These days I wake up and drive 30 minutes to the casino wondering how specifically it is that I will be punished. The poker gods have a seemingly endless array of weapons in their arsenal with which to smite me, and today they chose to deploy the one simply known as "double oh." This player is a regular in the Bay 101 games, and as usual with players of his caliber (that is to say, poor), he always finds a way to take my chips. Be it by drawing almost dead and getting there, receiving the perfect asshole card from the dealer to get me to go off for an extra 2 bets, or simply raising the turn drawing dead against a third player while I hold the nut flush draw, Double Oh will always find a way to wreck my day.
Today is the first day of the NFL season, and as I drove south to Bay 101 clad in my #43 jersey, I cut a deal with myself. If at any point I was up two racks, I would pick up my chips, and if I was up one rack after lunch I'd also call it a day. Protecting wins like this is silly, but when you've run as bad as I have for as long as I have, you make deals with yourself to try to book wins and not spend evenings wondering why you're failing. Last night, for example, I did the opposite. After booking an $800 win at the Oaks I opted to play 3/6 online and lost over $300 in something like 400 hands. I still won $500 for the day, but I felt really shitty about it. Today would be different.
The morning came and went without much really happening, aside from undertheinfluence and Gordan the Prop winning 6 and 5 racks respectively by generally playing quite a bit too loose for my tastes and spiking everything in site. undertheinfluence spiked a runner runner full house...twice. Gordan made running flushes twice, each time declaring "I flopped a pair!" to which I responded "You know, he's right, it's in the prop hand book. You flop a pair you can't fold, even if it does go four bets". Anyway, 12:30 found me ordering a grilled chicken salad and stuck something like $200. I was up for a table change and promptly went on a heater of sorts, raising my own big blind with KJo (against only the small blind and a poster who opted not to raise) and betting the whole way on the jack high board, then getting my QQ to hold up in a 4 way 3 bet pot. I also may have taken down another small pot with something akin to a pair. So now Cissy says "A R C, you want 39" and I peer over at the table to see which player left. As I suspected, the vacant seat used to contain one WTK, who has made his way off to the 10-200 spread game. Now normally I'd still take the change, since there were a few decent to good players at my table (mtndrew, lol Asian Pro, and ML, the 40/80 regular), but due to my recent rush of cards, the recent delivery of my salad, and the fact that I had $1490 in front of me for a .98 rack win, I opted to stay, eat my salad, attempt to win one more pot, then pick up. I was even under the gun, which means that moving didn't even cost free hands. This act of laziness was all that it took for the poker gods to deploy the double oh. I posted my big blind while politely declining the seat at table 39, and....
mtndrew raised from early position and I pre-peek my cards to find the mighty 82 of spades. I prepare to fold, but since my seat selection is top notch as usual the button and small blind both call two bets cold, moving me into "any two suited" territory. I sling in 4 chips and pray for trips.
Q99 with two spades
OK, I suppose I can work with this. The sb checks and so do I. mtndrew bets, the button calls and the SB raises. I call two cold and basically turn my hand faceup, which is fine because I have to hit to win anyway, and mtndrew calls, along with the button. I spike and 8 on the turn and call one more bet, but miss my 11 outs on the river in the $440 pot and watch the SBs Q7 (suited mind you, soooooted) drag the pot after the button called his bet. OK, no biggie, missed a flush draw, so what.
The next orbit the player on my right open limps under the gun with his chips already racked to leave. I limp along with A9 of diamonds (I don't limp along in this spot very often, but this is one of the hands I do it with) and double 0h unleashes a raise. The bb (button from the last hand) and the UTG limper (SB from the last hand) both call and I call. We see the flop of:
JT6 with two diamonds
Yahoo, time to shovel chips into the pot and lose! BB donks, UTG raises, I 3-bet because what the hell my hand has over 33% equity and double oh could conceivable fold a better ace to give me two outs sometimes. But no, double oh caps it, the BB tank calls, UTG calls, and I call. We now have a 4 handed pot with 12 big bets in it. The turn is a brick, putting up another flush draw, and the BB checks. UTG now donks and makes a speech, at which point I assign the probability of him having either JT or a set of sixes at .997. The pot is huge, though, so I call. Double Oh, being a horrible hand reader, raises. The big blind tank folds this time around, and somehow UTG does not 3-bet. I call and fold the river J, which UTG donks again. Double Oh finally gets the hint and calls, and UTG tables JT for the stone cold nuts. OK, fine, missed another flush draw in a $720 pot. No big deal.
For a moment something actually does go right. mtndrew picks up his chips (he plays on his lunch break and never sticks around for much more than an hour), ML is called for the 40 (he was second up when I refused the change) and lol Asian pro also decides he's had enough (an unexpected bonus). My opponent list is now winner-free as far as I can tell, and I take the chance to move to double 0h's immediate left, wanting to look him in the eyes as he pummels me mercilessly.
Not 10 minutes later I open KQo under the gun at what is about a 7 handed table. It folds all the way to double oh, who calls in the big blind. The flop is AK8 with two clubs and he check/raises me in rhythm. I call only, planning to call him down and expecting to lose. This is another example of me playing snake bit. The call down is correct, but I'm already emotionally preparing to lose the hand, so when he checks the turn 9 I am confused and don't know what to do. Somehow I decide to check, which in retrospect isn't awful but is probably a small mistake. Double O begins to make a speech about how he missed his bet and fires a bet into the pot just after the river T comes out, making the board AK8-9-T. I hem and haw and say "This is a bad call, QJ got there" while putting 8 chips into the pot. He says "Yes it is" and rolls QJ. The tilt monkey appears.
I am spared any pain in my BB, most likely because the poker gods know it is best to let me sit and stew in the juices of what just happened. My KQ lost to QJ with a King on the board. That one card makes me an 85% favorite. Yet somehow, I lost. In the small blind however, they go for the death blow. A crazy asian lag (CAL) opens, and a horrible asian female dealer (HAFD), alls two cold next in because that's what horrible players do. double oh calls two cold on the button and I 3-bet because I have Aces, and the big blind calls. CAL caps it and they both call. 20 small bet pot and I have the nuts. The flop is:
K72 with a flush draw
The only concern, of course, is that someone who capped it might have kings. I check, the BB checks, and CAL...checks. I probably actually cringe at the table, but HAFD doesn't notice and bets anyway. Double Oh calls, I raise, and the BB and CAL both fold (pretty good fold of QQ on CAL's part I think). HAFD and double oh both call, and the turn Jack scares me a little (once again, I'm just trying to figure out how I'm going to lose this pot). I bet anyway, she calls, and double oh mis-clicks and folds. Wow, 15 big bets in the pot and I'm winning. She either has a flush draw or pair of kings, likely with a queen kicker. The river of course pairs the king, and I check sadly. I guess a bet/fold is the right play here, by my read is that she either has the nuts and will raise or missed a flush draw and my only chance of getting a bet is to induce a bluff. She bets and rolls KQ after I call.
6 hands later double oh straddles under the gun, as is his custom when he gets short on chips (often) and wants to put them all in preflop. I 3-bet him next in with AJ suited, and he caps it without looking. I call, we're heads up, and he flips over 53o. A player at the end of the table comments that he folded 53 off, to which I respond "Well then it's coming for sure...dealer, one pair of 5s for our friend double oh here please". The board runs out 886-7-5 and he drags the pot. All told, on the 5 hands, I had about $750 (1/4th of the $440 pot, 1/6th of the $720, 85% of the $160, something like 2/3rds of $500, depending on double oh's cards, and 2/3rds of $190) and I collected exactly zero dollars. Hurray for me.