I rolled into the Oaks on Friday a little later than usual. Normally I head there straight after work and get there right as the daytime players are leaving and the evening players are rolling in. This time I got there around 6:45 and it seemed that everyone who was playing in the one $2/$3/$5 game was just getting started. I didn't get into the game until 9.
In those 2 hours and 15 minutes I found myself in a bit of poker purgatory. I was at the $1/$1/$2 game, it was a great game, and I couldn't win a pot. It was an hour before I won my first pot and that was the only one I won at that table. If you read my last post and you'll remember I listed out 7 or 8 hands where I raised, bet and won. This time around I had 7 or 8 where I only made it through those first two steps. Raise to $10, bet $25 on the flop and then get forced to fold or check, fold the turn. Or Raise $10, bet $25 on the flop, bet $50 on the turn and get forced to fold or check, fold the river.
I dropped $345 before getting called to the bigger game. Happily shortly after I sat down my good friend E.B. sat down next to me. I don't know if it's coincidence or if the way he plays alters everyone else's play so the conditions are ideal for me, but whatever it is I almost always do well when we play together.
I had $500 in front of me and was in for $1,100 (i.e. losing $600) when things started to turn around.
I got dealt KJ off suit in late position and raised a few $5 callers to $30. I got 4 callers meaning there was $150 in the pot. This can be kind of a sticky spot if you flop one pair. I could easily find myself in a spot where the flop comes down J high, I bet $125 and someone puts me all in for another $350 or goes all in for a lesser amount. They might do that with a worse J or a draw, but they'd also do that with most better hands as well. If the pot is smaller and the stack to pot ratio is larger to take more bets and usually more betting rounds to get it all in. With that extra information it's easier to sort out what your opponent has. Luckily in this case the flop came J high, but there were two jacks! I bet $100 on a J J 8 flop and everyone folded. Not a huge hand, but more than $100 in the right direction.
On the next big hand I raised to $45 with AQ of hearts against a straddle and a limper and they both called my raise along with one other player. The flop came down K T 4 all diamonds and they checked to me. I decided to not fire into 3 players with air and checked it back hoping for a black jack on the turn. The turn was the J or clubs! OK, now I have a straight, but it's far from the nuts. The straddle bet out $60 and got raised to $120. Ugh. Normally the min raise is the kiss of death, but there was $360 out there and given that it checked around on the flop the raiser might have a two pair type of hand or even a K with a diamond. I called and the guy who bet $60 folded. The river was a non diamond 9. I was thinking about how big of a bet I could call when my opponent checked! Now I was almost positive I had him. I wanted to bet an amount that a hand like KJ or a hand with a Q could call. I landed on $125, bet it and got called. My opponent didn't show. I picked up about $430 on that pot and was back in black on the night.
A little later I called $5 wit K6 of clubs in the cutoff and we took the flop 6 way. One opponent bet out $20 on a Q J 9 with two clubs board. I considered raising with my flush draw straight draw combo, but decided to just call and there was one more call behind me. The turn was the A of clubs! Bingo bongo! Now I had the nut flush and my goal was to figure out how to get the most money into the pot. The first player checked and as he did I saw the other guy in the pot who was behind me go for his chips. He only had $77 left and he grabbed the whole stack eagerly like he was going to shove them all into the pot. I changed my plan from bet to check in a fraction of a second and quickly checked right after the first guy. Sure enough the $77 went in and the other guy called. I didn't want to lose the other guy and it was possible he was drawing dead or close to it so I made it $200 to go. I could see him thinking "What the fuck!?" as this was a weird way for the turn action to play out. After a short pause he called. The river was a brick and after a check, I bet out $230. I wasn't sure how much my opponent had left as he and the dealer were partially blocking my view of his stacks but I thought he had less than 3 stacks left. I also thought announcing "all in" or asking how much he had left might look too strong and give him a reason to fold so I just guessed when I chose $230. After a long pause he called and didn't show leaving about $10 left in his stack! I netted about $550 on that one.
On the next big hand E.B. called $5 in front of me, I called $5 with 88 and a couple of other players came along. The flop came down K 8 4 with two spades and E.B. bet out $25. I just called with my set hoping the other guys would come along and one of them did. The turn was a small spade completing the flush draw. The other guy checked, E.B. bet $55, I just called again and the other guy went all in for $197. Normally that check raise would mean he had a flush, but this guy was kind of a nut and I thought there was as good chance I still had the best hand. E.B. was sitting on about $700 and I was thinking that if he put in another raise here I'd be forced to fold, but when he just called I called as well. The river was an amazing card - the fourth 8! Quads baby! E.B. made a little motion towards his chips and I started to feel a little guilt about stacking him well up inside me, but then he checked. I grabbed two stacks planning to push $200 out there and he insta-folded. He told me he had AA with the A of spades! He saved himself a lot of money by not raising preflop here. That was another one that was close to +$500 for me.
A little later I got 88 again. And I flopped a set again! And I got action again. I came in for a raise and got one caller. I'd just played a hand with this guy where I called $40 on the flop and $90 the turn with just a pocket pair of 5's and won after a check check river and I figured he might be out for revenge! I also thought that he might be thinking that I was thinking that he was betting lite since I'd just caught him bluffing. That's high level poker people! Don't fuck with me! After the flop came down K 8 3 I bet $40 and he takes it to $110. At this point I have him squarely on one pair of kings. I take my time calling and when the turn comes out a 7, I check. He pushes $175 into the pot leaving $225 in his stack. I consider just calling again, but I don't think I'm going to get another bet from just a bare K on the river and taking into account what I was thinking about what he was thinking I was thinking, I decided to go all in. He pretty quickly called, the river was a blank and I picked up another $500+ net to me winner.
The next big hand of the night was one I didn't win, but was still one of the sweetest. I called $5 with 66 and flopped another set! The board was 9 8 6 with two spades, I bet $25, and got called by two players. The turn was a 9 making me a full house and making me invulnerable to the flush and straight draws which were the likely holdings of my opponents. So I checked and to my sadness it checked around. The river came out and it was awful, an 8. Now anyone with an 8 or a 9 had me beat with a bigger full house. I checked and the next guy to act bet $35. I didn't really like my hand, but I had to call such a small bet. When he showed his hand he had 98! He'd made a full house on the turn too and if he'd bet or the other guy bet any amount on the turn it would have been lights out for me. He had over $400 in his stack on the turn and if he bet, I would have raised and he would have reraised. Instead I only lost $65! This was an amazing dodge.
After I left the $1/$1/$2 I had almost nothing bad happen to me. I racked up my chips a couple of rounds later and left about 11:45. This is what my stack looked like (Disclaimer: this is actually a picture of E.B.'s stack after I left, but that's almost exactly how much I had). Those white chips are $100 chips. I love the other stack in the picture! How hopeless does it look for that guy sitting on $90?
I ended up winning $1,865 on the night! My $10,000 bankroll is at $17,441 after 82.5 hours. Baller Alert!