After building on my Virginia room success with another $350 in profit the night before, I really felt like I was on top of my game. I was making good reads, betting big when I had it, and getting paid off handsomely. It’s almost like a light has gone off in my head. Somewhere, a trip switched and said to me, “Bet Bigger”. And it’s working. All of the complaints I was having before about my hands never getting paid off are melting away. It’s one thing to read about what big bets do to people’s heads; it’s another to actually put it into action and actually observe. I think somewhere, psychologically, some people just don’t want to believe you. They want to believe in the notion that BIG BET = BLUFF. So they’re willing to call 1.5X pot bets with middle pair because you ‘were probably just playing high cards’. It’s a beautiful thing, really. This realization, even though it’s been in front of me the whole time (Sklansky, Darko, W, etc…), has finally been beaten into my head. I went back last night and read an old post of mine where I talked about a guy sucking out on me when I had two pair and he had a gutshot draw. I was righteously indignant over the affair but I re-read the action I had posted and I totally let him walk into it! The flop was something like KJT and I had top two. There had been a small preflop raise which a few people called and the pot was about $30. I bet out $20, which was somewhat reasonable but a little weak and I got this one caller. The turn was a brick and I bet out another $20. Oh no I didn’t! This guy called and caught his Queen on the river, extracting another $30 out of me. That would SO not happen now. On the turn, I’m shoving hard, like $50 or $60. If he’s gonna draw to a gutshot, he’s gonna pay big. He would have folded what turned out to be A8 and I would have scored.
With this in mind and my recent wins, Darko, Viv and I got up around noon from a fitful night’s sleep. Even after requesting late checkout, we still got woken up by the maids at 10:00AM, 11:30AM AND Noon. Now I understand why W sometimes hangs up signs on the door demanding they don’t knock. We couldn’t make up our minds about what to do in the food department until Darko came up with an elegant solution. Irish Breakfast. The Irish pub in The Quarter served an excellent traditional Irish breakfast of poached eggs, grilled soda bread, excellent soft sausage and iced OJ with French press coffee. Darko, who must have been raised in a barn (or Canada), didn’t hear the waitress when she put the French Press of coffee on our table and told us to wait a few minutes while it seeps before pushing down the plunger and serving it. He was like a monkey who’d been shown the feeding bar. No sooner had the waitress turned and left, his mind said, “Oooh, a toy!”. He pushed the plunger right down and Viv and I shared a pot of vaguely coffee flavored hot water. Darko wasn’t even drinking coffee! This karma would come in handy later when he got spanked at the 2-5 tables but it didn’t help me now when I required liquid caffeine. I was too embarrassed to tell the waitress to bring us another pot. What do you say? “Hi, we’re idiots. Can you go out of your way to dump this and make another?” I was afraid they’d piss in it for fun. The breakfast was great otherwise and it was time to decide what to do with the rest of the day.
Part of me wanted to go. I had housework waiting for me and I was already up nicely on the weekend. Viv wanted to stay. Darko was torn down the middle. He was all set to go when he agreed to at least drive Viv and I to the Borgata on his way out of the city. Along the way, both he and I decided to be gentlemen and at least escort Viv to her table. Ah, what the hell? We’re here. We can play for a bit. Darko played for 2 hours but then really wanted to go (spank-o-rama). It was time to make my decision. I chose…well, you know what I chose. This is a poker blog for crying out loud, not a housework blog.
The decision cost me. Duh.
Evidently, the rack it and run rule applies to the whole weekend. I thought it was just that table!
I sat down at a 1-2 table that had super heavy action on it. Most of the time, when you sit at a 1-2 table with $200, you’re middle stacked. There might be one or two players with 500 or more. There’s a few hovering near $250-$300 and there’s a few shorties at $100 or $65, just hanging on to their original buyin. Not this table though. I bought in for $200 and was the absolute SHORT stack. By about $100, short. One guy had $700+. One woman, who must have been $75 judging by the blinding whiteness of her hair, had $400. A guy with spikey hair, around 27, had $550 or so. He and I would tangle later, so pay attention. I’m getting the lay of the land when I notice an Hispanic guy in Seat 7 aggressively betting. His strategy, it seems, for 8 out of the first 10 hands I saw was this:
