Friday, March 23, 2007

Thank God it was Limit

Just got home from a fascinating evening. What I witnessed defied all math and science. I'm not even sure gravity was in effect. I might even have to reassess where I stand on the whole creationism argument.

I've been having some success at limit lately. It feels like grinding but it's nice to make money.

Yesterday I passed on playing in tournaments and instead went straight to the limit tables to see what I could make. The best game I found at Caesars was 3/6 limit with a 6/12 kill.

What the kill part means is that when the same player wins two pots in a row the limits jump up from 3/6 to 6/12. So when you're playing the graveyard shift with a table full of loose aggressive drunk maniacs the pots can get really huge.

There's actually not that many limit options available in Las Vegas due to no limit's popularity. At Caesars the biggest game they spread is 4/8. The big game in town that everyone talks about is 15/30 limit at the Bellagio. My plan is to go there this weekend with $750 and try it out.

So needless to say I was psyched to see the 6/12 kill in effect.

I sat down to play around Midnight. I left the table at 8:30 A.M. And I can't recall ever seeing the best hand win. It was an utterly amazing run of cards.

I don't want to turn this blog into a bad beat diary. But I do want to run through some of the hands so that I can come back here in the future and remember the specifics of what I saw on this night.

Early on my pocket kings lose to pocket 4's flopping a set. It happens.

Soon after I raised with pocket 9's in a kill hand. The board was all undercards. 8, 7, 3. Someone bet. I raised. No reraise back at me. I feel good. The turn was a 2. I really can't ask for a better board with pocket 9's. Another 3 came on the river. I bet. I get reraised. I gotta pay him off. He turns over ace 3.

I raise preflop with pocket 8's and actually flop a set. One guy bets. I raise. I'm slightly concerned by the two diamonds on the board. 4 people call. A third diamond comes on the turn. Different guy bets. He's pretty loose. I don't think he has flush. And even if he does I can hit full house on river. I reraise. No one reraised behind me so I figure no one has the flush. These guys don't usually try to trap you. If anything the opposite occurs: they reraise with ace high. My raise to two bets was also more about trying to get rid of some of the other players in the hand who surely had their usual gutshots. And of course I don't want to lose to a single diamond in an opponents hand if a 4th one comes on the river. And even though they're probably not folding here I still gotta charge them for it.

The 4th diamond comes on the river. We all check and I lose to a guy holding the 9 of diamonds.

Again, it happens. Just sucks when you hit your first set in awhile.

The most painful hand of the evening was me holding 3 6 of clubs in the big blind. Flop is a 3, along with the 4, 9 of clubs. One bet. A couple of callers. I call too.

Turn is a 5. I now have an open ended straight draw to go with my flush draw. And assuming someone has an overpair or a 9 I also think my hand can win if another 3 or 6 comes on the river. Lets just say I have alot of outs.

One guy bets. Another raises. I make it 3 bets here. I'm feeling good about building this pot.
Now little do I know that my 3's are actually ahead right now. One of my opponents has ace 10. The other jack 10.

Yes. This is who I'm playing with.

So what happens? A 10 comes on the river. This hand was particularly devastating. I'm not even strung out on drugs yet I suddenly feel like Ray Liotta near the end of Goodfellas.

Not that it should matter but somehow if one of the other players turns over an ace 9 I can at least live with knowing that I lost my money chasing. This ending was way more disturbing.

I had the best hand. And I had the best draws. And I still couldn't win.

It happens.

So what do I do? I rebuy.

I want to go home. It's obviously not my night. But these guys are just too bad not to keep playing with.

Soon after I'm holding ace 10 on the button in a 6/12 kill game. Three guys limp. Now they can have anything here but I really think they'd raise with ace jack or better. So I take the lead and raise with my ace 10.

The flop comes out 5,9 10. I bet. Another guy raises. A third guy calls and is all in. By now I'm shell shocked. I actually don't raise back here. I just call. It might be incorrect but since he's not gonna fold anyway I figure lets see the turn.

2 on turn. Okay this feels safe. I check. He bets. Now normally I'd raise here. But like I said, I'm shell shocked. And he ain't folding if I bet.

Jack comes on river. Something tells me to check. He bets. I call.

