My lady (remember say it with the inflection of the Pina Colada song) had to go to a Charity Ball at the Hilton. I would therefore drop her off and play at Harrahs until she was ready to go. Sounds like a plan. Right?

I hate playing under the spectre of a timetable. In the past I've either pressed when I shouldn't to turn a quick profit or left angry because I didn't have time to amass one.

Last night started with a guy running a mini-angle on me. I had a weak top pair, two to a flush on board. I bet he called. Turn was a brick, he checked, I bet, he called. River paired the board and gave the third to the flush. I was done. He got his hand as close to the table as a WWE referee to the mat on the third count when the hero is in trouble--but doesn't hit. I followed suit and checked. He pulled back, THE HULKSTER GOT OUT OF THE PIN (Jim Ross echoing through my mind) and then reached for his chips. He got me in his trap. He fired out more than a small bet.

I said nice move sir. And mucked. He was ready to show me his wining flush, and I said, yeah... nice flush. Stymied he turned over just one of the cards a flush card. Yeah. I know, nice flush. Obviously he was worried about the paired board so when he induced my check behind, he knew nobody checks a full house and that flush was good and value bet it.

So now I'm seething a bit.

Not a good start.

This guy is also playing with his wife right next to him and running good. People are just donating chips to him. She's doing well, with her one move of betting any ace and nobody is calling her. Maybe she was getting a lot of Aces. Who knows. Four or five handed pots, there's an Ace and she's betting. He's also looking at this cards pretty wide open away from himself, and a couple of times it was so agregious I almost said something, because they were clearly visible to his partner--his playing partner.

Later, I look at jacks in the big blind, this wild new player has sat down one away from me and next to the angle shooter. He fires out a $17 bet. The angle shooter smooth calls. It goes around the the table, with action to me with another caller or two. Okay. I put $50 on top. I'm trying to isolate the wild player. He calls, the angle shooter calls (hmmmm) and the rest fold. The wild player is talking about how he has the best hand. I immediately discount his holding way too much bluster. He's probably got AK. If it comes all babies I'm leading out hard.

Baby, baby, baby. Okay. I put $100 in the pot, I thought about letting him lead at it, but I didn't want him to get commited with cards that could hurt me. Wild guy after he huffs and puffs folds. Angle stews forever, then says he's all-in (which at this point isn't much more to my stack compared to the pot). I call, trapped, realizing I'm beat. He turns over KK saying I got Aces with some assurance (right, if you knew I had Aces why play back at me) and I think to myself, well played with the flat call preflop. He beat me pretty bad and I probably should have given more credence to his $50 call.

Just didn't because the wild guy in between probably represented free money to everybody. I'd expect a better hand to play back at me, and actually try and discourage the people to act after him to fold. Well done sir he disguised it well, and I didn't give his preflop call enough credit.

Later, I get my stack up a bit and decide I'm going to play it cute with an EP raise with some suited connectors. Get a few callers. Flop comes out queen high but I'm open-ended. I bet $25. Player in the 1 seat confidently min-raises me (DANGER, WILL ROBINSON). Oh well, I'm certainly getting the odds to call. Turn is sweetness. A beautiful 6. Hello straight.

He fires out $100. I shove. He calls.

We don't turn over. River is another 6. He shows his pocket queens for the new nuts and I pitch my straight disgustedly. Oh well. Another well played flat call preflop. I sucked and he resucked.

At this point, I'm ready to leave. Actually, I was ready to leave after the initial interaction with the angle shooter. It just felt like one of those nights. Course... what I am going to do for the next two hours I'm waiting for my lady.

Alright, back to basics let's just grind out a winner.

Man of mystery Joe Bush sits down at the table.

Later, two guys I've been targeting see a flop with me. Each with a ton of chips and one with a penchant for making huge flop bets only a better hand can call and the other a guy I've got a pretty good read on. He didn't bluff much but he overvalued his holdings a bit (which somehow I blanked on later). I got K10. Flop is K102 rainbow. Guy I got a read on checks. Next guy leads out. I flat call. Then the checker raises puting 5x on top. Sweet. Next guy calls. We have ourselves a pot. I call after some thought about raising and/or shoving. I don't because I don't want a QJ to make a bad call on the flop and suck out on me, that they might get away from on the turn. Yeah, my "brilliant" 1-2 strategy.

