But they are my only tool, so I will try.
Today I had my monthly-ish poker lunch with friends. This is the 6th such time we have gathered for lunch at some establishment in or around San Jose for basically burgers, beers, and bad beats. Tommy Angelo joined us once (thanks Tommy), and in general we have a good time. We even flip for the check, and after losing rounds 1, 2 and 5 (keep in mind there are 4-5 people at each lunch), I was planning to pay today. Luck was with me yet again, as my card came out of the basket first so I didn't even have to sweat it. Then I went to Garden City and basically got hit by a train.
During lunch I had had two beers (Guinness obviously) but was feeling fine to play. Twice in the past, however, I've had a few at lunch and then continued to drink throughout the day while playing 20/40, which is obviously a horrible idea. Today I resolved not to walk that path, and it did me precisely zero good.
I arrived at Garden City just after 1pm and check in with Ned, the worst floor man in the history of human existence. I ask him to put me up for 6/12 and 8/16, as there are only two games and it's never really clear how long it will take to get a seat over there (or more specifically how many people Ned will let cut the list while I'm sitting on the couch in the middle of the room). Then I went over to the little bistro thing they've got going on to buy a Diet Pepsi, sticking with my "no more beer" policy right off the bat. I order the drink and she pulls the 20 ounce bottle out of the fridge. I hand here $3 and she says "Thank you" in that way where you can tell she means "Thank you for the tip I'm not going to give you change" and I just stand there in that "You have to be freaking kidding me lady it's bad enough you people charge $2.25 for a soda you're not getting 75 cents for moving it the 6 feet from the fridge to the counter" way that demands she hand me 3 quarters. This is where things start to deteriorate. She attempts to open the register but it will not budge. I don't know why, as she's the only one working in the bistro. It's not as if some other person handles the "payment" part of "food for money" transactions here; she's all we got. So ok, fine. She starts digging in the tip jar (which as usual doesn't have anything freaking in it) and eventually produces a quarter and some dimes. At this point I cringe. Quarters are useful to me, specifically for the purpose of buying sodas. There is a machine in our complex and I buy them at Bay 101 and really you can scrum together enough quarters to buy a coke most anywhere except Garden City. Alright, we're almost there now, she's got a handful of change. Wait, what's this? She is digging in her apron and producing...pennies. After using my left hand to remove my jaw from the counter, I extend my right and am handed one quarter, three dimes, and five pennies. I am so flabbergasted that I say nothing and just walk away, stuffing the change in my pocket, before I realize that she just handed me 60 cents. With 9 coins. Does this really matter? Of course not. Is it absurd? Most definitely.
Well nonetheless I now have my Diet Pepsi and amble back over to the "top section", which at Garden City is really just the corner of the room, and note that I'm now second up on the 20/40 list. Frank the prop looks at me from his 20/40 seat and says "You want to play? We gonna start it" to which I respond "What's the question?" He is lobbying, as usual, to start a bigger game, in this case 30/60. I look at the lists, which consist of maybe eight names on the 30 (five of whom are currently playing 20) and about six more names on the 20, with a few call-ins no less. I look Ned in the eye and say "You're not seriously considering starting a 3rd game are you? It's not close" and he looks at me kind of oddly, then looks back a his computer screen, does some counting, an eventually just walks away. At this point, Kurt, who for some reason is the "small side" floor man despite being literally 100 times more competent than Ned, asks me if I want the 8/16. "Sure, I say. Ned's about to break a 20 game anyway" and Kurt just looks at me a little confused. I sit down and peel off four bills for chips, but before they come Ned calls me for the 20/40. Apparently logic has prevailed, at least for the moment, and he's not going to try to start a 3rd game with half a dozen people.
Alright. Chips? Check. Seat? Check. Table that Frank is not at for starters to avoid insane monkey tilt within the first 20 minutes? Check. Alright let's play some poker...For reference, it is 1:15pm. My first hand I post behind because it's better than waiting a full orbit and I fold J5 sooted on the flop. My second hand two players limp and I limp along with QJo. This is one of those "really you should only do it with idiots" plays, but I'm at Garden City so I think it's safe to assume at least one of the two people in front of me is an idiot. We see the flop five ways (there was a telegraphed fold behind me also), and I'm last to act. Nice. The board is:
J84 with two diamonds
All four of them check and I bet. The UTG limper raises and I 3-bet. He just calls and we are heads up. I decide that I am already treading on thin ice, as a check/raise like that from this guy probably means either a big flush draw or a jack. I beat J9 and JT, but lose to JK. He shouldn't have AJ because I think he'd raise that preflop. There is some chance he has an 8, but probably not.
