I’m back home after 5 longish days in LaLaLand.
I didn’t go near a computer while away, so being back and feeling the need to catch up on my reading is a bit daunting. I have looked to see what I have missed in my daily blog-cruising ritual, and I see that others have been typing away, telling tales of woe and joy, posting pics and quotes. I skimmed, yet I promise to those who know that I read their blogs, I will catch up. I am also faced with having to write something myself, yet it appears I’ve forgotten how to type, which is a bit frustrating because I have approximately five stories I could tell… if I was so motivated. I’m not necessarily tired but I am exhausted and would rather zone for a bit. An extended LaLa, if you will.
I suppose some adjustment is to be expected. Nevertheless, I will attempt to get something down and hope my spell check saves me some embarrassment (and as always, grammar be damned!).
Or, I could just log on to a poker site right now and forget about writing… No, as a compromise, I will share a poker story.
The first night away I went through a bit of withdrawal from poker and writing, two essential parts of my daily routine. And, sleeping in a strange bed, I had a poker dream that I awoke from, certain an excellent and insightful essay was to be found in the hand. By morning, the enthusiasm had waned for 86off from middle position. Imagine that.
I have a brother-in-law and a cousin-in-law who are both very good poker players. Whenever we talk long distance, it is usually about poker; and when we get together, a trip to a poker room is planned. Wednesday afternoon we went to Hollywood Park for some down and dirty.
For those of you who have been to HP, you know that I am not exaggerating by calling this place a dive. The carpets haven’t been cleaned in years, the banquet chairs around each table are threadbare and soiled, and the felts have no feel left in them. The clientele largely is equally grimy. Not all of them, but enough of them to make for a colorful room. The place was sold and slated for the wrecking ball a couple years ago, destined to be replaced by houses until the housing market went under. Whoever owns it now is just waiting for the spots to be worn off the cards.
I didn’t take notes on what games were spread, yet I know that there was Limit, NL and Omaha of various levels of buy-in. I sat down at a $2/$3/$100 game. I hate a game with 33 BB to start, but moving up wasn’t an answer for all games had the same stupid cap. I heard no less than three players comment that one can’t really begin to play poker there until one doubles up. A fair assessment.
That being said, the two tables I played at were soft, soft, soft. I wish I could say that I made money, which may very well mean that I added to that texture. I had five hands worth mentioning:
Early on and from late-middle position I limped with AJs. Two others had limped before me. The Button raised it to $12 and I was the third caller. The flop had two Aces, it was checked to me and I bet $10, a small bet, to be sure. The Button called. Both the turn and river were blanks, and each time I bet another $10, each time flat-called by the Button. He showed AK! I lost a bit of money on that hand, but all things considered, it could have been worse. Why he just smooth-called to river is beyond me.
I re-bought and started to rebuild. I caught an 11-outer on the river for a good-sized pot and was almost even. Then, a good deal of time and crappy cards went by while I watched one player after another stack off with incredibly bad plays. Finally, I was able to check my BB with pocket fives. The flop was 567 and I led out with an overbet. UTG and UTG+1 were also in the hand. UTG raised! Huh? Strangely enough, I didn’t put him on a bigger set, not only because it is a rarity, but because of how he had played a previous hand. I had seen him do the same thing on a draw and thought it might be the case again. Still I could not be 100% certain that I was ahead. UTG+1 goes into the tank, and after about 3 minutes he puts all of his $55 or so in the middle. There’s $100 or so in the pot, and I have about that much behind. I also have UTG covered, so I jammed. He called with the rest of his stack. The turn is a 3 and the river is an 8. UTG has 89s and UTG+1 has 9Joff. They split and I am left with about $30.
The next hand my pocket sixes hold up in a race with AK and I double up. Then Mr. 9Joff calls me to the river with third pair (7s) against my Kings and I’m down about half a buy-in. My brother-in-law decides to call it a night after his 2nd nut flush loses to a turned straight flush and, after cashing out, I walk him out.
On the way out he advises me that I should try to get a seat at the table he had been at. I immediately drop $50, but just like before, I recover and am soon above even. My cousin gives me a sign from the $5/$10 game that he is almost ready to go home (20 minutes), so I tighten up and wait.
A middle position player raises to $11. This guy is aggressive, yet I can’t help but notice he is bleeding. I am on the Button and no one has called. I look down to see A8s. Should I call? Nah, not without any other callers, so I fold. The SB and BB call. 78833. Yep. Huge pot. I have JJ in the SB and get to limp in with 5 other players in the hand. A on the flop and I’m gone. A 9 was also in the flop, which paired the winner of another sizable pot. Oh well. Time to go anyway.
I cashed out and sweated my cousin for another hour. He left up a grand. Me? Down $60. But I’d go back in a heartbeat.
OH! I nearly forgot! The fifth hand: I was in middle position and the guy to my right, a really, really tight player raised to $18. Holy moly! I have 86s! Man, I wanted to call! The flop is all my suit. He showed Queens.