Another trip to G-Vegas to the House of Blood.
Another session where I pick up pocket Aces 4 times in one night.
Another session of catching the perfect card at the perfect time to lay a couple of nasty beats on Special K.
So why, with that much money on the table and with that much card-rackedness floating around in my soul, did I only finish the night up 1/2 of a buy-in?
Because I'm not a very good poker player and am incapable of laying down one pair to a big river bet 3 times out of 4. Sorry, Rick, I think the only time I managed to get away from top pair, decent kicker ALL NIGHT was when I laid it down to your big bet on the river.
Otis summed it up early when he looked around and said "There are softer tables elsewhere in the world." With Frank the Tank dealing, we had our host, me, Gucci Rick, Otis, Dean, The Rankster, Special K and G-Rob in attendance. So yeah, there are softer tables. My strategy whenever I go to G-Vegas is simple - remember that at least half the players at the table are better than me, so play standard tight aggressive poker and don't try to get creative.
If I'd stuck to that, I'd have been much better off. But as is my wont, once I got ahead for the evening I got call-happy and pissed away all my profits.
A couple of times.
One pivotal hand, which might actually be the worst beat I've ever laid on anyone in real life, went down like this (and in the tradition of Derek, I don't owe anyone a dollar because I'm the one giving out the beat and not whining about taking it) - the straddle was live from Gucci Rick on the button, and 27 people came in off I-85 to call to $5. It calls around to Blood in the cutoff+1 and he pops it to $25.
I look down at pocket Jacks, and having just donked off half my stack to Blood the hand prior, decide this is a great time to either double up or reload, so I shove for $125. Rick looks down at his cards and folds, and Otis dumps his hand too. Dean had already stood up to cash out, but thought for a long moment before flat-calling. Rankster, Special K and Frank all fold, and Blood thinks for about half a second before dumping his hand. Dean asks if I have Aces, to which I respond "No, Jacks," as he turns over his Kings.
I look over at Frank and say "I'd like a two-outer now, please."
Blood says "I swear to God I folded King-Jack."
I look back at Frank and say "Sorry, I'd like a one-outer now, please."
Frank responds by peeling off the top three cards, peeking at them and saying "Oh my God," before putting out a Jack in the window.
Make that the Jack. The flop included an Ace with that Jack, and the turn was a 10, so I look at Frank and mention that I'd like to dodge 5 outs now, please, and he continues to oblige by sticking out the 5s on the river. So I spiked a one-outer to double through Dean on his last hand of the night.
I didn't really feel that dirty. Not nearly as dirty as when I pushed Special K off a made flush by going over top of his flop bet with my two pair. I really did think I had the best hand at the time, and obviously conveyed that in my body language, because he dumped his baby flush.
As I mentioned, I picked up Aces 4 times over the course of the night, and suffered exactly zero bad beats, which was nice. I only won three of the hands, which was less nice, but I lost the first one to may own stupidity and lack of familiarity with the style of the game. Frank raised preflop in Middle Position, and I flat-called from the cutoff expecting at most one other caller. Rick made the move that was to become a pattern for the night, by calling almost every hand I called, and Otis followed suit. Somebody else came along, and I was in the ignoble position of seeing a flop five ways with Aces. Two Queens on the flop, and I stuck out a little bet to see where I was. Two callers and then a raise gave me all the info I needed, so I got out of the way. Obviously a re-raise would have saved me a bunch of money there, so I filed that away for next time.
I picked up the blinds one time I got Aces, and the other two times went down almost the exact same way, once against Otis and once against Rankster. I raised stiff or re-raised preflop and got down to either heads-up or three-handed, then saw a drawish flop both times. Against Otis it had straight potential, and against Rank it was flushy, so I stuck out a big flop bet both times. I got called both times, then once the turn didn't help any reasonable preflop calling hands, I moved all in.
Otis went into the tank for a long time before folding, because my push didn't make any sense. It was a pretty massive overbet, and I will freely admit that it was a less than optimal play, because I was pretty sure I was ahead, and decided the pot was big enough to be happy about and I wanted to take it down right there. It made a little more sense against Rankster because I only had pushed about $200 into a pot of about $130, and the flush draw was much more reasonable than any draws in the hand with Otis, so I didn't want Rank to stick around. Turned out to be a fortunate (note I didn't say good) move both times, since Otis would have rivered trips and Rankster would have rivered his flush. So my suboptimal move saved my stack both times.
Not to say that all my suboptimal moves worked out quite so well. In absolute mewling half-assed defense of this next hand, I've been having contact lens issues lately where at certain points (for about 30 min at a time) throughout the day it becomes difficult for me to see fine details. It's not anything that makes it hard to drive, I can read road signs and all that jazz, but as my eyes get fatigued, for short periods of time it gets tough to see details.
Like the number of pips on a card from across a table.
I called a small preflop raise in late position with J-10 soooted, and the flop came down 7-9-x. It checked around on the flop and the turn, and the river peeled off a lovely 8d. There had been flush draws out there, but that completed none of them, so I held the stone cold nuts. And it was well-disguised since I'd not bet my draw and the gutty came on the river, so I was doing little cartwheels inside when Dean fired out $20 into a $35ish pot. Rankster called and I popped it to $75. Dean folded, and Rank went into the tank. Deeeeeepppp into the tank. So deep I figured he was going to fold, so I started trying to give off tells about being weak. I turned away to not look at him. I licked my lips like I was thirsty. I sagged my shoulders a little. Blood had leaned over to peek at my cards, and I was happy to show, since I had the nuts. Finally, Rankster called and I tossed my cards face up and said "I have the nuts" in my best, theatrically trained declarative voice.
Except that the river card was the 6d and I was packing Jack-high instead of the straight I had just value-bet.
Rankster kinda mucked before someone said "wait a minute, you've got Jack high" and I realized that I'd horribly misread the board. He reclaimed his hand and turned over the 10-high straight and took down his pot, as I felt like the biggest moron to ever play a hand of poker. But I wasn't angle-shooting, I was just stupid. Blood remarked that he was really impressed with the river bluff, and I responded that it would have been a level 13 move if I had, in fact, known that it was a bluff and didn't think it was a value raise.
And that, my friends, is how I can pick up Aces 4 times in a home game with a ton of money on the table and still not end up a serious winner for the night. But it wasn't a losing session, and win or lose I always have a great time with the G-Vegas boys, so I'll be back when schedule permits.