Saturday, June 10, 2006
Interesting - I see that the actual posting screen for Blogger now has word verification. I guess that's good - anything to combat spam is A-OK in my book. I've been fighting the spam wars on ForPeyton.com, and beating those spam-posting bots is a never-ending challenge it seems.
I headed out to Empress on Thursday night. It was a strange night, to say the least. I got moved to the main game before I'd even played a hand at the feeder table, and when I was seated, I found to my right a girl I'd seen there before. Looking at her, I'd say she reminds me of me, but her demeanor at the table is nothing like mine, and we aren't too similar in personality as far as I could tell. I played at her table once before, and she's got an edge to her. Whereas I try to blend in and not bring attention to myself (anymore than is already drawn by the fact that I'm a woman in a room of mostly men), she's outwardly aggressive. She throws her chips into the pot with authority. She is very "audible" - chatty in a typically sarcastic way. Even her compliments come across as critical. It would be too harsh to say that I don't "like" her, because this act could very well be her schtick. I would however say that she isn't the most fun or pleasant person to sit next to. While she was never rude to me, she was far from friendly.
That left me with the grandpa on my left to talk to. I'd sat next to him earlier in the week, and he's a nice old man. I've played with him a handful of times. He's friendly, and is very encouraging - pulling out the ol' "you'll get 'em next time!" speeches when I fold or lose a hand, and cheering me on when I win. I hope that when I'm his age, I still see life from a positive perspective. The girl to my right could take some lessons from gramps.
As for the poker... that's where things got weird. I spent the better part of 3 hours folding my hands, with the exception of 2 hands very early on, where I lost a flopped straight to a runner-runner flush (gramps beat me out! He was calling me down with bottom pair, K3 of diamonds. I forgive him though - I got my money back later), and another where my AJ lost to AK. (My own fault... AJs is a hand to be mighty careful with from early position. The small blind had raised after I'd limped UTG, and we both flopped the Ace). Damn my nemesis hand!
As I spent the next few hours folding, I started counting how many times I saw the hand 9-7. Ya know how everybody has a favorite "junk" hand? Once upon a time, I tried to make T-8 my favorite hand, but it was a ridiculous attempt. You can't "make" a hand your favorite. It just has to become your favorite, through some incident or streak of luck. So, I don't really have a favorite hand. (Just a nemesis - that damn Ace Jack!) I was folding a lot of 9-7's, that's for sure.
Most of the game, I was down somewhere between $50-100. I'd win a small pot here and there to keep me from blinding lower, but after 3 hours, gramps was saying that he was tired of folding, and I told him that I was just hoping to pull back to even so I could go home. The cards just weren't there for me.
Around that time, my brother called me to ask if I could babysit my 3-month-old niece. I said, sure... I mentioned I was playing cards, and when he asked how I was doing, I said, "Not so good - cards are cold." He said, "Well, here's a little mojo for ya! Go get 'em!" As I put away my cell phone and returned to the table, I thought to myself, "I'm gonna see if those 9-7's have any mojo for me. They sure are coming around enough..." I figured I'd seek out my next 9-7 suited and play 'em like Aces. Why not, right?
Sure enough, a couple hands later, I found the 9-7 of clubs in middle position. Early position had raised, and my instinct was to throw the hand away - especially for 2 bets cold! I couldn't get my brother's mojo donation out of my head though, and I shook my head and called. I looked at the guy who had raised and said, "I'm only playing this because my brother said so!" He laughed, but seemed more concerned about the girl to my right, who had also called.
Six people saw a flop of J-9-x. The raiser (sitting 4 to my right) bet out and I called (along with a few others). The turn was an Ace. Action checked all the way around. I had no flush draw, and was ready to throw the hand away if a bet came out. The free river card was a 7 - hallelujah! The raiser bet out, and I raised him. Sure, there was a goofy straight out there (with my now-non-favorite 10-8), but I didn't fear it from the raiser. A couple people paid me off, including the raiser. My two pair held up. The raiser had Kings. Very juicy pot. I was back to even.
The raiser, having heard me say earlier that if I got back to even, I was leaving, poked fun at me and asked when I was going. I had 3 hands until the big blind got to me, and I said to him, "3 more hands and I'll be on my way!" He was surprised, saying that he thought I was kidding.
The very next hand, I saw AQo. It was raised in front of me, and I decided to see a flop. The flop came A-x-x, and the raiser (the guy two to my right) sighed. He's either got AK and is acting it up, I figured, or he had an underpair. He bet out the flop, and did so a bit dramatically with his chips, giving them that extra flick forward into the pot. That's it; I pegged him for an underpair. I raised his bet, and of course being the "cheap" flop bet, got a few callers. The turn came a Q, giving me 2 pair but putting 2 to the flush onboard. He checked, I bet, and some people called (including him). The river came a blank, and he checked again. I bet, and everybody folded. Again, I was reluctantly paid off, and as he flipped his cards, he said, "Your Ace is good." I turned up my 2 pair and he said dejectedly, "Shit, even better... nice hand." /EDIT - He had pocket Kings. I've just learned that this guy was Sloejack!!! No kidding... ya shoulda said HEY! :) Sorry for the outflop... /end edit
In two hands, I'd made a $250 swing. I was up $170 on top of my buy in. I played my last hand before the blinds reached me, and threw away 10-3. Of course, the flop came 10-3-3, and I thought to myself, "Hey, maybe this is the beginning of a rush? Maybe I should stick around?"
Nope! I've had 3 winning sessions in a row since taking that few weeks off from playing, and I'm happy with that. Winning 17 big bets in 3 hours is a nice win rate, even though it was more realistically like winning 17 big bets in 7 minutes! I racked up my chips and headed on my way, after apologizing to the two guys I had busted for hitting-and-running on them. They were cool about it, but that may have been in part due to the unintentional cleavage I'd been showing all night. I'd worn a tank top with a hoodie on over it, but since I like to lean forward on the rail of the table, the end result was... cleavage. Honestly, I was uncomfortable about it all night, and will be sure to avoid wearing summer tops to the poker room in the future. But - whatever works, right? I don't often use femininity as a weapon at the poker table (since my typical outfit consists of hockey jerseys or hoodies, jeans, and my Chuck Taylors), but I guess I'm not completely above that tactic, either.
My bankroll is now officially higher than it has ever been. I'm still technically under-rolled for playing 5/10, but not by much. I'm considering sticking to 5/10 in Vegas this July. I'm pretty excited :)
In other news (to cap off the weirdness of the week) - one of my cats jumped on my head the other night, resulting in a bloody horror-story-like mess that left me with a black eye. That was fun - but it's kinda cool to have a black eye :) And, my 3-month-old niece came home from the hospital today, after a brief scare. The doctor thought she might have pneumonia, but her lungs look clear and her fever broke. So - all is looking better on that front. Spending yesterday in the children's hospital, though, seems to have given me the sniffles, and I'm working on fighting off a cold.
I'm thinking about breaking my "no poker on Saturdays" rule and heading to Resorts (since Empress doesn't spread poker on Saturdays). I'm pretty badly tied to my Kleenex box, but they do allow iPods... and I am really in the mood to play some cards. I'm rolling pretty good right now, and I'd like to ride it out. Whaddya think? Should I go, sniffles and all?