Murder’s Row

Well, HDouble was saying that nobody writes about the Friday night game so I thought I would follow Chris’ lead and post a little something-something about the toughest game in town. In fact, it’s not just any old tough game. It’s about as lethal as any game you’ll run across. Chris has called the lineup a Murder’s Row but he’s being far too kind. Let’s just look at the lineup you’re likely to face.

HDouble – Normally seen cruising the $30/$60 tables, Friday nights HDouble hosts a game that makes the Big Game in Vegas seem like a high-limit version of a PartyPoker $1/$2 fish pond. Unfortunately, despite Henry’s superior card skills, he often falls prey to the woman he backs, Mrs. HDouble.


Mrs. HDouble – Proudly she admits she has never read a single book on poker strategy. But when you have a dead grandpa telling you how to play your cards, who needs to know anything about odds and outs? She has an uncanny skill for knowing which hands she can suck out with (i.e. her dead grandpa tells her which hands to play) and she punishes anyone stupid enough to think that just because they’re a 80/20 favorite they should get all of their money in the pot.

Ryan (aka Mr. Absinthe Serious) – Probably the only guy who Mrs. Hdouble fears. Ryan is a much better player than his bankroll would indicate. If Daniel Negreanu thinks seven levels deep, Ryan is thinking eight levels deep. One of the few bloggers who has ever pushed me off a better hand in a limit cash game.

Franklin – Another guy whose game is much better than the limits he normally plays at would indicate. A serious student of the game and poker theorist. When Franklin check-raises your turn bet, you’re in serious trouble.

Rick W. – A regular on RGP and can also be found online playing the $50 SnG’s. Young, aggressive, and smart. A lethal combination. Watching him play heads-up or three-handed is to watch opponent manipulation at its best.

Chris the Poker Geek – When he’s on his A-game, he’s a tough customer. Fortunately, he can’t be in his A-game without being deadly-serious so at least you know when he slips on the shades and stops talking what kind of night you’re in for.

Lancey Pants – Never met two cards he didn’t like. His aggressiveness is legendary. If he ever learns about probability, he’ll be a tough player to beat. Lance is the only guy, EVER, to put me on tilt. That in itself is an accomplishment.

Phil – Phil is one of those tough guys to peg. He’s a solid player but he’s also capable of laying a move on you. Nothing predictable about the guy which is what makes him dangerous.

Joe Speaker – Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker doesn’t make it to as many games as he (and we) would like due to the 500 hour commute. A talented player with good instincts for the game. I think his most deadly skill is that he doesn’t draw attention to himself.

Jon the Kat – Jon is surprisingly good for only playing for a short time. He still makes some fishy turn calls here and there but once he breaks that habit he’s likely to be a very strong player.

That’s the normal lineup one faces on a Friday night at HDouble’s. Not a pretty sight. No calling stations. No loose/passives. No rocks.

And this Friday, I’m proud to say, I won another tournament on Murder’s Row. After watching the field dwindle down to just HDouble and me, I settled into what looked to be certain doom. HDouble had knocked almost every other player out and was sitting on a mountain of chips. I was a few blinds away from elimination. HDouble indicated that he wanted to just chop it up but since I had so few chips, any deal would be like adding a dollar or two to my payout which would be pointless. Unfortunately for HDouble, the curse of the declined chop offer proved to be his downfall.

I spy down at AJ, HDouble raises and I move all in. He calls with AT. I double up. A few hands later, I catch AT and raise, HDouble pushes and I call. He’s got A7. Now I’ve gone from barely being in it to the chip lead. I’m just waiting for my moment. And that moment comes rather quickly as HDouble raises and I push with KQ. He calls with 89 and my KQ holds up.

Of course, I gave most of it back in the cash game afterwards but a win is a win.

Bill Rini
Bill Rini is currently the Head of Online Poker for WSOP. He has been working in the online poker industry since 2004 and has held management roles at Full Tilt Poker and PartyPoker.