Tuesday, September 04, 2007

He's Back

Jason Bourne: Do you even know why you're supposed to kill me? Look at us. Look at what they make you give.
"Bourne Ultimatum"

Tomorrow is our first visit to the obstetrician with the Distraction and Little Ed. Don't really know what to expect, probably just a little inspection of the incubator and a quick explanation of what to expect from here on in. All very exciting times and I'm sure we will continue to treat everything like we are the first people in the world to go through all of this. What other way could you be?

We've had plenty of generous offers from friends for second hand baby stuff, and you can damn well bet we're taking anything anyone is willing to give. Little Ed is going to be very familiar with hand me downs, I can ensure that.

But back to poker. The loosing streak that started half way through July and all of August ended on the first day of September for live games. It was at a different home game where I am a regular, and finally some hands held up for me – though the night was not without it's dramas. I ended up for my best single session result this year, and second best result overall it what became a bit of a wild night. I won about $5 on the very first hand of the night, and I was never below that point for the entire 12 hours.

I had my fair share of cards, with pocket aces back to back at one stage. The first was a decent sized pot when four diamonds met the board and my ace was good. The second one was over before the turn so a small game that I was happy with.

Then I took a small hit with QQ – after a small bet pre-flop, I raised and had a short stack call all-in. Then the original raiser came back over the top. At this stage, I had the equivalent of 2-3 buy ins in front of me, and he had me covered. It seemed an obvious play with Aces or Kings, so I folded. Turns out he had Jacks. The short stack won the pot anyway, but I could have cleaned up on the QQ vs JJ on that hand. I didn't loose any extra, just what I could have gained. I had seen this player over play a hand or two at this point as he was well ahead in chips. I knew he would loose his head sooner or later, I just hoped I would be there to call him. I was right – he did loose it but unfortunately not to me.

Poker should be fun, and it is hard to have fun while you are loosing sometimes, and we have to keep everyone happy. I have obviously been going through a rough run and so when it looked like things had begun to change for me, I intended to keep it that way. I have seen every bad river card you could imagine in the last month, so my goal tonight was to either avoid the river or give myself some other protection.

With pocket tens, I saw a lot of runners call a small pre-flop raise. Knowing that nobody else had a pair, or at least a decent one, I pushed all-in for a little over a buy-in, hoping to take it right there. I was called by one player – a gambling, drawing type player who would call with any picture cards or decent suited cards. Before he turned over his hand, I offered to run it twice just so even if I did loose, I might have a chance at half the pot and a small profit. I was sure I was ahead, but you don't want to see a lazy ace or king on the flop and then know you have two outs only. I assumed he had a good ace and it was basically a coin flip anyway. He agreed, and showed A9c – about as good as I could hope for. Both times the board came and left without an ace or clubs, so the tens were good for a scoop.

Another time I offered a deal was against a player who had perhaps his 7th buy in on the table. I made a re-raise pre-flop and he went all-in for $50. I had the wild player from before saying he would have called me, but the all-in was too much. Damn! That could have been nice because I was holding pocket aces again. The wild player folded and it was just up to me and the player all-in. I showed my hand and said "I'll let you take half your buy in back if you forfeit the pot now". I think I gave him a pretty good deal there, way more than whatever his hand was worth. But since he was down so much, he decided to gamble and take the run at the whole pot anyway with JJ. The door card was an ace, and it was all over. Another nice pot came my way.

But the biggest hand of the night that I was involved in could have broke me, and wasn't without its controversy though everyone was very good about it and didn't give it a second thought later.

One player had left the table for whatever reason, and usually we just fold their hand when it gets to them, and life goes on. This time however, there was a bit of discussion if we should do that and by then the player had returned so we let him play it anyway. I called a small raise with T9d. the flop was Js7d2h and there was a small bet of $5 for me an another player to call from the would-be absentee hand. The turn came 8s, which fills my gut-shot straight but puts a flush possibility on the board. I bet out $8, others fold to the absentee who confidently raised me to $20. I check the board again, just to confirm I have the nuts. At this point, I think he flopped two pair so the outs he has are less than the flush, but he could have played a suited ace which is likely, but to pair seems to fit the situation better. J7o I could see him on easily.

Now, because of the horror run I have been having recently, I was petrified of the river card. Sure, at the moment I have the nuts and I could string him along. But I really just want to take it right here, and I call for a raise. I thought about bumping it up to $50 which sends a clear message, but knowing the player that was enough for him to call and I would be happier for him to fold. I really just didn't want the drama of seeing the river card sink me yet again, I'll take the pot right here and be sure of it. I pushed all-in as we both had a few buy-ins in front of me. I wanted an instant fold, but he had to think about it and asked me to count. I had $173 left after calling his raise. He could cover it.

He went into the tank to think about it, and I said he could have as long as he wanted. Then I started to think about ways I could get more money while still getting him to fold. I offered to let him see a card of my choice for $20 – of his choice because usually that means a pocket pair, but in this case either card would show I had the straight surely, and he would have to fold and I'd make an extra $20. After quite a while, he finally folded and asked me to show my hand anyway. I was relived he folded, and since we are all friends and it was obviously a hard decision, I showed him that I had the nuts on the turn. He had J8 – top two pair on the turn. Through the miracle of rabbit hunting, we found another jack on the river. That could have meant the end of my poker career right there.

I did say if he called, I would have offered every deal under the sun before the river card came out – run it twice, give him half back or anything to lessen the damage, so it might have been alright anyway.

In the end, I wiped him out about an hour later when he went all in on a board of Qs7s4hAd. I had KsJs, so I thought a good flush draw and a gut shot straight to go with it, it was worth the final $30 he had at this stage. He had Q9, so I had more outs to the 3 kinds as well. The river was the Ace of spades, so finally I had hit a river card to sink someone else – albeit with 15 outs instead of the 2 and 3 outs I have been loosing to constantly.

Only three people left the night up, and I was second out of them. The big winner was the luck box to my left (actually a really good player, but he couldn't help hit hands on this night) and the wild player to my right was also up after getting some pay-offs late in the game.

It was a good feeling to finally have an up night after what felt like ages. I had a six session winning streak leading into a 4 session loosing one leaving me just above even for the year. The latest session gives me some breathing room in the bankroll leading to a long weekend here in Sydney which will surely see some cards in the air.

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