Yesterday I played 6.5 hours of 20/40 at Garden City in which I posted a $1200 win. On Tuesday it was 8 hours at Bay 101 in which I broke even. Tuesday I made a command decision (which I discussed with Captain R, previously mentioned here as Pete with names changed to protect the innocent, and he claimed to have actually made the same call last week); no more 6/12 and 8/16. I either run bad or don't adjust to the difference in the game and it's just not worth it. Suppose I'm a winning player, which may not even be true. How much EV do I have in 30 minutes of live 6/12? $6? $10? Is it really worth that small amount of EV for the times like Tuesday where I get absolutely demolished, make a few mistakes, and sit down in my main game already 1 step away from full blown insano monkey tilt? I just don't think so. So no more killing time in the little games; I plan to just wait patiently for my mid-stakes seat and read more.
On to yesterday's session at the wondrous establishment of Garden City. I'm not even on the main floor yet when the prop in the game sees me and points right at the empty 5-seat. I swear he almost licked his lips; it amazes me how even decent players such as him still occasionally think I'm a live one who has come to make his daily donation to the game. So I sit down and promptly get "run the fuck over", having pocket Kings cracked twice in 20 minutes by the same player, and turning 88 into a bluff after 3-betting from the small blind and watching the board run out something like AJ9-T-4 and getting called down by the big blind who just happened to have, you know, Ace-King suited. The demolition continues through the following hand:
A late position player (either in the high-jack or cutoff...close to the button) open-raises. He is Indian and wearing sunglasses, so I can only assume he is loose, aggressive, and bad. Also, in the back of my mind he looks familiar and the word that keeps coming up is "lunatic", but that could just be stereotyping on my part. It's hard to say anymore. The 35 year old female Asian bookie who has already cracked my kings twice and is above average in the game but misses way too much value and seems to play like an idiot against me because she once saw me open raise K5o from the button and bet it all the way down and will therefore call me down with pocket 2s forever cold-calls on the button, and I call with QTo from the big blind. The flop is:
QT6 with two diamonds
Not too shabby, you could say. I check and the Indian Guy bets, as he will with 100% of his range if my read/stereotype is correct. If I'm wrong, he'll still bet like 95% of the time, but the hands he won't bet will include all 3 sets, which means I wouldn't want to check/raise him anyway. Bookie Lady folds (I'm actually happy about this, as I just know she's going to spike whatever she needs to beat me), and I raise. Indian Guy 3-bets and I turbo (and I mean TURBO like I have my chips out before he's done raising) 4-bet. He calls.
I bet almost dark. He calls without a moment's hesitation. I put him firmly on a good queen, Kings, or Aces.
QT6-7-9 with the flush coming in
I hesitate due to the 3 diamonds and bet. He hesitates and thinks and goes past that and starts hollywooding. I am concerned. He raises, and I unfortunately have to call, as I do have top-two and he could totally have Q9 or T9 or as we'll find out in a minute here basically any two cards in the entire deck. He rolls K8o, no diamond. The dealer is visibly stunned, and pushes the 4 cards on board up to indicate a Ten high straight. I don't see it at first, then take a look and say "What is that?" as dark reality hits me squarely in the face. The dealer declares "Straight, ten high" and I just cringe as I toss my hand into the muck. To further agitate me Indian Guy racks up 30 minutes later, taking 800 easily winnable dollars with him.
In case anybody missed he, he 3-bet the flop, presumably to get a free card, when he had no draw. None. He has King-high on a fairly scary board and not even a gut shot straight draw to help him out. Raising for a free card is a valid strategy, if said free card can help you. If you have no outs, it's usually folly to try this sort of thing.
So anyway I persevere, and eventually find myself stuck $900. This really isn't a big deal at all, but with the way I've been running lately it's a little unnerving for me. I bunker down, and things start to go my way. I bet the nut flush draw all the way down and river a 5th heart. I raise AKs from the SB preflop, flop an ace, turn a 3rd, and get called all the down by not one but two players who had pocket pairs below my ace (at this point I'm confident my table image is absolute crap...when you lose people often call you down even lighter than usual, because it looks like you're betting garbage and "never have anything". I prefer a "solid" table image because it makes it easier to take down small pots with nothing after the flop). I can feel things turning around. And then, it's time for the Death Blow.
