Wild night of ups and downs

It's white linen night in New Orleans, so I'm expecting some drunk, fairly well off guys to hit Harrahs midnight and later, and for things to get crazy. Even better I'm hoping they bring their girlfriends to show how good they are at Poker and try and bluff at every pot. It's so salivating, I barely can contain myself on the drive over last night. This will be better than New Years where I booked a HUGE winner with guys that couldn't see straight enough to focus on the community cards. The great thing is the late drunk guys get there, at a time most of the older regulars have already left. It's just the me and the young guns vs. the drunk guys, and the young guns will gamble moreso than the older rocks. Perfect for my style.

I plan on arriving at around 9:00. Get on a table. Get some play in, maybe build my stack a little and then just wait. You know what they say about the best laid plans...

I sit down and immediately watch a guy drag an over $2,000 pot (on a 1-2 table). Guy to me right, loses to a flush (with pocket kings). Four way action on the turn which brought the third heart. Two people push in for a couple of hundred, a big stack goes over the top all in and kings dude is left with about 100 as he calls(?!?). Yeah, that flush draw already hit.

Hmmm... I buy in for a little more than normal and prepare to sit back. I get Ak o/s, alright, I'll play that. I fire out a raise, not even knowing what a standard raise is on this table. This table is sinking under the chips in play with three stacks at 1k plus. Apparently the standard large raise is more than what I fire because I get 4 callers. Flop is all spades 10 8 4, I got the As. Couple of bets and the guy to my right who just lost the monster pot, looks down at his cards, and I see he's got the 7d (people protect your hands--don't view them in the middle of the table. I'm not trying to see your cards but I am going to be watching you when it's your turn to act so don't show them). He then goes all-in.

Uh oh. I sit there and figure out at worst, I'm staring at a coin flip. Plenty of money in the middle of the pot to justify me calling. He can't have a flush. He can't have a set. He could be open ended (and I'm big favorite). I call. Even better, I have the best hand. He turns over A of clubs, 7 diamonds (TILT move). Guy at the end of the table who's just rebought is mad about my play which I guess he perceives as stupid. True, to them it looked like this guy could have a flush already or a set and have me dominated. But dumbass showed me the 7 of diamonds. Even if I didn't see it, I made similar calls against guys I know that are tilting for wins plenty of times.

Immediately, I get A rag suited in late position. I throw in some chips to call a small raise. Big Blind bumps it. People call, I'm priced in to call. Flop comes. 8108. I'm ready to fold. I stare down at my rag which is an 8. Oh. I check. Small blind fires, big blind reraises to me. Hmm. I rereraise. Small blind calls, big blind angrily folds. Turn is a brick. Small blind goes all-in. I'm thinking 10-8. He's got me covered. I ask him if he's got 10-8 and he reveals his weakness. I call. He's got K-8. Ship it to the colonel. Lady in the big blind said she folded pocket Aces.

Then, I get the rockets: AA. Ooh-la-la. I lead out. Guy with the 2g in front calls and so do some others. Flop comes A106--two clubs. I fire--2 g calls, others fold. Turn a J. Fire--call. River brings the magic flush card, but it's the A of clubs. Quads. I bet, he folds. "If a queen had come I would have nailed you," he says as I show my pretty foursome. Truth be told, I was scared of a lot cards on that board and felt he was chasing something though I prayed he had a set of 10s or Js.

So, that night started off well--huh? The guy who criticized my AK call can't get over my stack after three quick hands. He keeps bitching to his friend about it, and I think he's targeting me as a weak player. They keep straddling and trying to get chips into play but I'm waiting for a chance to bust one of the bigger stacks. I'm laughing to myself, that I have a target but I'm targeting somebody else. It is a bunch fish in a tank all trying to eat bigger fish.

I've needed a shot to my bankroll so I consider just packing up my chips and leaving that's a great rush. Or sitting out for a while, as my tables has about 4 or 5 regulars and guys I rates as pretty good. Problem is I may have to pick up my girlfriend from downtown so I'm sorta stuck there for an indeterminate amount of time.

I figure I'll play tight. I flop top two pair. Guy turns a staight and I leak out some money. A flush card saved him betting on the river. Though, I respected him enough to think he might have had me so I don't think I would have called a big bet.

I go card dead, which I'm fine with, I don't really want to play. Just killing time until the white linen knuckleheads show up or until I have to chaffeur my girlfrend around. I decide I'll cash out and rebuy at midnight when the idiots start filing in and the last of the solid 40 and 50 year olds have to go night night. I figure we got three hands until the dealer shift. Then I look at pocket Kings.

Sometimes I look at Kings and I love them. Other times I hate them. This time I knew they were going to bring bad things.

