Monday, December 24, 2007

The Tide Finally Turns

Remember all the bad beats I was taking when I played in the live casinos? I said that variance was going to swing the other way eventually and I would hate to be at my table when it does.

I just got home for a quick trip to Vegas with my wife and I doubled my poker bankroll. I booked a win of $640 in 2.5 hours of poker!

My wife and I decided to celebrate our two year anniversary by going back to Las Vegas, the site of our wedding. Now that we have a baby, we enjoy the very simple things on vacation. The ability to sleep in or take a nap whenever we want. We can go to a movie or a nice dinner. We did all of that and Michele sent me down to the Venetian poker room at 8:00 PM.

I immediately sat down at a 1-2 No Limit table and bought in short for $100. I wanted to see a couple of rotations before I put another $100 on the table. My second hand of the night, I am in the big blind with 4c 6c. An early position player raises to $7 and three other people call behind him and I call in the big blind.

The flop is 4s-4h-As. I lead out for $20 to try and build a pot, figuring that someone probably has an Ace and I want to protect my hand from the flush draw. The original raiser calls, a couple of guys fold, and the button after some deliberation, folds and accidently shows his hand which was A-7. Ok I guess my opponent is on a flush draw.

The turn is the 6 of spades which is perfect. It gives me the full house and gives him a possible flush. I try to look a little disappointed as I check. He bets $30 and I ponder for a moment and then call.

The river was nothing and I have to figure out whether to bet or go for the check raise. I decide to get greedy and go for the check and he cooperates and bets $40. I raise the rest of my chips which is only like $11 more for him to call and he shows Js-8s. What a crappy raising hand! So I more than double up after 2 hands.

A couple of hands later, I raise in late position with pocket 10's. The same guy calls after limping under the gun. The flop is K-8-4 rainbow. He checks and I fire a continuation bet. He looks me up and down and calls. The turn is another ten, giving me three of a kind. He checks again and I make another 1/2 pot sized bet which he calls. The river is nothing and he check folds.

I won a couple more small pots off the same guy with underpairs or even Ace high. I had position on him in every hand and it really paid off. I left for a bathroom break and when I got back, a new player was cleaning out my "favorite". He got up and left and I thought my night might be a little tougher.

I maintained a steady stack for about an hour when I won the biggest pot of my poker career. The black man on my left limped in which started a rash of other limpers. The button raised to $7. I'll never understand why he would do that when he knows everyone is going to call. I had seen him raise that same amount with Queens earlier. The small blind folded and I looked down at two black Kings.

I definitely need to thin the herd so I raise to $30. Now the black guy on my left thinks for a little bit and calls, another limper calls, and the button calls. Already this pot is out of control. I have $310 behind and the pot is over $120 and I am out of position.

The flop is 8 high with two spades. I am not in the mood to fuck around and I bet $100. Now the black guy on my left goes in the tank for a little while and decides to make it $200 to go. Fuck! I would have been happy taking it down right there. One of the prefolp callers takes a long time to fold and the button makes a show of his fold and it's back to me.

Earlier I had seen this guy raise on a flush draw. If he has that, then I need to push all in. If he has a set, I am screwed although I do have the King of spades so that could come back to save me. I decide to push in my remaining $211 and he hesitates a little and then calls.

I turn over my Kings, but he exercises his option not to turn over his cards. Since he's not in a hurry to show me his hand I figure I must have him beat. But I want to know what cards I need to sweat! Turn it over dammit!

The turn is a beautiful red King and the river is a Queen. It turns out he shows me pocket Queens for the slap in the face river card for him. My three Kings are good and I rake a HUUUUUGE pot. Just over $700.

My heart was leaping out of my chest. That rush is why so many people love this game.

Now the issue was, "Should I leave this game?". I did not outplay him in this hand, I just got lucky that my Kings were higher than his pocket pair. The table was relatively soft, but I was stuck between two decent players. Also I knew that I had just doubled my bankroll and it was very tempting to just quit and say I won $600.

I played a few more hands and then got up to think about what I should do. I had literally won all this money in 90 minutes. I drove for 5 hours to Vegas mainly so I could play some poker and I felt like I was cheating myself if I didn't at least keep playing for a while.

I told myself that I would protect $500 and play with the $200. If I lost that, I would quit. I lasted about another hour, mainly folding. I even folded Ac Qd to a $20 raise preflop by the guy on my right. I knew he had 10's or Jacks because he had over raised preflop with that hand two times already. I just did not want to play my hand with so many players behind me. Turns out I would have missed the flop anyway.

After an hour of this bankroll strategy, I could not get the fear of losing my big profit out of my head and I decided to rack up and go to bed. I had maintained my stack and cashed out for $711. Subtract my initial $100 buy in and that is $611 in profit.

Just as a throw away the next day I cashed in my $15 free slot play voucher and won an additional $30. My wife did even better by hitting a $200 jackpot on the nickel slots. The VQ team could not lose!

Now I have close to $1,300 in the bankroll. It will be interesting to see if I can continue to build it by moving up to .50-$1 NL.

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