J84-T with 3 diamonds now
LOL ok so that's the worst card in the deck. I now beat nothing and to boot he declares "HiYah! I got it" and donks with vigor. Like an idiot I call him and call the river when a black deuce hits. He tables A8 of diamonds for the "pair and monster draw" flop and I can only cringe at how badly I just played. OK, stay in the closet tilt monkey, it's fine, everything is fine. A few hands later, a super aggressive player takes a bad beat with aces. I watch, and decide he might be tilting a little bit. So the very next hand I 3-bet in the cutoff with KJ of diamonds. This is borderline, but if the dude is on tilt it's probably OK. He just calls and the flop is:
QJ4 with two hearts
He checks and calls. The turn pairs the Queen, he donks, and says "Throw that ace-king away!" I call, and so far I have played the hand perfectly I think. The river is some low black brick again and he checks. I go into the tank, but apparently not deeply enough. He cannot, to a moral certainly, have a queen. The only hand I lose to therefore is AJ, and he will pay me off with a lot of pocket pairs (like 77-TT). Yet somehow I check. He says "Two Pair" and I say "Me too" and he says "Oh..." and shows TT. I open my hand and drag the pot. That's another $40 down the tubes.
Next up I open raise A8hh a bit too far from the button (I believe I was in the low jack). This is probably OK, but once again it's borderline. The guy on my immediate left 3-bets and says "Time to go home" which always always always means he is a god-damned monster. The dude I just beat with the KJs proceeds to cap it in the big blind, giving me the chance I need to fold my hand. He only has 2 chips left, so he'll be all in on the flop for sure. The 3-bettor will only have 3 small bets left after calling the cap, and in what will be a 12 small bet pot I'll have no choice but to see a showdown with literally any piece of the flop. I think for a second, forget that every single hand in the range of the guy behind me has me dominated, and instead revert to "5:1 is a good price" and call the two more bets. The flop of course is AK4 and I put in my $60 to see his Ace King. Well played, Jesse, well played.
Moving right along I decide it would be prudent to open limp 75 of clubs UTG at an 8 handed table. I do manage to see a flop five handed for one bet, so all is not lost, but that does not excuse me playing that hand. Of course the flop is:
752 all diamonds and I bet.
Two people call. The turn is a black king and I bet again. This time a passive and horrible woman raises me. Once more I dive into the tank, and once more when I come up for air I do so with the complete wrong result. I don't have enough of a read on her (more accurately, enough confidence in my read) to rule out a just the king of diamonds in her hand. So I call. But honestly, she has it here basically always and this is a terrible call, particularly if I'm planning to call the river UI. Fortunately the river brings a Jack of diamonds and she checks behind saying "In case you have the ace" and tables K8 of diamonds for the flopped second nut flush. I cringe. $40 lost.
Somewhere along the line I put myself up for a table change, as the other table does look better and I decide I can deal with Frank today. The horrible passive lady also puts her name up, since she's stuck like a rack and a half already despite my healthy donation, and then a bru-haha ensues. Ned, the worst floor man in the history of human existence, has decided he has enough names to start the 30/60. The other table is basically broken at the moment as people are shuffling here and there, but I quickly see what's going to happen. The passive lady says "Ned, I can move right" and walks over to the other table. Our game is the one that's going to get shafted. We just busted aggro dude, we've got two walkers already, and if I follow this lady I'll ensure that the other game stays alive and this one breaks. Ned, of course, should be smart enough to see this as well. But of course he's not. He happily sends me over to the other table (my big blind is up next, so it was the perfect time to move) and when I get there the table is gridlocked. Only 3 players remain, and there are two other stacks with missed blind buttons. Frank answers the question are you leaving 3 times as "No, no", "Yes, 30/60" and "I'm not sure yet" in the course of 47 seconds. After some negotiation we decided to draw for the button in a new game and I make a last second seat change from the 1 to the 5. Some seats are open and the 9 seat draws the button, which amazingly makes me the big blind (2, and 4 are open, 3 is super passive lady). The first hand is won by passive lady with a set of queens, and I can only laugh (in this case I'd have truly had her hand) as she drags in "lolasianpros" chips.
Now the reason I moved from the 1 to the 5 is that seats 8 and 9 are occupied by "lolwhitepro" and "lolasianpro". While the Asian guy has started lagging it up lately, at heart he's a big nit, and I can only assume his friend is cut from the same cloth. For the next 30 minutes, as I failed to win any pots, these two douche bags proceeded to talk, openly in front of the whole table, about their new iPhone application that records all their live sessions to make it easier for them to report all their winnings to the IRS. "lolwhitepro" actually points out his $24K winning session (at what game, I don't know) as a big uptick on the graph on his phone and says that was half of his total winnings. They use words like "session" and "standard deviation" and "equity" and basically just make me want to jump out of my chair and strangle both of them. These are not things you talk about at the table. The bad players are there because they feel like they are gambling, not systematically being fleeced. ANYTHING you say that contradicts this fantasy world in which they live is horrible.
Then lolwhitepro gets completely owned by loose passive lady because he fails to realize that when she check/raises the flop she can probably beat Ace high and proceeds to call her down with some cheese ball that he tried to steal her blinds with. After 3-betting a blind steal with ATo, seeing a flop of 622 with the button and passive lady, c-betting, getting a call from the button, getting check/raised by passive lady, folding, and then watching the button call down and hit a King on the river to fill out his AK, I decide I've had enough. I lobby and take a bathroom break, walking past my old table, which now has three people at it staring at each other wondering why they don't have a game. I can only laugh, decide I've head enough of this shit for the day and pick up my chips, resolved to tame my inner tilt monkey and to just freaking play better.