...What happened is for another time. In what will really be my first official column on monday I will address pocket kings vs. pocket aces and I'll tell you how not to play kings (that should whet your appetite).

So I angrily get up from the table, and take a walk as I do anytime my emotions fray. I call my man GeneD. I tell him about my knucklehead move and what a donkey I am. And he says, "So you lost all your chips?" "No. I'm still up a good bit of profit." By the way Gene thanks again for the encouragement and perspective. He said, "Dude pick up your chips and cash them in. You still booked a winner on the night. Focus on the positive, you got out of the hand and didn't compound your mistake. Get them next time." That's what I was feeling in my gut, too, but I don't know if I wouldn't have done it had I not talked to him. I made such a bad play I tilted myself and despite all the promise the night held, I needed to take my profit and go home. Not focus on how big my profit was 10 minutes earlier or that my table had a lot of opportunity. (ARGH!!! The guy with 2gs would call a preflop raise of any amount by the way, and chase his hands like that gutshot draw, in the face of any sized postflop or turn bet!!!!)

On the ride back I ran over my hand with Goondingy and again he imparted some wisdom and reinforced some of the conclusions I had made about the situation. Thanks big man, for also making me laugh at my mistake and moving on too. He and Gene, with their experience seeing so many hands, and me still being relatively new to this, really will help me profit from these moments. BTW, Big Ray is a Poker Instructor and he's had students/clients cash in major tournaments, so if anybody wants to tweak their games he's the guy to talk to. I know he's railbirded people to success.

Alright, I get home. Licking my wounds, but focusing on some positives, and now off tilt. Course, what do I want to do--play more poker. I dial up my absolute account, where I had that horrible run (I'm not an online player, I just play low limits to see a lot of hands and to practice multi-table tournaments), and see there's not much of my small initial buy-in left in my account. Oh well, I figure I'll put it all in a three table tournament and then close my account because the play has been so brutal there. I kept enduring suck out after suck out a month ago and decided the emotional trauma wasn't worth the experience of seeing hands, so last night I was prepared to shut 'er down.

I've read, where people have said absolute is fixed. When you first buy-in or reload you get run over by the cards and then nothing as your account steadily leaks away. Then when you get to close to nothing the cards hit you again. So you stick around, leak out cash and then rebuy. I've always thought online cheating theories were hogwash, but I must say, that's exactly what my absolute experience has been. Won a few tournaments and then I can't win a hand that I'm an overwhelming favorite in. Nothing holds. Over and over it happens.

Well, last night the deck runs over me. I get to the final table with a quarter of the chips. We get to three handed because I'm coasting to the good part of the money, and find myself basically the shortest stack but we are all about even. BTW, I win every single race AND my hands hold all night when I do play. It's basically on auto pilot. We get to two handed and I find myself 2 to 1 down as he knocked out the other dude. A couple of passive plays, a failed bluff, and then he's got 43k and change and I'm at ~1k and change.

Yeah, do that math let's call it over 26 to 1. I basically have less than the 1500 I started with and he's got the other 26 players chips. We play for an hour heads up and... I win. It's like absolute wouldn't let me lose. I get huge hand after huge hand. AK, AK, AK, Aq, QQ, KK. And I usually have him dominated to boot. I hadn't played absolute in over a month or two and then that happens? Granted over the hour I made some huge folds, he kept showing me the flushes and straights I wiggled out of, but still it was like the game was programmed for me to win.

So, alls well that ends well. Get out of Dodge with more money in your pocket than you started with and live to fight another day.

BTW, don't put me in the online poker is fixed camp just yet but it's eery the way the cards run on those sites. Certainly different than live poker rooms.


Dwayne said…
Good advice.. Remember poker is one long game. Not a nightly win or lost session. Look at the big picture. Make the right plays and make fewer mistakes than your opponents and the bankroll will grow.

Congrats on the win
Haterade said…
Dude that is horrible advice, why on earth would you want to leave a game where you had targets . Its not everyday you can get a game where you have an advantage. You suck it up and get over your beats. Leave if you cant handle your emotions or if you are out classed. These are the nights I usually can book a huge night.
C.S. said…
Thanks Dwayne, sometimes it's easy for me to lose sight of the big picture.

I agree Haterade you suck it up and get over your beats and usually I'm good at that. For whatever reason, I was just so mad at myself for firing out 250 when it made no sense on any level, I was better off taking a break.

I go on Tilt when I make a gratuitous error not when I take a bad beat. When the fault is entirely mine I struggle a bit emotionally, especially when I know better.

If I lived closer to Harrahs I probably would have gone back, it was a juicy night, but oh well, I did all right on Absolute.

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