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Ugly Becomes OK

April 11, 2009

My last couple of sessions at the Venetian haven’t been pretty. In a couple of hands, I made bad reads and in a few others, I took some bad beats. Either way, the bankroll went downhill and I wasn’t happy. After taking a few days off, I returned to the tables on Friday night and things really didn’t improve.

I bought in for my usual $300 and found myself at one of the most boring tables I’ve ever encountered. No one was talking. No one was having any fun and, no one had a huge stack. That said, the level of play was such that decent pots were developing and there was some profit potential to be had.

My night got off to a slow start, with me winning and losing a few smallish pots over the first 40 minutes. There was really nothing – and no one – exciting until my first big hand of the night came up. I was sitting with about $200 in middle position with Queen-Jack of diamonds, and decided to pop the action to $10. I got two callers, including the small blind and the player on my immediate right. On a flop of Queen-9-9 with two hearts, the action checked to me and I bet out for $25. Both opponents called. The turn brought the Jack of clubs, and the small blind took the lead this time, betting out for $35. The player on my right flat called and I considered my action. I assumed at least one of them was on the flush draw and I was really only fearful of a 9 in somebody’s hand, so I pushed for $150. When the small blind called, I knew I’d found the 9. The player on my right thought it over for a few seconds before folding, and I knew I’d found the flush draw too. When the river blanked out, I turned over my three pair (Queens, Jacks and 9s) and the small blind turned over Jack-9 for the turned boat. Rebuy!

Queen-Jack hurt me again an orbit later when I picked up the hand in the small blind. Five of us saw a limped flop and I was pretty happy when it came Queen-Jack-7. I led out for $10 and got three callers. The turn was the Ace of clubs and again, I led out, this time for $40. Everyone except the small blind folded. The river was a blank and the small blind checked again. I bet out $50 and he called, turning over King-10 off for the turned straight. Ouch. Down another $100. After that, things got kind of quiet for awhile. I dropped a few more small pots until the next “interesting” hand came up.

Let state right at the beginning – I got extremely lucky here. The player in the 5 seat had been consistently raising my big blinds and I was, frankly, getting irritated. An orbit earlier, I had decided I was going to play back at him with any two cards when I picked up King-3 off-suit. As usual, a couple of players limped and the 5 seat popped it to $15. Before I could even think about cutting my chips, the old lady sitting in the six seat (who was, in a word, horrible) flat called the raise. Shit. Now, I could still re-pop the action if I wanted but, considering how weak my hand was, I decided to muck and look for another spot. The rest of the table folded and the flop came 3-3-10. Mother!@#$!!!. Grandma checked, the 5 seat bet out, and she insta-mucked. As the 5 seat scooped the pot, she turned to me and said “I missed again. Ace-King is just no good.” Argh!!!

On the next orbit, three or four players limped again and the 5 seat again popped the action to $15 from the button. This time, Grandma folded and I looked down at 10-5 off-suit in the big blind. WTF – I said I was going to play back with any two cards, so I reached into my stack and cut out $60. The action folded around to the four seat who tanked for about 10 seconds before limp-calling my raise. Huh?

The 5 seat tanked behind and then reluctantly mucked his hand. I can’t say I was particularly happy with how this hand was playing out, though I did feel a little better when I caught top pair on the flop. Still, with a shitty kicker and the player behind me left to act after flat calling a $58 pre-flop raise, I decided to check. When he checked behind, I felt a little better about my hand and then, when a third 10 fell on the turn, I bet $55, which was enough to put him all in. He insta-called and when the river put a 4 on the board, I sheepishly tabled my three 10s while he turned up pocket Queens.  Yeah, I’m a donkey.

That hand brought me back to about $300 on the table, which meant I was still down one buy-in. The hand also started a small rush where I took two good pots off of the 3 seat and, in the space of about 15 minutes, added another $150 to my stack. I was still in the red, but I felt like I’d at least stemmed the heavy bleeding when I picked up pocket Jacks in the big blind. As usual, five players, including the UTG+1 limped before the action got back to me, and I quickly threw an additional $13 into the pot. UTG +1 and two other players called.

On a flop of Q-10-8 rainbow, I led out for $35. UTG +1 called and the other two players folded. The turn was beautiful – the 9 of diamonds – filling in my gutterball straight draw. I thought for a few seconds before betting $80. UTG +1 gave the board a quick glance and then insta-shoved for just over $400. What the? I double checked the board trying to figure out if I’d mis-read anything. Nope. I still had the straight. Could UTG +1 really be playing King-Jack here? I didn’t think so and, at worst, I figured I was calling for a chop. Which I did.

“You have the straight?” he asked.

“Yup,” I replied, tabling my Jacks.

“Nice hand” he said and I think my jaw almost hit the table when he tabled Aces. He was drawing nearly dead, needing one of the two remaining Jacks for a chop. When a King fell on the river, I scooped the $900+ monster and suddenly found myself up a buy-in on the session.

Figuring it was best to leave this table while I was ahead, I decided to play one more orbit before racking up. I only got involved in one more hand during that time when I raised from middle position with Ace-Jack suited (crubs!). The flop was beautiful, coming King-8-7 with two more clubs. After betting the flop and getting called by the four seat, I picked up a gut-shot straight draw to go along with my nut-flush draw. I bet another $35 and again got called. I couldn’t hit a single out on the river and, when a second King fell, I checked my hand. When the four seat shoved all-in for his last $40, my cards hit the muck.

Somewhere in the middle of the session, CK found her way into the poker room and took a seat at the neighboring table. Her night wasn’t going much better and, after I returned from a bathroom break, I discovered that she had gotten so tilted that she’d picked up and gone to blow off steam at the Let It Ride game on the main floor. When she finally returned, she’d made all of her money back – plus a little extra – after hitting a full house good for about $650. She runs good at negative EV games. Figuring it was time to go while the getting was good, we booked an early exit from the Venetian and hit my local pub for a couple of post-session drinks before finally heading our separate ways.

Overall, I can’t really say I was pleased with the session even though I did post a small profit for the night. I didn’t make any really horrible reads, but I didn’t feel sharp either. And, of the two big pots I won, luck played a pretty big factor in both. Sure, you have to put yourself in a position to get lucky, but still, I don’t feel like I really played as well as I’m capable of. Still, a win is a win, and I won’t complain.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 13, 2009 5:50 am

    For some strange reason, I run goot at Let It Ride.

    You missed some crazy action at Red Rock on Saturday.

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