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2 Mistakes

Last Friday night, I spent a few hours over at the Wall Street Game, playing 1/2 NLHE with an assorted cast of characters. Jamie has been hosting a bi-weekly (or bi-monthly, whichever means once every two weeks) 1/2 NLHE game at the behest of another player who had arranged for his corporate crew to play in Jamie's fantastic apartment. I had joined a few weeks ago and was happy to return on Friday. 23Skidoo was in town, so that was an extra bonus. As per usual, I was home and ready to go way too early, so I took my time walking over and eventually arrived about 5 minutes to 7pm.

The table was already full. I don't mean to be a baby, but I just can't wait. Having my home so close to the game is way too much temptation. Fortunately, several other people arrived shortly thereafter and we started a second game, first playing four-handed. We eventually reached 8-handed at one point, but never had a full table.

I love shorthanded tables. I got a feel for the table relatively early by folding a bunch and seeing how hands developed. Everyone was fairly tight at first, but then the table opened up. The other table was full and had a slew of dangerous players. From my perspective, it seemed like serious poker was going on over there. In contrast, our table was cracking up and having a jovial time.

I opened up to an early lead and eventually pulled ahead about $150, but lost it all in a hand against the newest player at the table, an Asian guy who I believe was named Rich. Rich had arrived late, and if I deciphered the conversations correctly, he was the brother of our dedicated dealer. I could tell immediately that he was a serious player, largely from the way he talked and handled himself at the table. In the hand in question, I flopped a straight with J7o. It was one of those tables where most hands could be limped for cheap. Even so, I normally wouldn't play that hand, so I must've been in a blind. The flop was 89T, rainbow, and by the turn, a blank diamond, creating a flush draw, I check-raised all-in to get the most out of my hand. My opponent called and the river was another diamond. Of course, my opponent had 67d, proving that (a) it wasn't my mad skillz that got him to overcommit, it was his flopped under-straight, and (b) you shouldn't count your chickens before they're fried. His improbably flush took a lot of wind out of me, but I was able to get back on the horse.

At some point, I began to realize that my brain was fried. It may've been a week's worth of work taking its toll on a Friday evening; it may've been that last hand I mentioned; shit, it may've just been that I wasn't on my game that particular day. Regardless, I made two stupid errors that finally made me decide to walk:

Mistake #1 - Misreading a hand. I was in a hand against Cheryl where my Q8 rivered the idiot end of a straight. The flop was QXT, the turn was a Jack and the river was a 9, giving me a Queen-high straight. I bet out, as I was the entire time with top pair against Cheryl, a player who can sometimes be manic. By the river, I was simply praying that she did not have a loose King with whatever other card was worthy of calling me down. She called the river, which to me was a clear sign she didn't have the King. After all, the only hand that could've beaten a King was Ace King, and the hand didn't seem to go that way. When she called, I tabled my hand and announced, Queen-high straight. She put down her cards and announced, "I have the King." I growned inwardly. As I thought about the shitty result, I looked at the board. The flopped Ten was a diamond, the turn was a Jack of diamonds, and the river was a 9 of diamonds. I then looked at my cards, sitting exposed on the felt, Qd8d. SHIT! "Wait! I hit a flush." I paused a beat, "Um, it's a straight flush." The donk that I am, I didn't even realize that the board went runner runner flush and didn't think to check my cards for their suits. Fortunately, the pot had yet to be shipped, and I took down the pot.

Naturally, I apologized profusely to Cheryl for the rest of the night. I don't slowroll unless you do it to me first, so I felt like a complete tool.

Mistake 2 - Playing Like a Donkey. Eventually, a few players left the main game, and being a must move, I was sent to the big boys' table. Fairly early, I flopped an open ended straight draw with 89s and after calling down bets from Alceste, I hit my straight on the river. Being out of position facing a bettor, what did I do? Bet a stack of my chips immediately without counting, totaling $53 in all. The pot was apparently about $30, if not less, at the time, so Alceste folded. On one level I hoped that he had a strong hand like two-pair, but that's just rationalization after the fact. The truth is, even considering that possibility, a smaller bet was in order, since it could induce a raise from great hands and a call from good hands, both of which I could beat (my straight was the nuts). A while earlier, Darko and I were discussing prop bets and he proposed one in which either player can call out any other players' hand after all action is complete, and if he gets it right, he gets 3:1 on the bet. I rejected it several times, knowing full well that the game gave Darko a significant edge, since he'd played it before and the game really comes down to picking your spots. He, naturally, announced my hand, 89, to which I replied, "Oh, come on! Everyone and their sister knows I have 89!" Fortunately, I already rejected his prop bet. At least I wasn't a complete donk.

That hand really disgusted me. After all, it's one thing to have bad cards and another to have bad luck, but to squander the good luck you have is a terrible crime. I ended up cashing out up $79 at 10pm, after a bit less than 3 hours of play.

Profit is nice, but if I didn't recognize my sloppiness, it would've been gone quick. I suppose I did do one thing right.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 4:20 PM,


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