I was down in Florida this week, visiting my parents as a substitute for going to Vegas on Spring Break with Ali. Given my job situation, it was a good choice and a very cheap trip. My parent's fold-out couch is an awful sleep, but free, and the beach is a mere 200 feet away from the door. However much I like Vegas, there ain't no ocean there.
The first three days of our trip were beautiful and sunny, so Ali and I spent them on the beach. Then, just when I was going to go play some poker on a cloudy day, I got a cold. Sucks to be me. For three days, I was sidelined inside, even missing out on a $150 buyin Omaha Hi/Lo tourney, which would have really made my trip. Friday, my father wanted to play golf and I could hardly refuse. So I got up early and went with him and a friend to play 18 holes. I hadn't picked up clubs in almost 3 years to play, and it showed quite a bit. But by the time I got to the back 9, I was a monster! I made par on 4 holes, including a 550 yard Par 5 and birdied a 165 yard par 3 with a 35 yard chip off the green. My first birdie in my life. I still finished the round at 100, testament to my really awful play on 5 holes in particular, but in my defense, I was playing with someone else's clubs and I was missing long irons, forcing me to hit a lot of fairway woods. Still, the birdie and the pars will stay with me for a while.
Saturday was my last day in Florida and I still hadn't played a single hand of poker. My flight didn't leave until 9:00pm, so when I woke up at 9AM and saw it was a nice day, I made the executive decision to play all day and leave Ali on the beach. Good decision. It started POURING at 11:30AM and didn't stop all day but by then I was comofortably at the poker tables at the Hard Rock in Hollywood.
The session was a frustrating one but I'll break the suspense to tell you that when I left at 5:30p, I was +$35 for the session. A win is a win, right? Well, not always.
My first buyin ($100 is the max buyin in Florida No Limit games) was tough. I gave up KK post flop and it would have been the winner. I believe I was justified though. Here's what happened:
I raise PF to $7 with KK UTG. This was early on in the session and I hadn't seen a single PF raise in the 8 minutes I'd been sitting down, so I figured $7 would be at least somewhat respected. I was wrong. 5 players called and the flop came down Jc-9c-7s. I didn't have a club but I bet a continuation bet of $22. I got two folds and then a guy pushed all in for $65 and got a call from behind him! I figured I was up against two pair or a flopped straight and I mucked, but I was really up against QJ and a flush draw and my KK would have held up. Frustrating, but the right play.
After that, I had QQ snapped off my K9 and I folded AA post flop as well to a check raise. With the AA hand, I had raised to $12 PF in late position and a brand new player had called me. The flop came Qd-Jd-3d. No, I didn't have an Ad, of course. He checked, I C-Bet for $25 and he moved all in for $88. I mucked and was frustrated. I ended up losing my stack when I tried to hit a flush draw in a multi-way pot and missed and then lost half of my next buyin on the QQ and AA hands I just described.
But luck started coming my way and I ground my remaining $50 into $120 by playing smart and finally hitting some flops. Then I got a soul crushing hand that has really been bothering me.
Kc-Jd in the BB. I see a raise to $7 and a few callers so I come along for the ride. The flop is Jc-8c-5c. A nearly perfect flop for me. I have top pair, King kicker AND a redraw to a King flush! I bet out $12 and get a single caller. The turn is a King! Now I have top two and a King flush draw. Big hand! I bet $25 and the guy to my left looks over my stack and goes all in for $130! Fuck. A few thoughts go through my mind. He flopped a flush. He has AK with the Ace of Clubs. He has a set. I'm losing to two out of three of these plausible scenarios. A bluff is not even an option as this guy has been playing very tight and I haven't seen him show down a bad hand. But my previous frustration at losing with big hands bleeds into my decision making and I tank for a minute before calling. I got so fixated on the one possibility where I was ahead (he has AcKx) that I barely considered the more likely alternatives that I was beat. My hand, strong as it was, was still a drawing hand. So when I called and he showed Qc3c, I was crushed by my stupidity. It's been a while since I married myself for all my chips to a losing hand. I had 11 outs to hit a K or a J for a boat or a club for a flush and the Ac hit on the river to give me the nut flush! I was saved, but I should never have put myself in that position.
I managed to keep my small profit for the next hour before I had to leave. It was raining during my drive home, and the haunting thought of my bad call was all I can think about. It's *still* all I can think about.