Monday, October 16, 2006

Not As Bad As I Thought

Randolph: Even when you're squeaky clean, you can still fall in the mud.
"Death To Smoochy"

I had a frustrating and yet enlightening experience at the tables last night. One of those nights where you look back at what might have been.

I have made the decision to step up a level, as the play a the $50NL tables is far too tight and never varied. This changes at the $100 tables, so that is where I sat. To start off, I had some nice hands and built from my starting stack of $75 to $110. All was good in the world, and then I get JJ. I make a raise and get four callers. The flop comes all unders, 2 spades. UTG bets out $10, and I raised it to $35 to make the flush expensive. He only calls and has $22 left. Perhaps I should have put him all in there. The turn is a low blank, and he automatically goes all in. I call, confident I have the best hand. The river is the Ace of hearts, which is good enough for his As4s to win the hand.

I was really pissed at the time, but in hind sight I see that he did have a lot of outs (including 4 straight outs) and I guess it was a gamble he was willing to make. That hand would have had me up real good for the night, and I probably would have called it quits right there. Instead, I'm in a hole with a short stack and steaming.

The Poker Demons give me an ironic bitch slap when I river a flush to beat his one pair in a later hand. Only his river-win earned him a $126 pot, and mine was $62. I don't think we were even on that one.

Later on a made a mis-read on the rock that took his place. He limped into a pot, and as he was a pretty tight player I figured he would have raised if it was a good hand, so the limp may be either a slow played monster or a suited ace with a low kicker. I raised to see, and when he just called I went for the later. Oh yeah, I had KTo. The flop comes AKx, and he checks. I bet out a little to see what happens, and he just calls. The turn is a T, and I think I am good but he doesn't have many chips left so I will call if he bets, and if he doesn't then I can't see how he is folding when I bet. In the end, he had AKo and I didn't hit a miracle card on the river.

I loose another pot with A6h on a 776 flop. I bet out, get called and then do it again on the J turn. He calls again, then finally on the river I give up thinking he has a seven. Instead, he had 99 and a decent sized river bet may have won that hand. Never mind. Later on when I had 99 against the same player, the flop comes A62. He had AK. I guess this was just not going to be my day.

After a reload, I missed out on what would have been the biggest pot win of my life when I folded 99 on an all-unders flop. With a big raise and re-raise in front of me I figured one of them had aces. I was right, one did and the other had Kings. The river J though would have given me a straight with the nines – but that happens some times. I started to try to think in hindsight of how I could have made that call on the flop – what if I slipped? Would that do? Alas, I made a correct read and laid down the hand.

And to continue the trend for myself, I got into more trouble with pairs. Dealt QQ in the small blind, there is a raise in front of me. Now should I re-raise here with what is a great starting hand, or wait to see the flop and maybe get out cheap? I decided to just call. Then the big blind re-raises it the minimum, and the original re-raiser comes back over the top for what would be about half my stack. I consider pushing with QQ right here and hope they both have AK or AQ and are stealing outs of each other, but then I rethink and the betting pattern really screams Aces in at least one position – Kings at the absolute worst. So for the second time in my life I folded QQ pre-flop. The flop was 6 high, and an automatic all-in took it down without the cards being shown. Was it the right move? I'll never know. But last time I folded Queens pre-flop it was the wrong move and I have been haunted by them ever since. Hopefully it was right this time, and my period of trouble with them has now concluded.

To finish off the night, I earned some nice pots – nothing close to getting back to even, but a few little pots here and there on the river when I had nothing – 3 high in one case (ok, so really I was playing the pair on the board but you get the picture). While at the time I was cursing my luck, I am much more philosophical about it now and realise it was just one of those nights that I will have to chalk up to experience. Some times, you just got to be happier with the pots you didn't loose instead of the ones you won.

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