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Red Dawn

September 5, 2009

To be honest, it was a red night too.

After a long hiatus, I decided to play a real session at the Venetian on Friday night. It didn’t go as I’d hoped. It’s not that my table was tough – it wasn’t too bad – just that nothing I tried seemed to work. About 15 minutes into my night, I lost my first big pot of the night when I flopped top two on a board of Ac-Qc-Js. My opponent, a hyper-aggressive woman in the 4 seat bet about two-thirds of the pot and I re-raised enough to put her in. She insta-called while doing her best Jamie Gold impression. “Top, top” she said, tabling Kc-10c for Broadway with the royal redraw. FML. I couldn’t hit one of my four outs to steal the pot away and that fast, I’d lost two thirds of my initial buy in.

A few more inconsequential hands finished off the rest of my stack and I reloaded for another $300. Again, the cards just didn’t fall my way and I lost another decent pot when I made a solid call with two pair and a gutshot against my opponent’s flush draw and straight draw. When the Kh landed on the turn, he ended up with a better two pair and a sizable portion of my second stack. I nursed my second buy in for awhile, before bleeding the rest of those chips off.

Now usually, after dropping $600 I would lick my wounds and call it a night. But I just wasn’t in that mood last night. For one thing, I hadn’t played live in quite awhile and I was enjoying sitting at the table. For another, I didn’t feel like I was playing badly or outclassed at the table. I was getting unlucky, which was annoying in a whole different way. Not to say that all of my luck was bad.

In fact, things changed on my first hand with my third buy in. I was in the small blind when a player in early position made a standard raise to $10. Two players called and the button raised to $40 before the action moved to me and I looked down to find pocket Aces. Knowing I wanted action, I raised to $110, which pushed everyone but the button out of the pot. He considered his action for a moment before raising all in. I, of course, insta-called and he turned over pocket Queens. My hand, miraculously, held up and I quickly regained a buy in.

Somewhere along the line, a new player joined the table immediately on the right in the three seat. He was a young local kid with a pretty solid game, and we quickly struck up a fairly friendly conversation. He was also pretty aggressive, raising a huge range of hands in position. We didn’t exactly stay out of each other’s way, but we did tend to respect one another’s bets. Most of the time.

After having him raise my blinds a number of times when I couldn’t even think about defending, I finally decided to take a stand with the might hand of Ace-6 off. We started the hand with near equal stacks when he raised to $15 from the small blind, I re-popped the action to $50 from the big. He came along and then checked a flop of Queen-Queen-5 with two diamonds. I figured a decent bet could take the pot right there, and led for $125. He considered his action for a few seconds before re-popping me to $350, which was, frankly, a brilliant bet. I couldn’t just call and hope to get lucky and with our stacks, I really didn’t have enough to push him off his hand. Reluctantly, I folded and he showed Ace-King of diamonds. My timing, as usual, was impeccable as it was obvious he wasn’t going anywhere with that hand. And, just like that, I was back down to about $500. To make matters worse, I picked up Ace-King on the very next hand and lost when my top two couldn’t beat Broadway. Bye bye to another $150.

Somehow, I managed not to tilt and I again went about the process of trying to rebuild. I was able to steal a few pots from some of the tightest players at the table, and I rivered a flush good for nearly $200 to lift my stack back up to about $600. Then, I took out the the hyper-aggressive woman in seat five. She had lost most of her stack about 40 minutes earlier and was sitting on about $140 when I picked up pocket 10s under the gun. I made a standard raise to $10 and she called. When the flop fell 4-10-7, I led for the pot and she shoved. I made the call and we opened the hands. my set was well ahead of her 5h-6h, but wouldn’t you know it, the 8c fell on the turn to complete her straight. Before I could even utter FML though, the case 10 landed on the river and I re-sucked out with quads.

After that hand, things quieted down again as I picked up a steady stream of crap like King-3, Queen-2 and Jack-4. I hovered around $700 until near the end of the night when my buddy in the three seat and I got involved again. This time, I was in the small blind with pocket 6s and just flat called his $15 button raise. The flop was pretty good for my hand, coming 4-5-10. I check-called his $30 bet and picked up a straight draw when the 3h fell on the turn. This time, I bet out for $60 and he pushed for his last $120. I thought about the action for awhile and, after convincing myself he really didn’t have the 10, made the call. I was right and when his Ace-9 failed to connect on the river, I took the pot and brought myself back to even on the night.

I should have called it a night right then and there, and in fact, I decided that I would leave when my big blind came around again. That was a few hands too late though, as I picked up King-Queen on the button and proceeded to lose about $60 when my two pair fell to my opponent’s pocket Kings. After that hand, I really did call it a night (morning) and racked up $828 worth of chips of and bills – $72 less than I started the session with. Considering I was never in the black all night and was, at my low point, down about $750, I consider that a moral victory if not a financial one. Now my goal is to actually make some money at the table tonight.

Wish me luck. I apparently need all I can get.

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