Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sublime Symmetry

'Be careful what you wish for', as the saying goes.

Poker conversations have become quite a feature of our trips to the football over the last couple of seasons. It was no different yesterday, as Celtic dismissed Hibs to move within touching distance of a second successive SPL triumph.

With less than scintillating football on display, I spent a fair bit of time discussing my recent good form (and luck) at the cash tables, whilst acknowledging the amazing number of completely hopeless players who still manage to keep their Tribeca accounts well funded.

Many of these players have found their way into both my buddy list and player notes.

Settling down for a decent Saturday night session, I was delighted to find many of the usual suspects already in place, including one guy on whom my notes are becoming quite voluminous.

For a No Limit Hold 'Em opponent, possibly the most pleasing note to add is 'cannot put down any half decent hand', and this guy is squarely in that grouping.

When we managed to get heads up in a twice raised pre-flop pot - none of the raises mine - with me in position holding KK on a ragged board, I knew that I was getting paid.

And I was, until he called my reraise all-in with JJ, and the turn delivered the cruel eight percenter to send me reeling.

A bad beat for sure, but probably the baddest part of it was that on my very first hand after reloading I flopped an OESD, turned OESD plus a pair, and tilted off another buy-in against someone who flopped bottom set.

Leaving me $200 in the hole before my seat was warm. Bollocks! But not to worry, the night was young.

At this point I could picture the other eight players positioning their sights squarely on my stack, as frustration seeped from my pores. My disgruntlement growing as the villain bled away his entire stack without any of it returning to it's rightful owner. The deck rendering me impotent.

This is where mental fortitude comes into play.

Much as I was doing my usual McEnroe with Tourettes impersonation, internally I was having one of those dialogues which goes 'Self, you are better than these guys. Bad beats come from bad players. You either need to walk away, or get a grip of yourself and earn back that $100 you just blew.'

After that little chat I laboured for an hour or so with little happening across three tables. Winning and losing small pots but generally not getting heavily involved, as equilibrium was restored.

During which time I discovered a new addition to the buddy list - a push-monkey who played every flop like it was the final table of a WPT with the average stack holding 20BB.

'He's gonna pay me off', I thought. So imagine my delight when he limped UTG+1, and called my raise from the SB, to see a J98 flop with me holding QQ.

As expected, he insta-pushed over my continuation bet, and while against some opponents that sort of flop would give me cause to pause, with him it was an easy call.

Cards on their backs and I was ahead - though not quite as far as expected - of his KTs. Until the unlikely Q on the turn made my set but gave him the straight.

Not a bad beat really, since he could easily have pushed a lot of hands off that flop, and he had lots of outs, but a real irritant in the sense I knew exactly how he would play the hand and successfully got all the chips in ahead yet again, only to lose out.

All of which left me in a pretty deep hole, but I wasn't ready to lay down the shovel just yet.

Fortunately I managed to keep the tilt monster behind bars, and after much scratching and clawing recovered to a $131 deficit for the evening, which by now was early morning.

Necessity having dragged me into work today, and still suffering from a combination of illness and lack of sleep, I wasn't particularly aiming to play tonight.

Desire to put right last night's losses spurred me on, and I found myself back at the tables where the Tribeca seat assigner kindly placed me to the immediate left of the aforementioned push monkey at two of my three tables.

Within 20 hands, the tables were turned. My AA; his KK; Q high flop; no suckout, and after sixteen minutes of play and a few small pots picked up elsewhere, a quick count across the three tables showed that I had exactly recouped last night's losses.

A sign if ever there was one!

So, I logged out, and set my sights on a much needed early night.

Poker, sometimes you just have to laugh!!

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