Professional poker, as the saying goes, is a hard way to make an easy living. I am finding that out on a nightly basis.
Like other sports a poker game can change in a heart beat. A game that was tight as a drum for two hours can suddenly be a gambler’s paradise. And a game of loose, aggressive play can tighten up with just the elimination of a single player. A good poker player recognizes the changes in the game and adapts to them quickly.
As I am learning the players and way the game is played at Green Valley Ranch I ran into this situation twice this week
Tuesday I did not handle it well. At the table with my friend Fast Eddie I got off to a hot start ($390/$200) backdooring a nut straight when I was on a queen high flush draw. At this time there was only one gambler at the table. His bets were were so out of whack with the rest of the table it wasn’t really changing my game.
What I failed to realize was the gradual addition of three more loose aggressive players, replacing three of the tight players. Now there were four players that were willing to mix it up preflop with any hand in the book. I knew I was in trouble when I raised with Ad-Jd and was beaten with a 2-6o.
The loose players cut into my stack as I was playing tentatively and just calling with my starting hands. When I missed the flop the agro players would bet at me and I would fold. I was being slowly ground down.
Finally I had a hand where I could right the ship. Unfortunately, I misplayed it badly. I raised preflop with J-J. The flop was 8-6-3 and I fired a pot-sized bet. It was called. The turn was 4. I didn’t like the card but I thought another bet would take the pot down. I fired again, but the bet was not big enough and I got called again. The river was a 7. It made three to a flush and four to a straight on the board. My opponent, who was also the big blind, fired a $250 bet into a pot of $150. It was more than I had in front of me. I folded. And he tabled A-6o for a smaller pair.
The whole hand showcased I could be bluffed. It all went downhill from there. I turned a winning session into a $150 loss.
Today I was determined to learn from my mistakes and take a few more chances.
Getting dealt aces my very first hand was a good omen. There was no flop in the hand, but I did pick up two blinds, a straddle and a preflop raise.
I struggled the first hour but not due to bad play as much as just pure unluckiness. I had top pair fail to hold up a couple of times against straight or flush draws that got there on the river.
I had to rebuy in the first hour, but it didn’t really bother me. I was here to gamble a little more tonight. I wanted to take a few of the lessons I had learned earlier in the week and see what I could do.
The first hand after my $200 rebuy I doubled up. I limped in under the gun with K-K knowing someone at the table would raise. Sure enough there was a limp in and a raise to $12. After three more $12 calls it was back to me. I made it $100. That drove out everyone but the first raiser.
The flop was 6-3-4 with two diamonds. So I sent my last $100 chasing in after the first and was reluctantly called. The last two cards were both diamonds. When I tabled my hand with the king of diamonds the villain mucked. I don’t know what he called me with, but I’m guessing I was never behind.
After gambling a little more over the next hour I had dumped some chips. Then I had a two-hand run that changed the night.
I was dealt A-A from the small blind and raised to $15. Even though the raise was too big I was called by five players, which is not the greatest development for aces. I would have preferred to play them heads up. The flop was K-10-6 with two spades. I led out for $45 into the $90 pot. After a fold the next player went all in for $340, which was more than I had left.
I was trying to figure out what he could have called me with. There was a chance he flopped a set, but I thought it would be unlikely he would raise all in with that flop. After taking the time to evaluate all the hands he might have I decided to call. I was convinced he had no better than two pair (which I couldn’t beat) and possibly just a King or a flush draw (which I was beating). The turn and the river were both 4s.
Since I had called him I just sat there waiting for him to show his cards. He was reluctant to do so. He finally turned over 10-6 offsuit for two pair. Fortunately for me I had made two pair of aces and fours and won the great pot. I was now $525/$400 (damn two buyins).
The very next hand the same player I had just cracked straddled. There were several limp-ins around to me, and I limped in with Q-10o on the button. The blinds limped in and the straddler raised to $19.
There were a couple of calls to me, and I called as well think he might be steaming off the last beat.
The flop was J-9-8 with two clubs. I had flopped the nut straight. The big blind led out for $40. The straddler went all in for his last $112. It was folded around to me. I decided to just call the $112 and see if I could get the first bettor to call, as well, since he had about $350 behind. He folded.
The turn and river ran out 9-3 and again I waited for the first guy to table his hand. He turned over J-10 for two pair. I turned over the nut straight and took the rest of his chips.
My session would end about 30 minutes later as I was $628/$400. It was a tidy $228 profit for three hours work.
A hard way to make an easy living.
Current Bankroll: $2,295