Wish I had some glamorous story to tell about how I was sucked out on magnificently time after time, but I really wasn't sucked out on, even once. I could tell you a bunch of stories about how the four semi-decent hands I had were beaten by two boats and two sets of quads, I suppose, but you've heard them all before. I could tell you that I paid for a few looks at people's cards, because I'm on this 'trust your instinct and your first-impression reads' thing and the information was worth it, but that doesn't quite make for an engaging tale of eight frustrating hours at the tables.
No, if there's any tale to tell at all, it's the simple boring one: I was completely, 100% card dead. I caught no pair above 3's. I got AK three times, AQ perhaps three times, AJ and A10 twice apiece, won precisely none of those hands. Didn't lose much, but it doesn't take much, as we all know. I hit my stop-loss and decided to not ignore it for a change; if there was one truth to this day it's that the quicker over, the better.
A couple of hands of note, and I'm only bringing them up because I have responsibilities. I have readers, god damn it, and they need to know that there exist islands of joy amidst the steaming piles of dung that mostly make up my play. So it is for you, of course, that I perform these vain exercises in self-aggrandizement.
So let's set the scene: I was in seat 4. Seat 1 was chatty friendly "Mr. Funny Guy," and that kind of set my teeth on edge. I can actually BE chatty friendly "Mr. Funny Guy" at a table, but when I'm not him, I don't like anyone else being him either. Seat 8 was a dude of some kind of ethnicity that I couldn't quite pin down; sort of Thai or Lao or maybe part Filipino or native Peruvian or some combination of the above that screams "cool family back-story." We'll call him "Chip." Just because.
Anyway, right when I sat down, like the first or second hand I observed, is that he played AJ really strong, even though he whiffed the flop, bluffing all the way down and, when he got called on the river, showed his bluff and mumbled an insincere "nice call." And he bitched about it to the guy sitting next to him for the next ten minutes. Didn't think much of it at the time, except I privately hoped he'd blow up a bit more so I'd have fodder for this little chucklefest.
So fast forward to a hand a few hours in. I held A9. After pre-flop betting it was me, Chip, and the dude he was bitching to in seat 7. 9 comes up on the flop giving me second pair. Dude bets out maybe $15. Seat 7 folds; I call. Turn comes a King, so now my 9's are third pair. He bets like $35 on the turn, I snap. Turn comes blank, he bets out yet again. Inside my head I listened in on a heated argument between my hypothalamus and my cerebral cortex:
Hypothalamus: Urrrgghh! Chip BLUFFING - Gary must call - make big chips!
Cerebral Cortex (fyi, my Cerebral Cortex has an English accent): Now, now, hypothalamus. This is a big bet. We must go a little slowly, here, now. This requires some serious thought.
Hypothalamus: RRRROOOOWWWRRR!!! CHIP MAKE BLUFF!!!!!
Cerebral Cortex: All right, all right, my good man. As always, you make a persuasive argument.
So, having thus been convinced by my reptilian brain-stem, I called and as I suspected, he was bluffing with two high cards that didn't connect and my 9's were good. And, as before, he wondered aloud how anyone could possibly make that call. Unfortunately I was across the table from him so I didn't hear a lot of his juicy complaining but I did catch "and if he thought I was full of shit, why didn't he raise?" and some time later quite distinctly caught "calling station."
Of course, I said nothing - I believe I've made my views on that sort of behavior pretty clear with a recent post - but Chip, if you're reading this, think about it a little while? When you think someone is bluffing, what do you do? You call every street and don't raise. That's not particularly subtle strategy; that's Poker 101. Something else I picked up on this guy too; if he has something, he'll c-bet the flop then check the turn, to try to reel his opponent in. So a turn bet for him is a monster tell that he's bluffing. God, I wish everyone were as crystal clear as this guy. What a meatball.
Anyway, the second hand of note, and the only other decent pot I took down, was when I was holding J10c and flopped the nut straight. Big pot but at the turn there were two spades and I wanted to protect my hand, so I overbet a little bit and took it down right there. J10 wins the day again! Wheeeee! (That's someone's favorite hand, if you weren't already aware).
So that's the story of my day. I wasn't especially disappointed with my play; I could have saved some money here or there by tightening up my decision-making, but like I said I've really been trying to trust my reads, and I guess that means I'll have to buy some looks at cards to help me correlate what I feel with what reality is. But being nebulously pleased with one's play, despite losing, soon ceases to soothe the sting of it.
But - we shake off the loss and we go back the next time knowing we will do better. Right? Or else we'd never go back. And it's a fact: Combine the way I played today with even average cards and I have a winning day. Sure. And even Phil Ivey doesn't win every day. So watch out world - this tubby Hebrew is coming atcha! And when I do, you best get out of the way, because, well, I'm a little overweight, and I might, you know, bump into you and do some damage. Yes, I know I'm talking to the world, and it's not like I can break the world's hip or anything, but you never know. That's all I'm saying.