I lose to his jack 8. He had an open ended straight draw on the flop. He wasn't folding. And even though I played it incorrectly by not raising, the way my night was going I take solace in the fact that I saved money. (It doesn't get more "loser" than this. Knowing that you're going to lose so you save money when you're ahead. I know this isn't right. Just being honest.)

I haven't won a hand in over an hour. One way you know things aren't going your way is when dealers get up and change and you realize you haven't tipped that dealer because you haven't won a hand since they sat down.

And yes it occurred to me that I hadn't tipped the past 3 dealers.

Yeah sure I can't win a pot. But think of all the money I'm saving on tips.

I still can count 4 very bad players at this table. So I stay.

I decide to go back to the basics. Lets not even play ace 10 anymore. Lets just try playing top 10 hands. And things like suited connectors. This has to be a long term profitable strategy against 4 or 5 players who are playing pretty much any two cards.

I fold for an orbit or two. Then I get ace king. I raise. I miss the flop. I fold.

This happens again with ace queen. I raise. I miss. I fold.

I get king queen suited on button. This time I raise and actually flop a king. I get heads up with the exact player I want to isolate. He's a guy who constantly goes to the river and bluffs trying to win every pot. On this hand he actually connected as well. He's holding king 3. He also has top pair but with his shitty kicker he obviously wants to pay me off.

At a good table I'd lose this hand to a guy with ace king. At this table he hits a 3 and beats my king queen with two pair.

I can't tell you how many times I watch this guy wins with bad cards. He was up like 500 bucks in an hour or two at a 3/6 table. He will eventually lose all his money. He has to. His actions cannot succeed long term. But unfortunately I won't be there when he loses it.

I take out another 100 dollar bill and place it on the table underneath my dwindling chips in case I get a good hand. But this is it for me. If I can turn it around I'll try to win back my money. But otherwise I'm starting to feel the fact that its close to 8 A.M.

I get ace queen again in middle position. All the usual suspects have limped in. I raise it.

Flop comes queen high with two clubs. I bet and get the usual couple of callers.

The bad player who's up 500 bucks leads out on turn. I reraise him. He calls.

Third club comes on river. He bets. I gotta pay him off. He turns over the 3 6 of clubs.

I'm done.

The part that's hard for me to come to terms with is there was definitely a point when I just sort of knew this wasn't my night. (IE. My not reraising with ace 10 on the 10 high flop). You just start to feel like you're gonna get sucked out on. It's almost like I started to expect not to hit when I had a draw. And of course I expected them to catch up when I was ahead.

However this conflicts with the math logical side of my brain that says no way. My inner feelings cannot and do not effect the cards that come out of the deck. I can be as negative as I want. Obviously I'll agree that my inner feelings effect the way people play against me. But as far as controlling or willing bad stuff to happen. No way. That's all internal just B.S. I just gotta keep playing the right side of the math.

It's also fair to mention that the big hands that I won tonight at this table all came from shit cards too. I won a huge pot with 5 10 suited on a 5,5,4,4, king board.

There was something about this table. The biggest hand of the night was won by a guy with pocket 6's. He stayed in after the flop was ace king king. The Ace and king were diamonds. The turn a queen of diamonds. Yes there was capping on every street. There were bigger boat and of course royal flush possibilities. And yet this guy with pocket 6's hit a 3rd 6 on the river to make a boat. When he reraised he didn't even know for sure that his boat was good.

That's the kind of game it was. And that's why I stayed there. These were terrible players. If I keep getting in there with the best of it I eventually have to win. Even despite the power of negative thinking.

I think the real problem is that I won't necessarily win money during the 8 hours I played with them. I need a much larger sample of hands for the true math to take over.

But like I said it's a tough one to resolve emotionally. If I thought my play was getting poorer because I was frustrated then obviously I gotta leave. But overall I think I still was exercising decent patience and playing each hand correctly. A couple of different rivers and I'm probably writing to you about how easy it is to make a living playing poker. Of course for most of last night it felt impossible.

And of course the most amazing part of the evening is that since I was playing limit poker I only ended up losing 400 on the night despite losing all these big hands.

I've lost more than that in one hand at no limit a few too many times this year.

Which is one of the reasons why I'm was chilling at the limit table to begin with.

I'm going to sleep without editing this. If I'm repetitive or there are glaring errors that's my excuse. God bless evolution. And the people of Kansas. And Omaha. And Texas Hold em.

No comments: