Monday, September 17, 2007

Waiting For Godot

I sat down for a couple of 2/5 sessions this past weekend at the Bellagio and saw way too many playable hands. This of course resulted in a whole lot more variance than I'm used to. Thank God I'm not results oriented and attached to the outcome.

(Insert canned laughter).

It was a pretty good sitcom to sit in my seat to the left of the dealer. Seat #1 kept getting good but not great starting hands. Alot of stuff that gets tricky to play post flop. Mostly my cards missed and when I bet I got called. I bled for the first 3 hours.

I responded by limping more and raising less. I figured they'd still pay me off whenever I actually did hit. As far as they knew I was just a guy playing too many hands. They had no idea that I had real cards over and over again.

And the truth is they shouldn't respect me. I'm the guy they haven't seen win a hand in 3 hours. They are correct to call me down.

After 180 minutes of hell in seat 1, I switched over to seat 6 and gosh darn it the next hand I hit the nut flush and got paid off nicely.

What's up with that?

Then a new guy came to the table and sat down in my old seat. For what it's worth - I cannot recall him winning a hand over the next two hours.

I was mounting my comeback. I was still down money but I was focused on playing tight and just trying to win back what I could. Not force anything. Just show patience.

To induce calmness I tried to reframe the experience to myself as:

"I am playing poker with money I won earlier in the week. I'm still up from where I started."

I just needed to relax and wait for the next good opportunity to present itself. That's often all the game is. Waiting for Opportunity. And much like Beckett's Waiting For Godot there is plenty of waiting. Plenty of hopelessness. Plenty of despair.

One thing is clear. I don't need to focus on the chips I lost earlier. That's par for the course and not cause for (existential) angst. I've watched 500 or 1000 bucks disappear plenty of times at 2/5. I know that it will come back to me. I just need a good situation.

And about an hour later my good situation happened.

Godot finally showed up. And normally I might have folded him. But an aggressive guy in early position raised to 20 and this enticed two callers in front of me.

I was in the big blind and it would cost me 15 bucks to join what would be an 80 dollar pot going into the flop.

The good news is I expect the preflop raiser to fire out on the flop. So if I can hit a miracle I think I can get paid off nicely.

And my hand is perfect for this spot.

I've got 6,3 suited. The JFK.

Life is simple with the 6,3 suited. You know where you stand. There's no sweating to see if your kicker is good.

The flop was an interesting 2,5,9 rainbow.

I check my gutshot and inexplicably the preflop raiser checks too. Wow.

He had followed through with a flop bet pretty much every other time he raised preflop.

I would have folded here to any decent bet.

I was relieved to see the other 2 guys check behind as well.

The turn is my miracle gut shot 4. I have the nut straight. How did that happen?

It also put 2 hearts out on the board. I check. My hand is incredibly well disguised and I'm not ready to show strength. I think there's a good chance the preflop raiser will still get some action going. Someone has to take a shot at winning this thing. There's 80 bucks sitting out there. Most of the guys at this table will fire a bullet in this spot with nothing. I've been here for awhile and they don't check down hands at this table.

My preflop raiser checks again but the good news is a dude wearing some dark shades on the button bets 50.

I shove 200 forward.

(Side note: I'm really starting to dig the "I've got two fists of twenty reds in each hand" raise.)

The other two guys fold. Dark shades guy asks me how much I have left. I count out my chips.

He says "I'm all in."

I call and then look towards his cards in eager anticipation.

What will I have to avoid on the river?

Maybe a flush draw?

Or does he have a set and need the board to pair?

He turned over his cards to reveal the best news possible:

Ace 3 for the lower straight. The only card that can help him on the river is a 6 to give him a chop. It doesn't happen and just like that I'm up.

It's always those crap hands that take stacks.

I won a second big pot later on this session also holding the 6,3. It went 2 for 2. Meanwhile I probably lost around $500 in the hands where I held ace queen.

In an earlier entry this past Spring I sung the merits of the 2,5 suited. Tonight it was the 3,6.

It might be time to update my top 10 starting hands.

The new list looks something like this:
1- Ace Ace
2- King King
3- Queen Queen
4- Ace King
5- The 3,6 suited
6- The 2,5 suited

7- Jack Jack

8-The Queen, 9 suited, Pocket 3's, and the 10, Jack suited

9-- Any suited connector
10- Any pair Tens or lower

I can't believe I'm sharing this with you.

It's almost like giving away the secret formula for Coca Cola.


ckbluffer said...

I love the 2-5 and the 8-10. Those hands have been money for me lately. I will never play A-J again.

dave said...

carol, carol, carol. if you don't play aj what are you going to do with a kq10 board? i can't tell you how many times dudes with kq have paid me off.

i think the hidden subtext here is that it is about situations, not starting hands. my starting hand list is more like "any 2 cards when there is a raiser and 4 callers in front of me". the worse the cards, the better. because not only will i get paid off on them when i hit, but idiots will pay me later when i have rockets because "that a-hole played 93 off before!!!!"

FreeFormCoder said...

I was hoping you would keep going with the sitcom after every paragraph you'd have




good stuff/

Fuel55 said...

JJ needs to go way down the list and 55 needs to move way up (2nd place behind AA)

lj said...

very timely post. watched 63s crack JJ earlier this evening. JJ was not happy.

ck, don't make promises you're clearly not gonna keep. :)