1. No matter what the action is, raise PF to double the current pot size.
2. No matter what the flop comes as, bet $100 by carving out a silo from your rack and slamming it angrily on the table.
3. Watch as everyone folds to you and show your sometime good, sometime crappy hand as if to say, “Don’t Fuck with Me”.
4. Rinse and Repeat.
Judging from the scuttlebutt of whispering going on around me, this guy had gone quickly through at least two buyins before this and this was just his standard M.O. until someone finally busted me. I vowed to be that person. But if this was a bakery (or more appropriately a butcher) and we had to take a number from that ticket machine in the butcher’s shops or bakeries, I would have been 87 and they would still be serving number 14. As I was licking my chops amidst this action, I had a few good hands that didn’t quite pan out. AQ suited didn’t flop. Goodbye $25 PF raise! JJ got re-raised twice PF. Goodbye $20 PF call! And so it went. The hardest one was with spikey haired kid. He wasn’t good, and I knew it, but he still managed to take big pots off of me. I had Aqo when I made my standard $20 raise and got 3 callers (spikey haired kid an Mr. Aggro Hispanic guy himself). Flop is A-T-9, rainbow. Here’s my move. I bet $75 because there’s a draw on board and I just want to take it down right there. Hispanic guy folds (damn) and Spikey haired kid calls (ruh-roh). Turn is a brick and I’m out of position. I start thinking of what this guy would flat call an overbet with. Setting up a bluff, maybe. Pair and a gutshot, possibly. Made straight, definitely though I would have popped it hoping my opponent had a set. Set, yes. AK, maybe. None of these possibilities was tantalizing to me. So when the turn came up with a rag, I checked. He checked behind me! Ok, now I’m confused. He either has a made hand in which case why is he not making me pay? Or he’s setting up a bluff which he should have pulled the trigger on. Unless…He was on an OESD. He could have Q8. This started to make more sense as I thought about it. Too bad I hadn’t thought of it sooner because I would have pushed all in with my remaining hundo on the turn instead of letting him see a free card. The river was another T. I checked again and he put me in for my remaining hundred in a very deliberate fashion. I felt I had to call, which in hindsight is awful, but I couldn’t put him on a Ten. Except maybe AT. Why would he call an overbet on the flop with just middle pair? Is he *that* bad? He tabled QT when I finally called and I found out that yes, he is that bad. Of course, he’s bad and he has my chips and that just peeves me.
Given the level of play at the table and the amount of chips and action, you could’ve clocked in milliseconds the amount of time it took me to get a full $300 buyin out of my pocket. I wanted to be fully charged up when I busted some fool.
A little later on, I get cowboys in EP. I raise to $25 PF, which is a bit aggressive at this table which is used to more $15 or $20 PF raises. Spikey boy, sensing my loathing of his hipper-than-thou ways, calls me very slowly and deliberately. We go heads up and the Ace flops with 2 rags, with a flush draw! @#$%^@ A stream of obscenities crosses my mind but I have to c-bet it and represent the Ace, don’t I? So I fire out $50 and he calls me. Grrrr…. The turn completes the flush and now I’m really screwed, except I have a heart King so I’m looking at the nut flush draw. But I’m not really willing to fire a third bullet knowing he could come over the top to put me all in and I’d be pot committed to a draw for all my chips. I hate doing that. So I check, essentially giving up on the pot. He checks behind and now I know he has something. The river is garbage and I check again. He smoothly draws out $100 and pushed it slowly forward and I muck my Kings. What am I going to do there? The last time he bet $100 on the river, he had a hand. I have to imagine he had an Ace and he wasn’t going to let it go. My heart is on tilt at this point but my mind is completely at ease. My time will come, I tell myself. My time will come.
Meanwhile, Hispanic guy has settled down and isn’t playing too much maniac anymore, preferring to sit on his now $1100 stack. I go to the bathroom to freshen up and when I come back, the seat to my left is being occupied by a brand new player. He’s about 65, Irish with snow white hair, wrinkly hands, a cap, but a strong demeanor. His first hand at the table, he raises to $25. Another maniac, everyone thinks? I have 37o, so I won’t find out myself but maybe he’ll expose his cards or he’ll go to showdown? Well, Hispanic guy wakes up and calls the raise PF. The flop is K74. Irish guy bets $55 and Hispanic guy moves all in with a flourish. Irish guy calls quickly and shows Rockets. Hispanic guy? J7. Don’t even think about it. Irish guy won and doubled up to $450 on his first hand played. Maybe the suckout genie was downstairs getting a Fatburger? The next hand, Irish guy raises PF to $25 again. This time he gets 3 callers. The flop is AJT. Irish guy checks. Hispanic guy bets his usual $100. It folds around to Irish guy who min-raises. Hispanic guy moves all in by shoving his rack forward. Irish guy calls just as quick as last hand. Hispanic guy tables JT for bottom two pair. Irish guy? Rockets. Again. Holy crap. Just like that, Irish guy has gone from 200 to 950 in 2 hands off of the same maniac. 4 hands later, I shit you not, Irish guy felts the Hispanic guy for his last $250 with pocket Rockets. 6 hands, 10 minutes, $1200. The rest of the table is, at the same time, awed and pissed. Awed that so much luck should befall one person in such a short span of time. Pissed because Irish guy was brand new to the table and did not DESERVE to felt loose Hispanic guy. We, the poor folks slogging it out waiting for the perfect hand, were more in need of those chips. We were working for them. This guy was nothing but a poker carpetbagger. He stayed another 30 minutes, playing tight as a drum and then left with about $1300.