I raise in early position with pocket 7s. Mario cold-calls next in (Mario is the biggest fish in the game. I changed seats to get on his immediate left, and 30 minutes later he changed seats to get on my immediate left. This irritated me, but you can't win them all). The big blind also calls, and all in all I'm happy about my situation. You raise with pocket 7s in early position to try to get the pot short handed (heads up or 3-ways) so you can try to win it unimproved. If you wanted to try to set-mine here, you would just limp and hope for 5 or more opponents to come along and then annihilate them every eighth hand when you flopped a set. Here we go:
T53 with two hearts
Again, things are going nicely here. I have a very solid hand for this flop. The big blind checks, I bet, Mario calls, and the big blind calls. OK, I say, there's lots of stuff they could peel this flop with here. Two overs, some hearts, gutterballs, heck, Mario can have almost any two suited at this point.
Ouch. Things are suddenly not looking so great. The big blind checks, and I bet, planning to fold if either opponent raises. Mario is bad, but he's passive. If he raises, he's got the goods. The big blind is a decent player, but being the blind his range is pretty wide and I just won't be able to put 2 big bets into the pot to have him show me T9 or whatever he has if he raises. Confusingly, they both call. Now I don't really know what's going on. They could both have flush draws, but it occurs to me that one of them might be playing a bad ten very weakly. The pot's gotten pretty big, and it's getting hard to believe I'm winning. If I am, I'm dodging a lot of bullets on this river.
T53-5-7 and the flush doesn't get there
Sweet merciful Plastic Jesus I do believe I've done it! The big blind checks and I bet. Mario now goes into what can only be described as "a big freaking production". He's a fairly spastic person, one of the players who can barely manage his chip stack and often has trouble cutting off raises and the like. One of his favorite moves is to cut off a raise, put the chips in his right hand, and then quickly muck his cards with his left, just to "put a scare into you". This time he slowly and methodically creates 4 stacks of 4 chips in front of him, then combines them into two stacks of 8 (this takes about 10 seconds, maybe more). He then removes the 5 dollar chip from his cards (which is protecting them) and places a pair of 1 dollar chips on there. He then looks at the dealer, and adds a 3rd chip (another 10 seconds pass). This is clearly meant to be the dealer's tip for the hand and by doing this he is declaring "I have you now!" He then pushes the two stacks of 8 chips forward, and inches his cards forward behind them with his other hand, and is in general looking very smug and full of himself. The big blind folds, and the instant he does so I pick up an entire stack of 20 chips and cut off 4 stacks of 4 next to my original bet, raising him once more. Mario cannot believe this just happened, mumbles something about "do you have aces" and calls the 3rd bet. I table the 3rd nuts like it's, well, the actual nuts, because I know it's good for sure. Mario is stunned, and tables his Q5s for trip 5s, and the dealer pushes me the pot. Mario then basically throws a temper tantrum (he's looks exactly like you think he looks...hes in his late 50s or early 60s, short, gray hair, fat, mustachioed, and wearing a short sleeved button down Hawaiian style shirt that is unbuttoned two buttons too far so all his chest hair is flying all over the place), knocking over his chips and walking around the room after throwing his cards at the dealer. He is rather polite to me, saying "nice hand" and then goes on a tirade about how this has happened to him 3 times and he's explaining it all to me in great detail and I just have to sit there and nod and say "ouch, that's rough" and "sorry it had to be you", etc etc. The table is astonished. The thing to realize here is that he made the trip-5s on the turn, but elected to make an expert slow-play with them to trap the big blind (who obviously had a flush draw and was going to pay any number of bets) in for one more bet. Had he raised the turn, I'd have folded and he'd have won himself a nice pot. Instead....yikes.
5 minutes later...
I raise pocket Jacks because someone once told me that's a decent hand. I flop like the aforementioned Plastic Jesus on a board of KJ6 with a flush draw and bet and get 2 callers. The turn is an offsuit 9 and I bet, a blind calls, and then the guy on my right check/raises. I tank for a minute and confirm that the only hand he can have that beats me is the Queen and the Ten (he can't have Kings here...he just can't...he hasn't raised yet this hand and we're on the turn). I think, sack up, and 3-bet it. The blind folds, and he promptly 4-bets my sorry ass. I call, planning to fold the river unimproved (which makes the 3-bet much less expensive and probably correct). But the river pairs the 6 giving me yet another full house and he check/calls my bet and I drag another monster.
Soon thereafter I table change because my game has gotten bad and Mario has decided he's going to play tight from now on, I am dealt AA and KK back to back, drag two smallish pots, and then drive home. I repeat again, where do they find these people?