Right now I am running good. Great even.
Now, for every report or article about somebody on a rush, you’ll probably see a hundred from somebody running bad. For every story you hear about a great hand, you’ll probably get 200 bad-beat stories. And there’s no surprise why this is so: nobody wants to hear somebody brag, misery loves company, bad-beat stories are more fun to tell, etc. Maybe the biggest one is that people are afraid of jinxing themselves.
But what’s poker about if not risking fate a little, hmmm?
Now that we’re on the subject, one of the interesting things I’ve noticed is how rarely my worst sessions seem to correspond with my worst bad beats. When you imagine a terrible night at the tables the hands that spring to mind are usually opponents hitting their longshot kickers or gutshot draws on the river.
But during my Summer of Doom Losing Streak (as it was known to the folks who handle my bank account and credit card cash advances) it was more like the waves slowly washing away the sand rather than a tsunami crashing down and destroying the village. Basically I’d sit down at a table and raise some big-ace hands only to see them miss the slothoki , fold some middle pocket pairs when overcards fell, hit my top-pair on the flop only to get out-kicked or fold when overcards came on the turn and river…basically the kinds of hands that you can barely remember playing 20 minutes later, except that you look down at your stack and find it about 15 big bets short after less than an hour.
And in the same sort of way, I’ve had big nights at the table without ever getting a hand higher than two pair. Just a nice steady diet of big-pair big-kicker or aces up to keep that stack building, while that guy who flopped two nut flushes in about five minutes ended up reaching for his wallet within 90. That’s kind of what’s been happening to me over the last few weeks: just steady session after steady session, playing smart, not forcing the draws, and picking up steady win after win, five straight sessions.
And then came last night.
Folks, I was only playing last night because they had a big screen to watch the Yanks/Sox game; by the time I found out that it was a rainout, I was already there, looking at several tables of $10-$20 players I knew I could beat. I didn’t win a hand for the first half-hour…and then I didn’t lose one. I don’t know how Wilt felt the night he scored 100 or Don Larsen when he pitched his perfect game, but it couldn’t have been much different.
Some choice highlights:
On two consecutive rounds I’m in the big blind with pocket pairs (3’s & 8’s) when the pot is raised by one of the older rocks who frequent the club. Both times I flop a set and turn a full house, getting called all the way by overpairs and raking monster pots. I raise AK suited and get two callers, including one who ends up all-in on the turn.
I hit two of my suit on the flop, but miss completely on the turn and river, ultimately turning over my nut-no-pair. Can either other player beat me? Somehow, miraculously, no.
Seven-handed unraised, I’m in the small blind with 56. The flop comes A37, giving me a gutshot but no reason whatsoever to call a bet. For perhaps the only time that night, there is no bet. The free card is a 4, and I win some undeserved cash.
Two off the button I decide to open the betting with a raise on my admittedly lousy T6s, hoping to steal the blinds. Instead, the button three-bets and the big blind cold-calls, with me following. Ten on the flop, ten on the turn (on which I’m check-raised), six on the river…I drag down another monster as the big blind shows QT.
The super-sucked-out QT guy straddles shortly after. It’s three-bet by an older rock, I reraise with my pocket tens. Jack-high on the flop (I bet, he calls), Queen on the turn (I bet, he calls), and the only thing I can hope he has is AK…which he turns over when I don’t bet the rag river.
And, of course, numerous unmentioned top-pair-good-kicker winning hands, for a few chips here and there.
And then it was 11:30. The time charge was minutes away, I was under the gun, and I instinctively decided to book the win. I gather up racks to carry my chips, and somehow manage to resist whooping before I head back onto the street. Over 60 big bet profit in four hours…not a bad hourly rate if I can stick to it. And I managed to get most of it into the bank before I got suckered into a seemingly juicy $30-$60 game.