After I got back from Laughlin, I committed myself to play in the noon tournament at the Stratosphere. It was a disaster. After winning a few small pots, I started to get a few good starting hands that deserved a raise. I was brutally re-raised on each one and I had to fold. Things like AT, KQo, etc… had to be mucked when flops would miss me and my opponents would bet big. Sometimes they showed and each time I was right to lay down. But it quickly got to me that I was losing chips raising PF and then making correct laydowns. Eventually, my brain started to imagine that some of these must be bluffs, right? So I get ATs in EP and I raise to 175. I get two callers and the flop is JT3 rainbow. I bet out 450 C-bet and the button re-raises 700 on top. I start thinking about it and eventually I begin to think he has AQ and is trying to steal in position. So I shove and he calls with AA. Duh! They ask me if I want to rebuy into the tourney, but I have a policy against that when I’m not on my game, so I demure and go to the cash game instead.
Things don’t get any better there.
I buy in for $150, which is about the average stack at the table and I start getting bad luck. Not in hands, mind you, but in pots and payouts. How’s this for bad luck? I get AA in the SB. When it limps to me, I raise to $21. The BB, a small stack who just sat down a few hands ago, re-raises to $50. Bingo. He has $30 behind him and I put him all in. He calls and I turn over the bad news. “There’s a problem,” he says. And he turns over AA as well. Crap. I flop a runner runner flush draw, but it doesn’t come and my bullets make me a dollar after the rake. I toke the dealer anyway for giving me the hand. Later on in the day, I get KK and the exact same scenario occurs. I raise, get re-raised and he pushes all in. I call and he has KK. Another split pot for a dollar. Another AA I get flops KK and I have to fold when a guy pushes with KT. Yet another AA goes down when I try to bet a guy off a flush draw on the flop but he calls my 2X pot bet anyway and catches on the turn. Grrr…. I do end up winning with one AA, but only about 24 dollars when everyone folds to me PF on the button. I end up losing most of my first buyin when a new aggressive player at the table (whom I ended up talking to and liking) caught a set on the turn against my top two and I called his value bet. I rebought for 200 more and lost that on a few sick hands, most of which I bet and had to lay down. The sickest one was my QQ. I was UTG+1 with it and the UTG player raised to 8 dollars. Now I had an interesting dilemma. 8 dollars isn’t a huge amount and if I flat call, so many people will come in that I might very well get outflopped. But if I re-raise, it will look so suspicious that I might chase everyone out. So I decided to gamble for a big pot and flat call. Sure enough, 6 players came in. The flop was J54, rainbow. SB checked and BB bet out 13. UTG called and I popped it 40 more on a non-threatening board. A 40 raise was a significant amount at this table so it was surprising when the SB, who had just checked, smooth called! This raised the hackles on my neck. I figured him for AJ until the BB moved all in for $300 dollars! Holy crap!! With the smooth call and then the all in, I came to conclusion that I was beat. UTG folded and so did I. SB quick called and showed 55 for the flopped set of 5’s (Presto!). BB showed AJ, for the worst played top/top I’ve seen in a while. When I told the table I had QQ, they were impressed at my laydown but the BB guy was pissed that I hadn’t re-raised PF. He really went into it with me about it. He put me on AJ and the smooth caller on 67 for the OESD. He figured the all in would drive me out and he’d be heads up with a draw against him. Yeah, right. Sorry guy.
Meanwhile, I was making sick laydowns that were correct, but my stack was getting demolished and I was getting very frustrated. Especially since there was plenty of dead money to be had. When I finally got felted for my second buyin, I bought in for another 300, determined to do well. I did. It took a card rush and two well timed bluffs, but I was able to make all of my money back. The final hand, I had Qc9c and I limped, which was the usual for the table. Flop was KJT with one club on board. I flopped second nuts and I smooth called when one guy bet it. Turn was Ten of clubs. He bet again and I smooth called again. River was a 4h, no help. He bet out 50 and I decided that I was good and min-raised to 100. He just called, knowing I had the straight. I showed him the bad news. He had had the T9 and caught trips on the turn. I’m just happy he didn’t boat up on my flopped straight! Oh, one other sick laydown I remember now. I had KcJc and limped into a board that came KdKhTc. I checked in EP and it checked all around. I knew I was good here. Turn was Ac. Now I’m in a bit of a dilemma. A guy who I knew was holding an Ace bet out. But I have the royal flush draw, and if I bet him out of this hand, I won’t see the river. The Stratosphere has a big hand jackpot for the club royal flush that was over $1000 and I wanted to see the river. I was still good here anyway and I’m only dead to 2 cards (any Ace) so I flat called. The river was an Ace, of course. Grrrr… He moved all in quickly and I folded my King. He flashed the inevitable A6o for the sick runner runner beat.. At least there wasn’t much in the pot… When I cashed out, I was even on the day by 3 dollars. Rather then being greedy and trying to make profit, I took the prudent course and called it a session.