I made my way to Bay 101 last night full of confidence, ready to crush those San Jose turds. As per usual I had a longish wait for the $20/$40 game, but found an open seat in the $2/$3/$5 no limit game.
This game has a max buy in ($500) similar to the 200 Max game at the Oaks ($400), but it plays much bigger. The reason why is there's $10 in the pot when the cards come out instead of $6. That might not seem like a big deal, but those extra dollars have an effect that resonates throughout the hand. A raise preflop might be $20 instead of $12, which means a pot sized bet on the flop might be $60 instead of $35 and a turn bet might be $150 instead of $90.
I spent about 45 minutes at the $2/$3/$5 game and was up about $75 when they called my name for $20/$40. I took one last hand as I racked up my chips and looked down at 77. I thought "Shit! I should have racked up my chips faster, I bet I'm going to go broke on this hand!" But I'm not folding 77 with 120 big blinds in my stack and plenty of chips on the table. I just called the $5, got one call behind me and the button made it $25. It was folded to me and we took the flop heads up.
The flop came down 554, I checked and my opponent checked. I wasn't sure if this was checking a big pair as a trap or just a miss, but it felt a little fishy. The turn was a 6 and given that I had an overpair and a straight draw. Despite my fishy feelings I wasn't checking an over pair with a 10 out redraw. I bet $40 and got called. The river was a 9 and checking was my only move. If I was against big cards I might induce a bluff and if I was against a big pair, I wanted to get to showdown as cheaply as possible. I checked and called a bet of $40 and my opponent turned over KK. GRRRRR! Stupid pocket sevens!
I lost $27 at the $2/$3/$5, and bought in to the $20/$40 for $1,000. I played very well for the first two hours in a great game and found myself up $600. I felt like I was in total control. I made some strong lay downs and was right. I put in some thin value bets and was right. I had a tight read on most of my opponents.
Then the deck turned against me and I turned against myself. There was one player who gave me a ton of trouble and he was actually the worst player in the game. This guy had one move - call. Before the flop - call. On the flop - call. On the turn and river - call, call. If he had the total nuts or a big pocket pair he'd raise, but 75% of the time he was in preflop, and any piece of the flop - meaning as little as 3 to a straight or 3 to a flush or any pair or even one over card - would have him calling all the way. Against a player like this you just need to make some hands, even marginal hands, and you'll get paid off. The last thing you want to do is try to bluff him - DUH!
Unfortunately I had 5 or 6 hands where I had good starting cards, like KQ or AJ that just didn't connect and I'd end up losing to J4 that paired the 4 on the turn. I foolishly kept firing away thinking "he's calling every hand, he can't hit something every time!" but sure enough I missed time after time and he would catch some bullshit piece of the board and call me down. In fact he was crushing the table and there were 3 other players who were ready to blow their top because they kept losing to him as well.
I couldn't have pulled a win out with the cards I got (unless I'd left earlier), but I certainly could have lost a lot less. I know I could have saved many turn and river bets if I'd slowed down. One of my big strengths as a poker player has always been that I'm much better than my opponents at keeping my emotions out of my decision making at the table, but this time I have to admit that frustration got the better of me on at least a few hands down the stretch.
I had an $1,100 downswing over the course of 2 hours and ended up losing $486 at the $20/$40 and a total of $513 on the night. My $10,000 starting bankroll now sits at $10,372. I'll be back in action at the Oaks on Wednesday or Thursday.