On Saturday I was at a dinner party at my friend E.B.'s house and he asked me if there was any chance of me playing later that night. E.B. has also been playing the $2/$3/$5 at the Oaks with some regularity and we've played a couple of sessions together in the recent past. I hadn't been planning on it, but coming off my close to $800 win the night before it started to sound like fun.
After some minor negotiating with our wives, at 9 pm we headed for the Oaks and there were two open seats at the $2/$3/$5 game at table #1 when we walked in the door.
I'd had a few glasses of wine before and during dinner and when the waitress walked by I ordered a beer.
I just about never drink when I'm playing poker without friends around. I learned back in my early 20's that you feel like you're making the same plays and the same decisions, but you're results will not add up. The margins are thin and a few drinks can easily swing you from making a lot of bets where you're a 53% favorite to a 47% favorite. That might not sound like a lot, but that's basically going from being the house to being the player at roulette.
There was one stretch back when I was playing online every day in the golden age of online poker back in 2004 where I ended up drinking and playing about 5 times over the course of one month. I lost every day that I played while drinking and won every other day with one exception. It did not take hard analysis of that data to sort out the problem. That month really stuck with me and I probably only drank and played online a handful of times over the next 6-7 years.
But drinking and gambling go together like peanut butter and chocolate where they're both awesome and then you cram them together and you get the Goddamn flavor magic that is a Reese's Peanut Butter cup. After I stopped playing poker full time I took about 18 months where I didn't play serious poker. But about once a month I'd go in with a friend and play $6/$12 with the goal of winning enough to pay for food and drinks and to just be doing something fun while we were hanging out. I did great in those sessions and it was always a lot of fun. Drinking doesn't take you from an elite player to someone who can't play at all and even impaired I was still able to whoop the schlubs I was up against. And it's really fun to drink and gamble.
With all that said it's stupid to sit with $1,000 in front of you in a no limit game and not be at your best. And after that beer, I ordered another one, and then a cocktail and after a while I was certainly not at my best even though in my own mind I felt like I was playing well and doing the same stuff I normally would.
Luckily the deck was on my side and my strategy has been really well thought out away from the table lately. The moves I make 95% of the time require no thought at this point and as far as I can tell I was able to execute on them mostly how I normally would. It helped that I was getting either total garbage or total monster hands.
Early on I got dealt AA. There was a $5 call and a raise to $25 from a very tight player. I made it $55 to go and was pleased to see them both call. The flop came down J J 4 with two spades and I bet out $100. Only the very tight player called. The turn was the A of spades! Whoa baby! I figured I needed to give my opponent every chance to make something or bluff at it as he only had about $150 left and one more big bet would get it all in. He checked behind. The river was a blank and I put him all in. He folded QQ. Turns out that A was a bad turn card as it killed my action, but I was off to a good start.
This having a pocket pair and making sets and full houses was a trend for the rest of the night.
I had 66 and bet it all the way through on a 9 9 5 flop, 4 turn and 6 on the river and stacked someone for $200. Not sure I needed the 6 to win there, but if I didn't it made me an extra $100 on the river.
I flopped a set of 7's on an ace high board and called a flop bet and a turn bet, before betting myself on the river.
I had 55 on a 5 4 3 board and turned a full house.
On the biggest one, I made it $40 to go with JJ vs a raise to $15 and got two cold callers behind me. We took the flop 4 way and it came down Q J 2 with two diamonds. Zing! I bet $125 and got called by the player just to my left. He was a pretty tight player and I was thinking his preflop call was suspicious. Now that he was calling again I thought there was a good chance he had AA or KK. Then shit got real! One of the other players went all in for $80 and the last player went all in for $320! The guy who I thought might have AA or KK had about $600 left and I had him covered. In the moment I didn't get past looking a the huge pot and knowing I had the best hand on a draw heavy board. I figured I should try to protect it. So I shoved all in and while he was thinking I realized I should have just called and let AA or KK in. After 30 seconds he folded AA face up. The other two had 22 and I don't know what, the turn and river bricked out and I won a huge pot.
I did have one hand that is the thing of nightmares. I raised to $25 with KQ of clubs, got called by Mr. Looks Like He Used To Be A Hippie and then a wild player went all in for a little over $100. Mr. LLHUTBAH had about $550 in front of him and I figured if I just called, he'd call as well, but that I could unload him and isolate the wild player with a reraise. I made it $300 to go. He looked pained and then he said "I guess I'm all in" or something to that effect. Sweet Christ! Some people will smooth call with AA or KK, but not this guy. I've played with him a few times and he makes raises that are way too big with big pocket pairs preflop every time and then he shows them when everyone folds. At this point I was getting almost 4 to 1 on my money so I was stuck no matter what I thought he had. When the cards got turned over he also had KQ...but he made a flush. GAH! This was such a bad play on his part, but what made it worse was that I'm pretty sure he would have folded if I'd just shoved all in. Even though he had to know there was 0% chance of me folding to his reraise, I'm almost positive he would have looked at it differently. He got up right after winning that pot and in my alcohol fueled state I openly ridiculed him. I regret doing that. But I do not regret ridiculing him here, because that was an awful play, I hate him, he has criticized my play opening in the past, I double hate him and I will have my revenge!
My last note in my phone is "Q 7 3 with 2 clubs. Call 20 pre 4 ways. I have 77. Pre-raiser bets 35, I go 100 with 1 behind. He golfs." Not sure how accurate that is.
Other than that one hand with the KQ I ran super hot all night. At one point I crested the mythical magical $2,000+ mark getting to $2,003 to the good. I dribbled back a few bucks and left at about 3:30 am with exactly $1,900 more than I came with.
I bought that first beer with money from my wallet as I have backers involved here and wanted to keep my purchases separate from my chip stack. The next one I bought with chips because it was easier in the moment and vowed to keep a tally of how much came out of my stack. That went out the window with the next drink, but I think I spent about $40 out of my stack.
So I'm calling it a $1,940 win! Huzzah! My $10,000 bankroll is up to $13,821 after 50 hours of play.
Normally after a big win there is a great moment the next morning. That moment when it hits you that you had a big win and there's a fat stack of hundreds in your wallet or in a rubber banded roll that wasn't there at the start of the previous day. On Sunday morning I didn't get that feeling. I felt a little stressed and a little guilty. I should not have played with other people's money on the line while drinking. It's stupid enough to put my own money on the line like that, but worse to risk other's cash and even though it worked out great, I still feel bad about it and won't be doing that again any time soon.