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December 21, 2009

I’m not going to sugarcoat this. It’s been a painful and expensive weekend.

After my losses at Aria on Friday night, I thought I’d try to recoup by heading to the Venetian for some Saturday night poker action. Of course, this was after my buddy Ernest and I dropped a few hundred each playing $25 double-deck blackjack at the Rio. Yeah, I got the expected results at a negative EV game. Who woulda thunk it?

Anyway, after the Rio debacle, we made our way to the Strip where we each got seats in $1-$2 games. The room was amazingly quiet and as empty as I’ve seen it on a weekend. Ernie’s table seemed livelier than my first, which was the slowest most painful experience I’ve had in a card room in quite a while. Every player took a minute or more to complete even the simplest action, and my $300 buy-in easily covered every other stack on the table. After one excruciating orbit, I managed a table change to a more suitable table.

Things got off to a rocky start when, in the first hand I played, I picked up AK in middle position and raised it up. I got called by the button and we saw a flop of Q-Q-9. I made a standard continuation bet and got a call. We both checked a 10 on the turn and I checked the third Queen that landed on the river. My opponent bet out for $60 and, given the pot size, I reluctantly made the call. He, of course, had the Queen. I made that money back – plus a little more – when I limped with pocket 5s on the very next hand and flopped my set on a board of A-5-Q rainbow. My opponent led out for $20 and I flatted, and was thrilled to see the As appear on the turn. He bet $50 and I again called behind. The river brought a 7 and he check-called my $100 bet, putting himself all in. My house was enough to take down his Ace-Jack.

Then, things turned to shit.

On the next orbit, I picked up Kc-Kd under-the-gun and made a raise to $7. I got four callers, including an older Asian gentleman on the button. I didn’t love the flop of 8s-9s-Jd, but put out a $25 bet anyway. Two players folded behind and the button raised to $85. I reluctantly made the call and was both thrilled and disgusted when the turn brought the 10s. I checked and the button moved all in, giving me an easy fold. He showed the Qs after I mucked my Kings face up. Good fold me.

That hand wouldn’t have been so bad if Kings were the only big pair that went bad for me. Unfortunately, they weren’t. Sometime later, I picked up Aces in the hi-jack and raised to $11. I got a couple of callers, including one of the more solid players on the button. I led out for $35 on a flop of 7-2-2 rainbow and the button called. The 9s hit the turn and I bet another $60 before the button moved all in for an additional $115. I quickly called and he turned over 9c-7s for a worse two pair. The turn brought a brick, but river gave him his two outer as the 9h landed on the board, and my stack was suddenly quite short. FML.

I reloaded and quickly mixed it up with the Spanish maniac on my right who made a $16 pre-flop raise from early position. I’d watched him raise huge with all sorts of crap throughout the night, so I came along with K-Q off just to see a flop, which fell Q-5-7. The maniac bet $15 and, sensing weakness, I raised to $55. He came along and shoved when the Kd fell on the turn. Figuring I had him crushed, I quickly called only to have him table pocket 7s for a flopped set. FML – again.

As bad as that was, I still had one more ugly hand to play. This time, I raised the action to $21 from the button with AK after seven players limped into the pot in front of me. The big blind – who was completely clueless and couldn’t follow any of the action on the table all night – flat called, as did a player in middle position. When the flop came K-8-5 rainbow, the big blind shoved for his last $70, the third player folded and I called. What did I run into? Aces, of course.

So, all-in-all, it was a painful night of grinding in a nearly dead room. I still feel happy with my play, despite the results, but I’m thinking that the rest of the year isn’t going to be much better than my last two sessions and it may be time to quit the tables until January. Saying that, you can probably count on seeing another poker-related post sometime this week because as we all know, I’m a glutton for punishment.

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