Turn is a brick. After some table banter first guy puts out $100. The other dude folds accepting we've got him crushed. I probably got $250 behind. Arghh! I know I need to just push.

Here's the problem, I was at my losing limit for the night if I didn't win that pot. I had another hour and a half to go. I'm trapped. All kinds of factors that have nothing to do with making the best poker decison entered my mind. The best poker decision was put the $250 in. If he has a set of deuces so be it. Who cares. Long run I'll profit shoving my $250 with top two its a no brainer.

I start putting him on the rack. He's passes the Negreanu smile test, he's got a pretty authentic smile a nonfaked smile. He thinks he's got the best hand. Damn it! Remember when I said he overvalued his hands... somehow, I blank on this as I stew.

Then after the banter, I decide to go with the poker factors and start to push in. As I put my hands behind my chips, he's excited about the call. Genuinely. I stop. Oh well. I'll have $250 to play with if I fold... and I muck.

He shows me AK. Table thinks I'm an idiot for folding K10 (they are right). I think the guy is an inexperienced for thinking AK was the best hand in that situation. I can tell Joe is surprised by my idiot hero lay-down. Nothing worse than making a grossly bad play in front of players you respect. No excuse for that one.

As I sit there, and think about it, I can't believe I talked myself out of the hand. I totally let factors non poker related dictate my play, when the best deciosn was shove. It was the only decision. Double ARGH!!!

When I play my inexperienced friends for fun, I have to adjust to two things. One when they think they are beat but they might not be. So, just because their physical tells indicated weakness they didn't really understand the texture of the board or the story of the hand. Figuring out what a player thinks about his holding is only half the battle. You have to determine if they understand what's a good hand. Add in that a couple of them are call stations so you can't bluff them even when they think they are losing and you have to tread carefully.

The other situation, like the guy with just AK, is when the think they are sitting on the nuts with a hand that's beat a few different ways. Course, that mentaility is the sweet spot when isolating bad players.

Any other night, any other time I call. However, on that night, the way I was running, and not wanting to stick my thumb up my ass for another couple of hours, because I had set my limit for the evening I folded. I regret it. That pivitol hand would made a world of difference to my bottom line.

Later, I look at KK in the BB. Limp fest. I push it to 12, almost everybody calls, though the good thing is all the decent players muck when I enter the pot with a raise so it's me and the guys I want. Course it's all the guys I want not just one. Problem with 1-2, I make it too much more and nobody would have called. You either play mulit-way pots or scoop white chips with your big hands. Flop comes out jack high. Guy in the small blind, my friend who I said makes bad, big flop bets only better hands can call--does just that. He ships it for the rest of his chips.

He's got at least a jack.

I decide to flat and hope to build a side pot with someone else.

I almost get a taker who points that out. Thanks for the commentary. Then folds.

Bad player shows QJ. Nice. I show my Kings.

Brick.... Queen. Fun.

So, now I'm nursing half a buy-in and killing time.

JB hasn't called. It's an hour and half past the pickup time. Great, if I knew I'd have more time to play I would have prepared to go deeper into the game cash wise. In fact, I would have been more willing to call that $250 and dig back into the wallet if I lost. I just wasn't going to get too stuck that I wouldn't have time to come back and force myself into bad decisions (that mindset ironically induced a terrible one). Apparently, I had more time.

She texts her and her friends might go out. She never goes out. I'm actually happy she's going out. She'll call me in 20 minutes. Sweet the chaffeur will just kill time getting killed on the table.

An hour passes and I run 10s into Aces. A guy new to the table and stealing small pots in position that are unopened, raises from the button. Well, he got his fish on the hook when I looked at the 10s in the BB and pushed back. He shoved and my short stack was already committed. Trapped.

I bricked out.

I wander Harrahs contemplating eating, looking at the absurdity that is the club on this random Saturday and trying to get in touch with J. I kill another 45 minutes or so, and it's hours after I was supposed to leave. I can't get in touch with her at all. Oh well. I decide f it, I'm going home. Bad day at the office.

When I'm back in Metairie, she says, "Oh, yeah, we'll get a cab. No problem." Later, I start getting texts asking me to pick her and her sister up from uptown. Mmm. That's not going to happen, I'm already in bed. Have to say, saying no is a trap too.


Tiltin Texan said…
Yea, you kinda sucked last night but dont worry, so did I. I was just lucky to get away even.
Reid said…
The lesson, as always. Women ruin everything.

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