One anecdote about Irish guy. I didn’t have any whites on me to post the BB and Irish guy gave me a stack of his whites in exchange for a redbird. “These are lucky,” he told me. I look down at the cards I’ve been dealt that hand? AA. Oh. My. God. Of course, as luck would have it, this was the single limped hand of the session, with nearly the whole table coming in for just $2 each. When it got to my option, the dealer nearly assumed I was going to check and counted out three cards quickly. He was about to flop them before I said, “Wait! I don’t want to check”. Fucking dealer. Because he forced me to say something, he ruined any chance I had of getting anyone to call. Anyone who makes that much of an effort to stop the dealer from acting isn’t trying to steal blinds. He’s got something. I popped it to $20, knowing only a strong, but doomed, hand could call and everyone went bye bye. Crapola.
Well, Hispanic guy never rebought and Irish guy left with him, but spikey hair was still there. In fact, his girlfriend (hot and better at poker than him) sat down next to him. He had gotten felted by someone else and rebought for 300. I was waiting for my hand, just waiting, when I got KJ in EP. It was the first paint-paint I’d seen in a while and even though it’s marginal, I decided to try it out. I raised PF to $12, getting four callers and Spokey hair. Flop was 89T, rainbow. I had an OESD and the overcards. What I needed to do, was find out where I was and simultaneously drive out any Queens. I wasn’t worried about a Queen hitting (I was desperately hoping for it actually, but I thought if I get rid of a Queen then my Jack might be good if it comes on the turn! So I bet $30 into a $60 pot. Top pair might call here but I couldn’t see anything else except a monster calling. I’m obviously going to fold to a big reraise in this case but it never came. In fact, everyone folded except for…Spikey hair. Please, God, just this once, give me a Queen and let me bust this bastard! Turn = Qd. W00t! Nut straight. There were two diamonds on board now but I wasn’t worried about his runner runner straight possibilities. I was worried about extracting the most money from him! In my best case scenario, he has a Jack and he believes his straight is good. Or he’s got a set or top two pair. I bet $50, which is practically begging him to re-raise and he obliged by putting $100 more in. Yay! I shoved all in and he called quickly. I showed my KJ and he showed…KJ. Goddamit! Can’t I EVER bust this guy? Then I noticed it. My heart stopped. He had KdJd. Not only did he have the absolute nuts, same as me, he also had the flush draw! The dealer called out, “Free-rolling for the diamond!” and I shot him the dirtiest look. Spikey haired kid said, “C’mon diamond”. His annoyingly hot girlfriend actually CROSSED HER FINGERS and said, “C’mon honey. A diamond!”. I wanted to shoot them all. Twice. I suffered a mini-heart attack as the dealer very slowly exposed the river but it was the 5h and all was right in the world. It was the hardest $25 I’ve ever made.
I was down about $300 at this point for the day. A far cry from the $350 I was up when I went to sleep the night before. But, as luck would have it, I was able to earn some of it back. With 55, I got into a pot against a raiser to my left for $12. Four other people were in. Flop was A75 with two spades. I check, knowing a big Ace is going to come out swinging. The original raiser bets out $30. Ding! Fish on the line! It folds around to me and I hesitate, purposefully. After some Hollywood, I put $60 on top. That’s about half his remaining stack, enough to pot commit him to this. He must have me on a flush draw because he pushes all in and I insta-call. He has AT (!) with not a spade in sight. Really? AT? You thought that was the winning hand? He’s got top pair and he nearly scares me to death when an Ace turns! “There’s my Ace!”, he shouts, pumping his fist in victory. With all the noise, it took me a few seconds to remember that I still had the winning hand with the fives full vs. his trip Aces. But now he had a WHOLE bunch of redraws for the bigger boat. But the poker gods, while cruel, aren’t THAT bad. The river was a brick and I took his entire shortish stack. Yay!
I finished the day down $190 but still up $160 for the trip. The ride home with Viv on the bus was blissfully uneventful and my pillow at home had never been so inviting. Tomorrow would be League Tournaments, but for now, I was happy and victorious.