I'm down a lot today, about $280. And why? Because I played perfect poker, that's why. My losses today came down to 5 essential hands, of which I will elucidate further.
The day started off nicely. Abbie drove down from her grandmother's to meet me down in Hollywood and try some of the casino's down there. First, we stopped at Dania Jai-alai at about 3PM. There was a freeroll tourney happening and what the hey? Free is Free. Abbie went pretty far, about 14 out of 120, but finally busted out on 2 consecutive hands with a pretty short stack. Winner took all in the freeroll, so it was necessary for her to win her races, which she didn't (a common theme of the day). I held out hope to last longer, but my KK all in was called by A9 and, of course, an Ace flopped. So it was off to the cash tables for us...
I ended up losing a full buyin at the JaiAlai fronton with no special hands to speak of. I was making very good reads, laying down hands that ended up being losers and calculating pot odds nicely for calls that ocassionally paid off. I even made quad 7's against, unfortunately, a small stack. The quad 7's were the high hand of the day when I got them at 4:30pm and if they had held up until 6pm, I would have won the $100 high hand of the day jackpot. That would have been nice, but at 5:40, someone made quad Jacks and I lost the money. Fuckers. I ended up losing my buyin on an unfortunate hand that illustrates an issue with the Florida poker setup. The issue is this; the buyins are capped at $100, so unless you make a few double ups, you end up being pot committed to call on any hand you flop a piece of, especially if there is a decent raise preflop. Case in point. I have AK in early position and I raise to $11, which has become my standard raise. It folds all the way around to the small blind who calls. Heads up, the flop is K74, rainbow. I flop top/top, a recipe for disaster I know, but what else can I do? There's $24 in the pot and I have $70 behind me. I bet out $15 and he min-raises to $30. There's now $69 in the pot. I have two choices. I can lay down the AK if I suspect some fould play, but a crappy player could easily make this same min-raise play with any King in his hand. Maybe it's a probe bet to see where he's at. Maybe he has KQ that he think is good. Hell, maybe he has AK. I put him on a range of hands, including hands that beat me like a set or AA that he might limp call with pre-flop. There's about a 50/50 chance I'm beaten here. So I do the only sensible thing. I push all in. Why is that sensible? Because if I'm ahead, he will probably fold. If he believes he's good, he'll call. But, if he's behind, he might suck out on me so getting him to fold is the best chance I have to win. He calls with AA. Still, I don't think I could have gotten away from it. Does anyone disagree with me?
We leave the Jaialai soon afterwards to have an amazing dinner at the Rustic Inn. I had the crab sampler, which was better than I remember it. Abbie had the marinated Tuna Steak which was fantastically flavorful and tasted a lot like steak. It was great to be on the water and eating seafood. It's what Florida life is all about.
Afterwards, we decided to hit the Greyhound race track to see some dogs race and play some poker. I won about $40 back at the track but the dogs weren't racing. Unfortunately, the track is under construction. The place is pretty ratty too, as far as poker rooms go, so we decided to leave after about two hours. We headed a mile down the road to the horse track, which was redone recently and is absolutely beautiful. No joke, the poker room is one of the greatest I've ever seen. It's huge and the poker tables are recessed into a pit which is surrounded by booths and couches and a bar in the back. The players are pretty loose too, which if I had been able to win even one race, I would have won a lot of money off of.
Here's a recap of the 5 hands that killed me at the horse track:
1. First an easy one. I have 7h8h. The kid to my right, a nice kid who moved down here from Staten Island, raises to 7. I call and we get about 5 other callers too. The flop comes K56 with one heard. It checks all around and the Th comes on the turn. I now have a flush draw to go with my OESD. The kid fires out 10 dollars, which I promptly call along with 2 others. There is now $75 in the pot. A harmless 7 comes on the river. I miss my OESD and my flush draw, but I make a crappy pair. I show the pair of 7's and the kid shows 99 to scoop the pot. If that 9 had fallen, I would have doubled through him, no question. What was everyone else calling with, I wonder?
2. The second hand is a damn shame. I have 85 offsuit which I limp in with on a lark. About a zillion other people limp in and the flop is K76 with two clubs. I have one club, but who cares? An old and aggressive man at the end of the table makes it $10, about half the pot. The kid to my right calls and I call, along with one other. I need a non-club 9 or 4 to hit and I stand to make a lot of money. I'm pretty sure the old man is on a flush draw and someone else might have a King. The 9s comes on the turn (Hallelujah). The old man bets out $25 now and it smells more like a flush draw. The kid folds and I move all in for $56 total. The old man calls and the dealer deals out the Ts. The board is K679T, with no flush possibilities. But instead of turning over his busted flush, the old man turns over 8c4c. He hit the Ten on the river to split the pot with me!!! NOOOO!!! We end up making about $10 each. Woopdedoo.
3. The very next hand, I get AsQs. The old man raises to $12 and I represent a steam raise by popping to $50, which is most of my stack. He smooth calls. The flop comes 235. He checks to me, I move all in for my remaining $34 and he calls with JJ. Naturally, none of my outs materialize and I'm felted.
4. Another tough one. I have AsTs in the SB. Everyone limps and the flop is 689 rainbow. The I check, and the BB bets out 10. I'm ok with folding here, except 3 other people call. I figure I'm good with a 7, T or A, so I call. A 7 pops on the turn. I decide to risk it and slowplay a check. It checks all around, to my amazement and a 7 comes on the river. I bet $15 and the original bettor min-raises to $30. Remembering my min-raise disaster with the AK, I only call when it comes around to me. He flips up 88. I turned the hand to kill him, but he boated up and I lost the minimum possible. It still stung though.
5. Last one. This one is a good one. I have AcQc in late position. An older russian woman, raises to $12 and I call along with 3 others. The flop is 2c 4c 6h. The woman bets $25, it folds to a big rastafarian looking guy who's been playing loose the whole time. He raises all in with $44. I have $72 behind me and I move all in on my 15 outer draw. At least I hope it's 15 outs. The woman calls. The rastafarian flips over 77. The woman flips 99. I *DO* have 15 outs. Any club, Queen or Ace wins the pot. Needless to say, I get nothing, and a $200 plus pot goes to the 99.
I really can't say I played anything here poorly, except maybe the AK. But still, I'm mostly pot committed to call in most of these situations. And lots of times, like with my OESD flush draws, I'm a favorite to win. So I'm not disheartened, just pissed that I couldn't peel off money from these donkeys down here. I guess I feel somewhat depressed...
Did I mention the crabs were great?