kings and he made it $65 to go, Dewey had called on the button, frank had the eight of diamonds and five of diamonds, and he called from the small blind, and J.P., who had had the nine of clubs and seven of clubs, had called in the $10 live blind.

Lauren had an Ace and King, and raised it $315, which made it $380 to go from the $20 live blind. Sequentially, Bob with his pair of Kings had smooth-called the $315 raise, Dewey had studied and called, and Frank had contemplated making the call. Finally, Frank had called, because he had reckoned that all the players had at least $3,000 in front of them, and that his call would have brought in J.P. When J.P. had hesitated, Dewey and Frank's suggested to J.P. that they gamble with the boys! (It had been all right to say things like that in the game.)

Ultimately J.P. had called, and the flop had come nine of spades, nine of hearts and the nine of diamonds! Frank had checked and J.P. too had checked with quads. When Lauren had made a $1,300 bet he commented that at the very least he knew that no one was in there with a nine! Now Bob had moved in for roughly $2,800, a $1,500 raise. Frank's hand and Dewey had folded very soon, J.P. had now called $2,800 cold, and Lauren had called the raise all-in (roughly another $1,500) with almost the exact same number of chips as Bob. Naturally the four nines had held up (a three and an eight had come off), and J.P. had been singing as he had won the pot. In many games the losers would have been upset if the winner sang, but when J.P. sang, all anyone could do was laugh (or smile)! Everyone had loved J.P. and he sang whether he won or lost in the game.

Let’s assess the hand. Frank had liked Bob’s $315 reraise, but he had wondered why Bob smooth-called Lauren’s $315 reraise. Bob might well have doubled up against the Ace and King if he had come back over the top of Lauren’s $315 reraise with his pair of Kings. It was possible he had been waiting for a non-Ace flop before he moved all-in, because as Frank recalled, Bob had been very unlucky that day. And yet, he had had too many chips in front of him to mess around and slow-play a pair of pocket kings.

Since Frank and J.P. had a chance of winning a big pot if they’d hit their hands, Frank had liked his own and J.P.’s calls before the flop. It was important to take a look at the pot odds, as $315 sounded like a lot of money for a nine of clubs and seven of clubs or an eight of diamonds and five of diamonds. It had been great going with three or four players already in the pot, and the chance of busting someone with $3,000 in front of them! If one’s opponents had only $1,400 in front of them then Frank didn’t like calling a $315 bet.

Lauren had reraised ($315) pre-flop with an Ace and King; Frank thought it was good. He also liked J.P’s check with quads on the flop, and he loved Lauren’s bet of $1,300 on the flop. Lauren’s bet was a semi-bluff (it would have been very hand to call with a pair of eights in the hole) as well as the need to protect his hand type bet. As Lauren knew Dewey, J.P. and Frank had garbage pre-flop (as had been evident by their lengthy pre-flop calls), he too made a good bet. Lauren hadn’t counted on Bob slow-playing a big pair.

But why had Lauren called roughly $1,500 more on the flop? What had he expected that J.P. had check-called $2,800 cold with? In this spot, J.P. would not have slow-played a pair of pocket Aces. Actually, Frank and Dewey had talked him into calling pre-flop. Still he had lobbed in $2,800 cold quite rapidly on the flop. It had looked and smelled like four nines. With what hand had Lauren thought Bob had raised $1,500? Apparently, J.P. and Bob hadn’t been drawing! It appeared like a cold fold on the flop for another $1,500.

Frank had enjoyed pot-limit Hold’em more than all the other poker games he had played. He thought it had been fun to move stacks of chips around, and he had enjoyed bluffing, picking off bluffs, moving all-in, flopping sets, having his hand stand up for mountains of chips, or, most of all, drawing out for mountains of chips! He found the combination of playing pot-limit poker and doing so with the great group of guys that he used to play with, a treat. He was grateful to the boys for the memories.



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