Monday, December 17, 2007

I Don't Like Mondays

1:00 AM. I arrive at the Bellagio.

Look at how hard I work!

It's only been Monday for an hour and already I'm at the office. comes the punchline...

There's a list to sit down and play!

For real!

It's one in the morning on a school night and I have to sign up and wait to play.


1:10 AM. I'm seated and the table looks real promising. I only have $300 on me so I buy in short.

1:26 AM. Minus 35. My top pair loses to a straight on the river.

1:38 AM. Minus 65. I flop the nut flush draw, bet it twice and don't get there.

1:40 AM. Table's been pretty passive preflop. On this hand there were a few limpers until I raised it to 35 on the button with ace queen. I expected to just pick up the blinds but got two callers. However they both check folded post flop, and the pot was mine.

1:55 AM. Boom. Just like that it's over.

If it was a Tyson fight then I was Michael Spinks.

I don't get "knocked out" that often but when it happens it sure feels like a fighter walking into a punch.

My only regret, and perhaps the reason why I shouldn't play short, is that when I'm low in chips I tend to make plays or stay in hands that I think I might pass on with a larger stack.

With the smaller stack, I overplay any made hand. It's not that this is wrong. It just causes more variance. Like with the small stack I'm happy to push my medium pocket pairs and race an ace king preflop. With the small stack I'm happy to reraise all in with top pair postflop. With the small stack I feel way more comfortable jamming a draw on the flop or turn. You get the idea. I can be way more courageous because there's way less money at stake.

Here's the specific hand that sent me home:

I'm sitting in big blind with 3,9 suited. (Or as I call it, The Fast Willie Parker.)

No one raises me out preflop and I flop a flush draw. We check it around.

Turn comes and I hit the flush. I happily put 60 bucks out there and am glad to have company. However the 3rd player in the hand raises it to 120. 60 more.

With a big stack, I'm not sure how deep I go here. I only have a 9 high flush and I really can't tell for sure if the guy who raised me just has a big club and is semibluffing, or if he hit a flush and is already there. That mini-raise could make sense coming from either hand. In fact it almost makes more sense to me coming from someone holding the ace of clubs. Trying to build a pot in case it comes. If he already held the nut flush, some players might just call here and hope we bet it again on the river. But not this guy. He's reraising on the turn.

However my decision here was easily influenced by my stack size. Having bought in short, I can't lay down here. My stack is smaller than the pot. The only question is whether to call or raise.

If I just call him here I still have 190 bucks in front of me. I decide that is my best play. A reraise isn't going to get him to fold. If a 4th club comes on the river, I will just have to give up on the hand, save my 190 bucks and trust that I am beat. However if no 4th club comes I decide I am going to go all in with my remaining $190. If I'm beat, I'm beat.

The river comes and misses the 4 card flush draw. Nice.

Since I'm going to call if he pushes all in here, I decide to lead with it. It's not a great play in that I'm not giving him the chance to bluff if he's behind. But if he has a flush smaller than 9, he's gonna call. And likewise I'm not going to get a bigger flush to fold here. I just don't have enough chips for that.

So I follow my plan and push. He calls behind me which means I must be beat. However he makes me turn over my cards first, before showing the table his ace high flush. Nice hand sir!

Sometimes when I lose a hand like this it feels dumb to have played a 9 high flush. But if I'm going to fear that, then I can't play suited connectors anymore. And I love those cards. I think losing a hand like this to a higher flush is just part of doing business with suited cards.

I will add that I find it interesting that this hand presented itself after I bought in short. (How does the universe know?)

Most of all it's too bad I lost my chips because I felt good and was ready to put in a nice long session.

But I guess it got late real early for me tonight.

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