It was still cold in upstate NY. Really, it wasn't as bad as I expected, but I still can't fathom choosing to live somewhere that it snows frequently.
Anyway, so I spent a large portion of Saturday night working on establishing myself as the tightest player at the table. And it helped that I went card dead for about three hours. But really, I got paid on almost all my monsters, so why not play tighter than dick's hatband and just make money?
Now I don't mean I just played premium hands, but I only played my speculative hands in late position, and I only played them when it was cheap enough. I mucked AJ to a raise multiple times, but I raised with it to good effect on at least one occasion, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
So Saturday night the place was hopping, and I mean it was MGM/Bellagio busy. I waited almost an hour for a table, and I got there at 6:30. When I sat down I realized that unlike at the stud game at the Mirage, where I reduced the median age of the table by 20 years just by sitting in, here I raised the median age of the table by at least 5 years. At least half the table didn't have to shave every day yet, and it wasn't just because they were smooth-cheeked Asian boys.
So we'd been hanging out for about an hour when I limp in with J9 off suit in early position. This wasn't quite as tight as advertised, but it was decent enough to limp with, and the table was in a spate of limping, so I saw a $2 flop. And what a flop! J-J-4 with two spades is pretty good to me, especially when the Crasian kid in the 3s called my check-raise. I put him on spades, and figured he'd lay down a spade draw, but I was in way better shape than I expected when he tabled J-8 with no spades. So that was a decent little double up.
A little while later I lost a big pot with Queens from the big blind. A tightish player in middle position raised to $12, then a kid without much left re-raised to $50 after one caller. I decided I didn't wanna play Queens in a 4-way pot, so I made it $100 to go. The early two guys folded, and the kid called off his last few chips. Desired response, undesired result when he tabled his Aces. Nothing interesting happened and I doubled him up. That started a small slide which I managed to briefly arrest when I picked up a few small pots, and then just as our table started to break I picked up KK in early position. I made it $12 to go, which had been my standard opening raise all night, and got one caller.
The flop of 8-9-10 was somewhat less than ideal, but I fired on the flop anyway. Caller called, and I checked the turn. I called his small bet, then (because I'm a poker genius) I called his brutally obvious value bet on the river. He showed 88 for the flopped set, and I was off to my new table with $150 in chips. As I'm looking around for a table, a guy calls out to me "seats open!" So I take one. The 6s was open, which is one of my favorite places to sit, so it looked good. As I sit down, the guy who called me over says "now watch, he'll be the one to stack me."
Not quite, I actually don't think I managed to play any interesting pots against him. I came to that table with a conscious effort to play more aggressively, and when I looked down at the Asian Jew in early position I decided to bring it in for a raise. We were seven or eight-handed, and I got two callers. Flop comes down almost perfect - J-A-J, and I say out loud "I gotta check that."
My caller led out for $11, and the other guy folded. I called, and the 3h came on the turn, which completed a heart flush. I prayed he had hearts, then I checked again.I min-raised when he made it $11 again. So I made it $22, and he called. I thought to myself "if he'll call the check-raise on the turn, why not try the overbet move on the river?" So as soon as the river wasn't an Ace (which I feared for the chop) I stuck the rest of my chips in the middle, for a $104 bet into a $99 pot. Not really an overbet based on the pot size, but pretty serious based on the action on previous streets. He thought about it for a while, said to me "you spiked that flush, didn't you?" Which of course made me ill since I was hoping he had spiked the flush and would therefore call, and now I knew he didn't have the flush and couldn't imagine him calling.
Until he did. With A-K off suit, TPTK donkey. So then I had chips, and then it was my big blind. I fell into the habit on this trip of not looking at my cards in the big blind if it wasn't raised, and I'm pretty sure it lost me some money on pots I would have picked up otherwise, but overall I can't complain too much, since it did keep the whole friendly hillbilly image going. So I check my option, and we're three-handed to the flop - me, the small blind and a guy in middle position. Flop comes down A-8-9 with two hearts, and I check because I still haven't looked at my cards and the small blind checked. The middle position guy led out, and the SB called. I decide that now would be a good time to look at my cards, and peel up 8-9 off suit for bottom two pair.
So with a well-disguised two pair, even from myself, I raised and the middle position player called. On the turn, which was not a heart, I asked the guy how much he had left, and he showed about $70. I said "wow, you got a bunch left," and made it $25. He went all in over the top, exactly what I had wanted, and I called. He tabled his flush draw, which was bigger than the flush draw the small blind folded, and when no heart came on the river, I was stacked to about $350 on a $100 buy-in. I cashed out a few hands later after nothing too exciting happened and I gave back about $10 of my profit.
Sunday was more of the same - doubled on when I turned a straight against a guy who had top pair on a flushy board and couldn't get away from it, bled away for a while, then doubled up when my big hands (JJ, AA, JJ in 3 out of 4 hands) held up and I walked away a winner. Again. Been long enough since I was able to type that.
I did the math, and not only was I able to get unstuck for the month, I made up any losses I had for the year, and now have 2008 back in the black, which is a welcome change.