Sunday, January 01, 2006

Taking a Shot At The Big Game

Using the excuse of I had not had a losing session since I put the wedding ring on my finger, I thought I would take a little step up in limits to the 6-12 game at Gila River.

Right away, a bald guy sat down on my right that I had played against a couple of days earlier at the 4-8 table. He was someone who I wanted to stay away from. I don't think he's a great player necessarily, but he tends to be in pots with good cards and I don't think he's afraid to lay down a hand when he's beat. In other words, if I win any money off of him, it won't be much.

After a few rounds of blinds, my basic conclusion is that the players are still bad, just not as horrible as the low limit players. They will play A-10 under the gun, while a bad 3-6 player will play any Ace. There was a lot of raising preflop, but mostly it was due to the aggressive player in the 9 seat. He had a great personality and was obviously there to have fun. Just the type of player I like at my table.

Overall, I was not getting the best cards on night so there was probably no way I was going to come out a winner. However, there was one mistake I made over and over again.

Do not call a raise with Ace-Jack. Let me say this again.....DO NOT CALL A RAISE WITH ACE-JACK!!!!!!!!

I lost every time I was dealt these two evil cards. 1/2 the time I missed the flop and had to fold after calling 2 preflop. Once my Jack with top kicker was beat by Aces. Another time, my Ace with Jack kicker was beat by the Ace with Queen kicker. I chopped one pot when I paired the Ace but the board paired at the end. The player with the low Ace, was saved by the King on the flop which became the kicker for the Aces over 5's.

Another time, a player who was raising with crap came in for a raise again. I was on the button and just called because I was beat up (probably not the best reason for a decision). The flop had two Queens and a low card. The preflop raiser led out again. The flop looked pretty ragged and I was willing to gamble that he did not have a Queen. Plus I had a back door nut flush draw. My plan was to call the bet on the flop with the intention of raising the turn. The turn was another club giving me 4 to the flush but it was another low card. He bet out, but I decided that I would just call now to see if I hit the flush. If I get it on the end, I will raise him then. The river is another Ace. Once again he leads out.

My read is that he does not have a Queen. It's probably a medium pocket pair. Because he raised preflop and led out on every other street, there's a decent chance he has something better that just two pair. So I just make the crying call and he turns over Queen-7 for 3 of a kind. Ugh!

On a positive note. A few times the table got short handed, once even down to 5 players. I played very well short handed. I stepped up my aggressiveness and was raising in position and lead betting second pair. I actually made it into the black before the table filled up again. Once we got to 9 handed again, it all fell apart.

So after 5 hours of poker, I was down $217. Not a major loss, just enough to sting a little. One of these days I will step up in limits and actually be lucky enough to get some cards and make a score. I hope it happens in 2006.

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