Poker is a ridiculous game where you make people pay for their mistakes. Or, in my case, where people make me pay for their mistakes.
I love the game and have been playing for a good number of years starting somewhere around the whole Moneymaker thing. However, I did not start playing poker because of Moneymaker - I didn't even know who he was at the time. I started because a buddy asked me if I wanted to go up to one of the Indian Casino's in New York with him for an afternoon of poker and I thought it sounded like fun so I agreed.
Confession: I had never played poker before this afternoon in my life. In fact, I knew nothing of the game other than it was a card game and it was going to be for money. My buddy actually had to explain the rules to me on the way to the casino and go over the hand rankings as well. So, in a 45 minute drive from Erie Pa to Irving NY I was taught that a flush beats a straight and that a high card generally is a pretty crappy way to end the hand. He briefed me on the rankings and then hammered me over the head with them on the way up by asking me questions and forcing me to answer. I did not know that this was going to be the humble beginnings of one of the most powerful addictions that I would ever have in my life. Fucking poker man.
The casino, which really I don't like calling it a casino because it was more like a gutted Sam's Club filled with Slot machines and two poker tables at the entrance. There was also a Poker Room at the back of the casino that we never ventured to because we thought it was real high stakes full of black and green chips but the reality of the situation is that they were just running tournaments in that room and we were naive and gullible.
The game was 2/4 limit and was full of the usual cast of old people being bored and passing chips around. My first session I lost $4 and was hooked. I played about 3 or 4 more sessions and lost money each time when Matt asked me to go again. I told him that I would but this would be the last time if I didn't find a way to win. Loved the game but didn't like parting with the money every couple of weeks. Luckily for us the casino had just implemented a new game that they were spreading that was taking the world by storm - No Limit.
No Limit Hold'em. The Cadillac of Poker. Oh, and what a Cadillac it was. This lovely little box in the road offered the greatest poker game to get someone like me hooked. It was small buy-in and low blinds and to this day I really wish I could find another place to spread the exact game because it was just so much damned fun (and high variance by nature). The blinds were 1 and 1 and the buy-in was $40. $40 was the Min and the Max and everyone at the table played so bad, myself included. I love looking back on it now and realizing how bad I was compared to where i am now (which, is only slightly better). Raises to $3 were the norm and if there was a $5 or $6 raise that meant that someone had a big hand! I seriously miss that game. Whenever I finally have a home game this is my decided format except I'll allow $20-40 buy-ins heh.
So, with this new format I started winning. Some of it by pure luck and some of it because I happened to suck just a little bit less than the other people at the table. I had a ton of misconceptions about the game and it just so happen that I ran well when the No Limit game popped up. Running well is really an understatement because for at least 3 months I won between 1-3 buy-ins every single time I went to the casino. And this brings us to present day.
I am now paying for the sins of my past. I was unfortunate enough to run really well when I started playing which helped forge this addiction and love so deep that I will probably play until I'm your typical old degenerate local (I'm getting there).
From the first year I played poker I won overall. When it was a 1/1 $40 buy-in I won (and crushed it). When it became a 1/2 $100 buy-in I kept winning. When I stepped up to the 5/5 $200 buy-in game I continued to win. Won in Vegas, won online and won at the local Indian Casino's. I loved it.
Then the wheels feel off and I was an overall loser in 2010 and a defeated player in 2011. Two years of not showing a profit after winning for the previous 6 years (or however many it really was. I'm too lazy to look up the year that Moneymaker won to be able to give an accurate count).
I lose in every way imaginable and I tend to lose when I'm in a big pot. Big draws have failed to get there and sets are just teases of potential power that can be brought down at the whim of a turn or river. I need to re-evaluate my game and figure out if I'm just playing my big draws too hard and too fast because over the last few sessions I have lost with every single big draw I have had. And, in reality, it has not just been the last few sessions - it's been over the course of the last two years.
I know this sounds like the typical drivel of a losing player, but with my success from the beginning until then I cannot find it in me to believe that I was just running way above expectation for all those years.
My last few sessions have included the following.
Top pair Open ended royal draw - All in on flop and lost.
Open ended with flush draw and overs - all in on flop and lost.
Top pair top kicker and nut flush draw - All in on Flop or Turn and lost (3 times)
And those are just the draws - Opponents have been "getting there" like crazy against me.
I had a few in my last poker blog post and I posted a bunch of hands on AVP where one guy murdered me in 3 huge hands because he found a way to get there every time.
The funny thing is I intended doing a good write up of yesterdays two poker sessions with Rob from RobVegasPoker and ended up with mostly back story.
So, just a brief quickie.
1st casino was pretty boring and card dead. I had Ak once and AJ 3 times. My last two hands were QQ and KK.
QQ was in the big blind and I raised big after a small raise and a bunch of tag alongs. Everyone folded. Next hand KK - there was a raise and I made it $20. Flop Q high and I make it $40. Turn Ace and we essentially get all in and his AQ got there on the turn ending all of my hopes of a successful session.
I 100% fully blame Rob for this hand as he must have found a way to transfer his bad luck with KK to me (though, if that means future good luck for him then tits to that!).
Casino #2 saw me winning some hands early and building a little bit of a stack. Making some really good plays/calls and building my stack even further.
Then I find myself in a situation that sucks the chips out of me.
Here was the big hand of the night (negative).
There was a $4 straddle and 2 callers and I make it $20 to go with AsJs. One caller and we see a flop.
JxTsXx - I bet out $40 and he calls.
Turn 2s giving me nut flush draw to go with my TpTk. On the flop when I bet it took him a long time before finally calling so I figure'd maybe he had a pair and a straight draw or just a straight draw, maybe a J with a weak kicker and thought I was bluffing.
So, when I turned the nut flush draw to go with my pair I pushed which put him into another long drawn out thought process. Finally he decides to call and I turn over my AJ and he turns over flopped Top 2 TJ (what was he thinking about waiting to call so long on both streets?).
The 8 of diamonds ruins all of my hope of cashing out +$500 on the night and I'm annoyed that another session ends up with a big loss for me (not a big loss as in I finished down, but a big loss as in there went all my profits when I had a good hand with the big draw and my opponent of course out flopped me and stayed ahead the whole time.).
Should I not be looking to get my money in? I'm just not sure how to play the hand much differently when I bloated the pot pre flop and saw a good Flop and Turn for what I had. Maybe I'm looking at it wrong and I should have checked the turn to see what he was going to do?
Whine Whine bitch bitch.
At least the meal at Le Burger Brassier was fantastic again. Treated Rob to a burger on comp and next time he's in town he'll treat me using comps from elsewhere. My burger came out Medium like I like it, was delicious as always and Rob said his burger was fantastic as well. He appears to like his still bleeding with a strong, but slowing, heart beat still going so that he can taste the life being sucked out of the burger and transferred into his body. Maybe that's how he stays so young?