Friday, April 09, 2021

Living the Bipolar Poker Life

Although I have not been blogging much or talking much on social media about my poker play, I have actually had quite a few sessions since moving to Arizona, all but two at the Talking Stick Resort. I had never been close enough to a poker room nor had the time to play on a regular basis, but that all changed since the move.

As much as I would love to say that I have been killing it every session, the truth is that I am streaky in my sessions as I learn what it is like to play regularly in a room. I started out with a great winning streak and expected to win virtually every session. Ha! Unfortunately, that was followed by a nasty losing streak which brought me back to reality. Of course, LOSING is not nearly as much fun as winning, u see. 😃

I got back in a winning cycle, but I seemed to struggle. I had unreal periods of being card dead and missing every flop. I took my share of knees to the nuts on the river when I was ahead.  I was getting quite an education - one I had never gotten before. I was learning which players and tables to avoid and when the best times to play would be. I also tried to keep this all from dominating my life. It has certainly been challenging,  but it was part of the retirement/moving to Arizona package I wanted. The move has worked out really really well.

I spent the first 30 years of my life being continually involved in many sports at many different levels. Poker, for me, has always stoked that competitive fire. I have worked hard at regulating mood swings based on poker results. However, that is still a work in progress.

Three days ago, I was at a table that seemed to be perfect. The players were not afraid to splash chips with obviously second-best hands. I flopped a set of 5s and was anticipating a big payoff. There was a flush draw and possible straight draw on the board after the turn, so I overbet the pot with a $200 raise. I was surprised when it was called. Nut flush draw? One thing I quickly learned at the Stick is that nobody ever folds a nut flush draw. The river appeared to be a harmless Queen. The rest of my stack was headed for the pot. I was shocked to see that my opponent was chasing the nut flush and instead lucked out by hitting a gunshot straight. All of the beautiful pot of about $900 went to him instead of me. I just wasn't in the mood for that and yanked out my charger cord and wished the table luck as I quickly left the room. One of the players came out to get me since we were waiting on a share of a bonus jackpot. I was appreciative of that. After getting my chips, I cashed out and headed toward home, just feeling really discouraged. I stopped off at a favorite drink shop and got myself some milk tea with boba to soothe the pain.

After dinner, I was feeling a little better. Then that night or the next day I read a Doyle Brunson tweet about getting past a bad run in poker. It was helpful in getting me back to normal. I decided to hit the poker room yesterday afternoon.

After a 60-90 minute wait, I was seated at a new $3/$300 table at Talking Stick. A player two to my left was very aggressive, and the player on my immediate right had just won an $800 electronic Keno jackpot and was determined to play like a mad man. Very early on while I was getting used to the table, I passed on calling a $31 raise with my pocket 6s. Of course, a 6 came on the flop. I was cursing in my head until I saw that the mad man had flopped a set of Kings. I would have been felted if I had called his raise. Was this a sign?

A few hands later I called a raise with K-Q on. The flop was Queen high and a big bet won me the pot. I was on my way. 

A few hands later, I flopped a set of 3s. I was in a pot with the aggressive player and the mad man. The turn brought a diamond draw and the mad man suspected I was drawing. He raised, I reraised and got all my money in. He called and asked "Do you have a set?" I told him I did. He was protecting his two pair and doubled me up as I felted him. I was feeling good at that point.

A few hands later, I flopped a set of 7s on a  board of 3-4-7 rainbow. I raised after the flop and the aggressive guy put in a big reraise. Could he have called the preflop raise with something like 6-5 sooted? Since he had been very aggressive, I was guessing that perhaps he had an overpair. I reraised and we got all our money in. After the turn and river he flipped over his cards: pocket 3s or 4s. Set over set. Second time this had happened to him. I now had a big stack and decided that I'd stick around while the mad man was still there. He eventually left and I stayed at the table for a bit. Then I remembered how many times I saw the cards quickly turn on someone and decimate a stack. I decided to cash out with what was my biggest profit since moving to Arizona. I stopped at my favorite drink shop on my way home to celebrate. The milk tea never tasted so good.

So ... I am learning. And, surprisingly, I have gained more respect for Tony Bigcharles and his ability to consistently win at these lower levels of poker. Imagine that.

In less than a week, I am heading to Las Vegas at the same time as my buddy @nickg_96. We hope to meet up with some of our Las Vegas homies for a few sessions of fun poker.

Life is good! Thanks for reading. 👍❤


Blogger Zourah said...

Great write up - enjoy Vegas!

2:40 PM  
Blogger BuzzedSaw said...

When you write that you learned what tables to avoid, are you suggesting that certain tables are unlucky?

I lived in LV for 10 years but it wasn't until the last 2.5 of them that I figured out it wasn't just about putting in the hours at the table. After I adjusted my schedule to only play when there were a minimum number of tables going at my stakes (my threshold was a minimum of 6 $1/$2 games), my hourly win rate nearly tripled. This allowed the local grinders to be spread out rather than concentrated and ensured there were enough recreational players to exploit.

Good fortune to you, sir.

6:46 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

@BuzzedSaw - I chuckled when I read your comment. I was referring to tables that have very good regs against whom I've struggled. Some of the better ones begin in the morning and are usually at the lower numbered tables. I always hope when I begin that a new table is starting.

I still have a very long way to go. I am okay, but not nearly as good as I would like to be or hope to be with more time invested at the tables. Trying to keep a balance in my life has also been a work in progress.

Thanks for your informative comment. 👍

1:15 PM  
Blogger BuzzedSaw said...

I'm glad to hear you don't suffer from that form of magical thinking.

When I first got to LV, I tried to befriend some of the more experienced grinders to learn the things you don't find in books. One older fellow showed me his notes; he claimed that certain seats ran hot and would frequently table/seat change in order to try and sit in a "lucky" seat. I learned then that just because someone had been playing for a while didn't mean they had learned much about the game. I'm a firm believer that it's unlucky to be superstitious.

3:54 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

@BuzzedSaw I still like to have fun, though. I did keep one favorite hand that I play when I can. Easy to play. Easy to let go. I'd much rather play it than hands that tend to be trouble, like A-Q.

5:31 PM  

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