Ace Rothstein: No matter how big a guy might be, Nicky
would take him on. You beat Nicky with fists, he comes back with a
bat. You beat him with a knife, he comes back with a gun. And you beat
him with a gun, you better kill him, because he'll keep comin' back
and back until one of you is dead."Casino"
For a few weeks now, I have been feeling like I have been getting a
rough deal from the cards. Actually, it has been all this year with
very few good runs, and I am basically running just above even online
and marginally in front in live games. But that doesn't really tell the story, as I have constantly been in a state of trying to get even back to even in session after session, cursing river cards the whole way.
In the past 2 weeks though, it has been abysmal with the online play. It would seem every 3 and 4 outer there is has been hitting, and knocking me out of SNG's and tournament alike. In cash games, the pattern would be win small pot, win small pot, loose massive pot to 4 outer and be left with 2 bets or be out. It has just been a disproportionate run of bad luck that has been getting me down – and probably limiting the life of my computer desk as I bang away on it.
Last night started off no differently, as I was in a 3 table SNG and in the early stages I was yet to play a hand. UTG has been making some suspect plays, but raises the bet to T60 here. I have AQc, my first playable hand for the game which is less than 1 orbit old. I decided to just call and see if the flop does me any favours, and one other player calls. Flop comes 4h4c6c, not too bad. UTG makes a continuation bet of T100, and I raised to T400. The other player folds, and UTG re-raises to T700. I'm thinking he probably has an over pair now. I just call, and the turn is As. He moves all-in straight away – but I figure this is a good card for me unless he has 66 or AA, then I'm drawing dead or very thin. But just about any other hand he could have, I am in front of or have many outs. I call the all in, and we see the river before we see the cards. The river is the 2c, pretty much the ideal card I am thinking before he flips over his cards – 24o. I was livid. Sure, I could have raised pre-flop but AQs isn't really a monster in early position. In hindsight, I was behind on ever street after that but all I could think about was how lucky he was on that flop when he made a for-no-reason raise with 24o, and gets no only a flop that puts him way ahead, but also gives me every reason to come along for the ride. The river, while not a bad beat or anything, was really rubbing it in. And my current frame of mind certainly didn't help.
I shutdown and watch some TV with the Distraction, giving poker my
curses and letting it drift away as I watch Stan Lee decide which
costumed social reject would be the next super hero, and the
Distraction flicking back during the ad breaks to the True Hollywood
Story of Mark Wahlberg.
With no more quality television to watch, the Distraction decided to go to bed and watch a DVD. It was still early, so I went back for more punishment. I wanted to go up a level in the cash games, just to mix things up a bit and try to get some o f my game back, not to mention money.
Playing tight, I got a hand to play finally with AK and got a short stack who was clearly on tilt to call and see a flop. AQx, and he bets out, I raise and he calls. The turn is a blank and I bet out $12, enough to have him all-in. He calls, and the river gives him two pair with Q2. I am now getting sick of this.
I start asking nobody in particular – why me? Why does this keep happening? Isn't there someway I can make this stop?
The villain in that hand had $22 ($100 max buy in) before the hand started, and had now doubled up to $46 with my pot. About 8 hands later, he is up to $170. Why can't I hit some of those cards?
Reminding myself that this mindset does me no favours, I reside to the fact that this is poker, and what can you do? I'm getting back on my metaphorical horse and playing the next hand on its merits, and the one after that as well. Que Sera, Sera – if you will.
A few hands later, this gem pops up against the same player. 22 from the big blind, the flop comes 4sKh2h, which is pretty good for me. I let him bet out because that is what he always does, and then raised his $4 to $10. He calls, and then the turn is not a heart. I bet out for $20, which could have been too much but he folded anyway. Might have missed my chance for a bigger pay off, but I have got to be happy with the pot anyway.
Next orbit, again on the BB I have 55. Everyone folds around to the
small blind who has been known to fold the small blind if he doesn't
have anything. This time, he raises to $4 so I am in for a flop.
Flop is 9dAd4s. He bets out $5, and I thought I would see if he really
does have the ace, so I raised to $15. This is probably a little more
frisky than I usually play, but we'll see if it pays off on this tight
table. He just calls, and then instantly checks on the turn when the
As comes down. For what ever reason, I read this as a flush draw with
maybe a pair. But it didn't seem like he had the Ace and if I
represented it on the flop, I am damn well going to represent it here
as well and put out another $15. $15 to me looks like a bet that is
small enough to look like I want to get called and big enough to make
it a worthwhile pot for me. I expect him to fold his flush draw or
weak two pair here now, but he just calls. Oops, I guess he really
does have the ace. The river is the 5s, one of my two outs. He
instantly checks again, and I have a weird decision. You see, I am
pretty sure I am ahead unless he has paired his kicker with the ace
and has set a nice trap for me. But more than likely, I am certain I
have just sucked out on something like AK or AQ. Now I want to get
paid off, but also I have this little bit of guilt inside me that
knows I got very lucky here, and if he doesn't call then I don't have
to show exactly how lucky I was. I have $51 left, and I decide that if
he has trapped me, then I am going to pay him off. If he has a good
ace that got unlucky or drew to a back door straight, then he is going
to pay me off or fold and leave me without having to show how lucky I
got. I bet out $21 not knowing if I wanted it called or not. He did
call very quickly, and showed A8o to give me a $100+ pot.
I felt a little sheepish. But this one lucky hand means I am down only
$5 for the month so far, so again I am fighting to stay just above
Tonight I am headed for me first ever foray into casino gambling. I've
been playing poker for cash for nearly 5 years now, but never have I
gambled a cent in a casino (except for free vouchers once, made $30!).
What will happen? Will I be a deer in the headlights? Will the loose
aggressive plays of every other WP wannabe throw me into the rock
garden? Or will I find my calling and finally post a decent profit for
the year? I guess I'll find out tonight.