Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Medication

The medication knocks the edge right off.... - The Haunted

If you will, allow me to indulge myself.


I was drinking my dirty martini at Brick City Grille, Otis to my right. "You know, all I need in life is something to look forward to. It doesn't have to be much, just a little something to get me through the week."

"Indeed," Otis replied. It was his way of agreeing.

We were feeling a bit nostalgic. Nostalgic for times gone by wherein myself, Otis, G-Rob, and TheMark would find a way to meet before a night of poker, have a few drinks and then go play. Times have sadly changed though and the anticipation of the weekly pre-drink has waned. G-Rob works early mornings and TheMark plays at his old haunting ground. They say "The more, the merrier." What do they say about the fewer?

On Sunday, Otis pinged me about playing Monday night at Gucci Rick's. "Maybe pre-drink Monday?" was the query. "No maybe's about it. I'm a definite."

And so it was, even though it would be just the two of us, I had something to look forward to.


Both of us pulled up the driveway to the Gucci Rick Compound and found more cars there then we anticipated. Maybe this game does have legs, I thought to myself. A few new players have made the game vibrant again. No longer is it a struggle to find six players to cross the threshold of viability. Onward and upward I say.


My first hand of consequence did not go as anticipated. There was a pre-flop raise to $12 from UTG+1 and two callers before it got to me in the big blind. I had AsKs and re-raised to $42. I don't do this frequently with AK since in a cash game it has little fold equity. It's a great late-tournament, low-M hand wherein pushing pre-flop is the easy, correct play. In a cash game, in early position, it's still just A-high. However, I re-raise frequently in this game with big pairs and that's how I planned on playing this hand.

The initial raiser called, semi-reluctantly and everyone else folded. The flop came down T55 with one spade. I continuation bet $75 which is exactly what I'd do with JJ-AA. The other player called. The turn brought the 4 of spades giving me the nut flush draw and two overs. I knew the other player held something mediocre, but the question was, could I get him off his hand. Unless he held a monster, he'd fold to a push. Or so I thought.

In went my last $120 or so.

"I think you're making a move on me," he said. He wanted to call, I could tell. He must have had a ten. People always want to call me. Getting bluffed by me must be something akin to losing your firstborn, because people will go out of their way to avoid it. I should know better too. But this bluff was a semi-bluff and I still contend it's not a horrible way to play the hand. Unfortunately, I did not get the fold I was looking for.

He called and tabled T9 of hearts. I had some outs. Fifteen to be exact. Fifteen outs once is still a 2:1 dog though and I whiffed the river. My first buy-in of $300 went three seats to my left and I wondered if this was how things were going to go.


Luckily, that's not how it was going to be.

There were three players to the river on a four-club board. I had the Ace of clubs. I was in the hand because I had a straight on the turn and the draw to the nut flush. It's why I called the $30 turn bet. When the fourth club hit the river and it was checked to me, I bet $100. It was nearly pot sized.

People want to call me. I need to remember that.

I was called in not one, but two places. Both the other players and turned a flush. With the King of clubs on board, one player had QXc and the other JXc. Nobody raised. It was a mistake and I got lucky to river the nuts. I got even luckier that I got called. More mistakes.

But I was back to my original buy-in with $600 in front. In business, so to speak.


My hand of the night came perhaps an hour later. In the meantime, I had chipped up to about $875-$900, squeezing out a small profit for the session. Otis, also playing well this night, was also deepstacked. That's why I called his $25 raise in a straddled pot on the button with As7s.

Oddly, the big blind bitch-raised to $52. "Big pair," I thought. Let's see how the action goes before I proceed. Frank the Tank, who had just only recently won his first pot of the night smooth-called the $52 and the action moved back to Otis. If he re-raises, I'm done with the hand. If he calls though, I think I have to as well.

"Call." Otis announced.

"I'm no longer very thrilled with my hand," I announced to the table. But $27 into a $180 pot warrants me playing along.

Four to the flop. It's Js7d4s.

It's a semi-dream flop. Pair and a flush draw. As expected, the initial re-raiser in the big blind simply pushed all-in for $178. "Big pair," I again thought to myself. If it's folded to me, it's an easy call with all my outs.

However, Frank the Tank put a wrinkle in my plans by going over the top all-in for $246. "Does he have a set?" I really had no idea at this point.

Otis turbo-mucked.

The table looked at me. "Do you have a decision?" Otis asked.

"Yeah, actually I do." Since both players were already all-in I tabled my hand. If Frank had that set, many of my outs were dead. My outs to two-pair and some of my spade outs were gone. But I just couldn't put him on JJ. That was the only hand I really feared based on the pre-flop action.

In the end I called. The pot was $878.

The big blind flipped up pocket Queens, one of which was the Queen of spades. Good read so far. Frank the Tank flipped up pocket Kings, one of which was the King of spades. Otis claimed to have folded AQ, so three of my outs were gone.

But that was OK. I think I had the most pot equity at that point. Two outs with any 7, two more with any Ace, and 7 more with any spade. Eleven outs twice against two opponents.

The turn paired the four.

"That's no help," the dealer said.

"Not yet," I agreed.


A sweet, sweet 7.


By the end of the night, I had $2000 in front of me.

It's been a while. In a blog filled with bad beats and a 2007 poker year filled with losing results, last night felt like the Golden Era of G-Vegas poker for me.

So allow me to post a story about a winning session. After the last few weeks, it was just what the doctor ordered.


Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

You played a few of these hands bad. sure you ended up with the most money, but The Rooster can teach you how to make more money on these hands...send 20.00 dollars to joaquinochoa at full tilt or stars and I will give you lessons for one hand...each hand 20.00 dollars.

RaisingCayne said...

Congrats on the winning session! It did seem to be an uncomfortable routine to read about losses on your blog, nice change of pace!